Often one of the most debated subjects regarding guests at a wedding is whether or not to have children on the guest list. For some, the location, time of day or personal preference will mean a decision not to have children as guests. For others, children will be included and the question then is how to ensure that they don't disrupt the enjoyment of the celebration by the adults! Today I've written about some great ways to include children in the wedding ceremony. Tune in for my next blog about great and highly successful ways to entertain children at the reception.
So, you've made the decision to include children at your wedding. Lets turn first to how to include your own children in the ceremony. Not surprisingly, one of the first questions I often have from couples is "how can we include the children". Here are a few options that I used to great success:
In the lead-up to a ceremony on Boxing Day, I'd suggested that the children write a sentence or two about what the wedding meant to them. What they wrote was scanned through to me without the Bride and Groom reading them. Master 9 had written an incredibly touching short sentencing telling his Mum and Step-dad how much he hoped they loved each other "In the deepest part of their hearts" and "stayed together forever". Miss 6 was a bit more of a challenge because her note was written phonetically and I had to deploy my primary school teacher sister-in-law to help me translate! It was a gorgeous sentence though and well worth the effort translating! I held the book for them and they each read their sentence out. It was a wonderful moment in the ceremony. The children and I also spent 15 minutes before the ceremony deciding how and then practicing how they would sign a copy of the ceremony. Much thought went into whether printing or "joined-together writing" and styles of signature and it was an absolute delight. I'll keep that practice piece of paper to remind me how much it is worth putting time into getting the children comfortable.
Other ceremonies I've had son's walking Mum down the aisle. Orlando will always stay with me. He took his duties very seriously and was so happy. Baby George had the rings tied to a favourite toy - we'd spent a little time getting to know each other so that he didn't object when I took the shiny additions to his rattle away! I've had gorgeous flower-girls tucked right in beside me so that they could see what I was reading and kept an eye on some who had an eye on the ducks in the pond at Millbrook behind me! Ideally we don't want a dripping wet flower-girl fresh from the lake!
Wellington weather can be a little windy, as we know! Last summer at a wedding at Zealandia, I engaged the young niece and nephew of the Bride and Groom to literally stand by the small tables marking the top of the aisle and hold onto both the table and the pretty flower arrangement on top. They too were delighted to have a part to pay and saved the flowers whipping past the guests as they had done 20 minutes before the start of the ceremony.
What I can tell you is that you never know what children will do on the day. Relax and enjoy it as it unfolds! Gorgeous flower-girls may decide to wander off or keep the pretty rose-petals rather than sprinkling them over the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony; smiling babies may not want to give up the rings and the ring-bearer might sit down part way down the aisle and refuse to move further!! In a couple of weeks I'm marrying the daughter of a great friend and the she (mother of the bride) is arriving at the ceremony with her gorgeous grandson who will be 18 months old. Will he walk down the aisle? Who knows but it will be special however it transpires! Be assured, it will all work out and I've never had children in tears yet! The unscripted moments can be so delightful. Relax, we'll make it work!