I can now officially say I have been on all the sides of this discussion: I have been a kid in a wedding, I have had kids in my wedding as a bride, and I have been a mom of a kid in a wedding. So needless to say, I have a lot to say!
Having kids in your wedding can be adorable (and it can be such a fun memory as a kid to have been in a wedding!), but as a mom of two, I also understand it can be equally challenging!
If you were like me and really want to include kids in your wedding day, here are my tips!
1. Set your expectations low.
We’ll start here. Even though it’s probably not what you wanted to hear… set your expectations low (or at least be realistic with them). Kids are unpredictable on a good day. And then when you throw in lots of people, excitement, potentially uncomfortable dresses, bow ties or shoes… who knows what you’re going to get!
If you’re going to include kids (especially kids under the age of 5-6), you have to know you might not get that picture-perfect ring bearer shot that you found on Pinterest. They might cry and/or refuse to walk down the aisle. They might run down the aisle straight to their mom/dad. Their mom/dad might have to carry them. They might refuse to cooperate for formal pics. But, they will still be a part of your wedding day in their own way and you’ll most likely have some hilarious stories as a result.
2. Prepare them WELL in advance.
Start talking about how they will be in your wedding months in advance (their parents can do this too!). Get them PSYCHED. Tell them what they’re going to do, the BIG role they’ll play, what they’re going to wear (“fancy clothes”) and just how exciting it all is.
Try on their outfits in advance and make sure they’re comfortable in them and nothing is itchy or something they don’t like. Since our wedding was in the summer, we opted to put the boys is shorts and short sleeves rather than a fancy suit or something too hot!
3. Practice, practice, practice!
Go to the ceremony site ahead of time and practice walking (or carrying them / pulling them in a wagon, etc.) down the aisle. Tell them where you’ll be at the end of the aisle, where they should go, how next time there’s going to be a lot of people looking at them. Just get them familiar with the space.
4. Utilize “big kids”.
If there’s an older cousin/family member who they look up to and usually copy what they’re doing, have them go down the aisle with them or behind them! My nephew LOVES “big kids” and followed the older flower girls excitedly down the aisle. Mom & Dad might also prefer this to walking down the aisle with them ; )
5. When in doubt, bribes are everything.
Have their favorite candy or snack ready to go. Both my nephews had lollipops waiting for them at the end of the aisle and sucked on them the entire ceremony (and reception… lol). When it comes to photos, bribes truly work like a charm! If they’re not quite old enough for bribes, consider carrying a pacifier or their favorite stuffed animal with you.
6. Have a Plan B.
For our wedding day, my nephew’s grandparents on the other side came to the wedding to be with the kids. This way, my Sister/MOH could (attempt to) focus on her duties and the wedding itself without being too distracted by the kids. If anything went wrong during the ceremony (meltdowns, etc.), the grandparents were in charge. They also left the reception early and put them to bed. If they are upset during the ceremony or toasts and need to step outside, their parents don’t have to miss the wedding as a result. Grandparents really are the best!
Did you include kids in your wedding? If so, how did it go? Did any of these strategies work for you?
November 22, 2021