Inviting children to take part in your wedding ceremony can make it even more special – especially if you yourself have kids or your spouse to be is a dad or mom. However, the last thing you want to worry about is your flower girl or ring bearer becoming impatient, restless, fidgety, or tantrum-y on the day of the wedding.
Remember, weddings can get pretty boring for kids and worse, it can seem like it takes forever to get to the one thing most kids care about: cake. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that the day goes smoothly when you’re including children in weddings:
As a general rule, when choosing children to take part in your wedding as a flower girl or ring bearer, it is usually best (or at least more predictable) to pick children ages four and above. Now of course each child is different and you’ll want to consider their personality (very shy vs. outgoing) and maturity level as well. Keep in mind that very young children will be more unpredictable than older kids.
In the weeks before the wedding day, talk to your flower girl and ring bearer (or have their parents talk to them) about the events that will take place before and throughout the wedding day so they know what to expect. Some little ones get nervous about being in weddings because they don’t know what’s going to happen on the big day.
Explain what they will wear, where they will go and what they will have to do. The better young attendants can visualize their role in the wedding, the better prepared they will be to cooperate and participate as you would like them to.
Choose outfits for the flower girl and ring bearer that are comfortable. Choose comfortable fabrics, ones that don’t scratch or irritate the skin. Be sure the children wear comfortable shoes, and if the shoes are new, that they have a chance to “break them in” prior to the wedding day. For little girls, a special flower girl jewelry set can go a long way toward making her job seem special.
Purchase some books! There are some wonderful books that not only inform flower girls and ring bearers of their role in the wedding, but also welcome and celebrate them as a very special part of the bridal party.
Invite all of your young attendants and their parents to the rehearsal. Let the children practice walking down the aisle several times so that they will feel more comfortable of their role on the “big day”.
Make sure that the children know exactly where their parents will be seated during the ceremony. Depending on the length and style of the ceremony, you may want the children to go and sit with their parents during the ceremony. For littler kids, place parents in the front row so they can walk down the aisle and right to their moms and dads.
The parents of the flower girl and ring bearer should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. However, many rehearsal dinners can go as late as 10:00 or even later – if you’ll be having fun late into the night talk with the parents to see if a babysitter can be arranged ahead of time.
Ask the parents of your flower girl and ring bearer to make sure their children are well rested before the wedding (without implying that they won’t be, of course). A good night’s sleep the night before, or even a nap the day of, can help little ones get through the day with smiles on their faces instead of frowns.
Assign a bridesmaid to each child in the bridal party. Have each of your secret helpers keep a goody bag handy. Fill it with nutritious treats (dry cereal, crackers, carrot sticks), crayons and paper, a bottle of water and small travel games. These kid supplies will come in handy while traveling from the church to the reception, while waiting for photographs to be taken, and during the reception.
Take pictures with the flower girl and ring bearer as early in the day as possible, preferably before the ceremony. Then there is less chance that their outfits could get dirty, torn, wrinkled; you know how kids are!
Be sure to express your heartfelt appreciation to the children in your bridal party. Photographs make a cherished gift for parents of flower girls and ring bearers of all ages. For your littlest attendants themselves, opt instead for toys and other things children will appreciate.
Kids are unpredictable! All the practice and preparation in the world does not mean that they will perform their role flawlessly. Don’t expect perfection and laugh at the hiccups. Remember, if it doesn’t go just as planned, it will make for entertaining clips in your wedding video!