We all know that weddings are about the union of two people. The focus is entirely on the bond being formed between husband and wife, and that’s exactly how it should be.
On the other hand, many people forget that weddings help bring together two separate families. For better or for worse, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, and children from both sides of the aisle are going to have to get to know each other.
Hopefully, they’ll get along just fine.
But if you’re planning a wedding, you can take a few simple and creative steps to ensure that both of your families integrate and form strong bonds during this special day. Play your cards right, and they’ll be laughing and joking together as they celebrate the union of two very special people in their families.
Some of these tips and tricks are pretty obvious, while others could be a little unexpected. Even if you think that your families will get along just fine, these methods could really help you build a strong foundation of camaraderie as you bring your two families together.
- Make Sure Everyone Can Actually Attend
We live in a global society, and it’s becoming more and more common for couples to meet each other across the boundaries of different nations. Because of this, you might have a situation where one side of the family is halfway across the globe. So how to ensure that everyone can attend?
It’s a conundrum which isn’t always easy to fix, but there are some simple things you can do to ensure that as many people can attend as possible. First of all, you might consider a “neutral” location which is easy for both sides to travel to. If this isn’t possible, go out of your way to make sure that everyone has the correct travel visas and documentation needed. If you’re located in the United States, you might consider helping foreign family members fill out an ESTA application form.
- Plan A Fun Game (Where Family Members Are Randomly Put Into Different Teams)
Planning a few fun games for your wedding party is always a solid plan. Not only does this liven up your party, but it also provides a valuable opportunity for both sides of the family to bond and get to know each other. Perhaps you’ll plan a game of light volleyball, charades, or “Heads Up!” There are too many possible games to list, and we’re sure you’ll come up with a good one (or two).
The key here is to mix up the families into different teams. With this approach, you’ll have uncles, grandparents, and (perhaps most crucially) parents from both sides of the family working together, laughing, and creating valuable experiences. Whatever you do, don’t split the teams so that you have one family competing against another. This could lead to conflict.
- Take Advantage Of Traditional Rituals
The importance of blending two families together is hardly a new concept. Creating this union has been a focus of weddings for countless years, and there are a few traditional rituals that are built around this concept.
One time-honored, symbolic gesture is to hand both mothers a red and white rose. This represents the blending of two families. A unity candle is another very old symbolic method that represents two families coming together. But you can also invent your own rituals! One bride and groom used a bottle of sand that represents the blending of the two families. Each family member poured a handful of sand into this bottle, symbolizing the two families and all their bloodlines becoming one.
- Involve the Children
Remember, children represent the future of the two families. Show that children from both families are bonding, and you’ll ensure that the futures of your two families are entwined. Regardless of whether or not the bride and groom already have children, there should be a handful of young children available from both sides of the aisle.
One idea is to have the children carry out a symbolic ritual together, such as reading a poem or a prayer. This goes well with our previous point. An even better idea would be to have these children put on a short performance of some kind – perhaps some sort of musical show (if the kids are talented in that regard).
- Make Sure There Are Plenty of Photos Together
Photography can really help build a strong connection between both families. Always make sure that you’re taking photos of both sides of the family together. Instruct photographers to bring as many people together from different sides of the aisle when taking photos. When you and your families look back on your wedding day, they’ll be reminded of the strong connections they made with each other.
And of course, you should always take at least one, massive group photo with both sides of the family together, complete with the children and even the most distant family members. Trust us, everyone will look back on this photo and smile.