Inviting children to take part in your celebration can make it even more special. However, the last thing you want to worry about on your wedding day is your little flower girl and ring bearer becoming impatient, restless or fidgety on the day of your wedding. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that the day goes smoothly and without any surprises.

num1As a general rule, when choosing children to take part in your wedding as a flower girl or ring bearer, it is usually best (or at least more predictable) to have children ages four and above. Of course, each child is different and you’ll want to consider their individual personality (very shy vs. outgoing) and maturity level as well. If a child is so nervous about going down the isle, do not push the issue, simply find something else in the wedding for them to do.

One of our staff members had a boy who was terrified to walk down the isle with the pillow, so we simply re-designated him to hand out the wedding programs before the ceremony. He was thrilled and relieved that he did not have to do this task and was very happy that he was still a part of the wedding. Also, an idea for a girl would be to hand out the rice or bubbles for the celebration as the bride and groom leave. These are great ways to involve family children without hurting anyone’s feelings by not having them as the ring bearer or flower girl. It always makes for great pictures of the bride and groom surrounded by a bunch of children.

num2In the weeks before the wedding day, start talking to your flower girl and ring bearer about the events that will take place before and throughout the wedding day. Get them excited! Explain what they will wear, where they will go, where they will stand and what they will have to do. The better young children can visualise their role in the wedding, the better prepared they will be to cooperate and participate as you would like them to. Children want to please, so make sure that the bride, planner or parents teach the children what is expected of them before the big day.

num3Most importantly, choose outfits for the children that are comfortable. Choose comfortable fabrics – – ones that don’t scratch or irritate the skin. Just know how you feel when you are wearing something you want to tear off! The most important tip that we can give you is buy something that the child LIKES to wear. Do you remember how you were when you were a kid? Involve them in the selection of their wedding attire. If they feel pretty or handsome, it will show in their attitude and behavior. Be sure the children wear comfortable shoes, and if the shoes are new – that they have a chance to “break them in” prior to the wedding day.

In August, one of our staff members attended a wedding in Florida (hottest month) and the child was dressed in tights and a long sleeved dress. The bride had chosen it because she too had long sleeves on her dress. However, what she failed to realize is that her dress had the removable jacket (for the ceremony) and was strapless for the reception and the childs DID NOT. The child was wanting to get undressed before she went down the isle and ended up being taken home to change right after the ceremony. This is the last thing that you want. Think about what you choose for them!

num4Purchase some wedding books- – there are some wonderful books that not only inform flower girls and ring bearers of their role in the wedding, but also welcome and celebrate them as a very special part of the bridal party.

num5Invite all of your children involved and their parents to the rehearsal. Let the children practice walking down the aisle several times so that they will feel more comfortable of their role on the “big day”. If the parents or the bride or groom are able to practice with the child before the rehearsal, the more the better. Remember, the night of the rehearsal there are a lot of things going on and the children may need extra practice ahead of time.

num6If you are not having your children stand with the wedding party during the ceremony and want them to sit with their parents, make sure that the children know exactly where their parents will be seated. Depending on the length and style of the ceremony, you may want the children to go and sit with their parents. Additionally, make sure that the parents know when to send them back up to walk out with the wedding party.

num7The parents of the flower girl and ring bearer should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. However, many rehearsal dinners can go as late as 10:00 pm or even later. Therefore, it is recommended that the children not attend the dinner, especially if it is the night before the wedding. Think, think, think! Do you want a grumpy child the next morning who didn’t get enough sleep? Its not fair to the child nor the event. Talk with the parents to see if a babysitter could be arranged ahead of time.

num8You may not feel as though it your place to intrude, but find a way to ask the parents of your flower girl and ring bearer to make sure their children are well rested before the wedding. A good night’s sleep the night before, or even a nap the day of, can help little ones get through the day.

No Sugar Before The Ceremony. Anyone who has been around a child on sugar knows that this is worth not repeating. No matter how much you may be tempted… NO SUGAR BEFORE THE CEREMONY. Make sure that the child has had a good breakfast and take some snacks, we all know how long weddings can run.

num9Assign a bridesmaid to each child in the wedding party. Have each of your helpers keep a goody bag handy. Fill it with nutritious treats (dry cereal, crackers, carrot sticks), crayons and paper, a bottle of water and small travel games. These kid supplies will come in handy while traveling from the church to the reception, while waiting for photographs to be taken, or during the reception itself.

num10Take your pictures with the flower girl and ring bearer as early in the day as possible –preferably before the ceremony, if you can. There is less chance that their outfits could get dirty, torn, or wrinkled… you know how kids are! We’ve seen some Kool-Aid stained children go down the isle because children were left unattended. Try to take their clothes to the site and put them on there so they stay fresh. Your child will appreciate that they only have to be dressed up as little time as possible.

num11 Be sure to express your heartfelt appreciation to the children in your bridal party. Photographs make a cherished gift for flower girls and ring bearers of all ages. They will enjoy reflecting on pictures of themselves and remembering the special role they played in your wedding. Remind them when you see them as how they made your wedding day special. Kids at this age remember these things for the rest of their lives, so make it a good memory!

num12Kids are unpredictable! All the practice and preparation in the world does not mean that they will perform their role “flawlessly”. Don’t expect perfection. Remember, if it doesn’t go just as planned, it will make for entertaining clips in your wedding video. The most important thing to remember is that they are human, and just because they don’t do things perfectly, doesn’t mean its the end of the world.

At our company owners wedding, she had asked her flower girl not to just “drop” the flowers down the church isle, but rather to “scatter” them all over. Well… when she came down the isle, she “threw” the flowers up in the air and all the way down the isle! There were flowers everywhere- on the isle, in the pews, and all on the guests! What seemed like a disaster turned out to be one of the most memorable highlights of the day. And it didn’t hurt to break the ice and put a smile on everyone’s face!