Including Children in the Wedding - Wedding Planning Advice from a Professional
Someday, I will write a post about the child-free wedding (yes, it can be done!) but today I am going to focus on the beautiful ways that you can include children in your wedding.
Not only children as guests and party attendants (Flower Girl and Ring Bearer), but children for whom the day is just as monumental as it is to you.
Your own children, when so privileged to witness your wedding ceremony, will love these simple and sweet gestures that offer not only inclusion but unity! Whether you already have a child together as a couple or are welcoming a child into the family as step-parent, this blog post is for you.
Beautiful Ways to Include Children in the Wedding
One thing I love to remind my couples is that children, even the calmest and most well-behaved ones, are unpredictable.
If you have magic visions of a perfect flower girl tossing petals evenly down the aisle, allow me to share with you the reality we are often faced with:
She’s going to be upset about that beautiful hairpiece that you picked out on Etsy.
She’s going to spill juice on her dress.
When she reaches the aisle, she will either dump most of the petals at the beginning and then run to her mother, OR, be so shy that she will walk down the aisle tucked into her mother’s skirt.
Following this, you may or may not be able to create one of those iconic bride + flower girl moments for the camera, but that’s not the point.
The point is the story, the moments as they unfold, however they unfold.
Expecting perfection isn’t fair, but the best part? When you expect them to be children, odds are, they will be absolutely perfect!
Including Honorary Children in the wedding
‘Honorary children’ are the children who are a big part of your lives but may not be part of your marriage and new family.
Here are some fun ways to honor children and young guests at your wedding:
Make each child a wedding-day fun kit, complete with some coloring sheets, snacks, and glow sticks. (PRO TIP: Keep snacks free of peanuts, dairy, and gluten. Some good choices are small tangerine oranges, gluten-free crisps, and applesauce pouches).
Set up a fun kid-friendly area, where they might find games such as Chutes n’ Ladders or tic-tac-toe made out of wooden blocks.
Consider hiring a professional babysitter, to play with the children at your wedding during the reception. This will allow your adult guests freedom to mingle and party and will make for a super memorable evening for the kids.
Including Biological and Step Children in the Wedding
Not many children are around yet to see their parents wed.
It’s an honor and one that they may remember. If they are too young to remember (perhaps under age 6-8), you will, and it will be incredibly special to have them celebrate with you. Someday you will show them the photos and share the day with them all over!
Here are some beautiful ways to honor them
Give them a special gift, hand-picked for them as a surprise on the day of the wedding. Even an infant will find joy in colorful wrappings that hide a beautiful dress or new toy. Older children may enjoy receiving a ‘mature’ gift such as a piece of jewelry or a nice watch.
Include them as junior members of the wedding party. I have even seen young men stand with their fathers as the best man! In their position with the wedding party, make sure they are invited to attend fun and child-friendly events such as picking out ties and final dress fittings.
Include them in your unity ceremony. Have your children step forward to the altar and help you combine sand or plant a tree.
Write them a letter that you read out-loud at the ceremony or at the reception.
Write them a letter that you ask them to enclose in a time capsule for their own wedding day.
Have your children ‘say vows’ (this can be especially beautiful for step-children) and share in a more emotional aspect of the wedding ceremony.
Give them some input in the venue or decor. Children may not be ‘Pinterest’ perfect, but their contribution to the ambiance will mean so much more.
Have them create art for the reception. Framed hand-prints and abstract paintings using your wedding colors give them their own space to shine. Many venues have places to display things like this, and you may even find that they are a sweet addition to the gift or cake tables.
Have them paint pottery for your cake cutting. Visit a place such as Arts on Fire in Highlands Ranch, CO and let them decorate a plate. Use this plate during your cake cutting, or even as your cake display!
I would love to hear about other ways you’ve seen children incorporated into weddings. Leave me a comment below and share your ideas with the world!
If you are looking for a wedding planner to help you include children (and make sure that everything else goes smoothly), send me a note!
I’d love to hear from you.