Best Ways to Include Them in Your Wedding
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Sharon Naylor
Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding books, including Bridesmaid on a Budget and other bestselling titles, www.sharonnaylor.net. She is a Savvy Auntie to her nieces, Madison and Maive, and her nephew, Kevin.
When you love your nieces and nephews with all your heart, you want to make them a very special part of your wedding day. In the past, brides and grooms simply included them as the adorable crowd-pleasers in their bridal parties, with their beaming little faces and adorable flower girl dresses or mini tuxes adding a dash of sweetness to a dream wedding day.
But you’re not limited to just dressing them up and having them pose in your photos. You can add a whole new level to their involvement, giving the kids you adore so much additional unforgettable roles to play in your Big Day. Your wedding becomes even more magical, and they’ll never forget the fun they had.
Here are some top ways to make your nieces and nephews an even bigger part of your wedding celebrations:
First Things First
First, forget the advice that flower girls need to be aged 4 to 8. Just put the littlest one, your too-cute-for-words 10-month-old niece, in a carriage decorated to look like a cloud or accented on the outside with flowers; and have a bridesmaid pull the carriage down the aisle so that the baby-flower girl is visible in her little pink or white frilly dress and lace headband. If the baby is a boy, a nautical theme puts him in a sailor suit and hat with the pram decorated like a boat. Or he can just wow the crowd in his little tux.
When kids are older than 8, make them Junior Flower girls and Junior Groomsmen. (Wardrobe alert: don’t put a 9- or 10-year-old in a strapless dress to match the bridesmaids! Pre-teens should have strappy dresses or cute cap or flutter sleeves.)
“You Get to Plan It”
No matter their age, from precocious 4-year-olds to shy 14-year-olds, kids love it when adults give them some creative control. Let your niece pick out the color and design of sash on her dress or how she’d like to wear her hair; and she’ll beam, knowing she gets a say.
Invite your nieces and nephews to help pick the songs on your engagement party playlist, choose a few songs for the reception, and – kids love this! – help you pick out the kiddie menu items from the caterers’ list.
Ask your maid of honor to let your nieces help make the bridal shower favors. If your mom will make cupcakes for your engagement party, have the kids help with the baking, frosting and decorating.
Sit down with them to look at Pinterest photos of bridal showers; let them click and copy the photos they like the most; and choose together an element to bring into your own celebration.
At the engagement party or bridal shower, make sure the kids hear you telling guests, “My niece arranged the centerpiece flowers!” or “My nephews helped pick out the candies for the dessert bar!” Kids love it when you, the star of the party, give them praise.
A Big Honor on the Wedding Day
Invite your junior bridesmaid to fasten your wedding day necklace. This is a huge special moment between you and your niece, one that was a highlight of my own wedding. My sweetheart, Madison, helped put my necklace on me (see photo).
If your father is no longer with you, or if it’s your choice, ask your nieces and nephews to walk you down the aisle.
Depending on his or her comfort level, your niece or nephew can perform one of the readings during your ceremony, or if a child is extremely talented (we’re talking prodigy), perform a song at the ceremony.
At the Reception
When the bridal party is introduced into the room, dancing their way in, the kids can bring down the house with their own smooth moves. Just practice this with them ahead of time. Little ones or pre-teens may be shy or not like surprises.
Ask them to dance. Kids and teens may be too shy for an announced spotlight dance with you; but if you just ask them to join you on the dance floor, that’s more comfortable for them and far more fun.
If you have one niece, you might decide to offer her your bouquet instead of tossing it to your single friends. She’ll be delighted, and imagine the photo opps on that one!
During the reception, let your nieces and nephews style their own group photos that your professional photographer snaps. (It means more than having guests take photos of them – this is the wedding photographer, listening to them! They decide where to take the photos; they come up with silly poses. And of course, step into the photo booth with them to get some fun, prop-filled pictures.
If you’re not yet close with your groom’s nieces and nephews, what better way to make friends with them, become dear to them and start your lifetime of loving them too? Talk to the parents about your wishes to include their kids, and pick out a simple role or project they can share with you.
And take a moment on the wedding day to talk with your niece or nephew. It’s a fascinating thing…the kids have had you all to themselves for so long; and brides have actually been asked, “Are you going to love him better than me?” Nieces and nephews love being #1 in your heart, so when you ask them to come out to the gardens to talk for a minute or dance with them or spend a few minutes with them in the bridal suite, you show them they’re still at the top of your list even on your wedding day.
How will you include your nieces and nephews on your wedding day? Share your stories in the Comments section here.
Photo: Courtesy of Rich Penrose, www.deanmichaelstudios.com
Published: June 11, 2012