You pick up the phone and soak in the wonderful news: They’re finally engaged! And the wedding date has already been set. You feel a bit lightheaded when you hear that the big day is in a month or two!
The future bride or groom may be a sibling, in-law, or other close relative, and we know the preparation for any family wedding is surrounded by much excitement and anticipation. In our community, where engagements are relatively short and the wedding happens pretty quickly, those who need to prepare for it can feel delight tinged with a sense of overwhelm. Here are some steps you can take to ease the pressure and help ensure that you and your children can all arrive at the hall calm and ready to bring lots of joy to the bride and groom.
Right Together, Left Together
So you hear that some, or even all, of your children will be marching down the aisle before the kallah makes her grand entrance. Whether your children are toddlers or pre-teens, it is best for them to practice marching in advance. But there is no need for “marching practice” to be as pressure-filled as homework. This is the perfect opportunity to use your creative side and turn it into a game.
Stage a mock-wedding in your home, and let each of your children rehearse marching down the hallway. Teach each child to start with the right foot, and then bring the left foot forward so the two feet are side-by-side. Show them how to take the same step once again, this time leading with the left foot. Demonstrate how to make this into a cohesive march, and rehearse until they are able to make it all the way down the makeshift aisle.
In a few weeks’ time, when your children find themselves in a colossal brightly-lit room, with hundreds of people surrounding them and the rose-covered huppah facing them, they will be prepared to give a flawless march!
Petticoats and Tuxedos
Each child needs special wedding attire to wear to the big event. Younger girls will shine in flower-girl dresses, and the older ones will wear ball gowns. Younger boys will look adorable in miniature tuxedos, and the older ones will do fine in freshly-pressed suits.
You have the option to buy something new for each child, but for a more economical route, visit one of the numerous community wedding gemachs or bring out the wardrobe from a past family wedding and ask a good tailor to make a few changes. Adding rhinestones, ribbons, and lace are great ways to bring fresh accents to a tired look. Whatever you decide to dress your children in, make sure all outfits are tailored, cleaned, and pressed at least a week in advance.
Get a Sitter
Of course, even the tiniest members of your family have been invited to the wedding, and they are all expected to attend. However, little children need constant supervision, which is quite difficult to provide when you are busy greeting guests and dancing with the bride or her mother. So it’s best to hire a babysitter or find a family friend who is willing to attend the wedding and offer an extra set of hands. When the pictures and ceremony are done, you can bring the babysitter and your small children home, settle everyone in, and return to the wedding assured that everyone is supervised and getting a good night’s sleep.
Speaking of Sleep…
It’s going to be a long night! So even if you plan on bringing your children home in the middle of the wedding, make sure all of them (yes, even the ones that claim they are not tired!) get some rest the day of. The last thing you want is for your children to be bleary-eyed and hysterical during the wedding. So, set aside some naptime in the hours before the wedding, so everyone is alert, awake, and excited for this most special evening.
Family weddings are special occasions that only come along every so often. That is why it’s so important to give children the tools to capture the joy of the moment. Prepare ahead of time so that when the night of the wedding finally arrives, your family will be ready to revel in the celebration