One in five couples who have a church wedding already have children, either together as a couple, or from previous relationships. So it will come as no surprise that parents want to include their children in their wedding, from the ceremony to the reception.
While this can add a certain level of unpredictability, which can be particularly worrisome for couples who want the day to go perfectly, it’s important for children to feel a part of their parent’s special day.
In cases where only the bride or the groom are parents, it also helps children to feel a part of the new family that is being created, which can be key for them adjusting to big changes.
Should you invite other people’s children?
Whether you should invite other people’s children or not often sparks a debate. Children can disrupt the ceremony by being noisy, and parents are likely to be less engaged with other adults when they’re juggling caring for their kids. Despite this, only 9% of people think children shouldn’t be allowed at weddings at all. Furthermore, 40% of people would prefer to include children under 6, as opposed to 36% who would choose to exclude them, according to information from YouGov completely.
While children do bring a level of unpredictability, they also bring the cute factor and may do something that makes everyone laugh, helping to create some wonderful memories. Overall, whether you invite other people’s children to your wedding or not is up to you as a couple. It usually makes it easier for other parents when they can bring their children along and inviting other kids will make the day more enjoyable if you have children of your own.
Easy ways to involve your children in your big day
Some couples are against having children involved in their big day, especially at the ceremony, and while this comes down to personal preference, if the bride and/or groom are parents, then it’s a good idea to include them.
This can be as simple as asking the officiant to mention your child’s name a few times, including them in your vows, or holding a unity candle or ring ceremony that they are involved in. If only one half of the couple is a parent, such as the father, it’s important for the bride to understand that having his children involved is important to him.
Becoming a father can really change a man’s perspective, so even if he never pictured having children at his wedding before, it’s most likely he’ll want his own to play an important role.
Following the first dance, children can then be included in a father/daughter or mother/son dance. This way the newlyweds still get their traditional dance together, but children are involved directly afterwards to keep everyone happy.
Roles for children
One role that is ideal for older children is junior bridesmaid or groomsman, where they get to dress similar to everyone else and do many of the same roles, without any need for them to attend the bachelorette or bachelor party so that can be kept for adults only.
Confident children could also be a reader at the ceremony where they read a passage about marriage, love, or anything you would like them to. A child can also escort the bride down the aisle or serve as an usher, helping guests to their seats and giving out programs.
Younger children make great flower girls or ring bearers or can be a bouquet holder for the bride during the ceremony.
Whichever role children are in, One Fab Day advises that you ensure that their outfit is comfortable and age-appropriate as they’ll be much happier this way.
Getting children prepared for the big day
Once you’ve assigned roles to all the children involved in your big day, you then need to help prepare them. One way to do this is by assigning them a ‘helper’, ideally someone they’re comfortable with, who can support them and make sure they know what they’re doing.
For younger kids, this person can take them out of the ceremony if they start to cry and can keep them occupied beforehand. For your own children, bring a change of clothes that they can wear at the reception so that you’re not worrying about them getting nice or expensive clothes dirty.
You could also buy some children’s books about weddings to help them understand what will happen on the day.
Keeping kids entertained
Understandably, by the time the reception comes around the kids are usually feeling tired, bored, or a bit of both. Set up a table with wedding-themed crafts or games, or a movie and chill-out space. Broadoaks has lots of cosy areas and is more than happy to accommodate this. This can help kids to settle in the evening before going to bed.
If children will be at your wedding meal, Hitched suggests setting up a kids-only table so that they can mingle amongst themselves and get child-friendly wedding favours, such as cuddly toys, joke books, and colouring books that will occupy them.
Involving children in your wedding certainly adds the cute factor, but it also comes with uncertainty. Helping them to understand their role and what will happen on the day can make a big difference in things running smoothly. But sometimes kids will get a case of stage fright when it comes to walking down the aisle, so have someone ready to support them and try to be flexible so that if something doesn’t go quite right, it doesn’t feel like your day has been ruined.
At Broadoaks Country House, one of the main reasons couples choose our exclusive use wedding venue in the Lake District is because it offers an intimate setting with grand surroundings for the kids to explore. Having the entire house and grounds to yourself for one or two days gives you more time to spend with family and friends and means you don’t have to worry about travelling home after the evening celebrations. Exclusive use packages start from just £2,995 which includes 16 luxury bedrooms, drinks reception, buffet for 32 guests, full Cumbrian breakfast the next morning + much more. Download the wedding packages brochure here.