After the Aisle: The Blended Family | Wedding Planning Tips

By. Tammy Edwards, The Candy Lady

In 1969, a situation comedy was introduced to the American public about a man who was a widower with three sons. He met and subsequently married a lady, who by the way, was a widow, who had three young daughters of her own. Well, they soon married and thus became America’s most well-loved blended family, The Brady Bunch. We watched as well as laughed at the many shenanigans had by the Brady bunch. But is it always so easy?

When bringing two separate families together as one, oftentimes it may be very challenging and somewhat difficult. The children may not be as smitten with your future spouse as you are. They may be envious of this person who is now taking up your time or putting a smile on your face that used to be limited to only them. There may be resentment from the child of your mate, especially when they are used to having their parent all to themselves. The bonus parent may be viewed as an intrusion. They may not appreciate someone else living in their space. They may also resent someone, who is not their biological parent giving advice or telling them what to do. Additionally, there may be resentment from the child’s other biological parent if that new one is fueling the child with their own ill feelings.

There are some things that should be discussed and taken into consideration. First, take the time to get to know the bonus children in the relationship. You are joining two already-made families. Find out what the child’s interests are. Talk with them and not to them. Do not be quick to usurp authority over the bonus child. This may lead to more friction in the relationship, especially from the other biological parent. Don’t “bribe” your bonus children with gifts to win their favor. Be kind. Be patient. Be quiet. There are times when you want to react in retaliation to something that has been said in anger, but don’t respond. Often, children act out feelings by not only saying things that are rude but doing mean and spiteful things as well. Communicate to your future spouse if there is a situation in which things are being said and done by the bonus children that are disrespectful. Discuss how this makes you feel, and how you would like the relationship to be. Although it may not seem like it, the child is probably acting out in rebellion and anger toward the situation and not toward you personally. Parent all children equally. Do not favor one set over the other. Treat all involved with the same instruction, love, and discipline. All discipline should come from the biological parent until love and trust have been established.

Do not speak ill of the other biological parent. If possible, keep an open line of communication and respect for the other parent and refrain from causing a scene or saying unkind things about anyone. If there is a situation where one is deceased, place a picture in their bedroom and insure the child that you are not trying to replace the now-deceased parent, but that you are there if and when needed. You may find that you can parent harmoniously with all parties involved.

Include the bonus children, as much as possible, in the planning of the wedding. Allow them to take part in the ceremony. One idea is having them pour sand into a vase to signify the unification of the two families. A bride may opt to have their son walk them down the aisle or stand in as the groom’s “best man”. The groom may gift the bride’s daughter a small present or flowers. Some couples may read handcrafted notes to the bonus children to ensure them that they are there to add love, security, and stability to all members of the family, not just the spouse.

The blended family can be a harmonious and wonderful unit. Children in these families often benefit from having four parents that love them and support them along with a multitude of bonus grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins as well. It may be a lot of work at the beginning, but just as we all saw in the situation comedy of the 1960s, there can be a very eventful, humorous, close-knit, and fun-filled happily ever after for the blended family.

Tammy Edwards, B.I.S., M.Ed., is the Owner/Operator of The Candy Lady. Tammy started her business after designing a buffet for her 30th high school class reunion. Buffets may include candies, cookies, popcorn, doughnuts, and anything sweet that you desire. She also creates customized gift baskets, boxes, and favor bags for all occasions. Learn more here: