Weddings For Blended Families

Families today are a bit more complex than they were in previous generations. By the time a bride and groom walk down the aisle, they are likely to have picked up a few more relations than the ones they were born with; everyone from stepparents, step-grandparents, and maybe even a few stepchildren are going to be part of the mix. Having such a large family can make for an especially joyful celebration, but the truth is than in many cases it just makes planning a wedding more complicated. Here are some tips on how to successfully negotiate the complicated terrain of weddings for blended families.

Usually the questions that arise center around the bride's stepparents. Things can be almost equally complicated when she does get along with a stepmom or dad or if she does not. For example, a bride who was primarily raised by her mother and a stepfather may well feel very torn about who should walk her down the aisle. Should it be her "real" dad, or her stepdad who was just as much a father to her? Naturally, the bride does not want to hurt the feelings of either parent, and this is what makes the choice so heartwrenching.

There is no one right decision, and a lot of it will depend on how close the bride is to each father, as well as how open she can be in her discussions with them. When the bride was primarily raised by a stepfather but has maintained a strong relationship with her biological father, she will almost always go with her birth father as her wedding escort. A thoughtful stepfather can make the bride feel less guilty by encouraging her to go in that direction. If the two men are able to be cordial with one another, there is no reason that both dads could not walk the bride down the aisle, one on each side of her. And of course, if her heart is truly with her stepdad, then he is the logical escort.

The other end of the spectrum is what to do when the various members of a blended family are not warm and loving. In this instance, the bride and groom may well be called upon to bite their tongues and rise above the fray for the sake of their wedding. Even if your stepmother is not your favorite person in the world, what good can come of snubbing her at your wedding? Better to kill her with kindness and come out of it as the more gracious person in a contentious relationship. Treat her as a valued member of your family, at least for duration of the wedding. If you give gifts of wedding jewelry to the other mothers, your stepmother should also be on the list of recipients of those wedding jewelry gifts. If all of the grandmothers are getting corsages, then have one ready for your stepgrandmother, no matter what you may think of her. Who knows, maybe your gracious gestures can even help to bring a spark of warmth into the relationship. If not, at least you will have avoided the damage that would be caused by an obvious snub.

Blending the children of the bride or groom into one new family is also one of the issues that frequently arises at weddings these days. The best thing that you can do is to make them feel as though they are an important part of the new union. This can take the form of actually having the children participate in the wedding ceremony or perhaps in giving them a special piece of jewelry to mark the occasion. Just be careful not to push a reluctant child into more of a starring role than they can handle at the wedding. Major transitions can be challenging enough for some children without the added pressure of being in the spotlight at a public affair.

Probably the best advice on planning a marriage with a blended family is to maintain a sense of humor and one of perspective. Will having your stepfather's name on your wedding invitation ruin your entire wedding if it would mean the world to him? Probably not. Choose your battles well and try to keep the feelings of the rest of the family in mind; this will help you to plan a wedding that can bring the entire family, original and blended, closer together.

Written by Bridget Mora writes for Silverland Jewelry about all of the considerations that brides face while planning their dream weddings.

Insights Into Establishing A Harmonious Blended Family

Many adults are getting married with children already in the wings. The result - blended families - can be greatly rewarding, although not without conflict. This article highlights some areas of concern for blended families and how to deal with them.

It is not uncommon these days for couples to pursue remarriage with children already in tow. Blended family statistics show that at least one in three Americans is now a stepchild, stepparent, a stepsibling, or some part of a blended family.

Blended families are usually the result of remarriage after divorce, where both bride and groom have kids under their wings. Or perhaps it's a first time wedding for two single parents. Whatever the reason, families that are united by virtue of marriage and not blood are on the rise, bringing hope and stability to many people's lives.

Blended Family Remarriage Conflicts

It's not much of a surprise, however, that kids who suddenly have to deal with a "stepmother" or "stepfather" tend to shy away, become closed off, or openly rebel towards change. It's a normal blended family issue that can be dealt with successfully; one must be prepared for resistance though.

Another blended family problem that often crops up is experienced by adults who can't deal with children that are not their own. This usually stems from the idea that because a child is not one's own flesh and blood, one has no real right to get involved in that child's life. Like every other blended family conflict, it can be dealt with positively and effectively.

If you are part of a stepfamily, you're probably familiar with these and other situations. The good news is, these are all perfectly normal and each situation can be resolved given sufficient time, love, and understanding.

The following are some common stepfamily conflicts and how you can handle them positively, solidifying your family's unity and strength.

