First off, let me just say I’m a huge fan of kids. (Danielle & I made 4) However, sometimes kids and weddings don’t mix so well, so here are a few tips to help ease the process.
1. They Are In Charge
As much as possible work with THEIR schedule. If you are having younger kids (Ages 1-4) in your wedding, do your best to let the day before and day of your wedding be as “normal” as possible. Don’t try and keep them up till 9:45 at the rehearsal dinner and expect them smiling for photos at 8:00AM. :) Most of this will fall on the parents. But, let the parents know that you are aware that the little people have their own time table and you are willing to work with them.
2. Don’t Dress Them Up Too Soon
Every little girl can’t wait to put her dress on and every little boy can’t wait to take his suit off. That’s just the reality. The problem is the minute you put her dress on is the minute everyone starts expecting her to “act” like a princess. The girl is 2, she’s going to drool, sit, and spit up on the dress. Wait till the last minute to put it on. The same is true of the boys. If grown men don’t enjoy a suit, tie, vest, and pointy shoes, why do we think a 4 year old boy will. :)
3. Entertain Them
Have an iPod or little DVD player in the dressing room. This will keep them sitting still and quite. (Two things you’ll want.) Stickers, and coloring books are also a hit. It’s also a great Idea to have a surprise toy waiting for them in their seat near the front if you want them to stick around.
4. Shoot Them First
Plan on getting them dressed and walking them out to be photographed. The last thing you want is to have them dressed and 2 hours go by before they are in any photos. (They will look drastically different than what you imagined.) If a kid does not want to be photographed there is NOTHING anyone can do to change their mind. The best approach is to let them sit a few out and maybe try again later in the day.
5. Practice Does NOT Make Perfect
More than likely they will do great at your rehearsal. The problem is the wedding day is slightly different. The rehearsal is smaller, more intimate, and they probably know 65% of the people there. The wedding is a HUGE production with 1,000,000 eyeballs staring straight at them. Walking down the aisle with everyone staring at you makes the bride nervous. It has the same affect on lots of kids. If possible have a parent or grandparent near the front so the kids have someone to walk towards. I’ve even see the groom meet them half way down and escort them the rest of the way.
There are 350 people at your wedding. Most of them know and understand that kids act like…. kids. If they cry and fuss and don’t want to go down the aisle; it’s OK, you can still get married. (Our ring bearer spiked the pillow like a football when he got to the front.) If they insist on looking like an airplane during formals; it’s OK, you can still get married.
Kids really are a blast at weddings and they do and say some of the funniest things. Nothing makes a little girl feel quite as special as getting all dressed up and having her picture taken while people tell her she’s beautiful. That is after all why you’re getting married right? :)