I was just looking at photos the other day from my wedding, and every time I see the shots of my niece, Lauren, I can’t help but crack up at the memory of her performance down the aisle. She was three years old and we told her to make sure she threw the petals from her basket and walked toward her mom (who was one of my bridesmaids). What we adults forget sometimes is that children are literal little beings. She threw the petals alright, with the force of a major league pitcher – she put so much effort into it that she kept letting out little grunts all along the way. Needless to say, our guests were cracking up. Hey, whatever works, right? The bottom line is that she made it down the aisle and did exactly what we asked her to do – she just did it with gusto.
I love the idea of having kids in weddings. They represent an innocence that just makes the whole day a little sweeter. But kids are tricky, and require us to get a little creative now and then. I also think a wedding is an event where we can bend the rules a little regarding bribery. Our nephew was five at the time of our wedding and refused to be the ring bearer. He said he’d do it if he could be a groomsman. I still don’t know how he came up with that – he’s slick. I told him he could be the special groomsman who got to carry the ring, but he saw right through me. In the end, he gave in for $10 (though he tried to get me for $100).
If the kids in the wedding are very young, it’s always good to have them walk together. If you have a junior bridesmaid, she can follow up behind them and scoot them along if anyone decides to take a break on their way to the front (I’ve seen this happen – pretty funny stuff when the flower girl sits down on the aisle to play with her petals). Once the little ones are ‘on stage’, make sure a bridesmaid and groomsman are assigned to take care of them. My brother and sister-in-law just held the kids’ hands and they managed pretty well, though of course they were disinterested after about five minutes. If the parents are seated as guests, it’s definitely more likely that your flower girl or ring bearer may want to go sit with them. If this happens, my advice is to let them. That’s much less of a distraction that hearing them sqeal, “Momeeeee!”
Know up front what you want your ceremony and photos to look like because kids bring an whole new element into the mix. If you think kids are cute from afar, but think they can be annoying – don’t have them in your wedding. There is nothing wrong with that. In the end, kids will be kids. They are adorable, funny, and unpredictable. The unpredictablility is what is fun about having them in weddings, so heed this advice – if you plan to have flower girls and ring bearers, you have to embrace not having a flawless ceremony with no distractions. It just may give you a great story to tell.
(All Photos by April Greer Photography)