Before we look at what role children can play in your wedding it is important to note that it is entirely up to you whether you invite children at all, just some children or the children of all of your guests.
Children can attend the ceremony and all or part of the afternoon and reception – it is your choice.
How can we make children a part of your wedding ceremony?
There are many ways to include children in your wedding ceremony. In all cases it is best to consider the age and confidence of the child, make sure they would be comfortable in the role and, particularly with younger children, always have a Plan B. It is also important for them to attend the rehearsal so that they can practice and know what to expect on the day.
Within the Ceremony
If you have your own children your wedding ceremony is an important day for them, you are not just marrying your partner you are creating a family. There are a number of ways to honour this.
- Reflect the significance of the family you are creating by acknowledging your children within the ceremony.
- You can give them gifts after the ring exchange, a pounamu pendant or a locket for example.
- You can sign a family certificate to frame and put up in your home.
- Rituals such as lighting a candle or hand fasting can be adapted to include your children.
Children can hand out programmes to guests, distribute flower petals, help your ushers, help your photographer identify important people and more.
Children can act as attendants, accompany you down the aisle, be flower girls and ring bearers, junior groomsmen and bridesmaids.
Readings or Songs
Children can perform readings, songs or play music during your ceremony. Shy children may feel happier supported or accompanied by an adult, or performing with other children.
Children can act as witnesses and sign your marriage documents. They must be old enough to understand the ceremony, and be able to explain their understanding in court later, if required. I would usually ask to have a chat with the child to make sure they can fulfil these legal requirements.