Bride looks at bridesmaid in picture window Tips for children at weddings  Tips for Children at Weddings

How to include kids at your wedding without the stress!

Part 1

We know there’s a butt-load of things already occupying your thoughts in the run up to the big day, between worrying about just how much your best man will reveal about that trip to Vegas during his speech, and your rowdy uncle will become because he can’t handle his drink, you probably aren’t going to have a lot of time to worry about guests who are bringing children. After all, what’s one squirmy baby when your mother-in-law-to-be told your sister she looked fat the last time they met, and bridesmaid number two loves ALL the dresses and won’t help pick just one? You’ve got bigger fish to fry, right?

WRONG.

Oh, the things we’ve seen from children; the sugar highs, the meltdowns, the scraped knees, the frantic parents searching for a child that’s been happily hiding under a table for the last two hours. If you’re leaving the prospect of children at your wedding as an afterthought, honestly you’re going to be pulling out your hair before the end of the ceremony.

While certainly many couples decide to go the child free route for their big day to allow the adults to properly let their hair down, some of you are mega excited at the idea of sharing your big day with the kiddos and can’t wait have them involved!

So today as part of our ‘Wedding Planning Tips’ Series, we’re going to be giving you the full lowdown with tips for including children in your wedding. We have split it in two parts so we can offer advice that covers all the bases. The number of weddings we’ve photographed with wee ones in attendance, paired with our experiences brining our son so various weddings and family events (and all the pain …er… joy that ensues) means we fully understand the dilemmas and difficulties  that comes with involving and prepping kids in weddings.

Bride & groom dance with daughter on dance floor Tips for children at weddings

Tips for Children at Weddings

Adjust Your Expectations

First of all, just close down Pinterest. The hundreds of photos slapped online with perfect, angelic little flower girls, cutesy family photos with happy, smiling babies, and little lads with neat hair and clean suits you save so hopefully? Never. Going. To. Happen. Okay, there’s the very minute possibility that the children might behave and pose just so. But we beg you not to depend on it because those pictures you see online are the exception to the rule. Trust us on this one!

Flower girl covers her face for hairspray Tips for children at weddings

Tips for Children at Weddings

Adjust Your Expectations – Continued

Most children find weddings stressful and boring especially if they’re a part of the wedding party. They will shout, run around, spill things, rip their clothes, pick up bugs, cry, hide and generally not be a darling, little picture perfect cherub.

And you know what? It is completely okay for children not to be perfect. It is part of their charm. The silly faces, off the cuff comments and spontaneous shenanigans are part of what make kids so much fun. Don’t try to tame their wild ways for a perfect photo op – instead look to work with what makes kids special and exciting.

Remember that weddings and receptions make a very long day for young children. It’s important for parents to know how well their child can handle excitement, anxiety, and stress as it will often manifest in poorly timed outbursts, and tantrums. But that’s kids, really, isn’t it? No matter how careful you are, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least one meltdown if you’re having children at the wedding. Try to remember that it’s not anyone’s fault, parents or children’s. It’ll make everyone’s day easier.

Bride's son gives speech hugs mum Tips for children at weddings

Tips for Children at Weddings

Children in the Ceremony

Unsurprisingly, having children involved in the ceremony doesn’t always go to plan flawlessly, but here are some tips that should make it much easier on the day.

Know your child’s limits.  As we said above, it’s important for the parents of the child to know where their limits are when it comes to stress and excitement, but the same can be said for how they deal with being the centre of attention. Guests gushing, and ‘ooh’ing and ‘aah’ing over the little ones can be an intimidating amount of attention for them, and can quickly make them shy and scared.

When having children walk the aisle, focus them on saying “hello” to the bride or groom, rather than letting them worry about everyone staring at them as they walk down. It will keep them positive and happy, rather than anxious. However, if they do start to have a little moment, the bride or groom should crouch down to their level and open their arms out for a big hug. Nine times out of ten the scared child will run right up to them! They’ll feel happy about doing their duty, and be comforted at the same time! Always know it’s absolutely okay to hold your child during the ceremony if you want to. You are joining together as a family, after all!

Flower firl looking in mirror Tips for children at weddings

Tips for Children at Weddings

Children in the Ceremony Continued

If they can’t be coaxed by hugs however, or refuse to participate at the last minute, then let them know that this 100% okay. Always have a back-up plan in place so they can know the pressure is totally off. Never, ever drag them by the arm or force a crying or screaming child down the aisle – we’ve seen both more than you would think. It’s really traumatic for the little one, and unpleasant for guests to say the least. Have mum, dad, granny, or someone they’re friendly with walk them away for cuddles privately.

If being a flower girl or ringbearer just isn’t going to work out for them, consider other roles for them. Another job title will still make them feel like they are a part of the big day and still just as important. Try something fun such as ‘Master of Games’. But  don’t underestimate the power of practice either. Don’t just wait until the official rehearsal before having children practice their roles in the ceremony. Instead practice their involvement several times over the course of a month or two as especially very young children need to be exposed to a new task or situation many times before they become comfortable with it.

Finally, select clothing the children will feel comfortable in. Don’t expect little girls who hate wearing dresses to be clean, unfussy and happy when wearing a frilly, puffy dress. Find a awesome little suit for her, or a ringbearer outfit. If your little boy hates things around his neck, don’t put him in a blazer, etc. Whatever you have them wear, whether it’s a suit, or a petticoat, or braces, let them wear it a few times before the wedding day so they get used to it.

Bride with 6 flower girls wearing white Tips for children at weddings

 

 

That’s all for part one of our tips for children at weddings. To be continued in Tips for Including Children at Weddings – Part 2!

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