There is nothing more adorable than a tiny little person all dressed up at a wedding. Fidgety bodies, uncontrollable impulses, and hilarious one-liners: there is no doubt that many of your big day memories will come from these baby members of your wedding party. The dark side? Tantrums, potty accidents, and general mayhem can come from these same little ones. A savvy bride with many children in her wedding party keeps a few things in mind to help wrangle the chaos:
Consider the timing. The fewer moments that a child is in full dress–think crisp white shirts, poofy satin dresses, intricate updos–the fewer opportunities for juice stains, holes in tights, curls falling flat, and lost shoes (not that I’ve ever seen a toddler take off their shoes and not remember where they put them or anything…) Work with your photographer to schedule the photos that include the children as close to the ceremony time as possible so there is little chance for them to get bored (i.e. destructive. Ahem.)
Work with parents. Ask the parents of your littlest: what do you need from me to make this child’s day go smoothly? Commonly heard complaints include–no time for naps on wedding day, too much waiting around, and too exhausting for parents to actually enjoy the wedding day. You can easily avoid these complaints by making your schedule respectful of the child’s nap time (see above point), having plenty of activities available for them once they arrive (see next point), and asking a young teenager in your family to be the official wedding nanny as a special way to be a part of the big day. She can help the parents by running for items, entertaining fussy ones, and cleaning up messes.
Make it fun. Set up a special kid’s station to anticipate their needs. A few things to include:
- Low-mess snacks: crackers, cheese sticks, apple slices, raisins, and water. If you choose to offer juice, opt for a light colored juice (white grape or apple), and DON’T serve juice boxes. Instead, pour it into no-spill cups with lids. Just trust me on this.
- Activities: crayons and coloring books (no markers!), or board games for slightly older ones. Play dough is a surprisingly good option- very little mess on hands or clothes. As long as you have someone available to clean up the area afterward, it can keep kids of all ages entertained for a long time. A trip to the dollar store to arm yourself with a tiny baby doll or small cars will round out your arsenal to keep the kids busy.
Be proactive. Think through some things that might go wrong. Worried your flower girl will spill juice down her dress? Grab a men’s undershirt to slip over her head. If you clip the neck with a clothespin, you can make sure her dress is covered while she’s waiting. Removing the clothespin will allow you to pull the shirt back over her head before the ceremony without messing up her hair. Worried your sister-in-law will forget dress socks for ring-bearer? Pick up an extra pair to keep on hand just in case. You get the idea: be prepared.
Got any great plans for keeping children happy at your wedding?