Kids in the wedding party? Cute. Also a potential hiccup in your big day because they’re unpredictable. But you want them there because they’re too darn cute – especially if they’re yours. And then of course you want them there, even if they cry their way down the aisle.
As with anything else, the secret to successfully including kids in a wedding party is thoughtful pre-planning and then the kind of damage control that you can employ before a minor cry turns into an all-out tantrum. What follows are some of the best tips real brides – and moms of flower girls, too – have shared with us so tomorrow’s brides can have the best and most kid-friendly weddings possible.
- Have a toy or book hidden under the petals of the basket for the flower girl to open once she has completed her walk. Or ready and waiting on the seat of the ring bearer’s chair if he’ll be sitting there during the rest of the ceremony. Make sure it’s something she can open quietly – and then play with quietly.
- Don’t force a flower girl or ring bearer to go down the aisle alone… or at all! Let them walk with their mom or dad if they’re scared, and let them bow out (even at the last minute) if they need to.
- Have someone in your family or from the parish (if you’re marrying at your church) ready to whisk younger ring bearers and flower girls off to the bridal suite or Sunday School room where snacks, toys, games, and crafts will be waiting for them. Better yet, so no one has to volunteer to miss your ceremony, have your flower girl’s parents ask their usual sitter to attend.
- Don’t expect little ones to stand up with the rest of the wedding party for the whole ceremony – it’s unrealistic and even kind of mean.
- Lois offered this tip: ” An attendant or a groomsmen should be assigned the task of keeping an eye on the kids during the service. Should the child become unruly, their parent should be alerted to come and remove the child from this focal point of the ceremony.”
- Make sure mom or dad understand that they need to stay nearby to help keep their little lady or gentleman happy and well behaved before, during, and after the ceremony.
- Recent flower girl mother, Lease Moon, had her daughter keep a diary about her flower girl experience as well as a calendar up in her daughter’s room to mark off the days until the wedding. Her daughter let everyone know she was keeping a “diarrhea” of the wedding, lol!
- Remember, perfection isn’t the goal. You’re asking a little one to alter their morning routine, put on scratchy strange clothes and hard new shoes, sit for a hairstyle, keep a flower girl tiara on top of their head (for girls), get through per-ceremony pictures, hold a basket and not lose it, drop petals or carry a ring pillow, walk slow, walk straight, and then two hours later be expect to be clean, smiling and quiet for more pictures? Sure.
- Make sure your flower girl and ring bearer’s parents have prepared them for the big day by talking to them about what they will be wearing and doing.
- A calm easygoing bride is the best medicine for nervous flower girls and ring bearers and also helps to relax the mother as well. Keeping your expectations low and having a go with the flow attitude is the best strategy for the bride to be.
- Lois Pearce, President, Beautiful Occasions in Hamden Connecticut has these additional comments about kids in weddings, “Children need praise. Praise them for their performance and thank them for their cooperation. They will react accordingly. All they want is a little love!”
How are you helping your littlest wedding attendants feel happy and comfortable on your wedding day?