Often a bride will wish to include the smaller members of her family or friends for her wedding party. These flower girls or ring bearers can be awfully cute in a wedding party but at times, can be plain awful as well. Why is that? Well, often, this is the first time a small child will be exposed to so much attention placed on him. We as adults have had to experience of having that adrenaline rush when all eyes are focused on us but imagine a small child, for her, this can be the first time that the overwhelming feeling of too much attention hits them right before they walk down the aisle. So, what to do?
Explaining to them, especially the two-year-old, what is going to happen is meaningless to them. In fact, the more you talk about it, the faster you will see their heads shake with a firm “no”. I hear it on the other end of the phone with the moms as they try to take their measurements for their flower girl dress or ring bearer suit. “Come on honey, let’s take your measurement for the pretty dress we talked about” – and low and behold, I hear the child scream and run away.
Here are my suggestions for the process:
1. MEASUREMENTS: As you will need measurements for their outfit, make it a game! Ask them to stand against the wall, and place a pencil on their heads so that they can see the dot; enlist their help to do the measurement. Take a tape measure to the dot and for the age appropriate child, see them read the number to you at the floor. When you take their chest and waist, especially if they are giving you a hard time, ask them to take yours first. Soon, they will allow you to take theirs AND pretty much they will want to take measurements for every person they see!
2. PREPARATION: Even the tiny ones will need to understand what they are going to be doing. There are many cute books out there to read or a scene from a movie to help them understand what they will be doing. On our Pegeen (http://www.pegeen.com) website, we have plenty of photos of children walking down the aisle. I point out one particular wedding from our Featured Weddings of the Month for February 2008 when you see the little girls coming down the aisle, with a “line leader” (the oldest, the Jr. Bridesmaid’s) holding a flower garland with the little ones trailing behind. Preparation, talking, showing books and photos, and even a movie or two isn’t a bad idea.
3. THE REHEARSAL: Certainly, the rehearsal is a way for everyone to know their places and responsibilities but for children, the practice doesn’t emphasize how many people the following day (usually the rehearsal is the evening before) will be “staring” at them, and although harmless, it can be very frightening to children, especially small ones. After the rehearsal, it’s not a bad idea to talk to them and let them know (tomorrow) all the people will be there but you know just about every single one! Name many of them and the following day, it can be a game for them to spot their cousins or aunts and uncles, especially if you ask them to sit at the end of the aisle. Certainly, the rehearsal is a way for everyone to know their places and responsibilities but for children but preparing them in advance for the number of guests!
4. THE WEDDING: This is the toughest time. Remember though, anything they do will be accompanied by chuckles of your guests. The older children, those 6 and older, are usually with it and are not quite a shy as a three-year-old, so they can help the younger ones. If however the child is “solo” know that there may be some hesitation on their part but they will make it through especially if you prepare beforehand.
We suggest that, when possible, consider the following:
5. Have them walk down the aisle with older children or their parents.
6. Make it a fun place when they get there – books are always good. When mine was little, I kept him busy at the ceremony with cheerios and hid them in my gown.
Here are some other fantastic tips for keeping the kids happy at wedding receptions:
7. Hire someone to sit with them at the reception. Mary Poppins not available? Well it really is better to hire someone they are used to but not practical for traveling or all of the children (because they have their own baby sitters they are used to).
8. Bring some interesting things for them to do when they get bored
9. Can’t say enough about that Kids table – they like the independence and the sugar.
10. Include them in your dancing – and what kid doesn’t like The Macarena?
Our chat is always open until 11pm, and at certain busy times, till midnight and we are happy to share ideas from other brides. We have a neat page that we put some great ideas on it – one of my favorites is the wagon! http://www.pegeen.com/great-ideas.php