ABCs for a Wedding Ceremony With Children

ABCs for Ceremony with ChildrenAre you planning to have children in your wedding ceremony? If so, this post is for you! Earlier this week, I had written about my Best Tips for Having Children in You Wedding, which covered things to consider when deciding which children will be in your wedding and how to best prepare for the wedding day. In this post, we’ll talk about the actual plan for the ceremony itself.

Whenever I am doing day-of wedding coordination for a bride who will have a flower girl or ring bearer, I always ask them to come up with their ABC Plan for the ceremony. This is actual a series of plans, A through C (and also D). This way the bride and groom, wedding party, and parents of the children in the wedding party all know what will happen depending on different situations with the little ones.

Plan A

This is the ideal plan for the wedding ceremony. With this plan, the child who is a member of the wedding party is having a wonderful day and is excited about doing their part. They are cool with lining up with the wedding party, they walk down the aisle nicely, and they stand up at the front the whole time. This is the plan that you go over during the wedding rehearsal and prep the child for prior to the rehearsal.

Plan B

Plan B typically comes into play with younger flower girls and ring bearers. Whenever children are involved in a wedding ceremony, if space allows, I always try to leave a seat open next to the person that they would be most comfortable with on the front row of their side of the ceremony (even if it means seating a member of the bride’s family on the groom’s side). This plans go into action when:

1) a really young child makes it all the way down to the front, stands with the bridesmaids or groomsmen, and then goes to sit down at a designated time (typically when whoever is escorting the bride is seated). This is preplanned because the expectation is that the child won’t stand through the ceremony anyway. I always go ahead and tell the flower girl or ring bearer about this because they’ll need to know what they’re supposed to do.

2) the other time is when the child in the wedding party isn’t handling standing up front so well. If it’s at the point where they’re unhappy and their unhappiness is a distraction for the wedding party and the guests, the designated person with the seat open next to them can quietly (and nicely) ask/motion for them to come sit down. The goal is to have them sit down without any protest, so if they don’t want to sit, that person is either going to have to let them continue to stand or consider Plan C. I would normally recommend not telling the child about Plan B ahead of time if the goal is to have them stand up there for the ceremony. Otherwise, it’s pretty likely that they’ll choose to sit down.

Plan C

This is kind of the last option you want to have to explore during the ceremony. Plan C goes into action when the child that is in the wedding party needs to be removed from the ceremony. This is not very likely at all to happen, but I always want a bride to consider, and plan for, the possibility.

It would basically be a continuation of Plan B, but I recommend that the person who would need to leave with them be someone that they are super comfortable with so that it doesn’t make the situation worse. If both of their parents are in the wedding party, which sometimes happens, that’s when you really need to think about who that person would be. Ideally it doesn’t need to be the parents or grandparents of the bride or groom because it would be unfortunate for them to have to miss any of the ceremony. But, it will always depend on what the couple and the child’s parents think would be best in this situation. Make sure you talk about this one ahead of time!

Plan D

Plan D seems like it would be worse than Plan C, but I actually think it’s much better. The decision to go to this plan would be made before the processional begins. If the child that is a part of the wedding party is overly sleepy, overwhelmed by the situation, or just having a really rough time, the call will have to be made about whether or not they are going to participate in the ceremony. Definitely get their parent’s opinion on this one, because they’ll know best.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather avoid it altogether than try push the child to participate and not have it go well. If things aren’t going well before the ceremony, they’re not going to get better, and everyone will be happier with Plan D if it comes down it. You can always get pictures of them in their cute outfit later, and your ceremony won’t be remembered by your friends and family for the meltdown that happened in the middle of your vows. 😉

Hmmm…kind of a downer of a post? Sorry about that! But, if you are having children in your ceremony these are things you really need to be prepare for. It’s kind of like a rain plan for an outdoor wedding. You don’t want to need it, you are crossing your fingers and toes that you won’t need it, but you’re going to be glad that you have it in case the forecast isn’t looking too great.

Happy Wedding Planning!

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