In a perfect world, your wedding would move along without a hitch. No stress choosing between two equally gorgeous wedding gowns (a lace wedding dress and an A-line wedding dress), no bridesmaids grumping about their dress, no embarrassing toasts, and absolutely no cake wrecks. And when you pick your flower girl and ring bearer, you imagine their lovable, angelic faces as they toddle down the aisle.
But the reality is that a child who is too young or too shy may feel overwhelmed by everything that is going on – especially as they are likely to be the center of attention at least a few times over the course of the day. There are good chances that your flower girls may leave behind their baskets and hightail it out of there, or your ring bearer may plop down mid aisle and express his displeasure… at the top of his voice. While it may be funny to your guests, you would most likely want things to run smoothly on to the main event. So when you choose your flower girl and ring bearer, make certain to follow a few steps to ensure they feel comfortable during the ceremony.
1. Misery loves company
You may be tempted to pick a matched pair of ring bearer and flower girl by selecting siblings or close relatives. But remember that if weddings can bring out the worst in adults, kids are no different. Ask yourself how well these two get along in the real world. Do they play nicely and look out for each other? Or do they mostly squabble over the slightest thing? Does one bully the other? Being onstage is no assurance that children who tend to be at each other’s throats are going to call a truce. In fact, an audience and all that excitement may make it worse. So be sure to pick two children who genuinely seem to like each other.
2. Stage fright
No matter how much you want a child to be a part of your big day, it is not fair to them if you do not first think about their personality. Their enthusiasm on being asked to join the wedding party is no indication of how well they can approach the role. Remember, the child’s response will be largely based on the excitement of your voice, so you will get a happy “yes!” from them whether you ask, “do you want to be my flower girl?” or “want to help me fill out my taxes?” So, choose a child who is not very shy, who enjoys attention, and who has an overall even-keel temperament.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
One way to avoid a ring bearer or flower girl from freezing or bolting is to prepare them. Do not wait up to the time of the wedding rehearsal to show them what is expected. Whatever you do, though, make the practice into something fun rather than like work. Give them lots of praise, and provide an audience to do the same, so they become adjusted to many eyes being on them. You will be doing a favor not just for yourself, but for a child who may not fully understand what will be required of them.
4. Hedge your bets
Remember in the end, they are just children. You should expect the unexpected. For instance, in the case of the ring bearer, consider his duty symbolic. Though tungsten wedding bands may survive even the roughest of treatment, the last thing you want is your wedding rings lost somewhere in the crowd or damaged. Use fake rings on the ring bearer’s pillow, and entrust your real wedding bands to your honor attendants. Also, consider having an adult walk the flower girl and ring bearer down the aisle. The presence of an adult may help the children feel secure and curb any potential misbehavior.
When in doubt, remember a ring bearer or flower girl are not requirements for your wedding. But by following the above steps, there is no reason you cannot successfully include the special children in your life on your important day.