Naturally one of the first things you think of when you decide to get married is how to include your family and friends, especially the children. Today people are getting married older, numerous times and people have children with long term partners who they aren't married to. This causes the problem of how to include these children in the wedding ceremony. Along with their own children, the bride and groom also have to worry about including nieces, nephews and friends' children.
The first thing you have to do is look at the age and the behavior of the children in question. After you've decided exactly which children you want to include in the ceremony you can decide what you're going to have them do. A flower girl or ring bearer is usually younger than 8 years old. After walking up the aisle spreading flower petals a flower girl can stand with the wedding party and the ring bearer can do the same. If they're children of the couple getting married they can stand next to them.
Junior bridesmaids and groomsmen wear the same color as the rest of the wedding party and perform the same duties on a smaller scale. They're usually about 8 to 15 years old. After that age they are considered groomsmen or bridesmaids.
If you have many nieces and nephews or friends with young children who you want to include, you can assign smaller jobs that still make them feel included and important. These tasks can include handing out bubbles at the church, handing out direction cards to the reception site and lighting candles before the ceremony, or if they are musically gifted, playing during it.
Perhaps the hardest children to include in your wedding ceremony are your own. You want them to feel just as special and excited as you do. A few ideas on how to do this is to allow them to choose what they wear or have them help pick colors for the reception or their clothes. You could also allow them to contribute to the wedding vows in some way or take an extra vow as a family. Another nice way to include them is at the reception, after the bride and groom have their first dance, have the children dance with the applicable parent. After the ceremony allow them to help open gifts and make lists for thank you notes. When all the excitement is over, you can commemorate the day by giving them some sort of gift.