Children have become a bigger part of weddings than they have in previous years.  There are more people getting remarried that already have kids or individuals who have children before they take their first vows.  The prospect of a new parent in a child’s life is a big change.  This may make them feel nervous or uncertain about their future.  Making the child or children feel an important part of the wedding is a key ingredient to making them feel bonded and more included in this union.

There are several roles that children can get involved in.  Depending on the age of the children, they can be included as a bridesmaid, flower girl, best man, ring bearer, maid of honor, reader, singer, or even an usher.  Regardless if you are having a small or a large wedding, there are plenty of excuses to have your children dressed up in a special outfit that signifies that they are an important part of your big day.

Chris, a friend of mine was about to embark on his first marriage to a woman who had four children from a previous marriage.  He never tried to step on the toes of their father who was active in their lives, but always made sure the kids knew they were an important factor in his relationship with their mother.  When it was time for him to walk down the aisle with his bride to be, they both made sure to involve the kids in duties and planning of the wedding.  They wanted the kids to feel that their views and help were important. With four kids it was easy to make an assembly line to help out with the invitations.  Stuffing envelopes, licking stamps, writing the address, anything to make the children feel involved.  And any duties the kids could provide helped take some of the weight off of them.  The end result was that the children felt more involved and greeted it with near excitement as if they were getting married themselves.

Children love to be asked their opinion, so encourage them to give their suggestions on flowers, colors, outfits, wedding music, etc.  Even if their taste might be questionable, people love being asked their advice and your kids will too.

Some children are shy or may be resistant to get involved.  There could be many reasons behind this and you should never force a child.  This is meant to be a happy day, and no one needs the added stress of a reluctant wedding party.  Be sure to gently remind them that their presence at your wedding is important to you, and that that is enough if that is where their comfort level remains.  Be sensitive to the child’s feelings.  If they are not comfortable being in the wedding party there are always behind the scenes jobs that they can get involved in.  And keep in mind that different children may have different comfort levels.  Be open and talk to your kids to be sure this is a fun event for everyone.