When you marry a single parent, you also marry the child(ren). The commitment of marriage and a lifetime as a family should be reflected in the official commencement – which is why we made ours a blended family wedding! We chose to include my stepdaughter K before, during, and after the wedding to ensure she felt included. This decision is just as much hers as it is ours.
Our Blended Family Wedding
The Perfect Lead Up to the Big Day
The Big Question.
Before ever asking for my hand in marriage, Kevin checked with his daughter and confirmed I was someone she’d want in her life forever. I wasn’t there, but he assures me that she was ecstatic. When they got home that evening, she had a sparkle in her eye, so I could tell it went well.
The Bridal Shower.
I purchased a beautiful sparkly white dress that she felt beautiful in for my bridal shower; I wasn’t the only one getting married after all! She was included in the shower activities, helped me open my presents, and even had a present of her own to open.
The Wedding Dress.
Though I really wanted her to go with me to pick out my dress, it just didn’t work out. With our custody schedule, we don’t get her until Saturday nights each week. My mom wasn’t able to make it into town on a Sunday to try on dresses with me. Instead, I had her attend each of my dress fittings with me and included her in the process. She helped spread my dress out, assisted with the bustle, and helped me put my shoes on. Designating her as a helper made her feel important and special.
The Flower Girl Dress.
One of the most exciting parts of wedding planning for the two of us was choosing her flower girl gown. I actually purchased a dress marked down quite a bit through Kohls. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), it wasn’t exactly what we wanted. We took a girls trip to Hobby Lobby and spent an hour looking at different ribbons and dress accents we could use to embellish. Then, we visited the alterations store, and she had dress fittings of her own. Each step of the dress creation increased her excitement for the big day.
The Perfect Flower Girl
K got so pampered for the big day! We started with a girls day at the nail salon prior to the wedding, and on the day-of she got her hair curled and the slightest bit of lipstick (at her request!). By joining my matron of honor and me getting ready that day, it reinforced that she was an integral part of the day. Did I mention she got to pick out and wear a tiara at the ceremony? 🙂
She and I had matching sparkly tennis shoes for the wedding.
As my flower girl, I wanted her to have a cohesive look to me. But more than that, I wanted a special something to connect the two of us as mom and daughter. Plus, wearing tennis shoes to a wedding is a little silly, and it allowed us to have more fun with the wedding.
The Perfect Vows
I felt very strongly that I wasn’t just marrying Kevin but also his daughter. She wasn’t an additional obligation I was taking on – she was another partner I was committing to for the rest of my life. I wanted to properly express my love and commitment, so I included her in my vows.
I added this to the end of my vows to my husband:
“As you have been a loving father to Krista, now let us come together as a family – mother, father, child, together from this day on.”
These were the vows I spoke to my stepdaughter:
“I, Kristen, take you Krista to be my stepdaughter. I promise to remind you every single day how truly loved you are. I promise to teach, guide, and respect you the rest of our days. I vow to never treat you as anything less than my own child, for you truly are my daughter from this day forward.”
It’s probably time for me to confess that I cried during my wedding. The whole time. From before I started walking down the aisle with my stepfather until I walked back up the aisle officially part of a beautiful family. I had to wipe my eyes three times prior to the vows. I stumbled through my vows to my husband with only a few tears… But when my stepdaughter looked up at me with those big beautiful blue eyes, eager to hear my vow of love and commitment to her, I lost it. You can even see it in her eyes in the photo above. I was a blubbering mess. She even giggled at me a couple of times I was such a mess.
The Perfect Rings
Brides and grooms receive tokens of the marriage, and we felt that as part of our ceremony and marriage, she also deserved a token. We purchased a beautiful 2-piece heart diamond ring set (the ring Dad gave her had the outline of a heart and the ring I gave her had the inside of the heart, and they fit together to make one big heart) to give her on our wedding day.
After my husband and I exchanged rings, we each took one part of the ring and put it on her finger.
Pro Tip: We chose to size the ringer to her middle finger so that she could grow with it a little bit (move to her ring finger) before we have to resize it.
The Perfect… Kiss?
After my husband kissed the bride, we both leaned down and kissed our girl! Her smile says it all!
When I kissed my husband, I transferred some of my lipstick that then got transferred to our daughter’s other cheek – she ended up with a lipstick kiss on each cheek 🙂
The Perfect Familymoon
My husband and I had a week and a half honeymoon in addition to the time we spent on island with our families before and after the wedding. We were able to spend time alone relishing in our love and new marriage. It was relaxing and it was such a great time, but we missed our girl.
A couple of weeks after we returned from the wedding, the three of us packed up and headed to nearby Austin, Texas, for our familymoon! We spent time at the local children’s museum, parks, restaurants, a pinball arcade, the local graffiti park, and toured a cavern on our way back to Dallas. It wasn’t a crazy extravagant trip, no air travel was required, but it was perfect for us.
The importance of the familymoon isn’t the money spent or the destination.
Spending time together as a new family is what’s truly important.
I am so in love with my new family! I hope I’ve provided you inspiration for planning your own blended family wedding. When all else fails, just remember to include your stepchildren as much as possible.
You’re not only marrying your spouse, you’re marrying your spouse’s children too.
You’re marrying a family.
P.S. Still planning your wedding and stressing out?! Here’s how to keep calm while wedding planning.