Never work with children or animals?

No matter what we think about the wisdom of including children [or animals] in your ceremony, there are times when it’s simply the right thing to do. Luckily, there are many possible roles for children of all ages in ceremonies- in the traditional roles of ring bearer or flower girl, or more creative options, such as heralding the bride’s entrance as a bell-ringer.
Flower Girl: As far as I can tell, the primary purpose for your traditional flower girl is: to look cute! Her main role is to help build up to the entrance of the bride. She can  scatter confetti, flower petals, or even blow bubbles on the way down the aisle. It’s a nice touch if one of the groomsmen steps forward to meet her at the end of the aisle, to escort her to her place, or a very young child could be escorted to sit with her parents.

Bell Ringer: Another way to include younger members of the bridal party is to appoint a bell-ringer, who heralds the arrival of the bride by entering ringing a small hand bell, and letting everyone know “The bride is coming! The bride is coming!”

Ring Bearer: The classic image of the ring bearer is an angelic cherub, carrying the rings tied to a satin pillow. It’s less common, but still possible, to include anyone, from an older child, young adult, or elderly relative, in the role. The rings don’t have to be carried on a pillow – they could be laid in a paua shell, woven flax kete, held in their store-branded ring boxes, or even loose in a pocket. If you’re feeling really lucky, a loved pet could play the role of ring-bearer, with the rings tied very securely to a harness, but frankly, it’s not something I recommend, and I have yet to see it done without a hitch.

Knot Bearers [and other roles]: If you are using visual symbols during your ceremony, you might have them in place before the ceremony begins, or you could have someone formally carry them in [or out]. This could include the mothers of the bride and groom, stepping forward to light taper candles in preparation for the lighting of a marriage candle later in the ceremony. If a formal knot tying will be part of your ceremony, you could arrange for someone to bring the tied knot safely home from the wedding ceremony, and it may be appropriate for them to enter with the bridal party.

You may wish to include your own children in your ceremony. The level of involvement depends greatly on the age & personality of your child. If you know the children well enough to predict how they will behave, and can relax knowing that they can’t be guaranteed to perform 100% on cue, then go for it!

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