Many of my cool couples include children in their New Jersey wedding ceremony as flower girls, ring bearers, or ushers. I love it! No wedding ceremony should be perfect; it’s just no fun that way! The sponteneity and joy that kids add to the ceremony really underscore the importance of family and bring home the notion that life is full of surprises. That being said, there are ways to make sure that the littlest members of your wedding party are happy, comfortable and cooperative!
Let them practice what they are going to be doing; scattering petals, offering the ring pillow (which will not have the “real” rings on it, please…), walking the ring bearer dog. Even if you are not planning a formal rehearsal, make time for the children to get used to the ceremony space before you start.
Make sure they really want to be part of the ceremony; it can be a really scary experience. If they are really nervous about “performing” in front of so many people, pair them up with other children they know or an adult that will make them feel comfortable.
If you have really young children in your bridal party, be prepared for the possibility that they will not have the attention span to be dignified and motionless for the ceremony. Block off a few seats in the front row, and let their parents (who should also be sitting in the front row…) know that if they get antsy, they can simply come over and sit down. You might even put an age appropriate toy on their seats which will do double duty at the reception. Now, if YOU get antsy during the ceremony, well, that’s a totally different story……. (Thank you to dresseschat for these cuties!)