Blending families together isn’t always an easy task and some children can be left feeling hurt or angry when their parents remarry.
But one woman has made sure her new stepson knows exactly how much she appreciates him, by dedicating part of her wedding vows to him.
Vanessa Lynch, 30, became step mum to nine-year-old Henry when she tied the knot with Craig Lynch and after making her vows to her new husband, she turned her attention to the young boy.
Her vows were caught on camera and Vanessa, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, said: “Henry, I know I wasn’t there the day you came into the world.
“I wasn’t there for your first steps or your first words, but I promise I will be there for many more of your firsts.
“I promise to love you as if you were my own and lastly I promise I will be the best wife for your dad and I promise to be the best step mum I can be for you.”
And Vanessa insisted she wanted to dedicate some of her vows to Henry because she didn’t want him to see her as just a “woman his dad was married to”.
She explained: “I wanted Henry to know that I wasn’t just going to be a woman his dad was married to.
“I was nervous at first, just because I didn’t know how Henry would react. I didn’t want to put him on the spot in front of everyone because he is shy and gets nervous in front of people.
“But something felt right, so when I was done with Craig’s vows, I motioned for Craig to scoot over so I could see Henry.
“I’m glad I decided to do it because Henry told me that they meant a lot to him and that he feels even closer to me than before.”
Vanessa, who works as a nurse, first met 30-year-old Craig when they were both in their second year at Augsburg College and she was dating his roommate.
Craig introduced her to Henry a few months after they started their relationship and the pair eventually got engaged in August 2019 – although the Covid-19 pandemic halted their wedding plans until December 11 this year.
When she was preparing her vows to Craig, Vanessa came up with the idea of saying some words to Henry too during the ceremony.
She said: “At first I wasn’t going to do it, because I didn’t want Henry to feel uncomfortable in front of everyone. But after some time thinking it over, I felt like something would have felt left out if I did not say a little something to Henry.
“It was easy for me to write them, but hard for me to say them out loud. The example being in the video I started crying, which I never do.”
Vanessa also had a stepdad growing up and chose to walk down the aisle with both her biological dad and her stepdad to show that family doesn’t just mean blood relatives.
She said: “I come from a blended family, so me deciding to say vows to Henry really stemmed from my experience as a child – how stepparents should treat stepchildren as though they were their own children.
“Just because you don’t share blood with someone, does not mean you cannot be a family. It all comes from love you hold for a person and what you commit to one another.”