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Etiquette for Including Children in Your Wedding Bridal Party

Children can be a wonderful complement to your marriage ceremony, however this depends on the age of the children who will be attending.  As there are no hard and fast rules for including children in weddings, here are a few common sense guidelines to follow.

As children represent the fruits of a marriage, their presence underscores one of the traditional purposes of a wedding. However, if you want to include children in the bridal party, you must first look to their ages to be sure they are able to perform the role that you have in mind as well as participate in the wedding activities.

The roles of ring bearer and flower girl are often given to young children rather than teenagers.  Most often they are between the ages of five and twelve years old. Although a three year-old flower girl is adorable, the younger the child, the more unpredictable their behavior may be.

When it comes to the wedding ceremony, children under the age of five have been known to cause unexpected interruptions at the crucial moment when a couple is about to exchange wedding rings.

Ideally a child should be able to understand how they are expected to behave and be able to follow instructions well. However even if the child is twelve years old, that doesn't mean that they should be unsupervised. It's a good idea to ask one of the bridesmaids to look after the flower girl, and one of the groom’s men to be in charge of the ring bearer.

If many of the people you plan to invite to your wedding are parents of young children and you want them to attend, be sure to state clearly whether or not the children are invited on your wedding invitation. If children are invited, it’s a good idea to take a count of how many children will be part of your wedding celebration and their ages so that you can make the proper arrangements such as baby-sitting for very young children, in advance.

When it comes to the wedding reception,  the smart idea is to plan as many inclusive activities as possible so that the children don't feel excluded,  for example dance sessions with them in the spotlight. Providing a special menu and seating your younger guests with one or two of your adult attendants is another way to make sure they are recognized as valued guests at your wedding celebration.

Keep in mind that if you decide to have children as part of your bridal party, make sure that you also purchase gifts for them to help them remember this special day as well as for the adult attendants of the bride and groom.