Ask Jaime: How do I include my fiance’s kids in the wedding?

by jaime on May 16, 2013

How do I include my fiance's kids in the wedding?I’ve been receiving notes from readers with questions they have regarding planning their wedding, and I decided to start offering an “Ask Jaime” segment! All names were removed to preserve anonymity – enjoy!

Dear Jaime,

I am getting married to a wonderful guy. We are in the early stages of planning our wedding and I am deciding on who to ask to be a part of the wedding party.

My fiance has two kids, both girls who will be 17 and 12 by our wedding day. They are lovely girls and we get along to a point. He has full custody of them and their mom likes to keep things stirred up. My problem is that I don’t know if I truly want them in the wedding party. Is that wrong of me?

What would you suggest I do to include them?

This is such a struggle! I know that often while planning a wedding, we feel like we’re changing things to please everyone, but this is a big situation to have to handle!

I think you should just ask them what they want to do – they could sing a song, perform a dance or have a small speech they can give. If you’d like to give them a bigger role in the wedding, what about a junior bridesmaid position? I think of a junior bridesmaid as being half way between a flower girl and a full-fledged bridesmaid, so that might be a good fit. The Knot lists the role of a junior bridesmaid as follows:

The role of junior bridesmaid is generally appropriate for young ladies aged 9-14. She walks down the aisle with the other maids wearing a dress that’s perhaps not as sophisticated as the other dresses. She can be involved in planning the shower and lend a hand with other pre-wedding tasks. She’ll probably get a kick out of being treated like a big kid.

As a stepdaughter myself, I know I’d be hurt and offended if I was entirely removed from a special place in the wedding. These are not just his daughters, but now yours as well – they should be able to be a part of the wedding! But talk to them about it; maybe they don’t want to be active participants and would rather cheer you both on from the sidelines.

Oh, and in case you’re concerned, you definitely SHOULDN’T invite his ex. Crazy exes only lead to stress!

Good luck, and happy planning!

Love,
Jaime

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sandy May 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Ok, this is scary – my step daughters were almost the exact same ages as your fiance’s (13 and 15) by the time our wedding arrived. Initially, they were going to stand up for me. The age I got married (37), the whole bridesmaids thing was not for me, but the first place we were going to get married sort of almost “needed” a wedding party, you know? It was going to be at the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier in Chicago, and my then fiance and I had all these awesome plans for our day.

But then teenage girls being teenage girls (with a mother who kept stirring things up in a major fashion) totally screwed us over and we ended up just getting married in a simple synagogue on a Wednesday afternoon. Neither of us had anyone stand up for us, and we felt it was better that way at the time. His daughters became monsters and eventually left us to go live with their psychotic mother. My hub had custody, but he let them go because he couldn’t deal with them either.

Turns out after almost 10 years of marriage, I am no longer the devil incarnate, the mother is nowhere in either of their lives, and they have a good relationship with their dad. But it took a lot of living on their parts to finally see the light.

My point here is – we let them dictate how we wanted to celebrate our wedding. Looking back, I wish I had stood my ground and just got two friends to stand up for me. But I wanted to play the “mom” role and it went splat on me. Don’t let that happen to you.

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