Best Tips for Having Children in Your Wedding

Tips for Children in WeddingMany brides, when they picture their ideal ceremony, have a mental image of a precious flower girl and/or ring bearer walking down the aisle ahead of them. Or, sometimes, they just have family members who expect their children to be a part of the wedding. 😉 Either way, if you are planning a ceremony that children will be a part of, I have some tips for making it a good experience for everyone.

Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Selection

That section title makes it sound like you have a wide variety of options when choosing who will be a flower girl or ring bearer, but typically it ends up being based on who you or your fiance is related to under the age of eight. I understand that this decision, along with any others made regarding your wedding party, is based on what you have in mind for your ceremony, family and friend expectations, and, typically, an effort to make everyone happy.

Most of the time, whoever you pick to play these parts in your ceremony will be a perfect fit for the job, but there are a few things you need to take into consideration:

Age – What I would recommend as the youngest age for a flower girl or ring bearer is 3 1/2 – 4 years old. Any younger than that, it could be a bit tricky. Definitely make the child’s age one of your first considerations, because it really determines what else you can do to make sure they are comfortable and happy with their wedding day job.

Temperament – There are some children out there who want nothing more in this position than to do exactly what they are told to do and make everyone happy. Then, there are some children who want to do nothing but avoid this situation. Even though a child can change their mind, you or their parents need to talk to them about this before making them a part of the wedding party. If they are totally opposed, that’s a good indication that this is not a good way for them to participate in the wedding. If they like the idea, they can go ahead and start to get excited about what they’ll be doing.

Schedule – Wedding days can be really long, even for adults. Make sure you take into consideration what he or she is usually doing around the time of the ceremony (and photos). If the child is young and still napping, and your ceremony is during nap time, it may be best to not try to change their schedule and rely on them to do something out of the ordinary. Even the most well-behaved child won’t hold up well when sleepy.

What To Do Before The Wedding Day

Prep for the Job – Although the position of flower girl or ring bearer doesn’t require weekly practice, it is a good idea for their parents to start talking about what exactly will be going on before everyone is watching them at the rehearsal. Depending on age, the rehearsal could be a bit overwhelming if they have to learn everything that night. It’s much better if they are only needing to learn where to go and already have an idea about what they will be doing and how they’ll need to behave.

Plan Their Schedule for the Wedding Day – Weddings make for long, busy days! Everyone’s schedule is different from the usual, and typically the wedding party was out at the rehearsal dinner for a while before getting started early the next day. It would be best to make sure that your ring bearer or flower girl gets plenty of sleep the night before the wedding. I would also recommend keeping them away from all of the wedding day bustle until they need to be there for photos or the ceremony. Calm kids, who are able to stay as close to their normal schedule as possible, make much better wedding party participants!

Plan for Photos – When making your plan for wedding day photos, keep in mind when you’ll need for the child or children to be there. If they need to be there for pre-ceremony photos, let their parents know that they’ll need something to entertain them until the ceremony starts. For the after-ceremony photos, I always make sure that my brides organize the photo list so that all of the pictures that include small children are taken first. You’re much more likely to keep them from losing their cool that way.

Bribe (or Reward) – Everytime I do day-of wedding coordination for a ceremony that has children in it, I always make sure that I introduce myself to them at the rehearsal before things get started. If time allows, I will walk through everything with them before all of the adults start watching what is going on. Most importantly (after checking with their parents), I let them know that I keep lollipops in my pocket for children who are awesome during the ceremony and the photos. Those little things always do the trick. If candy isn’t something that you or their parents want to offer, you can have a small, non-candy reward to be given to them after their portion of the photos are done.

So, there you have it, those are my tips for deciding which children are ready for the position of flower girl or ring bearer and how to get them ready for the job. Check back in later this week for a continuation of these tips. I’ll go over the ABCs for a Wedding Ceremony With Children. Have a good week!

Happy Wedding Planning!

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