Flower girls and ring bearers are often the cutest parts of the wedding ceremony. A little two to ten year old child walking, sprinkling flowers, or holding a glittering ring on a pillow makes everyone say ooh and ahh. However, most flower girls and ring bearers will need a little preparation to be able to do their role well. Preparing your bridal party and others who are supporting your wedding can also help ensure that having a flower girl or ring bearer goes well.
Talk with Them Before Your Wedding
Little children love when an adult wants to talk to them in particular, and you taking some special time to discuss the wedding with them can really help them to get on board. Choose a time when the child is happy and rested, and talk about why you would like them to participate. Tell them about the outfit they get to wear, the actions they’ll need to take, and where they will stand. Listen to any fears they have, since some children are shy, and any questions they have about the big day. Answering questions early on can help you to pay attention to their concerns. If a little girl tells you that she really doesn’t like dresses, you get more time to figure out a nice skirt and top that she can wear instead, for instance.
Choose Wedding Clothes That Are Comfortable and Coordinated
Speaking of clothes, work with the child’s parents and your own vision for the wedding to find clothes that are both comfortable and fit the tone you want to set. It’s wonderful if you find the perfect puffy dress, but if it makes the child itchy and prone to tears, it won’t make beautiful pictures. Make time to have a fitting and make sure the child is fully on board with the outfit well before the big day.
Make Sure Someone Is in Charge of the Child’s Cues
Especially for really small children, it’s good to have someone at the entrance to the ceremony to point the child in the right direction, as well as someone they will recognize at the end of the aisle. This person can be a focal point for them when they arrive in front of a big room of people. Including the child in the rehearsal isn’t always possible, but if it is, let them toss a few pieces of newspaper or carry a book instead of the pillow: the more realistic the practice, the better prepared they’ll be to do a great job.
Be Prepared for Unhappy Children
Take the time to pack a bag of bubbles, small quiet toys, and snacks in case of child meltdown. It’s inevitable that children’s moods will shift, and if that happens in the lead up to the wedding having something to distract and please them is a great way to save the moment. Children’s parents often supply items like this, but having something handy, perhaps kept by a trusty bridesmaid, can really help if the children get restless. There is a lot of hurrying up and waiting during the wedding day, so having these items early on can keep the child in a good mood throughout. It also doesn’t hurt to scope out a spot for a nap in the case of younger children: if they need to sleep for a good hour or two in the morning before an afternoon wedding, that will give them more fuel for the over-stimulating and fun time to come.
Give Them a Gift at the Reception
After your flower girl or ring bearer has done a great job, you want to pay it forward: after all, if they had a great time at your wedding, they might be willing to do it again. Have a present ready at the reception to give to each child who participated in the ceremony. Often, the little children may seem a bit shy around a girl they don’t normally see in a puffy white dress, but when they get a present, they usually warm right up. While most typical presents for children work for this occasion, it’s never a bad idea to run your planned present by the parents, just in case there is a reason why it wouldn’t be a good idea in their home.
Armed with a little planning ahead and a whole lot of love, you can make the experience of having a flower girl or ring bearer a great one. The child will enjoy being a part of your memories and getting a moment of fame, and you’ll feel confident that they are comfortable and well cared for during the whole process. The preparation means you can rest easy and your loved ones will know their children are happy at your wedding.