Weddings are magical occasions, both for those involved and the guests in attendance.
With so much to plan and organise, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. One aspect of wedding planning to consider carefully is the younger members on the guestlist. For some, you may not want to invite children at all, or you might reach a compromise and invite them to the reception only rather than the ceremony. Whatever your stance on children at weddings is, we’ve created the ultimate guide to wedding etiquette for little ones, so you can focus on basking in the magic of your special day. We’ll be focusing on the girls at weddings as it’s what we at Molly Brown London specialise in. But of course, plenty of these tips will please your little boys too, so don’t worry about them being left out of the fun!
Where you seat the children can be a difficult decision. You may initially want to put them all on a table together to enjoy each other’s company, but don’t forget that some younger children may need adult supervision, or that older children may not appreciate feeling babied. A remedy for this could be to seat your younger attendees and teens on separate tables or have baby-friendly adult tables, as well as adult-only tables.
Read on to discover the solutions for all your concerns; From how to make them feel involved, to how to cater for them and keep them entertained. Remember, it’s okay if it doesn’t all go exactly to plan. Have fun and enjoy your big day!
Getting Them Involved
Giving the children in attendance a role in your special day can mean the world to them. There are roles big and small, so everyone can feel a part of the bridal party.
A role for any girl who’s not afraid of being in the spotlight. The flower girl is traditionally known to scatter petals down the aisle in front of the bride, or simply hold a bouquet and walk down the aisle first to open the proceedings. It’s a simple but adorable job that’s perfect for younger ages who want to feel involved.
For those little ladies that are in between flower girl and bridesmaid age, a junior bridesmaid is an ideal solution. She’ll get to walk down the aisle, traditionally before the rest of the bridesmaids, and stand at the altar for the ceremony. Younger sisters, cousins, nieces, daughters and close family friends are the perfect candidates.
There’s nothing more special than delivering the wedding rings to the altar, so selecting your ring bearer is an important task. Children between four and eight are the prime ages to create that awe-inspiring atmosphere.
Not your traditional role, the usher’s duties can be adapted to fit the younger ones in your party. From handing out programs to throwing the confetti after the ceremony, this is a great choice for those who want to be your special little helper.
Children’s Wedding Outfits
Every little girl wants to dress up and feel part of the magic, and there’s no better way to make her feel special than through her outfit.
Whether you want to select it yourself or leave it up to her parents, here are our top tips for children’s wedding styling.
Weddings can be long and tiring events so choose something comfortable for her to wear, but that she’ll still feel like a princess in. Beautiful pleated dresses with tutu-style skirts and ballerina pumps are always an elegant choice but don’t forget to check in with your little helpers to find out what styles they’d like to wear.
Cover-ups to fight the chill
If the children are planning to stay for the ceremony and reception, consider a cardigan or bolero to keep them warm when it starts to get cooler in the evening. They’ll have the added bonus of covering up any sticky cake incidents, should they get their fingers in some mischief before photo time.
It doesn’t have to be a dress. Some children feel more comfortable in trousers or a dress with leggings underneath, so be sure to ask your little attendees what they’d feel most comfortable in. The rules for kids at weddings are thankfully less and less fussy and far more about fun!
Bring a change of clothing
Unpredictable at the best of times, you’ll definitely want to make sure the children have a change of clothing in case of emergency and sometimes, it really can be an emergency. Don’t let grass stains and food spills become a distraction in your wedding photographs.
Children’s Wedding Hairstyles
With all the excitement and goings-on at a wedding, keeping children looking like little darlings instead of little ragamuffins can be a task – especially if you don’t have a hairbrush on hand.
Hairstyles that keep their hair off their face can be an easy solution. And be sure that your chosen hairdresser is used to working with little ones – lots of bobby pins in a tender head won’t do anyone any favours as the day progresses.
Intricate up-dos can be uncomfortable and cause more problems than they’re worth, so it’s important to find the right balance between comfort and elegant styling. Half-up half-down styles are the perfect compromise.
Flowers for styling
For your flower girl, what better way to accessorise than with matching flower crowns? Or if a whole crown of flowers is too much, weaving flowers into a braid can be a charming alternative. This simple but sweet pairing will make them look all the cuter.
Flowers may not be for everyone, so maybe consider headbands, ribbons and bows instead. These simple accessory pieces are effective and low maintenance, perfect for the busy wedding schedule.
