Children in Your Wedding Party

Screaming Flower Girl

This video that’s circulating around the web today, is a good example of what can happen when you include small age children in your wedding party. The key to avoiding this situation is a) don’t include them  or b) plan in advance to try and avoid a similiar meltdown.  While I can give advice to my clients today, over 30 years ago, I was that screaming child!

Just a month before my third birthday, I was to have the honour of being a flower girl at my uncle’s wedding.  Unfortunately, I never made it down the aisle because I had a temper tantrum just before the ceremony.  The only memory I have of this event is a picture taken of my mother as she walked down the aisle.  Needless to say, she didn’t look happy.  My story is not an uncommon one when young children are part of the bridal party.  While children under the age of six can look absolutely adorable, they are often associated with an added stress for the bride and groom.  Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned to help alleviate that stress.

1. Even though it’s nice to include a niece or nephew in your big day, be aware of a child’s limitaitons.  Remember it’s easier to reason with a five-year old, than with a two-year old in the middle of a temper tantrum.

2. Schedule photographs as late in the day as possible. Many young children need an early afternoon nap and without it, they won’t survive the excitment of a long day.

3. Be flexible – anything can happen at the last minute.  If a child chooses not to walk alone, but wants to walk with Mommy or Daddy, so be it.

4. If the child’s parents are walking separately from the child, have someone familiar with them waiting at the end of the aisle in the first row.  It also helps to have a new book or quiet toy waiting for them to entice them down the aisle.

5. Seat children during the ceremony near the exit in case they become noisy or restless and have to exit with a caregiver.

6. At the reception, have a small loot bag of treats waiting at the table. Fill it with dollar-store finds such as activity books, crayons, stickers etc,.  This is a good way to keep the children occupied during the speeches.

7. Most importantly, remember to order children-friendly meals.  A hungry child, is a cranky child.

8.  If there are a number of babies in your immediate family, try to set up a quiet room with a portable crib and change station.  Hire a babysitter, so that parents can enjoy themselves.

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