The Blended Family - Start Off With A Statement

It's a good idea to make a commitment from the very beginning of your relationship. Couples have found that engaging in a unity family ceremony during the wedding is a great way to encourage family members to accept and love each other.

Basically, a unity family ceremony is when the bride, groom, and children all take turns pouring different colored sand into a glass jar or vase, creating a unique symbol of their unity. Families can also recite a blended family vow for the wedding to verbally signify their commitment to unity and harmony. It's a great step towards getting along with each other and is very conducive to the growth of familial relationships.

The Blended Family - Decide On Where to Live

A big factor in establishing harmony in a family is your place of residence after getting married. Obviously, there's no place like home and some children resent the idea of having to move into a step-siblings house (while the original resident stepsibling doesn't have to endure the same sacrifice). A new home for everyone means the entire family has to start over and everyone is equal. It can be refreshing and exciting to move into a new home together.

The Blended Family - Face and Bury Old Conflicts

If a family is formed after a remarriage, children and parents are liable to carry over hurts and resentments from the previous marriage that can affect the harmony of the new family. For example, anger towards ex-husbands or wives, disappointment in children that their biological parents won't ever work things out - these things can be deeply painful to deal with.

It's best to handle these issues in a loving, non-judgmental manner, with everyone agreeing to support each other until the emotional wounds have healed. Constant verbal support and affirmation, hugs and kisses, and other forms of affection can all have massive impact on individual feelings.

Being negative and standoffish will only perpetuate ill-feelings and disharmony. Start your remarriage by being positive and strong for others in all situations.

How to Build Blended Family Relationships

The overall secret to building a strong blended family is to pay attention to the feelings of everyone involved and to build good faith between each other as a result.

Regarding the issue of discipline: a parent can start exerting authority and instating rules once he or she has earned the trust of the children. You can do this by listening, empathizing, and taking a genuine liking to a child's interests. Once you have proved you are for real and you truly care, they will trust you even when you discipline. It's all about building caring relationships above anything else.

We wish all parents and children good luck as you strive to build a strong blended family. To quote the Beatles, "All you need is love." That, in a nutshell, is what makes both natural and blended families work out.

Written by: Sharon Vaz - founder of, an authority website dedicated to providing brides resources on planning an spectacular Unity Sand Ceremony.

Rules for Grandparents in a Blended Family

1. Treat all the children equally and fairly

Treat your step grandkids as if they were all your biological grandchildren. They are waiting and watching to see if you will be fair to all. If your biological grandchildren call you "grandmother"- then invite your new step grandchildren to call you "grandmother." If you hug your grandchildren when you see them, then hug your step grandchildren, too.

Dispense with the "biological" and "step" labels as soon as you can. Even keeping these labels in your head may cause you to treat your grandchildren unequally.

2. Remember and Recognize Special Days

Acknowledge birthdays, school events, and any other special activities of your new step grandkids. At the beginning of each year- mark all special events on the calendar. You may even want to purchase birthday cards, or gift cards- all at once. That way you are fair to all and don't forget anyone.

Don't forget your new daughter or son in law, too. Remembering them with a card on their birthday will help show your support for the marriage. Share information about your family history or family recipes, to help your daughter or son (by marriage) feel a part of your family.

3. Express interest in each child

Make time to learn about your new step grandchildren: their activities, friends and hobbies. Figure out what makes each child unique. These endeavors will help you feel more comfortable around them, and help you get to know them.

4. Don't reminisce about the Past

Your adult child has divorced and moved on to a new marriage. Recalling the good times in their old marriage is not going to help with blending the new marriage. Take the old wedding photos off the wall and put them away in a special album. It's O.K. to keep these pictures, but do not display the old marriage partners on the wall for everyone to see when they visit you.

5. Listen

When your adult child calls and wants to talk about their frustrating moments in their blended family, but don't judge or say anything negative that you'll regret later. It's very difficult to blend a family and requires a lot of patience. Support your son or daughter as they try their best to be a good parent and spouse in this new blended family.

In conclusion- remember it's your job to love all of your grandchildren and support your adult child and his/her spouse in their new blended family. It's a little new and unfamiliar at first, but well worth your efforts. You will have the reward of a bigger family to love you back.

Source: Blended Family Advice

Tips for Helping Your "Blended Family" Blend Better

Outside of the land of television and movies, so-called “blended families” face tremendous challenges. Whereas Hollywood can help their “make-believe” families “blend” rather nicely, real life isn’t always so kind.

When a couple remarries and there are children involved, it’s crucial for this new family unit to really feel like a family. In Resolving Conflict in the Blended Family by Tom and Adrienne Frydenger, the authors suggest that one of the most effective ways for creating that sense of family is the “team building” concept.