Braids and buns
Long hair and bursts of wind can cause havoc in your wedding photographs, but braids and buns are a sweet way to keep unruly hair in check. Dutch and French braids look impressive, and you can weave hair accessories into them for an added touch.
How to Ensure the Day Goes Smoothly
From temper tantrums to spontaneous naps, weddings are the place you’d least like to run into a series of unexpected events. Make your special day run smoothly by planning ahead and pre-empting any issues that could cause you stress.
Schedule dress rehearsals
Make sure that they’re aware of the order of proceedings before the big day. Give them an and encouraging run-through of their role and what’s expected of them. Dress rehearsals and run-throughs are an excellent way to prepare them and you can even get them to practice walking down the aisle. This can make them feel important in their special role.
Pair children together
Walking down the aisle on your own can be daunting, so having a friendly hand to hold can make all the difference. Some children can feel overwhelmed with stage fright more than others, and so for those who need a little boost of confidence, pairing them together with a fellow little friend or family member can be a great idea. Having pairs of flower girls or a pair of ring bearers can be a lovely way to make children feel more comfortable at your wedding.
Seat children with their parents
In case of emergency, it’s always good to have an adult on hand. Seating children with their parents or their close relatives in attendance may be a solution to preventing unexpected drama.
Children’s Food Ideas
Don’t let mealtime give you anxiety. While you don’t want your reception lunch to become a free for all, you want your little attendees to have fun and enjoy themselves. Don’t stress about the mess by avoiding dishes that are likely to stain.
Fancy finger foods and delicate vol-au-vents probably won’t be hugely appreciated by the children at your wedding, so think about having a child-friendly menu or alternatives that they can tuck into and enjoy. Children feast with their eyes so bright and vibrant textures will sure to go down a treat. And let’s face it – sometimes nuggets and nibbles are just what they need.
Light coloured clothing and delicate fabrics that are expensive to dry clean so you may want to avoid foods that are messy to eat. Sandwiches, pasta and simple but tasty crudités are excellent options. Whatever you settle on, always double-check if there are any allergies to accommodate for within your party.
Children’s Wedding Activity Pack Ideas
With the adults mingling and making merry, don’t let the little ones feel left out.
The meal is a great time to get out pre-packed activity packs that they can enjoy together at the table. Or for a long wedding ceremony, it could be worth keeping activity packs at the door so children can take one on entry to keep them occupied throughout the proceedings. Here are a few ideas on what you can pop in your packs:
Colouring books or pages
A timeless activity for all ages. Make it personal by using wedding-themed imagery and crayons that match the colour scheme of your event.
Word Search or puzzle pages
You can easily create your own wedding-themed puzzles for a personal touch. Who knows, a clever groomsman might even get roped into proceedings..
If your festivities are scheduled to go on into the evening when the lights dim down, let the children have some fun with colourful glow sticks.
Capture your wedding from the eyes of your youngest guests by popping a disposable camera into their activity packs. Let them create precious memories of their own.
Wedding Activities for Children
When the meal is over and the band strikes up or the DJ hits the decks, you might want to set up a quieter corner for more child-friendly activities. Here are some options to consider:
Twister, connect four, Jenga and noughts or crosses are classic games that are sure to keep children entertained.
If you have the time and space, settling up a little wedding-themed scavenger hunt is an exciting adventure to lead your little guests on. Lucky enough to have good weather? Get them out on the lawns of your venue for a truly tiring run-around.
Nothing captures children’s attention like a good film. All you need is a screen or projector, beanbags and some soft blankets to create a movie corner for children to enjoy.
Whether you hire out a professional booth or create a makeshift one, photo booths are fun for all in attendance. Include some fun props for instant entertainment. Don’t forget to encourage the big kids to let the littlest ones have their turn!
Cupcake decorating station
Get creative and set up a cupcake decorating station. A spread of pre-made cupcakes and plenty of toppings is guaranteed to bring a smile to children’s faces.
Hire an entertainer
If you really want to go all out or you have a large party of young ones to accommodate, hiring a professional children’s entertainer is the perfect option.
Get the DJ involved
Or maybe you bring the children out onto the dance floor? Ask the DJ to warm up with some child-friendly music to get them up, moving and (of course) sliding on knees.
Children’s Wedding Favours
No wedding is complete without favours, and your youngest guests should be able to take home something too. Give them a little something to remember your special day by.