Approximately one in four marriages in the United States involves divorced or widowed parents with young children. Oftentimes, children have a difficult time accepting the idea of a parent remarrying, and it's easy for them to feel left out or even threatened by the new family member. A new wedding ceremony, however, helps put children's tensions at ease by joining not only the bride and groom, but the entire family.
Unlike traditional ceremonies, the Family Medallion Service, created by Christian Church Minister Dr. Roger Coleman, incorporates children from previous marriages into the lifetime commitment that is usually reserved for the bride and groom.
After the couple has said their vows, the children join them at the altar where each child is given a gold or silver medal with three interlocking circles. The symbol represents family bonding in much the same way a wedding ring does between a husband and wife.
By integrating children into the service, Dr. Coleman helps them to realize that the new family member is not only making a commitment to their parent, but to them as well.
Dr. Coleman created the service after seeing first hand that the role of children in existing wedding services was insufficient.
"I was frustrated that virtually every traditional wedding ceremony focused entirely on the bride and groom," said Coleman. "I ended up developing a ceremony that clergy of all faiths could use to recognize children. It encouraged and helped parents to talk to children prior to the actual ceremony and to discuss the importance of children in the marriage."
Dr. Coleman has filled a ceremonial void for thousands of families including George and Melody Green's.
"When George and I decided to incorporate the Family Medallion ceremony into our wedding, we had no idea what a beautiful and moving tribute it would turn out to be," said Melody. "Our children now know more than before that they are loved and cherished - and that we all are one brand new family!"
Experiences like the Green's have been common when merging families use the Family Medallion Service during a wedding ceremony or other special occasions like births, baptisms, birthdays or religious holidays.
The special service signifies love's willingness to include others and provides positive support for new families. Each year over 15,000 families will incorporate the Family Medallion Service into their wedding.