Many brides and grooms include their nieces and nephews or the children of bridal party members as flower girls or ring bearers in their wedding. Kids are cute, sweet, fun and funny. But oftentimes, the younger they are, the less they’re willing to cooperate. For example, if you have a “nature child’ in your wedding party (that is, kids in the stage where they say, “I don’t want to wear that!” to every article of clothing), a child in your wedding who ends up wearing every meal, a kid who may not make it down the aisle in an orderly fashion (or at all), understand upfront that you may encounter some “oops” moments—some adorably amusing, some not so much—and be prepared with strategies for potential glitches.

Aisle alert

Are you comfortable with the fact that some little ones may not “perform” their duties at the wedding, even after a smooth rehearsal? If a child doesn’t want to walk down the aisle, then consider whether or not a parent or other wedding party member can walk along with them.

Flower girl and ring bearer attire
It may be wise to hold off dressing young children in their wedding outfits until the ceremony is about to begin. Of course, accidents can happen at the very last moment, so ask the parents to bring an extra set of clothes. If necessary, offer to pay for the extra ensembles yourself.

Extra wranglers
Ask someone in your wedding party (in addition to the parents) to stay on “kid duty” until the ceremony begins. An extra babysitter will not only be helpful to the parents, but it could help avoid attire accidents. Also, consider gifting your little ones with quiet activity bags to keep them entertained during the ceremony.

√ Timing
If you have plans to take photos at multiple locations, consider how long you need to have your little ones available to pose. You may want to consider having them included for a certain period of time just before the ceremony and just after. Ask their parents what they think will work best for their children to look and feel their freshest (especially if the kids still take naps).

Substitute duties
If something should occur before the ceremony that prevents little ones from performing their duties, but you still want to include them and give them a chance to shine later on, let them forgo their part in the ceremony and give them a task for the reception. Flower girls can scatter their petals as you and your beloved debut as an official couple into the reception hall, and ring bearers can cut in after the first dance.

√ Meals
Try to seat young children with their parents (or close relatives) and older children at a kids-only table. Ask your caterer to provide kid meal options, which are generally a lot less expensive and more appealing for the little ones to eat. Consider providing a mini buffet where young picky eaters can chose from a variety of options.

√ Nanny service/entertainment for the reception
There are lots of choices. Ask parents of children whether or not they want their children a part of the entire reception or if they are interested in child care and what the ideal child care would entail. Depending on the formality and style of your reception, you can have a station for kids (like Drew Barrymore did with a teepee set up) where kids could go and do supervised activities as well as go back and forth to dance and be a part of the reception with their parents.