As more couples enter second marriages or opt to wed after they become parents, they look for special ways to include their children in the festivities. In addition to putting them in the wedding party and having them participate in the ceremony (by joining in the unity candle lighting, for instance), one way for a bride to carry her young ones close to her heart is by incorporating the children into her wedding bouquet.
A full third of all wedded couples have been previously married, according to stats quoted by TripSavvy, and the American Enterprise Institute reported that 55 percent of millennials had their first child before tying the knot. That points to an impressive percentage of weddings in which children are already a part of the family unit, so it stands to reason that parents would want to have them represented at the wedding in as many ways as possible.
Couples with young children, tweens, or teens might enlist them as part of the wedding party, have them walk the bride down the aisle, include them in the vows, or reserve a special dance for them at the reception. Babies can be toted down the aisle in a decorated wagon or simply held in their parents' arms during the ceremony. But having them represented in some part of the bride's ensemble makes it that much more personal (think Angelina Jolie's wedding gown and veil, which were printed with reproductions of her children's drawings).
So if you're a mom planning her first or second wedding — or a vow renewal, for that matter — don't overlook your flowers as a vehicle to showcase your children or stepchildren in the ceremony. The kids will be delighted to be a part of the bouquet, and the display will be so memorable that you'll want to keep it forever (so plan to have a separate bunch of blooms for tossing at the reception).
1. Let Them Choose The Flowers
Kids love to be included in big plans, and they'll be thrilled to have a say in such an important part of your ensemble. Let each child choose one type of flower, or let them decide on the whole design. You might end up with a grouping of hydrangea, daisies and a Venus flytrap, but you'll still be proud to carry it.
2. Use A Birthstone Color Scheme
Many brides opt for a colorful set of blooms rather than following the traditional rule of white flowers for the bride, and bouquets for bridesmaids that match their dresses. Why not pick flowers that match your children's birthstone colors? Imagine a January and June combination of deep red and soft white, or the mixed greens and purples to represent children born in May, August, and February. You can find inspiration on Teleflora's birthstone bouquet page.
3. Use A Photo Charm
A sweet tradition for many brides is to hang a photo wedding charm (like this one, from Etsy) in their bouquet. The photos can be of anyone you want to honor on your special day, and including pics of the kids is a lovely way to include them in the ceremony.
4. Let Them Create The Wrap
If you'd prefer to choose your own flowers, then you could have the children decide on how to wrap them. Set a day aside to show them some suggestions (like these, from Martha Stewart Weddings), and then let them discuss what kind of covering would best show them off. A simple satin ribbon? Something matching the color of one of the flowers? An eclectic mix, like burlap and pearls? You might be pleasantly surprised at what they come up with.
5. Put Their Names On The Wrap
If you're going with your own floral wrap (think Meghan Markle's bridal bouquet, above), or with something your kids choose, you can make the look even more personal by having their names or initials printed on the ribbon.
6. Use Their Special Fabrics In The Wrap
One more wrap suggestion for a bride with children: Use pieces of cloth or trim from clothes that have had special significance to them over the years. Think baby blankets, baptismal gowns, sports or Scout uniforms, prom dresses, or even Halloween costumes. When you hold your flowers, you'll be holding a piece of family history.
7. Use Their Birth Month Flowers
Each month of the year has an official flower (or two), according to the Old Farmers Almanac, so talk to your florist about incorporating your child's birth flower into your bouquet. Some are traditional blooms, such as June's rose and January's carnation; others will add a unique flair to the arrangement, such as February's primrose and July's larkspur.
8. Add A Family Pin
If this is a second marriage for either or both of you, a symbol of your blended family would be a perfect way to show your unity. My Family Medallion is a design created by a United Methodist minister who wanted to help couples honor the new families created through blended marriage and adoption. The linked circles represent the Biblical passage "Two are stronger than one, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken." Pin the charm shown here onto your bouquet wrap — and give your children their own matching medallion pins or necklaces.
9. Add A Crystal Initial
Bridal retailers and wholesalers, such as Wedding Factory Direct, sell elegant crystal-studded initials that can be attached either to the bouquet wrap or onto the flowers themselves. This would be especially striking if you only have one child, but it can look just as lovely with more than one letter.
10. Have A Bouquet-Building Ritual
The Offbeat Bride site offers an innovative suggestion for the bridal bouquet: having the guests each hand the bride a flower as she walks down the aisle, so she reaches the altar with a full set of blooms. You could either try this idea and have your children be the last ones to offer their flowers, or save the honor for the kids alone.