Our 3 year old daughter in ceremony

We have decided on wedding with about 175 family and friends. We currently have a 2.5 year old daughter together and she will be 3 when the wedding takes place. I was trying to think of ways to incorporate her into the ceremony, more then just as the flower girl. She was present during the proposal and her response was I want to marry Mommy. She has now agreed she wants to marry Mom and Prince Charming aka Dad. We obviously aren’t the traditional wedding couple, so we are ok with nontraditional but was trying to think of more ways to involve her in our special day. And it not be too weird or inappropriate.

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites

Congratulations on the engagement.

Something really special and memorable is the unity candle ceremony I gave you a link there to a unity candle ceremony for a second wedding, but I did so because you have a child to include. I think this is the best way to include a child in the wedding ceremony when the child is a member of the immediate family. The flowergirl is cute, but kids are so unpredictable that you can never be sure what they’ll do or if they will want to walk down the aisle. With the candle ceremony (or sand ceremony if you’re worried about using a flame with young kids) the parents can be by her side guiding her and explaining what’s happening. You can practice it before the ceremony, which is something little girls usually like. At that time you can explain the significance of the ceremony in a way a 3 year old can understand.

While all children should feel a part of the wedding and this new family, the ceremony should focus on the couple. Including children in decision making, vows, etc. can be confusing, especially for young children. They should feel included as a family member but not given the feeling that they are on the same level as the parents (giving them way too much power). hence, the candle ceremony has two large candles representing the couple and smaller candles signifying the family members. For example, when you included her in the proposal, consider what could have happened if she said no. That’s too much power for a child to hold. As the parent of two grown children, (raised alone due to their father’s death very early in their lives) I can tell you that kids want/need to be parented. Probably more advice than what you asked for, but I hope you find it helpful.

Have a wonderful wedding and happy married life.

Guest_The Engagement Coach

Dear Amber,

I think it’s wonderful that you and your husband-to-be are sensitive and thoughtful enough to include your daughter (and her feelings) into your ceremony! My responses tend to focus more on the relationship side of things vs. etiquette, so do what your heart tells you is right. I remember watching a ceremony once where the couple gave the child a ring of their own, to symbolize all 3 of them getting married, however I think it was a step-child. I do agree with Donna… you’ll want to be sure to keep some boundary around the specialness of the ceremony for you two as the parents, but if you follow your heart I’m sure you and your daughter will be happy. Try typing “incorporating child into wedding ceremony” into Google, it looks like there’s a lot to read about with some good ideas.

Best wishes for a happy marriage,

Jacqueline Vazquez

It is always a pleasure hearing couples involve their children in their wedding. It takes it a step up to just being added to the bridal party. As the Wedding Queen mentioned, practicing beforehand is a great idea whether you decide on the family unity candle or the ring. Another suggestion, at the reception when you are midway in your first dance, bring her in to finish the dance.