Here’s how it works –

1. A team builder values other people. If there are step-children in the home who feel their opinions don’t matter, they’ll be less likely to want to be a part of this new blended family unit.
2. A team builder isn’t quick to judge the opinions of others. They know that these differences aren’t necessarily right or wrong – just different.
3. A team builder views these differences as opportunities for growth. They provide a healthy variety of thought for creative decision-making. They’re also good starting points for conflict resolution – a must in the blended family!
4. A team builder is able to identify his own goals and interests. Nothing will sink a blended family faster than irrational thinking on the part of either or both spouses.
5. A team builder wants to involve all conflicting parties in the resolution process. Ever tried planning a “blended family vacation?” It’s an exercise in “conflict resolution” at its best. Better to get all opinions, gripes, scheduling issues, etc on the table early in the process.
6. A team builder is willing to co-operate. The blended family is not a dictatorship. Leading by example is always the best way to raise children anyway.
7. A team builder is willing to accept uncomfortable momentary circumstances in order to build a good working relationship. Shouldn’t we all! But this is especially true in the case of the blended family. It may take longer to accomplish a “family goal” . . . but in the end, it’s worth it!
8. A team builder recognizes the value of trustworthiness. All children are naturally suspect of blended families initially. That means, Mom and Dad, your credibility is being graded on a much tougher scale the second time around. Be trustworthy – and be willing to trust your children and stepchildren. Don’t make earning your trust too difficult for them.
9. A team builder does not coerce or manipulate. Rational persuasion goes much further than step-parent force any day.
10. A team builder will commit to the consensus of the group. The only way for a blended family to really “blend” is if each member buys into the concept that this is, in fact, a family now. Especially in this case, the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts.

Team building is a great concept to use to help your blended family “blend.”

Author: Jim Burns, Ph.D.
(Excerpted from the book, Resolving Conflict in the Blended Family by Tom and Adrienne Frydenger.)

Blended Families Can Be Successful

Many families today are blending members from past relationships. It would be easy to give up when faced with all the conflicting methods of parenting and discipline that come to a family who has joined forces together.

As I was doing research for a recent book, I interviewed a young counselor at a youth camp. I was impressed with her sincerity, maturity, and gratitude that her “blended family" had made the effort and sacrifice to work together toward a common goal. She admitted that she was the instigator of most of the conflict and absolutely refused to cooperate on even the most menial request by her step-mother. She could tell that the adults were becoming increasingly unhappy and stressed and she was secretly glad that they were suffering.

Then an interesting thing happened. She was invited to spend a weekend with a friend and she saw what happens when families get along and support one another. The family held a family meeting to decide about some upcoming projects and chores. When putting activities on the calendar, she was amazed to see her friend volunteer to attend the ball game with her little brother so the parents could make another commitment. They laughed and joked with good natured ribbing as opposed to sarcastic mean spirited teasing. The family ended the family meeting with ice cream sundaes and she saw the kids pitch in without being asked and that they served the parents before getting their own bowl.

It was an eye-opener for this young lady to see that it is possible to work together in a win-win atmosphere. She honestly had not even realized it was possible to live in harmony as opposed to chaos and anger.
When she got home from that stay, she called a family meeting and everyone came fearing that she was going to say she was moving out if she didn’t get her way. Instead, she told them about what she had witnessed and asked for a commitment for all of them to start over and become a cooperative, supportive and loving family where everyone was treated with respect.

She went on to tell me that it had not been easy to change old habits, especially with her. But, as a family they had set a goal and a commitment and had worked on their relationships and communication skills daily. As a young adult, she said that because of that commitment, she had gone into counseling to assist other young people who were filled with anger. She wanted to share the valuable lessons that she had learned.
Oh yes, she counts her step-mother as one of her best friends now.

In our living room is a beautiful potted plant. It contains a number of small individual stems and branches that, as separate entities, are fragile and unsteady. Each stem could probably make it if it were broken off and stuck in a glass of water, but it might not. However, grouped together, they gain strength and protection from one another. Their roots are intertwined and form a foundation that allows them to successfully withstand being knocked over and occasionally neglected.

Families are like that plant. We are all in this together, and we need to know there are others who will hold us up when we need it and support us as we grow stronger. The word for the strength of a unit is synergy. It means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

It is that common goal of cooperation and support that builds success in our children and our families. Please don’t give up. Try one more time to provide the loving and respectful environment that each member of the family deserves.

Good luck and God bless. You do the most important work in the world.

This article has been written by Judy H. Wright, a parent educator and PBS consultant. You will find a full listing of books, tele-classes, and workshops listed at


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