What could be cuter than the 'oohs' and 'aahs' of your guests as they see children dressed up in their gorgeous outfits, helping you celebrate one of the most important days of your life? Whether they are your own kids or those of your close friends or family, many people choose to involve children in their wedding day; it makes for an incredibly cute wedding party, adorable wedding photos, and a truly special "family" experience.
Of course, with children comes additional planning and organization, but it is completely worth it. In this article, we share some ways to embrace children in your wedding, including traditional roles, unique jobs for kids at weddings, and how to hold it all together on the big day.
Pre-Wedding Prep for Children
Children may be apprehensive, worried, and excited about the big day. Calm any nerves by involving them in the planning stages. You can include them in dress shopping and show them wedding rings online to see if they have any suggestions about the style of ring you choose. Getting them involved helps them feel prepared and more excited about this special day. Every moment spent planning together is a chance to make them feel comfortable about the big day.
Wedding Roles for Younger Guests
Traditionally, kids at weddings play specific roles. The custom of the ring bearer is said to date back as far as Ancient Egypt, where precious jewels were transported on ornamental cushions during wedding ceremonies. Flower girls are also an ancient tradition, said to date back to Roman times when flower girls would precede the bride scattering flowers and herbs symbolizing fertility and new beginnings.
The way you choose to involve children in your wedding day may be influenced by their age but don't feel tied to sticking with traditional gender roles—you can just as easily mix things up. Here, we look at some of the more traditional roles your children can play on your big day, plus some unique alternatives that can add fun and personality to your wedding.
Flower Girls and Boys
This is a role reserved for the youngest members of the bridal party, which is traditionally done by girls but can just as easily be done by boys. Little children, usually six and under, follow the maid of honor and may carry out a number of different tasks.
They may hold a simple bouquet, or spread confetti, petals, bubbles, or something else of your choosing as they makes their way down the aisle. Whatever you decide, they are sure to create a charming moment at your wedding that guests will love.
Junior Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
Junior bridesmaids and groomsmen can be any number of your daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, cousins, or friends. Younger bridesmaids and groomsmen may plan pre-wedding parties for younger guests as they won't be involved in any of the over-18 activities.
On the big day, they can be involved in laying out favors at tables, gift tracking, and help with the setup and cleaning. Young kids will love taking on these extra responsibilities and helping you bring your dream day to life.
The ring bearer is traditionally a role taken by the younger men of the family, but can equally be done by any youngster. As the name suggests, the role of the ring bearer is extremely important as they take responsibility for carrying the wedding rings along the aisle.
Ring bearers make sure the wedding rings are kept safe, for both the bride and groom. The rings are often tied to a special pillow to keep them safe so their young protector can safely transport them to their new owners.
There is absolutely no reason you can't have more than one ring bearer—you could even consider one to carry the bride's ring and one to carry the groom's ring, to avoid arguments. If you want to involve even younger children, then consider a groomsman or bridesmaid to carry the little guy one down the aisle with the rings.
Unique & Creative Ideas for Including Kids in Your Wedding
The beauty of planning your own wedding day is that you and your partner can decide which traditions you want to embrace and those you'd rather skip. Thinking outside the box can make your wedding day even more memorable, and this goes for the kids as well.
If you've got a large family and want to involve all the kids, then cute signs and placards can be a lovely way of getting them involved. The kids can hold their own special signs such as "Daddy, here comes Mom" and "Here comes the bride" and they can walk down the aisle alongside the flower girl or just ahead of her.
Guest Book Attendants
Older kids might not want to be center stage but may be pleased to have some responsibility. Attending the guest book can involve greeting guests and asking them to sign and leave their memories of the big day. They may also be able to accept gifts and cards as part of their role.
Who says your best man has to be a grown man? Many grooms choose to have their sons as their best man, with additional groomsmen supporting them in their role. For younger children, they can be carried down the aisle by the groom.
Giving the Bride Away
Some women also choose to have their sons or daughters as the person who gives them away. This is a particularly special role and one which your kid is bound to be exceptionally proud of.
Dos and Don'ts for a Successful Kid-Friendly Wedding
Image Credit: Nic Harper
Weddings can seem long and laborious for a six-year-old, so keep this in mind when involving children in this special day. Let's look at some ways to keep kids happy and calm during the ceremony and the best way to manage young ones at the reception.
The Wedding Ceremony
Readings and Performances
Whether brave on their own, or as a group together, your children could give special readings and performances throughout the ceremony. They may want to read a poem or offer good wishes for your future. There are many ceremony reading options available online and your celebrant may be able to provide help too. If you have a particularly outgoing child or even a mini band, they may want to perform a special song or dance, and if it's suitable, why not?
Older kids help younger ones
Older siblings can help involve younger children in your ceremony. Imagine how daunting it must feel for a little kid surrounded by adults, so consider roping in your older kids or family members to help the youngest feel at ease.
Any child who will have a key role in your ceremony should attend rehearsals. This ensures a little less panic for the big day and they'll have a better understanding of where and when they're meant to be.
Practicing the walk down the aisle
Walking down the aisle can be nerve-wracking for kids and adults alike. Sudden shyness when the big moment comes shouldn't be scolded as they'll be less likely to want to do it. Some practice and gentle encouragement should make things a little easier.
Managing your own nerves
This is a big ask, but if you're fretting and flustering around the kids, they'll feel and share your nervousness. Younger kids may not be able to perform on cue, so don't be too upset if things don't run smoothly. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen should be on hand to help out too.
Remember they're kids
Don't expect perfection in an unusual place surrounded by so many people. Little mishaps, tantrums, and quirks will be remembered fondly, so be sure to treasure the moments rather than worrying on this happy day.
The Wedding Reception
Image Credit: Micheile Henderson
The reception is your time to relax, unwind, and enjoy your new spouse, but they can go on for hours. How do you keep the kids entertained and happy throughout this time? You obviously don't want to switch back to full-time mom and dad on your first night as a married couple, so making sure your reception is super-kid friendly is highly recommended.
Offering up some food you know they like will avoid any upset and ensure there are no tantrums, hungry tummies, or empty plates.
Having a kids-only fun table
While it might seem like a good idea to have the kids sat up with you, it's likely they'll quickly get bored. Instead opt for their own kids-only table, with plenty to keep them occupied.
Super fun favors & kids entertainment
Provide fun favors such as sweets, handheld games, printables, and other time-intensive activities. You could also consider hiring a kids entertainer like a magician who can keep the younger ones enthralled with some tricks.
Creating an exclusive teen zone
You can be assured that older kids won't want to be on the kids' table with markers and coloring books, but they probably won't enjoy the conversation with the adults either. A dedicated teen table may be the way to go if there are a few of them attending.
Older kids may not be satisfied being sat down for the whole reception, so consider them for roles such as handing out cake and party favors, and ushering people to their seats.
Call on family or hire childcare
Younger kids will get tired as the evening stretches on, so it may be wise to have a plan to get them off to bed at a reasonable hour. A family member might agree to take little ones to bed, or if not, a babysitter could be a life-saver for you.
Family Memories to Last a Lifetime
Your wedding day is all about you and your soulmate, and if you've already had kids, they are a huge part of your story and your commitment to each other. Your wedding day is a chance to celebrate your whole family and be proud of what you have achieved together. Striving for perfection usually only adds strain to the day, and that wedding photo where your son is grimacing, and your daughter is howling may become one of the most treasured of all!