8 Ways To Involve Your Kids In Your Wedding Day, According to Parents

This is what it's really like getting married with children in tow.

We’ve all heard horror stories of kids at weddings – from little flower girls who run down the aisle screaming, to page boys who get a serious case of stage fright and lose the rings.

For couples who decide to get married after having kids, working out how to involve them in the wedding without massively increasing your stress levels or the chances of things going spectacularly wrong, is essential. We spoke to brides about how they made sure their big day wasn’t a big disaster. Find out what worked for them – and what really, really didn’t...

Laurence Monneret via Getty Images

Expect The Unexpected

Hannah, from Jersey, decided to postpone her wedding after finding out she was pregnant, and got married when her son was 11 months old. “We bathed him while wearing our wedding clothes so he would still go to bed on time, and he vomited on my husband just before I walked down the aisle. In our wedding video you can hear him telling me, repeatedly, that the baby had been sick on him!”

Stick To Routine

Katy Meaden, from London, married Marc in Italy in 2010, when their son, Freddie, was 10 months old. “Generally the day was absolutely fine,” she says. “It was slightly stressful when I knew Fred needed to have a nap and I was the best person to get him down! But it meant it was all very calm and quiet in my bedroom while I got ready.”

Katy Meaden, her husband and her son Freddie on her wedding day.
Katy Meaden
Katy Meaden, her husband and her son Freddie on her wedding day.

“We had 40 close friends and family in Pisa and half of those were staying at the villa with us. Everyone was more than happy to help with Fred, but when he was really tired he just wanted me.

“Fred wore a matching suit to my nephew and they were the equivalent of page boys. Other than that, he didn’t have a huge amount of input. He was 10 months old and just starting to walk. He ate with us and ate the same meal – lovely Italian food. We had games for the small children there. I’d definitely recommend keeping them entertained!”

Hire Help (If You Can Afford It)

Hannah, from London, says the best decision she and her husband made when they married was to hire professional help. “We went to a different family wedding with our baby – and it was a disaster,” she told us. “So, we decided to spend a couple of hundred pounds on hiring an ‘event nanny’ for our wedding day, and we actually got to spend some time together. I was breastfeeding, so I had to keep going off every couple of hours, but having the extra help meant we could all enjoy it – grandparents too.”

Enlist Friends And Family To Help

Naomi Thomas, from London, married Jordan in Enfield in 2013, two weeks after their son, Elwood, turned one, and while she was still breastfeeding. “We had a festival-style wedding with a civil ceremony in a manor house, followed by a hand-fasting ceremony outdoors on a farm with more than 500 guests and Elwood was passed around the various grandparents, aunties, uncles and friends. They took it in turns to hold him and he sat on our laps during the signing of the wedding papers,” Naomi says.

Naomi Thomas

“I spent a lovely quiet hour feeding him in a private room in one of the barns – that was a really special moment as I was able to sit and think and take it all in.”

Because the couple knew they’d have loads of children and babies at the wedding, they made sure there was plenty for them to do – from a chill-out tent with lots of shade, to a cinema room showing kids’ films. “Having Elwood there with us on the day was actually very special and meaningful,” she says. “I love the fact he was at our wedding and am sorry now that Logan – his younger brother – wasn’t!”

Make A Joke If Things Go Wrong

Catherine’s daughter was supposed to walk happily down the aisle. “She was my bridesmaid and was supposed to lead the procession holding my son’s hand,” she says. “Cute, right? Wrong! She cried the whole way down the aisle and I had to pick her up at the start of the service. The vicar got in a ‘Daisy always cries at weddings’ joke, and it helped – friends said it made them relax about their own kids’ behaviour, and the rest of the day went well!”

Decide Whether You Want Parts To Be Baby-Free

“We were planning our nuptials when we accidentally fell pregnant,” explains Jai. “We delayed the day because I didn’t want to look like a watermelon and I wanted to drink cocktails! I also wanted our wedding to be about us as a couple. So the day was very baby-free. He’s not even in any of the main wedding pics – although there are lovely snaps of him being a pass-the-parcel.”

One of Jai’s friends looked after their son during the day, and then the couple hired a nanny in the evening. “I’m glad we did it that way. It wasn’t planned that we would have a wedding with a baby in tow and it was important to me – especially as I was suffering with postnatal depression – that we had a day that was celebrating our coupledom, not just our family.”

Figure Out Their Role In The Wedding

Sophie says that her 12-year-old daughter still fondly reminisces about being a bridesmaid. “She’s stated her intention to marry after having children, based on the fact that she’s gutted she wasn’t at our wedding,” she says. “She loved being at her aunt and uncle’s – who got married after having kids – because the three cousins were bridesmaids together.”

Get Them Involved In Planning

Vicki McFee, from Cornwall, is in the process of organising her wedding to her partner Kevin. The couple have been together for 10 years and have three young children. “I’m having great fun with my daughters as together we Pinterest ideas for the dresses, cake and flowers,” explains Vicki. “They are hilariously opinionated as to what will be required – apparently white lace gloves are a must for any decent and respectable flower girl! They even helped us select our venue, which conveniently has soft play, clip‘n’climb walls, a swimming pool and an animal farm on site!”

Vicki McFee

“I’m so pleased they will be an integral part of our special day – I can’t imagine our lives without them and want our wedding to reflect that. To me, a wedding symbolises unity and celebrates the happiness it brings and our kids are the epitome of that really.”

However, adults will also get their own time at the wedding – after the ‘kids’ disco’ ends at 7pm, the couple’s daughters will head off to the hotel room with their much-loved babysitter, and so will any other very young guests. “I love them dearly but nobody enjoys an overtired and grumpy child having a meltdown on the dance floor!” says Vicki.