If you've spent any time on facebook, read a newspaper or browsed a blog this week, the chances are you've seen a picture or two from the wedding of Hollywood's finest, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who tied the knot in a small ceremony on a beautiful French estate. The one thing everyone's talking about though is the dress - the first images emerged this week showing Angelina and her gorgeous custom-made Atelier Versace gown, designed by Donatella Versace and embroidered by master tailor and her long-term friend Luigi Massi. While it may look like a traditional wedding gown from the front - a quick double take at the reverse and you'll see a veil covered in drawings by the couple's children:

Not only did they contribute to the dress, but it has also been reported that their son, Pax, baked the wedding cake! People magazine also revealed the Jolie-Pitt kids helped write their parents’ vows, and Maddox, 13, and Pax, 10, walked Angelina down the aisle; Zahara, 9, and Vivenne, 6, were flower girls; and Shiloh, 8, and Knox, 6, were ring bearers...

More than ever before, people now marry after having children - so you may be looking for some ways you can make the day extra special by including your little ones. With this in mind, here are some of our favourite ideas to consider:

10 ways to make your children feel valued at your wedding...

1) Let them make a toast (or play a pre recorded video). There's nothing quite like the wise ramblings of a little one! If you're (rightly so) worried about stage fright, how about playing a pre recorded message like this one?

2) You say 'I do', they say 'We do too!' - It's very common for one (or both!) the bride and groom to have children from past relationships and if they're old and mature enough, it may be suitable for them to read out some 'blended vows' of their own. See here for some great examples...

3) Be introduced together: Turn the traditional couples introduction or Bride & Groom announcement into a family affair. Why not enter the reception as a group, and be presented to your guests as “The ____ Family” instead?

4) Display a picture or two - How about including a photo of your whole family in the order of service / ceremony booklets, or displaying a selection of family photos somewhere special at your reception?

5) Let them walk you down the aisle. For whatever reason, if you are not able to follow tradition and take this journey with your father, why not follow Angelina's lead and let you child or children have the honour? For tips and advice on this, read this article.

6) Have a special kids dance! Before you're evening reception is in full swing - perhaps at that stage when the grown ups haven't completely loosened up, a kids dance can be a great way of getting the little ones involved (and it's pretty entertaining to watch too!) A song like 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams  and a box of glow sticks will do the trick! You'll need someone to organise this, so make sure you ask the DJ to announce the kids dance, and play the song at the right time. Perhaps you can also allocate a groomsman to round up the kids at this point.

7) Get some cute signs - While the guests (and not to mention the groom) eagerly await the bride's arrival, increase the sense of anticipation and add some serious 'aaaahhh' factor by asking one of the children carry a hand held 'here comes the bride' sign:

8) Give a special role - having a part to play in your big day will make it an extra special occasion for the kids. The time-honoured traditional roles of ring bearer, flower girl and pageboy are still as relevant today. You can read more about age-appropriate roles for children here.

9) Give a gift during the speeches. It's the norm for parents and other members of the bridal party to be presented with a gift during the speeches, so why not ask the children to come up for a little something too? Instead of trying to may everything too wedding-y just for the sake of it being a wedding, our top tip would be to choose gifts you think they'll love. So steer clear of that engraved pageboy pocket watch and get 5 year old Freddy a truck instead! If you want to provide a keepsake, then a heartfelt thank you card will suffice and in reality, it has more chance of being kept too.

10) Let them jump the queue... Whether it's an eagerly awaited trip to the buffet table or a visit to the photo booth, letting the kids go first will ensure that they get a chance to join in the fun before the adults take over.

 

We hope this has given you some great ideas - please stop by again soon for some more features on kids at weddings, including how to keep them entertained!

Jenny x

 


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