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Children in your Rochester wedding

Including children in your wedding party can add charm to your wedding. Here are some tips on making this a success.

Choose carefully

You may have a child in mind who is very important to you, such as a niece or nephew. Before you include them in your wedding, be as sure as you possibly can that they will be capable of handling their duties. Both the child and his or her parents should be enthusiastic about it.
If the child seems hesitant or scared, even if the parents assure you everything will be fine, think twice about it. One way to determine if the children are ready is to take them to a regular religious service and see how they handle themselves. This will give you an idea of what to expect.

Children’s roles

Flower girl:

She is usually between four and six years old. She can carry either a nosegay or a basket of flowers. Sometimes the flower girl immediately precedes the bride and her father, scattering petals in front of the bride. If you plan to do this, keep in mind that the petals can be slippery to walk on, especially in high heels. Have her scatter the petals to the sides of the aisle, rather than the center.

Ring bearer:

This can be either a boy or a girl, usually between three and eight years old. He or she carries a pillow with an imitation ring attached to it. (Your best man and maid of honor should be holding the actual bands.)

Train bearers or pages:

These can be either boys or girls, and should be slightly older than flower girls or ring bearer. They should walk, in a pair, behind the bride.

Junior bridesmaid:

She is usually between nine and fourteen years old. She is considered nearly the same as a bridesmaid, but needs no partner.

Apparel

The attendant’s parents are usually responsible for purchasing their children’s clothes. The girls are dressed in a more youthful version of the bridesmaid’s dress, although they can also be dressed in white. The boys wear either the same formal wear as the adult, or may wear all white: shorts, shirt, tie, and shoes.

When to include the children

They should be treated the same as all other attendants. They and their parents should be included in any pre-wedding events, especially the rehearsal dinner. You should also give them an attendant’s gift, something suitable to their age.

Stepchildren

Take special care to include stepchildren in the ceremony. You want this day to be as special to them as it is to you. You may consider having your son “give you away,” rather than your father, or have your fiance’s daughter as a maid of honor.
In addition, some parents are incorporating an additional ceremony into their wedding, where the adults “marry” the children as well. There is sometimes an exchange of rings, symbolizing that not only are the adults joined, the children are joined into the family as well. Ask your celebrant about these types of ceremonies.

How to avoid problems

Children, especially young children, are unpredictable. You will have enough to worry about on your wedding day. These hints may help to ease any qualms you may have.

  • Enlist their parent’s help. Ask them to help the child become familiar with their duties and clothing. Suggest that they practice walking down an imaginary aisle, etc.
  • Have the children walk in pairs. If one child forgets what to do, another child may be able to remind them. You should assign the older child to watch out for the younger. You may have a Junior brides maid walk a ring bearer or flower girl down the aisle.
  • Name one adult to be responsible for the children. Ask one of your attendants to control the children at the rehearsal and at the wedding. If the children are getting orders from many adults, they may become confused. It will also give the children a sense of security to have an adult they feel they can rely on.
  • Seat a relative of the child in the first pew. This will serve two purposes. First, the child can keep an eye on them as they walk down the aisle. Second, the child can sit with them during the service. This will help prevent the child from disrupting the service.
  • What if the child refuses at the last minute to walk down the aisle? Rather than insist, just allow them to quietly take a seat in the back of the church. It is better to do this than insist and have a screaming child being dragged down the aisle.

Consider alternative roles

The children don’t have to be an actual part of your wedding party to participate in the day. They can hand out programs at the service, or serve favors or punch at the reception. Another possibility is having an older child light the candles before the ceremony. Older teens may give a reading or prayer at the wedding. If the child is very young, you may want them dressed as a member of the wedding party, but don’t have them walk down the aisle. Just include them in the pictures.