Family

Having your kids at a wedding

There are very few children who don't enjoy a good wedding celebration, but there are some adults who occasionally wish the children hadn't been invited. When well planned, however, weddings can be a special moment that will set down some fantastic memories for your kids - you just have to make a few changes to the traditional wedding scenario.

If you have children and you’re getting married, you have a great opportunity to plan a wedding everyone will enjoy and remember for years to come. Whether this is a second or third marriage, or a late first wedding, your children will enjoy being a part of it. Here’s a guide to making your kids a great part of your day:

  • Take the time to explain the wedding to your kids.If you’re marrying their parent, then they might be worried that your marriage could change the way things are and have been for years. If you’re marrying a new partner, then your children could see the wedding as a sign of loss for the relationship you had with their other parent. Take the time to talk it through with them and explain what will change and what won’t.

  • While you’re having that chat, ask the kids how involved they want to be in the ceremony.Some children are quite happy and capable of standing up in front of a crowd and reciting a heartfelt poem, but others would run a mile at the thought of it. The key here is to include them in ways they feel comfortable, not ways that you would like to see.

  • Make a list of elements in the wedding that your children could be part of.This could include simple things such as lighting a candle or holding the rings, or a much more active role for an older child, which might include doing a reading or singing a special song. Also tell them that it’s just fine if they stand there and hold some flowers or your hand if necessary.

  • If you’re including your kids, then include others.It’s not really fair to cross cousins’ and friends’ children off the list if yours are going to be there. And they will all keep each other company at the reception and other parts of the wedding where children on their own might get a little bored. If there aren’t a lot of children coming, then consider letting each child invite their best friend so they have some company on the day.

  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking your children just aren’t interested in all the details. They will appreciate taking part in the preparations even if it is just a visit to the caterers or the celebrant. It helps them to feel included.

  • Be realistic about what you expect them to wear.oost girls don’t mind at all if you dress them up in a frilly dress, but boys might feel a bit self-conscious dressed as a page boy in tights and a jacket. Try to put yourself in their shoes – or tights – when coming up with ideas for everyone’s wedding outfits.

  • Talk to your extended family and see if there are any willing older cousins or favourite aunts who will be happy to marshal the kids and keep them out of trouble at the reception, so you can relax and enjoy yourselves.If you feelthis might be an imposition, then consider hiring someone for the afternoon or evening to take the kids to one side and entertain them. Some couples arrange for all the children to leave the wedding when it gets a bit late and be taken to a nearby home for pizza and a DVD.

  • Make sure you acknowledge your children in the ceremony somewhere. If they are getting a new stepfather or stepmother, this is very important. Some couples buy a special piece of jewellery to be presented to a child by the new partner on the wedding day, or children can be acknowledged in the ceremony in some way. Alternatively, you could write notes for each of the children to find under their pillows on the day of the wedding expressing how much you both love them and how important they are to you.

  • Think of some cool jobs for the kids. Some older kids will feel very special if you ask them to take extra photos for your album, or maybe even film the wedding for you. other children might want to be ushers for guests at the church, or hand out the wedding cake. Giving your children some responsibility throughout the day will make them feel very important and give them something to focus on.

  • If there are stresses around the wedding planning, which there always are, don’t share them with your children. They are very sensitive to disruption and may begin to think that the wedding isn’t going to happen. Keep things positive and happy around them.

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