Many parents rightfully want to honor their children in the ceremony and show their friends and family the love that they all share. Depending on the age of your children, there are a number of different wedding-day roles they can take on during the service. Consider asking them to participate in the ceremony as a flower girl or ring bearer, bridesmaids or groomsmen (or junior bridesmaids/groomsmen), and even say a few vows at the altar or participate in a sand or candle-lighting ceremony. You could also entrust them with a special job, like walking the family dog down the aisle or taking photos – in addition to the photos taken by your photographer of course.
However your children are featured in the wedding, your kids will love being honored and recognized in front of family and loved ones. Discover some creative, fun ways to include your child in the wedding ceremony, below!
Pulled in a Wagon
Well, this is just adorable. Babies and toddlers who are too young to walk down the aisle by themselves can be pulled in a beautifully decorated wagon by a bridesmaid or groomsman, or even flower girls if they're old enough for the responsibility. Be sure to practice beforehand so they know what to expect! Photo by Christian Oth Studios
Holding a Sign
We've seen this trend take off in the last few years. Have your kids announce your arrival with a sign that says, "Here comes the bride!" This is a great way to include your children if you already have a few flower girls and ring bearers, or if you're not sure your kids can handle the pressure of scattering petals or carrying the rings! Photo by Jay Lawrence Goldman Photography
Flower Girl or Ring Bearer
This is the perfect role for kids aged about four to 12. They'll love getting to walk down the aisle and complete an important task, and your guests will love getting to see them dressed up in their finest, too! Littler kids can sit down in the first row with a family member once they reach the altar, while bigger kids can stand up at the altar with you and the rest of the wedding party. Photo by The Day by Ira Lippke; Planning & Design by Mindy Weiss Party Consultants
Walking the Family Dog
This is a role your kids are guaranteed to love. After all, every kid loves to show off their adorable dog! First, make sure your child is extremely comfortable and confident walking the dog. Remember, dogs can get excited and may be more difficult to handle in front of crowds, so be very thoughtful as to who is entrusted with this part of the ceremony and responsibility. It's also a good idea to have an adult on-call who can step in and help if the dog becomes unruly. Photo by Marisa Holmes
Bridesmaid or Groomsman
Teenagers and adult children will appreciate being included in the ceremony as members of the wedding party. For those who may be too young to be a bridesmaid or groomsman but too old to be a flower girl or ring bearer, consider having them play the part of a junior bridesmaid or groomsman. Should you choose to do so to honor your new family, you may even decide to ask your child to be best man or maid of honor, which has the added bonus of being able to stand next to each other during the vow exchange. Many couples holding small weddings choose to include their children as the only bridesmaids and groomsmen, with no other friends or family members in the wedding party. This is a sweet way to keep the ceremony intimate and make your kids feel like they're part of the marriage, too. Photo by Marc Royce Photography
Designate your kids as "junior photographers" and let them document the big day. Disposable cameras are easy for little hands, while bigger kids can take snaps using smartphones. Teenagers and adult children can even take photos with a DSLR or point-and-shoot digital camera. The result? You'll be able to experience your wedding through your children's eyes. Of course, you should hire a professional photographer for your big day; however, it will be cute to either include some of your kid's images in part of the wedding album, or an entirely different display of photos in your home. Photo by Jasmine Star Photography
For blended families, the wedding is an opportunity to honor not only your marriage, but also the joining of two families and your commitment to each other's children. Bring the kids up to the altar and have your officiant give you all a few vows to recite together. It doesn't have to be all serious – you can promise to always take your stepdaughter shopping, and she can promise to love you even when you're embarrassing her in front of her friends. Do what feels right for your relationship! By having a wedding with kids included and even incorporating your kids in the vows, you'll transform your wedding into a celebration of family and the love you have for each other. Photo by Samuel Lippke Studios
How to Involve Kids in the Wedding Reception
While there are many ways to incorporate kids in the wedding ceremony, there are also some ways to include children in wedding receptions as well! From the first dance to a special wedding speech, discover some ideas below:
- We've seen couples start their first dance together and then invite their kids to join them.
- Your children can also make a wedding speech if they're old enough, or they can join a family member during their toast or speech.
- If you're allowing other kids in wedding festivities, consider having a kids' table or having the children perform a special dance during the reception. A lot of the reception activities for weddings with kids will very depending on the formality of your event, so do what feels right to you.
How to Involve Kids in Wedding Planning
Whether or not you choose to include your child in the wedding ceremony itself, there are many other ways they can stay involved – even before the wedding day. Discover some ideas below for your wedding – children will want to feel included throughout the process!
- If you'll be doing some wedding DIY crafts, ask them for their help! Even the smallest task can make your children feel more included and therefore more excited for their new family.
- Give them a special gift from their new family members. This can be something they'll enjoy for the short term like a toy, or a gift that they'll be able to cherish for years to come like a necklace that may one day become a bracelet, a ring, or a locket.
- Let them choose an element of the catering. They may help create a mocktail to be served at cocktail hour, choose between a couple hors d'oeuvres, or even come to the cake tasting to help select a flavor for your wedding cake.
- Bring them to your pre-wedding appointments, within reason. If your child is old enough to join you and your bridesmaids at the bridal salon, ask her to come along when you're shopping for your wedding dress – or even to your final fitting appointment!
- Ask them to sign off on decisions, within reason! For example, if you and your spouse-to-be really have no preference whether you should choose cream or beige napkins, have your children make the choice and be the deciding vote!