This summer I had the great pleasure of attending a beautiful wedding ceremony for an extended family member. The couple was adorable and the event was amazing. Everything you typically see during a wedding was all in place; the beautiful flower girl (my daughter), the wedding party, the flowers and the Pastor. I was all prepared to witness what I normally do, the couples sharing their vows and being pronounced husband and wife. However, the guests received a little something extra.
You see, this couple is a blended family. Typically in these ceremonies, we don’t get to witness how the new parts of the family will be connected to this union. However, this wedding was a little bit different. The Pastor incorporated vows that included the children of each spouse.
First, each member of the new family was given a clear vase filled with different shades of sand. Next, the family was asked to combine their individual vases into a large one, combining all of the sand. This represented that each family member was merging into one family unit. After the integration of the sand, the Pastor asked each parent to grab the hand of the other spouse’s child and repeat after him. As you may have guessed, this is where many of the tears during the ceremony were shed. The parent looked into the eyes of their new step-child and shared just what the child should expect from them as their step-parent. Each step-parent shared how much they would be there to guide them and firmly declared they were never going to take the place of their biological parent; but would always be there to show love and support.
This, I thought, is how you begin a blended family. We all know how challenging it can be for parents to bring two families together and to parent a child who already has a parent. But because of our love for our new spouse, there are definite sacrifices that need to be made. The goal is to make sure every member of this new family feels needed, loved, respected and appreciated. We do that by ensuring the children are clear that the parents love for one another is enough to cover the whole family.
BMWK, what other rituals have you experienced during the ceremony of a blended family?