While some wedding websites advise choosing child attendants who are no younger than six years old, we know that your adored nieces and nephews may be younger than that, and you very much want them to be your flower girls and ringbearers. Here at our wedding banquet hall and wedding gardens, we’ve seen children as young as two perform quite well as child attendants, and the key is smart preparations for the little ones at the wedding rehearsal.
Our wedding staff, as well as the top wedding coordinators and special event experts in the New Jersey region, has helped many brides and grooms during their wedding rehearsals, offering our expertise in helping flower girls and ringbearers prepare for their big moment at the wedding. The key, we’ve found, is making sure kids are comfortable, know what to expect, and know what they might earn by behaving well.
Here are some top tips for helping kids at your wedding rehearsal, improving your odds of a tantrum-free day:
- Be sure that child attendants will be comfortable in their wedding day clothing. Itchy lace collars and shirt tags that poke, too-tight bow ties and other wardrobe issues are the #1 cause of kids’ acting badly at weddings. So be sure the kids’ dresses and tuxes have been checked and adjusted to allow for the little ones’ comfort.
- Be sure that kids have eaten before the wedding, and that they’ve had plenty of water to drink. Hunger and thirst are also top causes of kids’ misbehavior. So practice the same Musts for the rehearsal.
- Tell kids what they’ll see when they walk down the aisle. A practice walk down empty rows is very different than the people-filled rows, flashbulbs, flowers and other distractions. From the youngest kids to the teens, spell out the things they’re likely to see as they walk down the aisle.
- For small children, have a treat waiting for them at the end of the aisle. A grandparent might be holding a big, colorful lollipop or a (silent) toy that they can have when they reach the end of the aisle.
- Allow kids to sit down during the ceremony. This big trend provides for kids’ comfort, they can sit with parents who can shush them if needed, and kids won’t be tempted to wander around, fidget or panic in the face of so many people looking at them.
- Let kids practice their walks down the aisle a few times, and test out who they’re most comfortable walking with. There’s no rule saying the flowergirl has to walk alone. If she’s happiest walking with the maid of honor, that adjustment may be made.
- If children are frightened, talk with them privately to ask what they’re concerned about. A child is more likely to open up about her shoes being slippery on the aisle runner than she might be with a dozen strangers looking at her.
- Prepare children for what happens after the ceremony, they’ll pose for photos, then be introduced into the room at the reception, dance and sit with the other kids. When children know what to expect, they don’t act out as much.
Keep these tips in mind, and your child attendants will have more fun, be happier and more comfortable and thus be a wonderful part of your wedding day.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, pleasantdale Château
As New Jersey’s top wedding venues, the Pleasantdale Chateau, The Manor and the Ram’s Head Inn have been home to countless wedding rehearsals, and we’ve seen the glowing bride and groom prepare for the biggest day of their lives. Who’s invited to attend this very important practice run? We have the wedding etiquette-approved list of who needs to be there…and who isn’t.
First, obviously, the bride and groom need to be present, so that they can not just learn what will happen during each section of the wedding ceremony, but so that they can co-create the personalized ceremony of their dreams. Today’s bride and groom have a voice at their wedding rehearsal, sometimes switching the order of ceremony elements, re-pairing bridesmaids and groomsmen and otherwise designing the most important part of their wedding day.
Next, the bridal party members, and their guests, are invited to the rehearsal dinner. Bridesmaids and groomsmen need to learn where they’ll wait, how they’ll walk down the aisle, what they’ll do during special moments of the ceremony, and how they’ll participate in the recessional. The maid of honor will learn when she’ll need to adjust the bride’s train, hold her flowers, and otherwise be at her service. Why the bridal party guests? According to wedding etiquette, it’s proper to invite them to the rehearsal dinner, so it just works out conveniently to let them attend the wedding rehearsal itself.
Child bridal party attendants, flower girls and ringbearers, are also invited, along with their parents, so that the little ones can practice how they’ll walk and where they’ll stand, so that they’re comfortable and confident in what’s expected of them.
The wedding planner is invited, if you’ve hired one, and may be the person in charge of instructing everyone on each element of the ceremony. The officiant and his or her guest will obviously be there as well, to guide the proceedings and to work with the bride and groom in adjusting any wording, the vows, or other special portions of the ceremony.
Musical performers may also be invited to the wedding rehearsal, although that’s not a Must. Your musicians may require that they attend the rehearsal, so that they can learn the cues of when they’re playing during each portion of the ceremony, so ask your musical experts what their rehearsal policies are, and what you may have to pay them to attend.
Ceremony participants, such as those performing readings or cultural rites, are smartly invited to the wedding rehearsal, so that they too learn when they’ll be expected to stand up and walk to the microphone, and so that they can practice speaking their material on-site.
Parents and grandparents are also invited to the rehearsal, as a special event to witness, as are additional special family members. The smaller the circle of people at the wedding rehearsal, the more efficient the practice session will be, and the sooner you can all get to your lovely rehearsal dinner.
Rolf Shick, Banquet Manager, The Manor
During your wedding rehearsal, you and everyone involved in your wedding ceremony will learn all of the important details central to the beauty and perfection of this most important part of your wedding day. You’ll arrange your bridal party members’ lineup, practice the processional, practice your vows and the symbolic or cultural elements of your ceremony, and make any last-minute changes you desire.
In years past, the wedding rehearsal was in the hands of the officiant who was in charge at the house of worship, or a wedding coordinator stepped in to run the practice session. Now, we’re seeing a fresh, new trend of a team effort encompassing the guidance of several authorities at the rehearsal. Our New Jersey wedding couples enjoy the input from specialists in each portion and style element of the ceremony.
The wedding coordinator handles the bridal party lineup and partner pairings, helps the child attendants learn how to walk down the aisle and where to stand, and instructs any musicians, readers, cultural performers and other players in the wedding ceremony. With a practiced hand and a level of authority that the excited circle of friends and family members listen to with great respect, the wedding coordinator also keeps you on an efficient schedule, so that you can get to your rehearsal dinner on time, with all crucial instructions received.
If you do not have a wedding coordinator working on your wedding, our banquet managers can happily step in to guide your group through every step of your ceremony held on our wedding garden grounds or in one of our ballrooms, and we too will keep you on schedule.
The officiant is another important member of your wedding rehearsal team, leading you through the spoken elements of your ceremony, providing calming guidance and often a sense of humor that puts everyone at ease.
And of course, you are also a member of the rehearsal dinner team, as the highest authority in the creation of your wedding ceremony. You can ask questions, request modifications, and let the officiant know if you have something already printed in your wedding program – such as a particular reading — that needs to be added into the ceremony.
Our wedding couples from Passaic County, Morris County, Somerset County and all other state-wide regions, plus our growing number of New York City and Long Island brides and grooms, actively co-create their wedding ceremonies, finalizing their plans during their all-important wedding rehearsal, and they can then enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that all of the plans are set, and all of the participants know what to do. All that’s left to do is relax, enjoy the evening, and know that your wedding planning team, especially including our dedicated banquet directors, will protect your plans and run everything wonderfully on your wedding day.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château