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a perfect wedding ceremony with flower girls and page boys – the really young ones!

It can be delightful to have young children be in the bridal party and a part of the ceremony however for everyone to enjoy the experience ensure that you think well about the logistics – it really can make all the difference.

Getting young children to walk down the aisle on your wedding day is very different to getting them to run to ‘daddy or Uncle Bruce’ at the front when you are doing a wedding rehearsal.  Entering into a ceremony and seeing one hundred faces looking at you and cameras clicking and flashing, can make any person shake in their shoes, especially if they are not used to the limelight. For many adults being the centre of attention can cause some anxiety or fear.  Sometimes this feeling can come over a person quite by surprise.  This is no different for young children.

a few tips to help everyone to enjoy the day

  • Introduce the children to the celebrant to encourage a sense of familiarity and ease with the person leading the proceedings. If they are a child friendly celebrant this rapport may make it easier for the young ones at the ceremony.
  • Make sure there is time for a rehearsal with the young person (if they are able to understand). If they are really young – under 3 – then have their carer present and discuss alternative options in case the little one gets distressed and needs support. Let everyone know that if the young person just doesn’t want to participate then this must be part of the back up plan.
  • Keep the atmosphere around the children relaxed yet with clear expectations and make it fun. Most children (over the 3) respond well to the formality on the day and play their role beautifully.
  • To help keep very small children focused when walking up the aisle or ‘garden path’ to the ceremonial area, place small shells that can create a trail for the children to follow.  During the rehearsal, get the children to practice following the trail.  They can also be given the task to drop a handful of petals on each shell. This will keep them focused and get them right to the front, usually with a big smile on their faces, as they successfully complete the task! (You can use medium sized seed pods or anything that is big enough to be seen yet not large enough to create an obstacle course.
  • Young children often get quite fidgety when they have to stand for a long period and because of their movement can become the focus of everyone’s attention, especially if they are sticking their fingers up their nose!  Instead of having the children standing up with the bridal party during the ceremony, you can have seats ready for them to sit down, preferably close to their parents.  If they are the children of the bride and groom, have a couple of special pillows or chairs nearby… near a carer or grandparent if they are young.
  • If you have special clothes for them to wear, let them try them on beforehand. Finding out on the day that the colour is itchy or the shoes are too tight and new to walk in, won’t make them or you very happy.  If it is really hot, check with the young boys that their collars and ties are not too tight. It wouldn’t be the first time a young child has fainted with the heat and excitement.
  • On the day when everyone is getting ready, delegate someone to be there especially for the children. It may be away from the hustle and bustle of the bride and her bridesmaids. This can help to keep the preparations and the children calm and unflustered.
  • Needless to say, make sure the children are fed and watered, and have gone to the toilet beforehand.
  • On the wedding day favours can work well. The promise of bubbles or a small treat after the ceremony can encourage cooperation. (Ensure that if it is a toy that is gifted that it is a quiet one)
  • If they are really shy, consider having them walk down with a bridesmaid or groomsman, or the parents of the child. If they are the children of the bride or groom, the children could come to the entrance of the ceremony area and then their father can walk down and bring them forward.
  • If they really don’t want to do it, relax, go with the flow and let it go. After all you want everyone to have a great time - that includes the children.  Get them in for some photos afterwards instead.
A few questions to ask to assist in the planning of your wedding day:
If you have young children in your bridal party approximately how old will they be on your wedding day?

Why are you choosing them?

What do you expect of them?  Getting clear on your expectations can help you do a reality check on whether they are realistic.

What are your concerns? What is your back up plan?

If they are young, who will be their carer on the day?
Children in the bridal party can make a delightful addition to the ceremony with their innocence, beauty and funny ways. Thinking ahead and having a few plans can make it go really smoothly. Enjoy.

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what people say

Heidi, Cairns
Hi Wendy, I have been reading through your site and from feeling overwhelmed at the whole wedding planning now feel more relaxed!

Candy & Lincoln, Sydney, NSW
Your book gave us an insight as to what the important aspects of a perfect ceremony are. Had I not read your book I don’t know whether I would have put so much thought into the most memorable part of our wedding.
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