My first memory: I’m 3, wearing the prettiest, fluffiest dress in the whole world. I’m holding hands with a yucky boy and carrying a wicker basket full of flowers. I’m beaming with anxious joy because my big brother is getting married. We are the “bookend” siblings—oldest and youngest. Naturally, we adore each other. Then, I mess up his wedding procession by running to Mom’s pew, instead of floating elegantly to the altar. Thankfully, people find this endearing.
Wedding season is here, and darling ring bearers and flower girls are counting on parents to calm their sweet nerves. If your child has been invited to participate in a wedding, there’s no need to stress. Fact is, it’s cute when kids mess up a little. Here are a few things you can do to make the experience smooth and enjoyable for everyone.
Buy the chosen outfit, but bring a spare. Members of the bridal party are typically expected to purchase their own formalwear. If you have an expectation about cost, politely make it known when you accept the couple’s invitation. Do your best to project a positive attitude about their outfit selections. Complete purchases and fittings early, so the couple can remove it from their checklist.
Formalwear isn’t always comfortable. If you have input, suggest soft fabrics and shoes with sturdy soles. In any case, your little ring bearer or flower girl might require a change of clothing over the course of the big day. Consult the couple and the photographer about the best time to swap outfits.
Attend the rehearsal, but skip the dinner. The wedding rehearsal is important for both you and your child. It’s a chance to practice, meet the other attendants, and help your child feel like a member of the team. With plenty of friendly adult faces to look for on the big day, those nerves won’t be such a problem.
On the other hand, you might want to politely decline your invitation to the dinner portion of the evening. Rehearsal dinners are generally geared toward adult guests and can last long into the night. Keep in mind, your child is expected to be on best behavior, look adorable and perform an unfamiliar task the next day. Make sleep a priority.
Provide a shorter aisle. Is the aisle quite long? Ask the wedding coordinator if young children can start walking from halfway down the aisle. Why? As parents know, kids may take a long time to move from point A to point B. Everyone loves watching them, but if nerves are a problem, this is one way to reduce pressure.
Most importantly, remember the kids will steal hearts, even if they mess up!
What to Bring
- Healthy snacks that won’t make a mess.
- A cute cardigan or jacket in case it gets chilly during down times.
- A sticker book or other quiet activity to keep kids entertained if there is waiting between photo sessions and events.
Anne Malinoski is a contributing writer and mother of two boys. Her son was an adorable groomsman at age 3.