A Guest Post from author Jessica Soltis.
Almost nothing is more precious than a small child dressed up, right? If you have special nieces, nephews or little ones in your life, having them as flower girls or ring bearers will certainly add meaning and a touch of innocence to your wedding. This also goes for those who are allowing their child to play a part in a relative or close friend’s nuptials. Naturally, kids should not be treated like every other member of the wedding party; there are special steps you should take with them to ensure they are comfortable and that the big day goes off without a hitch.
Here are four small steps to consider:
As all eyes will be on them, it is important to prepare your children for the wedding by practicing the walk a couple times, ideally at home first. This way, they know what to do and expect when it’s “show time.” However, practicing in the living room can be a lot less nerve-wracking than having to perform on the big day; after all, your kids will be surrounded by a sea of adults, wedding commotion and cameras. It would be in the best interest of the children to have several more practice walks down the real aisle so they can get an idea of the length of the walk, where it is taking place and what the surroundings look like. If the little ones are still obviously nervous after many practice walks, it could beneficial to have them walk down with a bridesmaid so they are not alone. If you think there needs to be a little more coaching when it comes to the nerves, Study Village outlines several ways to identify certain signs of stage fright and how to calm your child.
Both the bride and the parents should have a say in what your little one wears for the big day. Of course you want the bride to be happy with the chosen attire and it should seamlessly blend into the wedding party. However, it is important that the flower girl or ring bearer feels comfortable to avoid any potential meltdowns. Having the mother, child and bride take a trip together to choose the outfit would be in the best interest of everyone. If this isn’t possible because of physical distance, ask the bride where she bought her bridal gown and/or bridesmaid dresses. If it’s a national wedding dress retailer like David’s Bridal, you can make sure that your child’s garment harmonizes with the specific color swatch or belongs to the same design line for a consistent aesthetic.
Consider bringing a change of clothes for your child for the reception. The freedom to switch in to something less confining might be comforting.
The typical thirty-to-sixty-minute ceremony may be too much for a young child’s patience. It is important for mom and dad to make sure the child gets to bed early the night before and if possible naps before the ceremony. As many ceremonies start around the traditional afternoon nap time, a child that is well rested will be much happier. Consider ways to keep them occupied before the festivities begin so they are not antsy. Having them play a video game will keep their minds busy without wearing them out. If the child runs around too much right beforehand, they may physically exhaust themselves or, reversely, have a hard time calming down.
The Right Mindset
If possible, take the time to explain the significance of the day to the children involved. They will likely appreciate knowing what a special role they are playing in the day and how important they are to the bride and groom. Making the kids feel important and appreciated is paramount to ensuring that they are on their best behavior. Additionally, having a treat awaiting them as a reward for being on their best behavior never hurt either.
Finally, remember this is a fun experience for your child but also something completely new. Preparing for stage fight, practicing the walk and finding the right attire are all key to having this go as smoothly as possible. Keeping all of this in mind, will not only create a memorable day for you and the happy couple, but an opportunity for the child to feel incredibly special.
Author Bio: Jessica Soltis lives in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She works in human resources in Conshohocken. She is an avid animal lover, likes going out with friends and her fiancé, spending time with her family, being outdoors and cooking. She is excitedly planning her own dream wedding for May 18th 2014.