For Better or Worse – What to Do When Your Child is an Abay

Weddings are solemn and formal affairs – which is perhaps the main reason why couples and even parents themselves are hesitant to include or bring children as guests. But what if your child is part of the entourage as either a flower girl or one of the bearers? Attending a wedding as a guest already entails a bit of planning and preparation in terms of transportation and other arrangements, but bringing your kids who are part of the entourage along for the ride could get a bit messy.

If your kid has an upcoming flower girl or bearer gig, then read on for a few tips:

  1. Dress your child in appropriate yet comfortable clothes.

As part of the entourage, your child should follow the wedding’s theme and motif. Ensure that your child is dressed appropriately based on the couple’s request and that the clothes – whether store bought or specially done for the occasion are comfortable. Flower girl dresses should not be itchy and your daughter should be able to walk in it with no problems. Bearers’ suits should be well-fitted. At the same time, ensure that your child’s shoes should be comfortable as well.

  1. Ensure that you are appropriately dressed as well.

Wedding guests are expected to dress properly for the occasion – although you can opt to not follow the wedding’s color motif, you are still expected to obey the set dress code (formal, semi-formal, etc.). As parents who will also take care of active toddlers, this can get a bit more complicated. So here are other considerations, especially for moms:

  1. Choose an outfit that you are completely comfortable in. If you are a breastfeeding mother, then it should be something that you can comfortably nurse or pump. Aside from a flattering style, you should also consider the length and cut especially if your child is an active one. You should be able to comfortably stoop (without showing your assets) or kneel (again, preferably without your dress hitching up) to your child’s level. Bear in mind that you might need to pin or adjust her flower crown (for mommies of flower girls) or pin his boutonniere (for mommies of bearers) without giving everyone a peek up or down your dress.
    1. Be mindful of the dress code and come prepared. This is especially important for parents with younger kids. Younger kids have higher chances of backing out from marching down the aisle, and when this happens, parents have the responsibility to accompany them (and no, you cannot ask the wedding coordinators to do it for you as chances are, your kids won’t go with them). So you have to be prepared and dressed in case of such instances. Please don’t march down the aisle in jeans and sneakers when members of the wedding entourage are in suits.
    1. For parents of bearers or little boys, be mindful of the pillows and other wedding paraphernalia. Once the wedding coordinator hands it to you, give it to your child only during the actual march – to ensure that it doesn’t get misplaced. After the march, you can then take it from your child and set it aside in a safe place or return it to the wedding coordinator.
  • Plan your accommodations and timings.

Weddings are whole-day affairs and can be tiring for you and especially for your kids. If budget is not a problem, consider having a staycation with your family and book a room in a hotel or any accommodation option near the wedding venues (even in the same hotel as the couple themselves). Doing so will give you ample time to rest and prepare especially if you live a bit far from the wedding venues. If renting a room is out of the budget, then time your travel accordingly – consider traffic situations, meal times, and even your kid’s nap times. Whether you decide to rent a room or not, the important thing is to arrive at the ceremony venue with enough time to relax a bit before the march. Being rushed can stress you and your kids out.

  • Pack a bag full of tricks.

Clutches and evening bags might be the in-thing in weddings, but as parents, we need something a bit bigger. You can still carry your formal bag (with your valuables) but we suggest packing another bigger bag with tricks and stuff for your child. And please don’t use a paper bag as it could easily disintegrate. Instead, use a tote or shopper that looks a bit formal and can hold all your stuff. Here are items you can pack:

  1. Coloring books, activity sets, stickers, drawing books, pencils, crayons. Basically, anything that can keep your child interested during the wedding down times – while waiting for the ceremony or reception to start, at the reception table, etc.
    1. Small snacks – minimize hunger tantrums by ensuring that you have enough snacks and drinks for your child throughout the day.
    1. Extra clothes that your child can change into after the wedding ceremony.
    1. His favorite toy, or any toy that can keep him silently occupied.
  • Know when to back off and call it a day.

Of course, as proud parents, we want to maximize every photo opportunity – and our kids in formal suits and gowns are definitely one of such moments. Nevertheless, know when to back off. Try to include your child in as much entourage photos as necessary – especially those that include flower girls and bearers, but also refrain from pushing him too much. Being too pushy with your kids can again end up in tantrums or crying bouts.

At the same time, while it is ok to also enjoy yourself in the wedding reception, also know when it is time to go home. Your bag is bound to run out of tricks and your child will eventually get bored and tired. When this happens, cut your losses and call it a day. Bid the newlyweds congratulations and thank yous and call it a night. This is way better than staying and waiting for your child to lose his wits as the night goes on.

So don’t stress yourself out too much mamas. With a little preparation, creativity, and patience, both you and your child can enjoy his wedding entourage stint.

*Originally published in

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