A Celebration of Blended Families and Marriage

The greatest part of American life is the beautiful and different pieces that make it. As we see on the hit TV show, Modern Family, the blended family is very much one of the cornerstones in our society, a block that illustrates that there really is no "right" way to do life together. Today, we have a special story told by one local favorite and leading lady of bridal fashion, Maya Holihan of Maya Couture, as she shares her tale of wedding, life, and love celebrations.

Never did I think I would have a second wedding. I'm confident most couples standing at the altar, exchanging vows, have the feeling and intention to stay together for a lifetime. For a variety of reasons, that's not the case for 50% of today's married couples, and this was the case for my husband and me.

It's funny. My husband and I had both sworn off getting married again. That's just emotionally where we both were at that moment in our lives. But as life would have it, circumstances can change when you least expect it.

Bobby and I met through close mutual friends. Individually, we had both known these friends for a decade, and in this time, we had still yet never met at any social gatherings... until we were both single.

We both have children from our first marriages, and when we started dating, the children were 6, 7, and 13 years old. All ages where it could go many different directions when the idea of becoming one family comes into play. So with the advice of my therapist, we waited a few months to bring the children into our relationship. Bobby met my daughter Sophia first, and a couple of months later, I met his son and daughter, RJ and Rylee.

When we blended our families, there were bumps along the way, but we knew this going in and embraced the challenge. Once engaged, Bobby and I had a long conversation with the children about what they could expect moving forward and answered any questions and concerns they had. We made sure to emphasize to them that we understood that this was our choice and not theirs, and we would respect and validate their feelings as we built our family together.

When it came to the wedding day, we included them in as much of the planning as they wanted to be involved in. I let Sophia and Rylee design their own dresses which is always fun, but more importantly, we also wanted to incorporate unique elements into our actual ceremony that would include the children.

So after our vows to each other, Bobby and I each spoke affirmations to the other children as a dedication to them as becoming one family. It was special to us as our "dedication vows" offered the children assurance that we would support their parent in the raising and guidance of them but that we would never overstep their parent. We stated the hopes and dreams we wished for them and how blessed we felt to have them in our lives, and of course, we managed to include something funny to keep it light, whimsical, and smile invoking.

Instead of a unity candle or sand ceremony, all five of us poured an ingredient of the World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie into a large mason jar. Baking cookies and other sweets have become something we really like to do as a family, and we could think of no other way to celebrate our new marriage and family life.

Bobby and I just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary this year. Our children are now 9, 10, and 16. And as proud parents, they are happy, active, well-adjusted children who truly relate to one another as if they were raised together from the beginning of their lives. Our challenges are like any family's, but the bottom line is we have a happy family in a home filled with love and care for everyone in it.

So you can imagine that we are glad we didn't actually swear off getting married again.

- Maya of Maya Couture

You can get to know Maya and her Hampton Roads-based bridal boutiques by visiting Facebook and Instagram.

Photography: Will King Photography // Venue: Signature at West Neck // Shoot Coordination: Misty Prewitt // Music: And I love Her Violins // Makeup and Hair: Behind the Veil Studio // Bridal Gown and Bridal Party Dresses: Maya Couture // Groomswear: Maya Couture on Main // Florals and Styling: Isha Foss // Cake: Cake Delights // Linens: Waterford Event Rentals // Event Rentals: Classy Event Rentals // Stationery and Videography: The Girl Tyler // Vintage Screens: Shelley's Shabby Shack