How Do I Have A Private Wedding Ceremony Without Offending My Relatives? – Ask The Expert Answer

Question from Jeanne:

My common law husband and I are going to tie the knot officially.  We will be doing a simple civil ceremony.  We have two children together and are also older parents (I’m 39 and he’s 49). 

Since my father is deceased and my family is all the way across country (and I don’t believe it is fair to ask them to make the cross country trek since they have busy lives and children of their own) is it acceptable to have my two kids walk me down the aisle as we want them to be part of the ceremony but not necessarily in the traditional flower girl and ring bearer role?  I know it’s supposed to be our day and we should do things in our own way but I don’t want to offend any of my relatives either.

Thank you.

Answer from Bridal Expert Angela:

Hi Jeanne, and congratulations on your upcoming marriage.  Having your children to walk you down the aisle is perfectly acceptable. 

Do you want these people at your wedding?  If you do, invite them.  If they can come, they will.  (It is my experience that immediate family is often offended by not being invited to the wedding—parents, grand-parents, and siblings.)   You need to decide what kind of a reception you want, if you invite people—either an after marriage cocktail party, an evening dinner with dancing, or something in between like a nice dinner at a restaurant. 

The alternative is to send out an annoucement after the wedding stating that you are announcing your private marriage ceremony that took place on….(date, place, etc.), with your children as attendants. 

Which way you go will depend on how much of a wedding you want to have, how much money you want to spend, and whether you want your family and friends there when you get married.  The choice is yours. I suggest you do a search on ‘private wedding ceremony’ to get more ideas on how to handle a private ceremony.

As a Minister, I am often asked to perform a civil ceremony in someone’s home with only the witnesses and the couple’s children.  They usually celebrate with a dinner party with a few close friends before going away for a weekend retreat without the children.  The children are usually left in the care of grandparents or close friends. 

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. 

Angela Fiebelkorn, Ask The Expert


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My name is Angela Fiebelkorn and I love to help brides and grooms plan their wedding. I am a certified wedding planner and an avid blogger. Enjoy....!

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