Wedding pictures aren't complete without a flower girl and a ring bearer! Right or wrong? Maybe you don't want kids but your family wants you to include your sisters little ones....what's a bride to do?
YES! Some brides want it all; kids, dogs, butterflies, doves, you name it. So if your heart is set on having your little niece and your cousin's son walk down the aisle then I say go for it! But do it with planning!
Maybe! Some brides think they want children in the wedding, but soon find out they are better off having cardboard cutouts! One trip to buy the flower girl a dress and your having second thoughts!
No way! On the other hand some of you are leaning to the side of a "no kids" wedding. But how do you break the news?
Following are some tips and suggestions to help you get a better perspective either way you choose.
When to have kids in the wedding party: You love children!
You love their spontaneity and if they do something silly you think it will just add more charm and laughs to your day.
You are getting married early in the day. Kids are better when it is not too late in the day. This way Mom and Dad will not have to leave early to get their cranky angels off to bed.
Night wedding? Hire someone to whisk the kids away for the night.
They are your own children; by all means they should be a part of this special event. By being included and involved will help them to feel more secure about their significance and place in your new life.
You don't care how their hair turns out. Requesting a specific hairstyle for the flower girl can get tricky. Not every child's hair will hold a curl, nor will they sit long enough to get it done.
You know they are "good" children. According to wedding planner Lois Pearce, President of Beautiful Occasions in Hamden, Connecticut say's, " One of the key things to think about when considering these children is their maturity level. Does the child behave well (within reason) around adults? Are they able to understand directions? Just because they are cute is not the criteria for them to upstage the bride on her wedding day." Whether they love the attention or they are easy going and compliant you and their parents need to feel confident they will do their job well."
Bad idea!: A bride of mine was having one of the grooms men's daughter as a flower girl in the wedding. However, the girl's parents were divorced and the mother was not in attendance at the wedding. The little girl couldn't hang out with Daddy and the grooms' men, so the bride had her sleep at her house the night before. On the wedding morning the bride arrived late and very frazzled to the salon because SHE had to give the child a morning bath! Not Good!
Too young! I had three little sisters who were all in the wedding party. Once their mother got everyone through the door and into the brides non-child proof small apartment everyone was stressed! The bride wanted them all to have French braids and the youngest child was three years old. She kept pushing my hand out of the way. As I would braid a section of hair she would rip it out. At three she was too young. Just because her sisters were in the wedding did not mean she had to be as well. She was too young to even care! Mom's speak up!
Too much to ask! I had a bride who's sister was the matron of honor. Her two daughters were also in the wedding. The sister/matron could not be in three places at once! Attending to the bride, searching for her kids while trying to get dressed herself was painful for me to watch. The younger one grabbed a handful of my bobby pins and hid under a desk and proceeded to "do her hair" after I had just finished it! This was after she thought it was great fun climbing up and down the stairs while hold her dress up like Cinderella, over and over.
When not to have kids in the wedding party:
- Just because there are children the perfect age in your extended family that fit the role, don't feel obligated to add them to the wedding party.
- Let the parents know up front that you have chosen not to add children to the wedding party.
- If someone is pressuring you to add children to the line up, then leave this article in a conspicuous place for them to read.
- You want your day to go perfectly as planned. You spent enough time and money planning every last detail and you would not appreciate un-calculated antics.
- You are getting married in the evening and especially if they have to travel in for the wedding and sleep in an unfamiliar place.
- When there are just too many children to choose from and someone might get offended if left out.
- When you really don't know the parents well.
Bad call! The kids are not "cute props". Don't ask a friend of a friend's child to be in the wedding or even a long distant relative just because he or she is the right age. It takes a lot of preparation, patience, prodding, and expense on the part of the parents to make the day go relatively smoothly.
Opps! One ring bearer's pillow had a music box inside. It didn't take long for him to find the wind up key in the back. As the music played he began tossing the pillow up in the air during the vows.
Don't do it! I'm sure you have seen it. Two flower girls, two ring bearers, and one groom's men stuck with the twelve-year-old junior bridesmaid. If you really don't want them, skip the kids all together.
- Keep the kids at another location other then where the bride is dressing. At one home the ring bearer (in his tux) was giving horsy rides to the flower girl ( in her dress). Mom was not there so grandpa had to step in and tears followed.
- Make sure kid friendly videos and snacks are available.
- Dress them at the last possible minute.
- For real little ones have a large bib to put on.
- Scuff up the bottom of new shoes with sandpaper and let the kids break them in ahead of time.
- If Mom is in the wedding make sure she gets ready first!
More from Lois, "Give the children their own attentive spot during the processional. Remember the bride is the focus, all the other parties are a preliminary. Allow the children ample space between the bride as she processes down the aisle so that they can be "oooed" and "awed" and then have the focus return to the bride".
Videographer, Mary Bair suggests "Children should be fed a small meal before the wedding and if they are little children hopefully they will have had a nap. They should be taken to the potty immediately before the ceremony begins because they get nervous too and you know what can happen then." Mary has written, Bridal Cheers or Wedding Tears, Your Dream Wedding or Worst Nightmare.
More from Mary, "Small children should not be allowed to go up on the altar or to stand with the wedding party at the front. I videotape from the front and this is how I can see who the audience is looking at."
Have a toy under the petals of the basket for the child to open once they have completed their walk.
Have a person from the parish ready to whisk the kids off to a Sunday school run ready with snacks and juice to keep the kids till the ceremony is over. Don't expect the kids to sit quietly for up to an hour just to have exiting pictures.
Lois adds, " An attendant or a groomsmen should be assigned the task of keeping an eye on the kids during the service. Should the child become unruly, their parent should be alerted to come and remove the child from this focal point of the ceremony. Children need praise. Praise them for their performance and thank them for their cooperation. They will react accordingly. All they want is a little love!"
A calm, easygoing bride is the best medicine for the child!
Remember you are asking a child to...
- Get through the rehearsal dinner.
- Sleep a good nights rest.
- Alter their morning routine.
- Put on scratchy, strange clothes and hard new shoes.
- Sit for their hairstyle and keep a "thing" on top of their head.
- Get through pre-ceremony pictures.
- Hold a basket and not loose it.
- Drop petals, walk slow, walk straight!
- Then two hours later be expect to be clean, still and quiet for more pictures? This is not possible for many adults!