There’s More Than One Way to: Include Kids in the Wedding

Because many families include children, weddings often include children. At any given wedding, you might find children on the guest list, brides and grooms with children… even babies. And some couples feel strongly that including children in the ceremony and reception is important, whether because they have children of their own or simply like the idea of having mini attendants in the wedding party. Is having an adults-only wedding okay from an etiquette point of view? You betcha. That said, it’s not at all uncommon to include children in weddings and there’s more than one way to do it!

Obviously, you have your flower girls in their adorable flower girl dresses and ring bearers with their delicate pillows. That’s probably the most common way to include children in a wedding – and the role that the kids themselves may feel most comfortable with. But many little ones have been given less obvious roles to play in ceremonies and receptions. For example:

  • Little girls and boys can perform tasks at the ceremony without being included as part of the wedding party. For example, outgoing children may enjoy being ushers, even if there are still adult ushers acting as backup. Less extroverted kids can light candles prior to the start of the ceremony or ring a bell to signal that guests should take their seats.
  • Children who have studied music might enjoy performing a song in advance of the arrival of the bridal party. At religious weddings, kids can stand up and read a religious verse during the ceremony.
  • Other tasks appropriate for children in weddings include handing out programs, greeting guests, presenting corsages to notable guests, turning pages for a musician, or carrying the bride’s train.
  • At the reception, children can be put in charge of the guestbook, present wedding favors to guests, help serve cake, or lead a special dance.
  • When two families are becoming one, couples often will include their children in the wedding ceremony itself as participants. A unity candle or water ceremony can include children – sometimes, these rituals are called ‘Family Ceremonies’ instead.

However you choose to include children in a wedding, consider kids’ personalities before assigning roles. Most children are initially very excited to be included as part of a wedding, but some will balk at the idea of walking down the aisle alone or standing up in front of a hundred guests to light a candle. Assign roles for children according to what they will enjoy doing since their participating in your wedding should be a joy, not a burden.