Having Children In Your Wedding

Will You Have Children In Your Wedding?

Over the years we’ve been asked time and again whether a couple “has to” have a flower girl or ring bearer in their wedding. We always tell the couple that these details are personal preference. They certainly don’t HAVE to include children in the wedding if they prefer not to. Especially when there are no children who would be an obvious choice for flower girls or ring bearers (nieces, nephews, best friends’ children, etc), there is no reason why you need to include children in the ceremony. But why do we have flower girls and ring bearers anyway? According to Wikipedia, “a flower girl symbolizes the end of a bride’s innocence and her transition into the roles of mother and wife.” Centuries ago, flower girls often carried wheat and herbs to symbolize fertility and prosperity for the newlyweds. These days, I think we all accept a flower girl’s role of looking adorable and perhaps decorating the aisle with petals before the bride makes her entrance.

Flower Girls by LoveStorey Photography

Ring bearers, historically, traveled as a group down the aisle, with the older boys (called page boys) carrying the bride’s long heavy train and one ring bearer given the special job of carrying the rings on a pillow. These days we don’t see many ring bearers carrying the actual rings (though we do still see a lot of cute pillows!). There are so many other options for “ring bearers” too, including cute signs, pulling baby flower girls in wagons, and even something far quirkier like dressing as a ring BEAR, like at Cayla and Bill’s wedding:

Ringer bearer costume by Kristin Weaver Photography

When it comes to the niceties and avoiding hurt feelings regarding children at a wedding, your best bet is to be clear up front. If you prefer that the wedding be an adult-only affair, just say so from the get-go. Let close friends and family know up front that you’ve decided to keep the wedding day child-free. If you have families with younger children traveling in from afar, offer to provide a babysitting service at the hotel or at least give guests the contact information for a reputable sitting service in your area. While it’s not completely your responsibility to accommodate families if your event is only for adults, helping guests plan for childcare is always appreciated and should help you all alleviate some bit of stress during the wedding weekend.   

Many of our wedding groups opt to include children in the ceremony and then let an on-site sitter take over starting at cocktail hour. That way children are close by and can enjoy some of the fun but parents can also leave them for dancing and champagne knowing that they are supervised and on premises. So what are you planning? A child-free wedding or the more the merrier? We’d love to hear!

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