A blended family unity ceremony can strengthen everyone’s commitment to ensuring a happy future. There are many ways you can include the kids in the ceremony to ensure everyone feels like they have a special place in the new family.
Traditionally, the unity ceremony occurs after the vows since its purpose is to seal the pledges that were just exchanged. However, young children are most attentive at the beginning of the ceremony, so you may want to consider rearranging the order.
During the ceremony, you can either play music or have the officiant or another family member read a poem or prayer about blended families. Large families can each recite a line.
The unity ceremony is the perfect time for each person to make their own vows to support and nurture the new family. This gives mom and dad a separate opportunity to exchange their marriage vows. Work together to come up with a list of reasonable promises, such as always encouraging each other or accepting responsibility for their role in the family.
Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of humor here, such as pledges to wash dishes, share the TV or alternate who picks the size of the Christmas light bulbs.
Form a Circle of Love
This unity ceremony is near to my heart since it is the one my mom and stepdad chose. The preacher asked us to gather around our parents and join hands while he blessed our new family with a prayer. Then all eight of us children passed the ring around the circle, moving it from youngest to oldest.
Exchange Symbols of Commitment
The rings exchanged between the bride and groom are a visual reminder of the sacred vows they pledge on their wedding day. Stepparents can also extend a symbol of commitment to their new children, either during the ring exchange or during the family unity ceremony.
As a stepparent, you can send a powerful message to a child that they are truly part of your family by passing down a family heirloom, such as grandpa’s watch or grandma’s quilt. Or, consider offering a customized gift that represents something you can do together, such as a fishing lure or an inscribed book.
Necklaces are among the most common tokens given to children. Etsy vendor TKI Designs sells a beautiful family tree necklace that includes hand-stamped names on stacked mixed metal disks, while Creative Elements 4U offers Yours & Mine floating lockets that features a family tree with Swarovski crystal birthstones. The My Family Medallion, which consists of three interlocking circles inside one large circle, is also available as a charm bracelet, ring or lapel pin. It arrives with a ceremony outline and an optional Family Wedding Certificate with spaces for children to sign.
Establish Family Roots
With its strong roots, need for nourishment, long lifespan and ability to bend yet not break, a wedding tree sends an especially appropriate message to blended families about the road ahead. The children can easily scoop in soil or pour water onto the roots. Once planted in the yard or at another favorite location, such as a nearby park, the expanding tree serves as a constant reminder of the growing love in the family.
Light the Future
The traditional unity candle ceremony is a beautiful way for blended families to symbolize their solidarity. Each person receives a smaller taper candle and together with the family lights the pillar candle in the middle. My Family Medallion also carries a spiral candle holder with room for a “Family” inscribed pillar candle and seven tapers. The Unity Shoppe on Etsy offers a rustic version, wrapping the candles in burlap and birch.
A Blended family sand ceremony is a stunning way to visually express the joining of everyone’s lives. Each person is pouring different colored sand results in a dramatic display of individuality and unity.
Build a Bouquet
This one works well if you have several children. Each child presents the bride with a flower, which then becomes her bouquet for the ceremony. Or, create a keepsake family bouquet by having each child add a dried flower to a vase that you can later display in your house.