For all those weddings which are special because they’re so 100% about the couple, Claire and Ruth’s was special because there were three of them in the mix. Enter Ruth’s daughter, Faye.
She’s awesome – an eleven year old, wise beyond her years and so good at expressing her feelings. In many ways, this wedding was hers too. When she and I were chatting before the big day, Faye said “we’re not married yet”. In her words, they were already a family of best friends, but her mum and Claire getting married would make their family official.
Really early on into the planning, it became clear that Ruth and Claire wanted to involve Faye in their ceremony as much as possible. We knew she’d play a practical role but I was also keen to give her a voice and for her thoughts and feelings to be heard.
Why Involve The Kids?
Whether you’ve started a family together before tying the knot or are blending families after a previous relationship, including your kids in your wedding ceremony can be meaningful, moving and often hilarious! Of course, not every child is going to be comfortable with the limelight or old enough to play a starring role, so you have to be led by them. But giving them the option to play a part is something I’ll always encourage. That little moment of autonomy can be really powerful on a day when so much else is likely to be out of their control.
It can be as simple as taking a moment before your vows, and for me to ask your child, “So, do we have your permission to go ahead and get your parents married?” and then waiting with baited breath for a nod or a thumbs up. Maybe they’re old enough and brave enough to share a few words about why they think you’re a good team? Perhaps you’d consider including a vow which is specific to your family and which you all say together? Or maybe you’d prefer to build in a symbolic element like a hand-fasting (hand tying) or sand blending so it becomes about completing a practical task rather than spoken word.
Faye Leads The Way
Faye and her Grandma walked her mum down the aisle – and it was a long aisle!! As they set off from the bottom of the hill, the rest of us had already scrambled our way to the top and were waiting under the blustery arches of Chesterton Windmill, watching them gradually get closer…
Faye was also entrusted with the wedding rings and she set the ring warming in motion – sending them off to be passed hand to hand and warmed by the good wishes of all Claire and Ruth’s guests.
Faye decided she didn’t want to make a speech during the ceremony but she did have lots of brilliant, insightful things to say. So she and I chatted and I wrote something based on what she told me which we kept a secret from Claire and Ruth until the day. Faye’s words became a stand out moment in the ceremony. There was a collective swell of emotion as we first laughed and then all seemed to reach for our tissues in unison! Here’s that little extract…
I’m going to start by just stating the blindingly obvious – Faye LOVES Claire! And I mean, really loves her! Apparently so does the rest of the family too. They’re always asking Faye how Claire is doing. It feels like she was always part of the gang.
One of Faye’s favourite ways for the three of them to spend time together is when all of them read in the same room. It makes her feel really calm and safe and nice. She loves their movie nights and she really enjoys when Claire teaches her how to cook. The sock wars can get pretty extreme though! Claire once resorted to stuffing a sock in Faye’s mouth. I didn’t ask if it was clean or not!
According to Faye, Claire and her mum are a perfect match because they just get each other and get along so well. They laugh all the time and about everything. Faye said Claire also has a special skill for recognising when Ruth seems angry but is actually just hungry. Luckily it’s nothing that can’t be solved by Claire stuffing, not a sock this time, but a sausage roll in Ruth’s mouth. It works every time!
Being with Claire, has definitely made her mum happier. Apparently it’s made her tidier too! Once Claire moved in, all of a sudden, Ruth started insisting that Faye made her bed each morning. It was a shock to the system at first but she’s used to it now!
Faye’s been so excited about this wedding and so excited about this marriage which she thinks will bring the three of them even closer together. She told me she can’t wait for Claire to officially be her “mum”. Finally, I asked Faye if she had any top marriage tips for her mums and clearly she’s some kind of guru because she came up with this: “Keep being fun. Keep enjoying yourself. Keep being awesome because I think you’re both incredible!”
Claire and Ruth’s love for each other was undoubtedly front and centre in their ceremony but their wedding and their marriage was never just about the two of them. By including Faye in so many different moments, by making her involvement so integral, we created something which felt like a true celebration of their beautiful family.
Photos by https://www.theblackdogweddingphotographycompany.com/ – Thank you!!