Many of the rigid social mores that governed many past centuries are gone (or going), and increasingly, more couples are having kids before marriage. This brings new joys and challenges to the planning of a wedding day. On one hand, it’s wonderful to have your children there to celebrate this special occasion with you. On the other hand, children necessitate attention, which — as the bride or groom — means some of your big day’s attention won’t be on you.
But, if you’re a parent, your used to putting your kids first, so this diluted limelight probably won’t upset you that much. Besides, having your day in the sun isn’t impossible. Just read on. Here are tips for planning your wedding when you already have kids.
1. Make them A Part of the Show!
It likely goes without saying that your kids should be a part of the wedding party itself. Not only will this help bring two families together, if you’re not marrying the blood parent of your child or children, but it will give kids a sense of pride and responsibility in the day. This investment will help them feel more accountable, and keep them on their best behaviour.
2. Involve them in Planning
You don’t need to let them have a final say in your wedding dress or the cake, but giving them the opportunity to give their input will also foster that sense of ownership over the day, which will encourage them to want the best for it.
The illusion of choice. A great way to let kids really feel like they’re in the thick of the planning is to give them the illusion of choice. For instance, if your daughter is going to be a flower girl in your wedding, you don’t need to allow her to have complete control over what dress and she wears, but you can pick two or three options you like, and allow her to select her favourites from those. This lets her feel like she’s making the choice — and she is, to an extent — but it’s a choice pre-approved by you.
Pro-tip: Ensure the clothing your child will wear is comfortable. An outfit may look good, but can your child last the day in it? Get your child to move around during the fitting. Ask: does anything rub? Are you itchy? Is it too tight?
Pay particular attention to your children’s wedding footwear. Get good quality kids shoes so your child isn’t barefoot before the ceremony, and can dance the night away with you in style.
3. Downtime Space
It’s hard for adults to make it through an entire wedding without being tired. For even the best behaved children, it can seem like torture. Make sure you have a room or space where the kids can relax and unwind with books, colouring, quiet games or even iPads or movies. Depending on the length of the wedding and the age of the child, a place to nap may also be necessary. A little downtime will help your child recharge his or her batteries and be at his or her best for your big day. It’s an experience you want you and your children to look back on fondly, after all!
4. Kid-Friendly Food
Kids and food. It can make parents crazy. Make sure to plan a wedding with food your kids will actually eat. Fear not: this doesn’t mean all your wedding guests have to eat chicken fingers and fries and head to a candy bar for dessert, but having those options for the kids will go a long way to creating the sort of peaceful environment that comes with having well-fed bairn.
5. Check In
Finally, take the time to check in with your kids to see how they’re doing. The wedding planning process can be stressful and it is easy to lose sight of your kids. Schedule time to spend just with them, one on one. Also, be sure to not commit them to wedding day activities without asking them first. You may want them to be a part of the ceremony, but your child may be too shy, and prefer to watch the ceremony with a family member. Check in regularly so you stay connected to the little people who matter most.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that you and your loved ones had a wonderful time at your wedding, so don’t sweat the small stuff. Use these tips to easily, if not seamlessly, integrate your beautiful children into your big day! Happy planning!