Editor's Note: For more on children at weddings and receptions, consult the Miss SOS Archives: "Receptions & Children" and "Including Children in Ceremonies" .
It's Kid Stuff! (May, 2006)
During the Middle Ages, girls carried wheat to symbolize fertility. In Victorian times, child attendants were invited to entertain the guests, adding humor and levity to the special occasion. Today, children have become a bigger and bigger part of the wedding party, with Brides opting to have multiple young attendants to make their day more personal.
The flower girl and the ring bearer no doubt are the little darlings of a wedding party. In some cultures, the flower girls main duty is to carry the train; however boys also can perform this task. A flower girl can carry a nosegay (small bouquet), a floral wreath, or the traditional basket full of petals. Boys became part of the Bridal party to add symmetry. The ring bearers primary role is to bring the wedding rings to the altar. He generally precedes the flower girl in the processional, carrying the symbolic rings with the Best Man holding on to the real jewelry.
If youre including children at your event, here are PrescottWeddings.com guidelines on how to accommodate your lively little guests.
If you want a wee one to walk down the aisle, be sure s/he really wants to. If your niece indicates shes uncomfortable being your flower girl, believe her. Dont tell yourself that when the time comes shell be fine. The appropriate age for child attendants is between 3 and 8, but some Brides also have younger children, even infants, in their wedding parties. But beware. Though absolutely precious, small children can be wild cards. If theyre younger than 5, theyre more likely to be confused or frightened by all the attention. Theres been more than one small tot who, at the last moment, refused to go down the aisle during the processional. Enlist adults at both ends of the aisle to help direct the children and seat them or escort them out of the ceremony.
Asking a 10-year-old to be your ring bearer could end up insulting him. Kids between the ages of 10 and 13 have graduated to the roles of junior groomsmen and bridesmaids. Though they dont have the responsibilities of a bridesmaid or groomsman, theyll still feel important when they walk down the aisle. If that approach doesnt appeal to you, consider asking them to take on other key roles, such as handing out the programs at the ceremony or being the guest book attendant at the reception.
Kids dont eat the same things as adults. Ask the caterer if a special childrens menu can be created. Name the dishes after the kids favorite characters (Harry Potters Hot Dog Platter) or even after your little guests themselves (Amandas Mini Pizzas). In terms of seating, consider a childrens table decorated with youthful touches. Just be careful who you seat where. If your 9-year old nephew is mature enough to sit with the grown-ups, let him. There is no bigger bummer for a child at a reception than being stuck at a kids table against his will. At the same time, very young children (5 and under) may be more comfortable sitting with their parents than with other kids.
Designate a corner of the reception as the kids area. When it comes to the wedding reception, the under-13 set can be among one of the most potentially challenging group of guests at your wedding. An activity table with playing cards, board games, toys, stickers, or coloring books is ideal in keeping young ones entertained. For different ages, have individualized bags of fun things to do. Also, kids and preteens will be more likely to hit the dance floor if they hear songs they know, so ask the DJ to play a few popular hits from the radio or MTV. That way, best of all, youll know your guests of all ages are having a great time.
Editors Note: Do you have any reception ideas of your own? Write to us and well post it on PrescottWeddings.com.