Yes, kids do go to weddings and by my calculations there might be as many as ten million children each year who participate in or attend a wedding. I know that there are brides and grooms who choose the “no kids” wedding route and for many couples this is both desirable and appropriate after all weddings are long affairs and children are quickly bored, they have too much energy and tend to make a mess. Mine certainly did. Yet today, little flower girls, ring bearers, page boys and butterfly girls are as popular as ever. Some children even come with the bride or groom, children of previous relationships they are part of the wedding party. Sometimes the couple has been living together and they have already produced a family. Many guests who are parents work all week and the weekends are the only time when children and parents are together. Lots of children are included as guests and family members. One bride called me the other day because she had thirty five children attending her wedding…” That sounds like a classroom to me” I said.
Weddings are happy events. Think back to the time you attended a wedding, most of us did at sometime or another. Cooing aunts and funny uncles, cool cousins that you didn’t know you had, family friends, and so on. I believe that children gain a key family experience at a wedding. Children of all ages quickly sense the connections, the likenesses, the belonging, security and love that families provide. Children are the reason we have marriage and although created in a different time societies worldwide still recognize the importance of the institution of marriage, established to protect the family and support healthy communities. Children at weddings observe a ritual that they will most likely replicate themselves and being a teacher I saw the possibility for the teachable moment so I designed the products and wrote the books. Goodness this all sounds so academic not at all romantic and glamorous!
Well today’s weddings are very glamorous, romantic, meaningful…and the hope is there in those little faces… cute ring bearers and flower girls. They add a special dimension to the day. While it is very hard to be still and quiet the effort is worth it and I am sure most little attendants and guests will agree with me. They get lots of pats on the head, hugs and kisses, gifts, new clothes and treats. They are fussed over, praised and talked about and eventually when the adults are all happy and relaxed they get to run around, slide on the floor and dance the night away! Well that is until they crash and fall asleep. But as we all know those same cute kids can also get overtired and cranky, they can make too much noise, hang on the drapes, upset the caterer, annoy their parents and other guests and generally become a complete nuisance and spoil the day.
Be prepared…that is my motto and an inexpensive wedding coloring book or some stickers might quickly calm things down. Getting temporary wedding tattoos to stick can divert the attention of most children, and they will work with spit or champagne! Perhaps making up a wedding fortune teller will entertain them for a while connect their little brains and fingers, and then give children an opportunity to interact with adults and each other in a more positive way. The scavenger hunt encourages conversation and observation and as an added extra, enterprising youngsters (there are plenty of those) soon find they can collect some serious pocket money with this game! Before the big day sharing information about what an attendant has to do and what a wedding is about in childlike terms helps take the worry away…and of course a cuddly teddy or two will help. There are more ways to address this event but suffice to say resources that relate to the day work…I know. So while the kids are not the first item on the list of things to do and consider for a wedding, I certainly think they are worthy of a little thought and preparation for if they are attending then “happy kids equals a happy wedding day for everyone” will apply.