I'm talking to our littlest wedding guests today. That's right! Tips for our flower girls and ring bearers.
Actually, let's be serious, I'm talking to you, parents. And you, bride and groom.
One question/fear/topic that 100% of my brides and grooms bring up revolves around these special little people. It usually sounds something like this:
"I don't know if she'll make it down the aisle," said with tangible tremor in the voice.
"We'll see how this goes..."
"What do we do if he won't walk?"
"They will be missing their naps today..."
No need to fear! Here are four important tips to keep in mind:
Seriously, relax. The truth of the matter is, you cannot control how your ring bearer and flower girl will respond to the lime-light. They may rock it. Or, they may... well, not. To be sure, there are real tips and tricks to get ready for this moment of truth. But don't sweat it. Your tiniest wedding party members will maintain their adorable status regardless of their aisle walking performance. What is more, their aisle walking performance won't have a huge impact on the ceremony.
Each child is different, and each child will respond differently to being in the spotlight. Here are some tips and ways to think ahead:
- Think through the wedding day schedule and make sure it lends itself to the best possible outcome for the child. Does he or she get over stimulated quickly? Then maybe don't bring them for seven hours of photos before the ceremony. Does he or she require a nap? Then maybe adjust schedules to ensure that nap is possible. Does he or she have separation anxiety from dad? Then maybe consider dad waiting in the back with the little one.
- Think of something that will coax the child down the aisle and tell your wedding planner. Maybe it's daddy standing up front. Maybe it's a special snack waiting in grandma's lap. Maybe it's an iPad game in the first row. "Go get (enter special item)" have been known to be the final words of success.
- Determine an exit strategy. That is, what will we do if the child won't start walking? Walks the wrong way? Throws a tantrum mid-aisle? Usually the exit strategy includes a parent, grandparent, or someone the child trusts. This person might be ready to carry the child down the aisle. Or, they might be waiting off to the side in a runaway case.
It's important for the flower girls and ring bearers to attend the ceremony rehearsal if possible. As a wedding planner, this is always a very telling time for me to know how the child responds in this kind of scenario. I always do my best to get down on their eye level and earn their trust. I like to practice having them walk to their special item.
The rehearsal is also an important time to walk through the exit strategy. If something does cause the little one to stray from plan, the exit strategy will be important for the transition into the bridal processional to be as calm as possible.
4. Go with the flow.
Remember, you cannot control your littlest ones. And sometimes, the unplanned moments are the most perfectly imperfect.