Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Children and weddings

I like kids, a lot.  They see the world through eyes that have not learned to ignore the mundane, and their attention flits from place to place in the most unexpected fashions. When including children in your wedding ceremony, it is important to remember that they are not cuter, little adults, they are children.  Their ability to stand still, remember instructions and pay attention are not fully developed.

I'd like to share a few tips about helping kids get through their role in a wedding without driving you or anyone else crazy.

  • Very young children often still need naps.  Try to make sure that your little ones will be well rested for the ceremony; this may require a few days of schedule changes or arranging for a quiet corner for them to nap in.
  • Start talking about what's expected from them well in advance.  Not only will this help them remember what to do, it will help them develop confidence.  Explain what things are important and why, and don't forget to tell them that you still love them even if they goof up a bit.
  • Make them feel special: go with them when it's time to pick out their clothing or send them a note if you can't.
  • Have a sense of humor.  Things happen, if you laugh it off, it will make a better memory than something you get upset over. Kids trip, teeth fall out at the most inopportune time, and shoes get forgotten, but it doesn't have to be blemish on your day.
  • Bribes are a good way to get boisterous or nervous children to behave. Your attendants can help with this. (The Royal Wedding last year had Prince Harry doing a wonderful job of this).
  • Rehearse everything!
  • Don't forget to thank your littlest attendants; they remember events like this for a long time.
  • Never, never, never give a child your actual rings to carry!  Your officiant or attendants can carry the real ones and offer them up at the last minute, but finding a wedding band in sea of grass or sand after they've been dropped is nearly impossible, not to mention scary.
  • Make sure someone has some activities to keep the little ones happy during the reception.  A friend of mine, who had a Winter Solstice wedding, not only ordered special food for her child guests, she also made them little stockings with a small, inexpensive game, a coloring book, crayons, and a snack inside.  It kept the kids happy and quiet and made them feel very welcome as guests.