If the bride has children… if the groom has children… if they both have children, or even if they have children together… the idea of family vows will come up. And it should. Family vows are a way to open up some space in the wedding for the children to be genuine participants in the momentousness of the occasion. But, tread carefully and make your vows simple and clear. Make your vows from your heart and from your head. Because, when a child becomes a genuine part of the momentousness of the occasion adults must become as authentic as possible.
You will have thought or felt some things along these lines as you considered the idea of getting married. You will have said to yourself “I’m not just marrying him/her, I’m marrying her kids too.” That’s not accurate, but it has a weird truthfulness to it. By marrying her you are becoming a caregiver, teacher, protector, etc. etc. etc. for her children. They are not an optional extra, they are part of the package. They are part of who she is, who she has been, and who she will be. Scary? Yep, but relax. People do this and scarier stuff all the time.
If you plan to make family vows part of your wedding the children might want to vow x, y, or z. They can say whatever they like and it will be cute as heck. But children’s vows are different than adults’ vows. Do not let the children be burdened by what they perceive to be promises they will have to keep and allegiances they are making and will have to maintain. No, there are no promises they need to keep or feelings they need to have. The important part of family vows is what the parents say.
Believe me, I’ve got like, so many awesome ideas for family vows, but I’d rather hear from you. Please share about a time when you saw family vows done well by commenting below. If you have witnessed family vows go terribly wrong, please share that too. You might help the rest of us avoid the same mistakes. Maybe you’re considering using family vows, why is it important to you? What might you say? If you’ve already used them, please share about your experience with them. How did family vows affect the wedding and life after the wedding? What did you vow?