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Involving The Family In Wedding Planning

Determining how to blend a pre-existing family into your wedding planning isn't always easy. Much of it depends on the couple's ceremonial choices and the talents of those involved. With today's lifestyles, often a new marriage isn't simply between a bride and groom, but children, friends and family as well. Rather than the traditional designations of "junior groomsman" and "junior bridesmaids" some couples are opting for larger, more fulfilling roles for their offspring and loved ones.

When Scrubs star John C. McGinley, 47, and fianc?e Nichole Kessler, 34, tied the knot on April 7 at in Malibu they decided McGinley's 9-year-old son Max should serve as both best man and escort the bride-to-be down the aisle. He nearly stopped the proceedings when he ran back towards the house after fulfilling his duties! This added a bit of levity and fun to the ceremony and made it memorable. Max also introduced the couple at the beach.

Including children in the ceremony is a wonderful way to start out on the right foot as a couple. It lets the child know how valued, loved and important they are in the marriage and as part of the celebration.

As weddings trend towards less formal, stiff affairs more and more couples are getting into the habit of including their nearest and dearest, whether those be human, canine or feline. Also included in McGinley's ceremony were the couple's two chocolate labs, Haley and Hudson in their private Malibu ceremony.

McGinley proposed to Kessler, a yoga instructor, last August. Their wedding was a very small affair with family and friends, including John Cusack. It's reflective of what more and more couples do in planning a second wedding, usually a more low-key, intimate affair. Like McGinley and Kessler, you can plan a more intimate wedding for outdoors, using the beach or a sumptuous view as a backdrop. If the bride or groom have children from a previous marriage, they can be assigned special duties such as greeting the guests. Often a child is great at encouraging people to sign a guest registry, distributing rice or confetti to be tossed at the couple after the ceremony, or assisting in any special task such as lighting a unity candle.

Utilizing friends and closest family members in your wedding ceremony isn't difficult. It requires a bit of creative thinking and planning, however. If they've a special talent, such as singing, request they sing a song that has meaning to the bride, groom, or both. Having loved ones read various religious, spiritual or inspirational passages is also a good way to include special guests in the big day. Both of these touches will help family and friends feel included and will set your wedding apart, making it even more special to you as a couple.

While planning your wedding, think about the many ways you can find to include your nearest and dearest in the ceremony. It doesn't have to be something that requires large time or money commitments. Often something as simple as having them help pick out invitations or flowers will show a person they're important to you.

For McGinley and Kessler, Max was an essential part of the ceremony not only for the fact he's part of the family: he is also the reason the couple met and eventually got together. Max used to wander over to talk to Kessler when he and his dad would roam the beach. One could say he got them together in the first place!

Chris Morton ran hotels and restaurants for 10 years, organising many successful weddings in the process. His wife Sue is a wedding coordinator who has help many nervous brides and their families. Visit for 100's of tips showing you how to plan a great wedding day

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