Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Leader Resource 1, Wedding Ceremony Readings
- Two stuffed bears (or other stuffed animals)
- Wedding-related items
- Wedding music and equipment to play it
- Three battery-operated tea lights
- Something festive to drink, such as sparkling white grape juice
- Plastic cups or flutes
- Paper towels, moistened
- Optional: Dress-up clothes for wedding guests, for example, hats, tulle fabric, bow ties, ties, vests, fancy shoes, shiny dresses, wide bows, and belts
- Optional: Script from a service of union or wedding at your congregation
- Optional: Special wedding refreshments, such as cake, tiny sandwiches, fruit skewers, or pastel butter mints
- Optional: Digital camera or smartphone
Preparation for Activity
- Let the parents know about the topic for this session, and discuss the language you should use to describe their situation. Assure them that all individual choices will be affirmed, whether a parent is married, has been married but no longer is, is in a partnership raising children but not married, has chosen not to marry a partner, or is unable to marry a partner legally. You might note-to parents, and to children-that Unitarian Universalists are working toward changing the laws so that every couple who love each other and want to marry can do so.
- Collect wedding-related items (see Activity 1, Free Play).
- Practice reading Leader Resource 1, Wedding Ceremony Readings, aloud until the words come naturally to you.
- Decide how you will pick two children to hold Bear and Bear during the wedding ceremony.
- Choose an appropriate piece of music to play, such as "A Lover's Concerto (Minuet in G Major)" by Johann Sebastian Bach, "A Thousand Years-Instrumental" by The Piano Guys, or "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.
- Set up the activity area with the stuffed bears, wedding items, tea lights, juice and cups, and any special refreshments you are serving.
- If you are providing special snacks, take note of any food allergies among the group and plan accordingly. Have plain water or apple juice available for children who dislike carbonated beverages.
Description of Activity
Children celebrate the wedding of two stuffed animals.
Invite the children to the activity table. Say, in these words or your own:
Here at church [name of congregation], people have weddings or services of union. [Hold up any wedding albums that have been brought in, and [show some of the pages.] In our church [congregation], people can make up their own wedding service with the words and the music they want. [As you name the various wedding items, show any examples you have.] They might wear special clothes, decorate the room with candles or flowers, invite their families and friends, have the minister read some special words, and celebrate with a party afterward, with special food and sometimes a cake! Does that sound like fun? Let's set up a wedding right now for [Bear] and [Bear].
Start the wedding music and light the three tea lights. Read the words in Leader Resource 1, Wedding Ceremony Readings. When you come to the appropriate spot in the Reading 1, pretend to have the bears pour drinks for each other, and have the children pantomime having them drink.
Before beginning Reading 2, pour drinks for the children and invite them to hold their drinks as you read the charge. Invite them to say, "We will" at the appropriate time. Complete the reading and invite everyone to drink a toast to the new couple.
Serve any special snacks you have provided, and enjoy the wedding reception! Conclude by saying, in these words or your own:
Today we celebrated a very happy occasion-the wedding of two bears who love each other and want to spend their lives together. But it's important to remember that you can love someone and still choose not to marry them. And also, some people in this country aren't allowed to marry each other. Unitarian Universalists believe that each person must decide what is best for them. We also believe that two people should be allowed to be married if that is their choice.
Invite the children to clean up by wiping the table with moistened paper towels, helping to put away supplies and refreshments, and putting the wedding items in a safe place.
Including All Participants
Be sensitive to the fact that not all weddings or services of union have a bride and a groom, and be sure to use inclusive language and a variety of terms for people who are making a legal commitment to each other. Be aware of food allergies in your group, and plan snacks accordingly.