Kids and wedding participation
It is always lovely when your kids get invited to participate in a wedding party. Being a flower girl or ring bearer is indeed fun. But as parents, before saying 'yes' to the bride and groom, here are some helpful tips on the right questions to ask and things to confirm before your commit your children to the task.
You know your son or daughter is an absolute prince or princess, but when a bride-to-be wants to include them in her wedding party, your first reaction is likely one of “Oh, they’ll steal the show.” Or, “I can’t wait to see them walk down the aisle in their little wedding clothes.” But don’t get too excited yet.
When your child is asked to participate
The people chosen to participate in a wedding party are traditionally those who are closest to the bride and groom. This fact alone likely means you are either related to either the bride or groom or are a close friend.
Having this relationship makes it easier for you to ask the necessary questions. What’s that, you say, questions? Yes, questions…
- When is the wedding?
- Is the wedding going to be somewhere you will be able to travel to?
- What time of day is the wedding? While this isn’t such a big deal for a 5-8 year old, a smaller child may need to adjust a nap time.
- Who is responsible for selecting and purchasing their attire?
- Is your child old enough or personable enough to participate?
- What other pre-wedding events is your child (and you) expected to attend?
Once you have the answers to your questions, you and your spouse should be able to give your consent or respectfully decline–whichever the case may be.
What are reasonable expectations
You’ve seen or heard about the bridezillas who lose all sense of reality when it comes to planning a wedding. Hopefully, this isn’t the case regarding the wedding your child will be in. But just in case you’re not sure, here are some reasonable expectations on the part of the bride and groom; expectations you should be willing and able to meet if you committed your child to being in the wedding party.
- Your child should be cooperative and well behaved during any shopping and fittings for their wedding attire.
- Your child should be cooperative and well behaved during the rehearsal, the wedding ceremony, the photography session and the reception.
- You should arrive on time for the rehearsal, photos, etc…
- Your child should not be allowed to play dress-up or wear their wedding attire prior to the big day.
- If you agreed to pay all or part of the expense for your child’s attire, you should provide payment in a timely manner.
What is not reasonable
Back to the whole bridezilla thing–even the sweetest, most gentle-spirited young women have been known to lose it when it comes to planning a wedding. So if the same bride who gave reasonable and acceptable answers to your questions suddenly starts throwing in a few extra things here and there, it is perfectly acceptable for you to ‘her’ on them. Some examples of this include:
- Insisting your little girl have a hair and nail appointment to match the other ‘big girls’.
- Selecting different attire than what was agreed upon (if you are paying for it)
- Changing the location of the wedding to a location that requires more travel expenses than agreed upon
- Expecting the flower girl to attend bridal showers, etc.
If the bride becomes demanding and unreasonable, it is well within your rights to politely remind her of the answers she gave you prior to agreeing to allow your child to participate in the wedding. If the problem(s) persist, you can un-invite your child if you are willing to risk a family rift of a friendship. Otherwise, simply stick with what you agreed to do and ignore the rest.
If your financial circumstances change or you relocate (making it impossible to travel to the wedding), it is perfectly acceptable to explain the situation to the bride and come up with a solution everyone is happy with.
If you give your permission for your child to participate, you’d better be sure this is something your child wants to do and is willing to do. This is especially true if your child is over the age of 4. It is important that your child believes you respect their thoughts and feelings rather than treating them like a possession.
My granddaughter was the flower girl for all three of her aunts’ weddings (three in fourteen months). She was two and three at the time. She did a wonderful job all three times and her doting aunts didn’t mind sharing the limelight with her one little bit. But as she started down the aisle at wedding number three, someone she didn’t know caught her eye and she had an attack of the ‘shys’; running the rest of the way up the aisle to where I was seated. The point I’m making here is you, as well as the bride and groom, need to be prepared for and okay with the fact that those little bobbles will probably happen. It’s not a big deal and shouldn’t be thought of as such. Remember…you’ll still be married at the end of the day.
A memory making event
While it is fair to say that most little boys aren’t all that impressed with being asked to participate in a wedding (ask my son…he was a ring bearer for three weddings in 4 years), most little girls are. So as long as the terms are agreeable and acceptable and your child is the same, approach the event as one in which happy memories will be made and a good time will be had by all.