As a wedding coordinator you have to be in love with love (cue sparkling hearts) and all its many forms. I’ve had the pleasure of working with brides from all different walks of life. One of my favorite types of brides is a mom. Whether they have a child with their husband-to-be, from a previous relationship, or are a future step mom they put a big focus on family. These brides really want to include their children in the wedding festivities. Especially since wedding planning can feel like a second job it’s important your children don’t feel left out. (I want to thank my friend Will of Will Hollis Photography for providing the beautiful images.)
For those of you in the throws of wedding or vow renewal planning here are suggestions on ways to incorporate your kids:
Talk to your photographer and let them know you want the romantic/fun couples shots but also some photos that include your child. Then when you design the save-the-dates include multiple images, a picture of you and your partner and another of your family unit.
Including your child’s name on the invitation is a great way of communicating that your wedding is a family affair. Consider adding your child’s name along side the bride and groom’s parents name. For example:
“Child’s Name and Bride’s Parents & Groom’s Parents invite you to the wedding of…”
Or, if there are multiple children consider just listing their names, for example:
“Child’s Name & Child’s Name happily invite you to join them at the marriage ceremony of their parents…”
Whether you have a daughter, son, or combination of both clothes are usually fun for kids. Consider
taking your child on a shopping trip to pick out a dress or suit. Since the clothes are fancier, and not every day attire, this makes the wedding feel more real. On the day of I’ve found that if children are invited to join either bride or groom when it’s time to get ready they become very excited!
Of course there are the traditional flower girl/ring bearer/attendant role, but if you want to step outside the box there are a lot of options. Children can escort you or your future spouse down the aisle. If you’re writing vows consider including a phrase that pertains not just to two people but a complete family. Does your child have a talent that could be included in the ceremony? I have one client whose future stepdaughter is very excited to be performing the ceremony music.
The wife get’s bling but it’s also OK to give your child something that symbolizes your family’s growth. This could also be a ring, locket or charm bracelet. For boys, consider cuff links or a pocket or wristwatch. If your partner shares a common interest with your child, like sports or movies, there might be a fun gift idea revolving around that. One option, that’s encourages sentimentality, would be to present your gift during one of the big moments such as: the engagement, before the ceremony, during the ceremony or while toasting.
There are some easy, fun ways to keep your reception classy but still kid-friendly. If your little ones are under 10 years old make sure your menu includes your kiddo’s favorites. At your bar incorporate Capri Suns, sports drinks, or a fun non-alcoholic signature drink. Set up a game table that has colors and small toys to keep the kids entertained.
First dances can be very special; they’re one of my favorite reception activities! Consider adding in a group dance with your spouse and kids or just your new spouse and child. I had one bride do a “Mother Dance” where she danced with her girls and half way through the song invited all moms their daughters to join them on the dance floor. The guests loved it!
If your child is courageous they may want to give a speech during the toasts. Let them! Trust me, it will be sweet.If they don’t want to give a toast then invite them to be front and center when you and your spouse give your Thank Yous.
Weddings bring people together in celebration so take this opportunity to showcase your new family.
I hope these tips help or inspire you to create an unforgettable day!