The Bride Link
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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Planning A Wedding Ceremony With Kids

Today on The Bride Link, we're talking all about tips dealing with small kids in your wedding party!

If you have an adorable niece or nephew and you just can't wait to see them in a little flower girl dress or tuxedo, but you're stressed they might not make it down the aisle, we definitely have some tips for you! First and foremost, you need to try to limit the number of small children in your wedding party. I know it seems adorable to have three flower girls in two ring bearers (all under the age of four) walk down the aisle, but odds are they're not going to make it. The less number of children you have, the less stress you’ll have getting them down the aisle.

Typically, any children below the age of five are a complete wildcard. Don’t worry though, no matter what they do, guests will always think it's adorable! Even throwing a fit in the middle of the aisle! Trust me, I've seen it. Having just a few children or less in your wedding party will definitely make you feel less stressed. You're more likely to be successful using less than having a large group of kids. When you're considering which kids to ask to be part of your wedding party, you want to make sure you consider their ages and their personalities. Anybody under the age of four is a wild card. Even if they're well behaved, they might be overwhelmed with the number of people looking at them when its time to walk down the aisle. They might freak out or be too shy and turn right back around to where the wedding planner is standing.

Considering their personalities is also important. Normally, well-behaved children are probably your best bet. If you have a wild child that you absolutely love and adore, but they're usually screaming and running around during your family occasions, they might not make the best ring bearer or flower girl. You should also consider an older sister or older brother above the age of four, between seven and 10, that might be able to participate as well. Typically, if there's a loved one that they know, that can walk with them, children under four or more likely to walk down the aisle instead of going in a completely opposite direction. Now the day of the wedding, you want to make sure that the kids that are in the wedding party arrive as late as possible. Definitely talk about the timing of your photos with your photographer to make sure that they're in the pictures, but that they don't have to be there too early.

You want to make sure that they have time for a nap and they'd been fed before they come on site. That way they're in a good mood. Also, you need to put on their fancy clothes as late as possible. Oftentimes, they're not used to being that dressed up. The shoes might be a little uncomfortable. The tights or the dress might be a little too tight and it might make them fussy. Keeping them in comfy clothes is probably best until the very last moment. I've even seen some parents, change their cute little kids into pajamas later during the reception just to make sure that they're in a good mood. Having an adult stand by can really help with the situation of getting them down the aisle. As a wedding planner, I typically choose a point person and that person knows if the little kid has any sort of malfunction or any type of temper tantrum. That adult knows that they are specifically the one to scoop them up and take them away from the ceremony. When we're planning the ceremony seating, we make sure that that adult has easy access to the child and the exit. Having that adult standby during the precessional to make sure that the child walks is also key to success. If you have a kid that's under four or if they have problems walking, review the plan with their parents to make sure an adult can scoop them up and we'll walk down the aisle.

You need to set up realistic expectations as well. If you're hoping your toddler (who can barely walk) will be able to walk down the aisle with you, could be wishful thinking. If they're having trouble walking in general, doing it with a hundred people staring at them during a hot outdoor event could be impossible. Make sure that you keep your expectations realistic. You can also think of other ways of incorporating them into your event.  For example, having an older sibling pull them in a cute little wagon!

Don’t forget, there's always bribery! As a wedding planner, I usually recommend bringing a small bag of M&M's or Skittles. Anything that comes in small pieces to tempt the child right before they walk down the aisle. Letting them know if they do a good job, they can have some of it as soon as the ceremony's over. Typically, we try to make sure that children do not have to stand at the front during the ceremony the entire time. They're most likely going to fidget, whine, crawl and do anything but stand still. So, what we'll do if they're under the age of four or five is have an adult in the front row that they are instructed to sit with. That way they can walk down the aisle, but then get comfortable with the rest of the audience. If you've decided to bribe them with candy such as Skittles or M&M's, this is also the perfect time to give them a little tiny piece of candy piece by piece throughout the entire ceremony in case they start whining.

Now, more than anything, you want to make sure that the kids feel comfortable. Start planning ahead, give them the flower basket a month in advance and tell him what an important job it is and how good they're going to do. Start having them practice throughout the house! You could also do this with a ring box or a ring bearer pillow during the rehearsal. Make a big deal about them walking down the aisle. Have everybody clap and celebrate if they make it all the way!

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