While it’s true that kids can do no wrong when they’re dressed like dapper darlings in a wedding, it can still be nerve-wracking to give your little one a major role in someone else’s nuptials. Soothe your worries by planning ahead and preparing your ring bearer or flower girl. We’ve put together the best tips from wedding experts around the country.
Jenifer Apazidis of JAGboston Events suggests paying special attention to young wedding party members at the rehearsal. “The rehearsal dinner can be a stressful evening for all. Sometimes the children in the wedding party that are attending this ‘adult-oriented event’ are the only ones there,” says Apazidis. “This is a great time to take a small corner of the room (or a small separate room if possible) and bring in an entertainer. Sometimes a magician, friendly clown, etc... makes all the difference and lets the adults relax and enjoy the evening.”
Ask the bride ahead of time if young attendants are welcome to join in the primping before the ceremony. If it’s okay with the bride, allow junior bridesmaids and flower girls who are old enough to participate with the adults. Denise Buzy-Pucheu, owner and operator of The Persnickety Bride advises parents to let girls have fun getting ready. “It's fun and they get to be part of the process,” she says. “If you have a younger child that wants to get nails polished as well, that is fine — but always remember, less is more and pretty light pink nails or a French manicure are fine.”
Make arrangements ahead of time for children with food allergies, sensitivities and pickiness. Instead of arranging for a special meal, it may also be easier to pack a meal and snacks the child will eat. “Having picky children at a reception is difficult for parents, grandparents and the newlyweds! If a table can be set up for children with an older teen watching them, that is the best situation," says Buzy-Pucheu. "It helps parents enjoy the wedding activities and allows children to have fun as well.”
Some weddings last until well past bedtime for little ones. Even kids who can usually handle staying up late may end up exhausted after a full day of preparation and festivities. Buzy-Pucheu recommends arranging for child care with a family member or babysitter. “It will give you time to enjoy the party and ensure that others have a good time as well. If at a hotel, make provisions for children to go watch a movie or do something that they would enjoy. If you can take that job off the bride and groom’s to-do list, all the better.”
Wendy Hartigan, a wedding planner, says that she is frequently asked how to manage children in wedding parties. “The first thing I say is, ‘whatever the little ones do is cute.’ You can't stress over it. We practice it, we talk about it and we make them feel really important. We plan for a grownup to take over if they falter or get confused once they get up the aisle. If they are really little, we have them go in pairs holding hands.” She suggests even using props like decorated wagons for very young attendants.
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