How to Keep the Littlest Members of Your Wedding Party Focused During the Rehearsal
What to do about little kids with big jobs the night before your wedding.
The youngest members of your wedding party may be cute, but their attention spans are probably shorter than you'd like them to be. And while that normally may not usually seem like a big deal, you might think otherwise on a day when you want everything to go off without a hitch. To that end, we spoke with three wedding professionals to get their best tips for keeping the littlest members of your wedding party focused at the rehearsal so they can feel confident about their job on your big day.
Give Them an Incentive
Keith Phillips of Classic Photographers says, "Offering an incentive is a very effective strategy for keeping kids focused during important events. There's no need to go overboard—even the promise of dessert or taking a favor home can do the trick!" Just make sure you get their parents' approval before offering sugary treats. Phillips also suggests hitting the dollar section of your favorite for a few new-to-them activities or toys.
Talk Up Their Job
It is also important to prep the kids before the rehearsal. Most of the time when they know what's coming, they are more likely to be engaged in the event, Phillips says. "I would keep it serious and explain to them how important this event is, but not in a way that puts pressure on them. Children generally love to be important and recognized." Showing them what to expect can be helpful as well, so find a video of a flower girl or ring bearer walking down the aisle so that they have an idea of what they are working towards. "The visual could help them better understand their role and even entice them to practice on their own at home."
Know Their Limits—and Yours
The unexpected is going to happen, says José Rolón the owner of José Rolón Events. That's why he advises his clients to focus on what they can control. "You can control their role being minimal and easy, no complex tasks or requirements." It also helps to know what they are capable of, or what they are comfortable with. If you see them struggling with a task at the rehearsal, maybe you are expecting too much from them and it's time to scale back their responsibilities.
What About the Parents?
Jamie Chang, wedding planner and creator of Passport to Joy, says it's important for parents to be at the rehearsal because it's important for kids to feel comfortable. "Make sure the parents stay with the kids until they are needed," Chang says. "They can play a game together, eat some snacks or color until they are needed." That way you can let them be free to do what they want until you absolutely need their focus.
"Keep the kid's job as simple and short as possible. If you don't need them to stand up at the front or walk out with the recessional, don't do it. And then when you're ready for the kids to participate, get them in and out as quickly as possible."