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How to include children on your wedding day


Photo credit: Jeremy James Weddings

"The very mention of it can send shivers down some people's spines, but, let's face it, quite a few people now, thinking of getting wed either have children themselves or are a part of a friendship circle where children are expected, being born....and making themselves heard!

So let's embrace the mini me's and their contribution to your kickass wedding day." Michelle Funky Celebrant

Hell yeah! Let's face it, if you have opted to have children at your wedding – you might as well go full throttle and embrace their presence.

From involving them in the ceremony, keeping them entertained during those 'boring bits' to allowing responsible adults some respite.

We have spoken to experts in the industry from Celebrants, Entertainers and Photographers who have all offered their insights, expertise and top tips.

Here’s our guide to making children integral to your day...

Photo credit: Jeremy James Weddings

The Ceremony

The Ceremony: that bit of the day which, as Michelle says: "can cause the biggest sweat". Will they behave? Will they keep quiet? Caroline at Days to Remember and Michelle Funky Celebrant have many tried and tested ways to effectively include children in the ceremony: be they your own or your friends .... check out their top ideas...

Make them part of the wedding squad, ring bearers, flower girls and page boys are the obvious choices. If they are old enough, they could walk you down the aisle or be your Best Man or Woman.

Most will love the spotlight and relish a role, but remember - this may not be every child's ideas of fun, so always approach these decisions with care.

"for the shy ones, don't force them, don't feel obliged to use them either because of ahem...family dynamics, but ask them IF they'd like to take part and be a a part of your squad. Don't forget for some kids, a large gathering of strangers can be a little overwhelming, so let them, to an extent, do what they feel comfortable doing." Michelle

Blend families in a unity ritual and make your ceremony interactive: "uniting yours and your partner's existing children in a unity ceremony is a poignant way to mark the blending of your two families." Caroline

There are many unity rituals to choose from such as lighting unity candles, mixing sand of different colours, or blending wine (for older children obvs! ). You can even adapt the traditional handfasting wheel with each member of the family having their own coloured ribbon, which, as they are tied together, represents them, their personality and all they bring to their new family dynamic.

"I had a couple last year who adored their Nibblings ( nephews and niece) and wanted them included in the ceremony, they helped me with wands, light sabre and glitter when they exchanged vows and took part in a handfasting....they then formed a guard of honour for their Aunt and new Uncle with wands and light sabre and it was soooo much fun! They were nervous, but we'd practiced and they knew their roles, and loved every minute of their time in the spotlight." Michelle

Invite your younger guests to perform poems and songs. Whilst not all children like to be the centre of attention, for those who do, asking them to recite a poem or perform a song is a great way to include them in your ceremony.

"Children, younger or older, can perform this role in your ceremony making for a really memorable and moving moment." Caroline

Photo credit: Jeremy James Weddings

The Reception

Create a space for FUN! As Lizzie from Felt Fantastic says: "happy children makes for happy grown ups!".

And there are so many options out there - we are totally spoilt for choice when it comes to entertaining children (and grown ups) at weddings ...

Get crafty! We all love to let loose at a craft table - the lure of colour, accessories and the opportunity to just go for it and express yourself (see what we did there?) is hard for anyone to resist!

Lizzie at Felt Fantastic specialises in running fun workshops where younger guests can indulge their creative energy and make fabulous wooly creations! The best bit? Children can get crafty without the worry of messy glue or paint on anyones clothes!

Depending on budget, you don't always have to book for a whole day - Felt Fantastic can, for example, be booked for as little as an hour.

The best bit about a craft activity? Children have a lasting momento of the day to take away with them - it's an all round winner!

Glitter up! ALERT!! This is NOT just for children! Let's face it - who wouldn't want to add glitz to their day?

Introducing ... (drum roll please ...)...The Sparkle Station! The guys and gals over at Beau and Arrow Events have created a magical space where you can glitter body, face and hair and sparkle all day long!

Go crazy with face paints! It's an oldie but a goodie. Did you know designs can be themed to your wedding too?

In addition to offering the above service, Beau and Arrow Events also provide an entertainer whilst the face painting artists work their magic.

Blow your littlest guests away (and maybe some grown ups 🤩) with a special guest appearance from a familiar face. Bring a fairytale Prince or Princess to your wedding day (upstaging of the bride is NOT allowed) and you will, quite literally, make your younger guests dreams come true.

Characters will more often than not offer additional services too - so you get real value for money. Over at Beau and Arrow Events they offer to bring whatever you wish for to life; performances, dances, games or to simply chat to guests - they will also serve drinks, food or canapés!

Photo credit: Jeremy James Weddings

The Photos

And it's not just keeping the children entertained - capturing memorable images of them is a feat in itself. The last thing adults want to be doing is constantly searching aimlessly for children who were "just there a minute ago" and trying to get them to behave for posed photos whilst a frustrated photographer gradually loses their patience. Cue: relaxed documentary style wedding photography. Not only does this style of photography work brilliantly for documenting all aspects of the wedding day, it works especially well when it comes to children. As Jeremy James at Jeremy James Wedding Photography says:

"little guests always respond better to unposed photography, captured naturally in the moment."

"I’ve been a pro photographer for 20 years so know that pretty much the worst thing you can do when photographing children is ask them to pose! I prefer to capture the real them enjoying real moments. Children also bring a wonderful dynamic to this style of wedding photography because of course you never know what they are going to say or do which can lend itself to wonderful spontaneous shots, these are the king of shots my clients tend to value the most. Kids also provoke wonderful reactions from the people around them, especially the bride and groom and this is something I always like to capture." Jeremy James

Photo credit: Jeremy James Weddings

Photo credit: Jeremy James Weddings

Photo credit: Jeremy James Weddings

Afterwards

Finally - we're just gonna leave you with this fabulous idea given to us by Caroline at Days To Remember: create a time capsule. Give children the task of collecting special momentos, keepsakes and objects from the wedding day to put together in a time capsule. Great for blended families and those planning on vowel renewals in the future - in fact, just great all round!

With extra special thanks to: (Click on the pink writing to follow links to pages)

Michelle Funky Celebrant

Caroline Days To Remember

Lizzie Felt Fantastic

Hollie Beau and Arrow Events

Jeremy James Jeremy James Wedding Photography

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