I was recently called to officiate a wedding for a couple who wanted to get married on the 1-year anniversary of their partnership. It was a second marriage for both; he a widower, she a divorcee. They both had young children from their previous marriages. It was a private wedding in the couple's home, with their young children (and three growing & curious kittens!) present, along with the groom's grandmother and an older relative of the bride. The children were in the 5-8 category.
In the traditional marriage ceremony, the question is asked, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" This is a vestige of the time when women were considered property, and I dislike using this. Instead - and to bring awareness that the groom is an equal part of the event -- I prefer to ask "Who presents these people to be married to each other?"
Normally this would be answered by the parents of the couple, saying "We do!" But in this case there were no parents present. But there were children! So I suggested to the couple that when it came time for that question, I ask the children (who were quite happy that the two were getting married). They instantly like the idea. So several minutes into the ceremony, I asked each half of the couple if they were ready to take the other as their lawful wedded spouse, to which they said, "I do."
Then I smiled and turned around to the children, seated comfortably on a plush sofa, "Who presents these two people to be married to each other?" Three young'uns jumped up and down in their seats and squealed happily, "I do! We do!" And two older ladies grinning ear to ear! It was a fun way to involve the children in a way that made them a big part of the ceremony, much more than being ring-bearers or flower girls. I'll definitely keep this in mind for any future weddings that have a similar circumstance.
And nearly the entire time of the ceremony -- about 15 minutes -- I had a grey tabby kitten about 8 weeks old nosing around my feet inspecting me most carefully. A wonderful afternoon, and a very "real" wedding that was all about the couple and their family at home. No lavish over-the-top affair that's all about flash and glitz. No bridesmaids, no limousines, no fancy wedding dresses. Just very simple, and straightforward.
And then we had cake, accompanied by the revelation that the husband dislikes broccoli as much as I do. Also learned about an ice cream shop in town that has started serving Cinnabon-type decadence that I really should check out. Soon. Very soon!