Children in Weddings: Tips for Controlling Your Tiniest Attendants

Whether they're your own kids or someone else's, including children in weddings is an easy way to up the cuteness factor—but it could just as easily end in disaster. Children are unpredictable, so being prepared can help you control any potential chaos and ensure a smooth ceremony. Here are some tips to consider if you intend to include some cute kiddos in your ceremony:

Consider the Child

Not all children are the same. Some crave the spotlight from a young age, while others are shy. Some can adapt to a wide range of situations, while others do better with a routine. Before assigning little ones a role, consider whether it actually suits them. That doesn't mean your wallflower niece can't be a flower girl, but perhaps she'd be more comfortable walking down the aisle with a beloved relative rather than making the journey solo. Or, perhaps your hyperactive little ring bearer could be asked to sit down with his parents after presenting the rings.

Explain Their Role in a Way They'll Understand

Even very young kids can understand more than you might expect. Explain why you want them to be involved in your day, what they'll be doing, and how you need them to behave. However, be sure to keep it on their level. Make it seem like a fun event they'll look forward to participating in and tell them they'll remember the day for the rest of their lives.

Communicate with the Caregiver

Talking to the child about his or her role imparts a feeling of responsibility and maturity, but the real key is communicating with the parents or caregiver (especially if it's your kid someone else will be watching for the day). They'll be the ones to ensure the child is well-rested, fed, and in the right state of mind before the ceremony. They can also prepare with any practicing, wardrobe concerns, and so on. You should also agree on a backup plan in case things don't go as planned.

Be Adaptable

Being flexible with kids is a good rule of thumb anytime, not just at weddings. But know they can be especially unpredictable at a major event when they're meeting new people or their schedule is thrown out of whack. Because of that, you should expect things to go awry. They may have a tantrum minutes before the ceremony or start babbling when you're going through your vows. Be prepared for bad or unexpected behavior with a quick game plan or exit strategy. And know that if they ultimately don't make it down the aisle, it's not the end of the world.

Including children in weddings doesn't have to be stressful. As long as you're realistic about what you're getting into—and prepared for the unexpected—you'll create lasting memories for the child, your guests, and yourself.