Nowadays, marriage means adding one person to your immediate family and a few children. It is all about blended families. If your family is increasing in size and you’d like to have everyone involved in the ceremony, here are a few stress-free ways to do it:

How do I blend the families?

Let them help plan the wedding. Wedding planning is difficult, and often so many choices will paralyze you from making a decision, so let the kids help! Chances are you’ve gone through about 30 different fonts for wedding invitations. I am sure they are all starting to look the same now. So if you’ve narrowed it down to your top three options, ask your soon-to-be daughter-in-law which one she prefers, and choose. As far as more significant planning issues, such as the band or the flowers, take them along one time and hear their opinions. Even if you don’t take their advice on camouflage wedding favors, they’ll still feel involved. If you’re completely clueless, ask for input! Bubbles or racecars may sound silly, but you’d be surprised. How much whimsy goes on your wedding day? Make it about the blended family.

Tasks to include everyone

Give them specific tasks. As we all know, children can have difficulty focusing, so give them a very simple task they can perform. A ring-bearer or a flower girl are easy, fast tasks that let them seize the spotlight momentarily. Even playful directions, such as, “Alright, Junior, Mom, and Dad are going to go get ready. So it’s up to you to keep everyone in line. Don’t let anyone eat any of the cake until we get back!” If they’re older, let them take on more responsibility, like ushering in guests, perhaps. This also includes tasks before and after the wedding. Helping decorate before the ceremony can give a child a sense of ownership over the big day. Also, giving them a task after the day is over, such as ensuring Grandma doesn’t forget her hat, is a simple, specific task without much pressure or consequence.

Include them in the ceremony. Many weddings signify the love between two people and blended families. A friend of mine had her son at her side while repeating the vows and even allowed him to write his own vows to his mother and new stepfather. Allowing your children to join in on a candle lighting ceremony or a sand mixing ceremony are just two fantastic ways to let them know they are all an equal part of the family.