by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Many modern weddings are about more than just the bride and groom, as couples join together children as well. These family weddings are ushering in new wedding traditions as blended families celebrate their love and commitment for one another. Depending on their ages, children can be incorporated into all aspects of the wedding from the invitations to the wedding photos. One way to make children feel extra special on the big day is to give them a gift of jewelry or include them in the creation of the bridal jewelry, symbolizing their role in the new family. Here are some ideas for blending together families with beads and making jewelry that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Ask each child to contribute a bead to the bride's jewelry. This can be included as part of the ceremony, as each child can present a bead and place it into a bowl or display dish, or this can be done earlier to create the wedding jewelry. This same idea can be used to make a meaningful charm bracelet for the bride, filled with hand-selected charms from the kids. Design a traditional charm bracelet with bracelet chain and charms and beads, or use the Dione® Add a Bead System and large-hole beads for a more modern look.

Take a different approach to the popular sand ceremony with a seed bead sculpture. Have each family member pour a cup of seed beads (in different colors) into one shared vase for a beautiful piece of home décor to be enjoyed beyond the big day.
Bracelet with Dione® Large-Hole Beads and Antiqued Silver-Plated ''Pewter'' Charm

Use faceted stones to make birthstone jewelry showcasing the children's birthstones. Ring and pendant settings offer easy design options and high-end results. Or make something truly one-of-a-kind by incorporating fingerprints into jewelry designs for beautiful pendants. Capture the family prints in metal clay, Omni Gel™ or ICE Resin®.

Single-Strand Necklace with Personalized Pendant and Swarovski Crystal Beads

Handmade birthstone necklaces, locket or heart pendant necklaces, charm bracelets, pearl stands and custom cuff links all make beautiful gifts. Angel-themed jewelry is also a thoughtful way to let the little angels know how much they're loved. Create angel jewelry with Swarovski crystal and angel and wing components to celebrate the beginning of this shared journey.

Single-Strand Necklace and Earring Set with Swarovski crystal, Antiqued Silver Pewter Beads and Sterling Silver Chain Cuff Links with Black Mother-of-Pearl Cabochons

Commonly referred to as family medallions, brides can wear jewelry with three intersecting rings or a combination of any three elements to represent the union of the bride, groom and children. Triple-strand bracelet and necklace designs are a meaningful way to show this sentiment. Use loop and ring components, jumprings or any combination of three beads or design elements to add this touching symbol to jewelry.

Triple-Strand Necklace with Rhinestone Brooch, Swarovski Crystal Beads and Pearls and Silver-Plated Brass Beads and Bead Caps Triple-Strand Bracelet with Swarovski crystal, Brass Drop and Charm, Peach Moonstone Gemstone Bead and Antiqued Brass-Plated Pewter Links

Short on time? Find beautiful finished jewelry, including gemstones, pearls and more, to gift in the Create Compliments® jewelry line. Let the children choose jewelry gifts for each other and special guests as well and add gift boxes for stunning presentations.

The key is to make children feel they are an integral part of the big day and your future lives together. Jewelry gifts and designs that incorporate the kids are an everlasting way to express this and celebrate the coming together of a new family.

In addition to jewelry, here are some other ideas for incorporating children into the wedding celebration:
  • Ask children to recite a poem or story during the ceremony
  • Perform a sand ceremony--members of the family add a small vase of colored sand to a larger vase, creating a keepsake sand sculpture
  • Make a family bouquet--each family member adds a flower to a vase
  • Light a family unity candle from individual tapers
  • Add a pledge to the vows to declare commitment to children
  • Let children write and read their owns vows about the new family
  • Include children's names on canvas guest book for signatures and framing
  • Incorporate children in invitation and program wording
  • Give children roles during wedding such as taking pictures, ushers, flower girls/ring bearers
  • Have children decorate the getaway car
  • Celebrate with a family dance at the reception
  • Say "We do" instead of "I do" or take family vows together
  • Make a family wedding cake with a family cake topper, or have a cupcake tower and let each child choose the theme/color of their own layer of cupcakes
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