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Kids Add Adventure To Wedding Ceremony
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children can add a precious element to wedding ceremonies, but adults first need to have realistic expectations for a child's behavior.
Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said children require special considerations for being in a formal ceremony.
"Adults should not expect a very young child to stand during an entire wedding ceremony. In fact, you can only predict a child's behavior to be unpredictable," Davis said. "Adults who may be upset by unexpected behavior should avoid having children in a wedding."
In some cases, couples may want to have a child in wedding pictures but not necessarily as part of the formal ceremony. These well-dressed children can help distribute birdseed during the reception for the couple's big send-off.
After considering the risks and the child's ability to endure the event, there are several ways to make the day easier on children and adults.
"Rehearsals are important, but they won't guarantee anything at the time of the wedding when there are so many distractions, like an audience," Davis said. "Be sure children are familiar with any props, such as flower baskets or ring pillows. Avoid floor-length dresses for young flowergirls."
Davis said pictures before the ceremony are usually easier for children. They are not as tired and are usually more cooperative.
"Have an alternative plan if a child balks when it is time to walk down the aisle," Davis said. "Children who get scared at the last minute cannot be reasoned with, and no one wants an unpleasant scene."
Davis said a person should be designated to manage the child throughout the event. That should be a person the child is comfortable with and who can devote attention completely to the child's needs.
"It is always thoughtful to have a nursery available for guests who may bring young children to a wedding," Davis said. "It's not fair to ask children to behave like adults at a formal occasion. A nursery worker can provide a place for the kids to be kids and relieve adults of the stress of trying to control children."