How will the little ones fit into your wedding and your wedding party?
Kids are fun as members of the bridal party. They often provide a few laughs due to their unpredictability. They are often the high-point of the wedding.
I have listed some of the roles that can be given to children in your wedding, including approximate age guidelines to help make things go smoother. The age, maturity and personality of the child should be considered when making your choices.
Ages three and under are sometimes pulled in a wagon or pushed in a stroller, then seated with family; dressed in tiny, adorable formal wear. Keep in mind that often small children (under the age of five) become distracted easily and notoriously have small attention spans during the ceremony. They often become bored and restless. Be sure to let the parents know that if that happens it is okay with you to have them seated after they walk up the aisle.
Preteens and teens (11 to 15 years old) could be assigned to watch after the registration book, accepting gifts from guests to gift table, be ushers, passing out bubbles or birdseed, wedding programs, distribute wedding favors to the guests at the reception, etc.
Ushers is a category designed to create a special place in your wedding party for kids who are too old to be flower girls or ring bearers (4-8 years old), but too young to participate in all of the rituals of the adult honor attendants.
Junior bridesmaid or junior groomsman, usually ages 11-15, stands with the wedding party at the end of the row, dressed in child version of wedding party attire and often the same wedding attire.
Flower girls are generally between four and eight years old. Sometimes, “mature” two and three year olds pull it off quite charmingly, possibly with parents or other children they know escorting them down the aisle. If the girl is a bit older, you might consider making her a junior bridesmaid – junior bridesmaids wear dresses similar (or often the same) in color and style as the bridesmaids, they walk down the aisle in the procession, and they stand at the altar with the other attendants. A young girl over the age of eight could walk down the aisle as a junior bridesmaid instead of a flower girl. The flower girl tosses petals on the aisle before the bride walks down it. You can have as many flower girls as you would like.
Appropriate ages for ring bearers range anywhere from four to eight years old. Anything younger can pose problems due to unpredictable behavior – it may be difficult to coax them down the aisle, and they may not be able to stand through the duration of the ceremony. Some think that children over the age of eight may be too old to serve as ring bearers. It may be more appropriate for a boy older than eight to serve as a junior groomsman or an usher. You may have two ring bearers if desired.
Ring bearers often carry a white pillow with faux rings attached to it. Sometimes, depending upon the age of the child, it may be wise to have the best man actually carry the real rings. To those who may want the best man and the maid of honor to each carry a ring I would remind you that the maid of honor usually carries a bouquet and at some point during the ceremony may also hold the bride’s bouquet and she doesn’t have pockets. So… I vote for the best man to carry both rings.
A gift attendant (ages 12 and up) is responsible for the gift table. He or she watches the table during the reception to insure that gifts remain on the table. After the reception, he or she helps to load the car with gifts. This is a simple role that is great for the responsible child.
The guest book attendant’s (ages 14 and up) job is to get people to sign the guest book. He or she should be in a location where this is feasible, and should ask each person that enters to sign the guest book. This is not a role for a shy child, but should be reserved for someone who is friendly and reasonably outgoing. Instruct this attendant to ask each guest to “please sign the guestbook” or “will you sign the guestbook” for best results.
A Junior Attendant (ages 8 to 14) is the perfect title for a young girl in the groom’s wedding party or a young boy in the bride’s wedding party. See junior bridesmaid and junior groomsman usher for role description.
A Junior Bridesmaid (ages 8 to 14) is reserved for girls who are too old to be a flower girl and too young to be a bridesmaid. In most cases, her only duty is to come to the rehearsal and to walk down the aisle. Some couples do include junior bridesmaids in other festivities such as showers.
Junior Ushers (ages 8 to 14) is reserved for boys who are too old to be a ring bearer and too young to be a groomsman/usher. As a junior groomsman, his duties include going to the rehearsal and walking down the aisle. As a junior usher, he helps to seat wedding guests.
The personal attendant (ages 14 and up) is expected to help with the preparations before the ceremony and/or reception. The role varies, but this person (boy or girl) is a “wedding helper” and helps the bride or groom where needed. He or she can also be called a Bride’s Attendant or Groom’s Attendant.
Consider hiring on-site sitters during the reception. Provide toys, coloring books and crayons, etc. The children’s parents will be grateful.
Provide kid food for the children. Hamburgers, french fries and pizza will suit their palates much better than filet mignon and will be far less expensive. Most caterers can arrange a special menu of food more suited to children.
Although it is not necessary to have children to fit into each of the above categories, these are some positions that others have filled. Generally speaking, the two most often filled positions are for the flower girl and the ring bearer.
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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