Following are some tips and suggestions to help you gain a better perspective.
When to have kids in the wedding party: You love children!
You love their spontaneity and if they do something silly you think it will just add more charm and laughs to your day.
You are getting married early in the day. Kids are better when it is not too late in the day. This way Mom and Dad will not have to leave early to get their cranky angels off to bed.
Night wedding? Hire someone to whisk the kids away for the night.
They are your own children; by all means they should be a part of this special event. By being included and involved will help them to feel more secure about their significance and place in your new life.
You don't care how their hair turns out. Requesting a specific hairstyle for the flower girl can get tricky. Not every child's hair will take a curl, nor will they sit long enough to get it done.
You know they are "good" children. According to wedding planner Lois Pearce, President of Beautiful Occasions in Hamden, Connecticut say's, "One of the key things to think about when considering these children is their maturity level. Does the child behave well (within reason) around adults? Are they able to understand directions? Just because they are cute is not the criterion for them to upstage the bride on her wedding day."
Bad idea!: A bride of mine was having one of the grooms men's daughter as a flower girl in the wedding. However, the girl's parents were divorced and the mother was not in attendance at the wedding. The little girl couldn't hang out with Daddy and the grooms' men, so the bride had her sleep at her house the night before. On the wedding morning the bride arrived late and very frazzled to the salon because SHE had to give the child a morning bath! Not Good!
Too young! I had three little sisters who were all in the wedding party. Once their mother got everyone through the door and into the brides non-child proof small apartment everyone was stressed! The bride wanted them all to have French braids and the youngest child was three years old. She kept pushing my hand out of the way. As I would braid a section of hair she would rip it out. At three she was too young. Just because her sisters were in the wedding did not mean she had to be as well. She was too young to even care! Mom's speak up!
Too much to ask! I had a bride whose sister was the matron of honor. Her two daughters were also in the wedding. The sister/matron could not be in three places at once! Attending to the bride; searching for her kids while trying to get dressed was painful to watch. The younger one grabbed a handful of my bobby pins, hid under a desk and proceeded to "do her hair" after I had just finished it! This was after she thought it was great fun climbing up and down the stairs while hold her dress up like Cinderella, over and over.
Want more stories? Pick up a copy of my book The Morning of Your Wedding and be prepared!
When not to have kids in the wedding party:
Just because there are children the perfect age in your extended family that fit the role, don't feel obligated to add them to the wedding party.
Let the parents know up front that you have chosen not to add children to the wedding party.
If someone is pressuring you to add children to the line up, then leave this article in a conspicuous place for them to read.
You want your day to go perfectly as planned. You spent enough time and money planning every last detail and you would not appreciate un-calculated antics.
You are getting married in the evening and especially if they have to travel in for the wedding and sleep in an unfamiliar place.
When there are just too many children to choose from and someone might get offended if left out.
When you really don't know the parents well.
Bad call! The kids are not "cute props". Don't ask a friend of a friend's child to be in the wedding or even a long distant relative just because he or she is the right age. It takes a lot of preparation, patience, prodding, and expense on the part of the parents to make the day go relatively smoothly.
Oops! One ring bearer's pillow had a music box inside. It didn't take long for him to find the wind up key in the back. As the music played he began tossing the pillow up in the air during the vows.
Don't do it! I'm sure you have seen it. Two flower girls, two ring bearers, and one groom's men stuck with the twelve-year-old junior bridesmaid. If you really don't want them, skip the kids all together.