There is no doubt about it, children are wonderful! Little ones are so sweet and tend to sprinkle their joy and excitement for life all around them. The different roles that children can play in a wedding is open to anyone’s interpretation these days. From ring bearer and flower girl to junior bridesmaids; youngsters have really made a place for themselves in modern day weddings.
Often times, children are thrilled to be a part of a wedding ceremony and other times, they feel a bit overwhelmed by the pressure to perform. Children can really enhance a day filled with love and family memories with something as simple as a facial expression or a witty remark during the ceremony. They will likely steal the show with their boyish charm or the way a sweet little girl throws the flower petals. But there really isn’t any way to predict how a child will act during a wedding especially when all eyes are on them. By practicing with them, kids will feel more prepared for the day ahead.
When planning your ceremony, it’s best to provide children with a clear-cut task. It might be a little bit too much to ask a 3 year old to hold hands with another child while carrying a sign or a pillow down a sandy aisle. Instead, simplify their responsibilities and allow them to walk down the aisle without too much fanfare. You may also want to have a small surprise waiting for them as an incentive to make it to the alter without any meltdowns. Older children may enjoy carrying a funny sign that reads, “Hurry up, I want cake!”
Many children are picky when it comes to their clothing and shoes. If they are uncomfortable in what they are asked to wear, they are more likely to have an issue with their clothing when it comes time to getting ready. Have kids try on their clothes before the wedding day.
When it comes time to photograph the littlest wedding guests, photographers should opt to grab the formal shots with children and elderly guests first. This ensures that the children are still on their best behavior and that their fancy attire is still looking fresh! Ideally, these photos would happen directly after the ceremony while you still have their full attention. After photos are over, it is a great idea to have a trusted friend or pre-appointed babysitter to get the kids to the reception, especially if their parents are also a part of the wedding party.
At a wedding reception, we are all familiar with a dedicated kids table. A kid’s table allows the kids to sit with their own age group and relaxes their expectations for high-class behavior during dinner. Asking your catering company to create a kid-friendly meal will cut down on food costs and kids are always happy to see some of their favorite foods on their plate. With age appropriate games and activities, kids will be more comfortable and remain occupied longer. A fun way to incorporate wedding details into the kid’s table is to provide a coloring sheet of a bride and groom or small flowers to create their own bouquet in the same colors as the bride’s bouquet. Of course, you’ll be hard pressed to find an activity that holds the attention of little ones for an entire evening so some couples choose to provide some sort of childcare at the reception to keep them engaged throughout the evening.
One newer trend is to have a kids-room or a separate space for the kids to hang out late night at the wedding so that parents don’t feel like they have to leave to get home early. If this idea interests you, you may want to provide a place to watch a movie with a late night snack and comfortable seating for tired kids to relax after a long day. Of course, this separate space may need supervision based on the age of your child-guests, but the payoff would be great!
Children are almost always the first ones to hit the dance floor during the reception. You can ask your DJ to play some fun dance music that they may recognize to kick off the night and let your little guests get the party started for you! If the little ones are already out there, they often inspire adults to join in on the fun.
It’s typical for couples that already have children to include their little ones in their wedding ceremony. Officiates may even recommend giving children significant roles in the ceremony. Some of these roles may include a reading, prayer or a song. One beautiful way to unite a blended family during a ceremony is by having children add sand to the sand ceremony or participate in the unity candle portion to make them feel included. Another great way to honor the little ones in your life is to exchange a ring or piece of jewelry with the child at the same time that you exchange your rings. This will be a symbolic exchange that they will likely hold onto for the rest of their lives. If you wanted to add a nautical twist, you could tie a knot together to display in your home as a way to always remind the child about their part in the ceremony. The possibilities are endless!
Less significant but equally important roles for children include handing out programs before the ceremony, throwing flower petals during the processional, assisting with set up of the ceremony or reception venue, or even helping to seat guests. These small roles make children feel included without the pressure to perform!
If having the little ones in your life is important to you as a couple, then just having them there is sure to be one of the best gifts of your wedding day! ♥