Say what you will about the whole Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie marriage and divorce mess, but the A-list celeb couple did at least one thing right. I'm talking about Angie's one-of-a-kind Versace dress, which was accented with reproductions of drawings made by their six children. Incorporating children in a wedding gown is not only a unique idea, but a beautiful way of acknowledging the whole family for a second marriage, a vow renewal, or, like Brangelina, parents who are legalizing an established union.
With more than half of millennials opting to have children before marrying, and a growing number of older couples marrying for the second time, it's not unusual anymore to see weddings featuring the couple's children in honored roles. Do a quick search on Etsy, and you'll find any number of designers who make signs for little ones to hold during the ceremony (with sayings such as "Don't worry, ladies, I'm still single" or "Daddy, are you ready? Here comes Mommy!"). Including the kids as part of the wedding party is a no-brainer, and putting them in the vows is a touching way to recognize the complete family. But finding a way to include the children in that all-important piece of wedding clothing is a truly personal touch, and it assures the children that they're so important that Mom wants to keep them as close to her as possible on her special day.
If that idea appeals to you, consider one or more of these options as you choose your own bridal garb. It'll add to the beauty of the day, and the loving sentiments will last long after you've had the dress cleaned and put in storage.
1. Include Kids' Artwork
Sure, Angelina did it first, but that doesn't mean she has to be the only one. If your children are budding artists, talk to your dress shop or seamstress about adding their pictures to the hem or train of your gown.
2. Embroider Their Initials
For a subtler touch, you can have your children's initials (first or first and middle) sewn onto your gown or veil. You could even include your own and your groom's, to make it a complete family affair. This tutorial by The Garter Girl shows an easy DIY method of sewing on letters. Or find someone with an embroidery machine that lets you program your choice of patch size, shape, and letter font.
3. Feature Their Birthstones
If you've already decided on a gown with a beaded bodice or trim, ask about the option of using colored beads or crystals that correspond to your children's birthstones. As the American Gem Association noted, each month has at least one birthstone, so it's just a matter of combining the appropriate ones. If the kids happen to have April (diamond) or June (pearl) birthdays, you're ahead of the game; however, the reds of January (garnet) and July (ruby) and the blues of March (aquamarine), September (sapphire) and December (zircon) would also look striking against a white or cream fabric.
4. Attach A Picture Charm
It's become popular for brides to honor special family members by carrying a locket-like wedding photo charm with their picture inside. The charm normally is tied into the bridal bouquet, but it can just as easily be sewn or attached to the gown, perhaps at the waist. Use one charm with a shot of all the kids, or attach one charm for each child.
5. Let Them Help Pick Out The Dress
If you prefer to go the simplest route, you could ask the children to come dress-hunting with you and get their opinions of the style that they think suits you best. Depending on their ages and your family situation, they'll likely be thrilled to have this honor, and they'll take the responsibility seriously as they debate the merits of a mermaid style versus a princess-like ball gown.
6. Incorporate Their Clothing Or Loveys
Just as a patchwork quilt traditionally includes pieces from family members' favorite articles of clothing, your dress could include small scraps of clothes or other items that best represent your children: a christening or communion gown, a snippet of a baby blanket, a bit of an outgrown sports uniform. Let the kids help choose the items, and talk to your dress shop or tailor about having the fabric sewn into the lining or onto a more prominent spot in the gown.