Five Essential Tips for Including Kids in Your Wedding

Photo: Nhan Nguyen Photography

If you’ve always envisioned your wedding as a strictly adult affair, this probably isn’t a blog post you need to bother with. BUT, if like many brides, you are considering including one, two or a bunch of children at your wedding, you’ll want to read on.

Whether or not to have children at your wedding is almost always a difficult decision fraught with potential offenses and possible (but certainly avoidable) catastrophes. If you happen to either have children in your family with whom you are very close, or have children of your own, then there’s a good chance you’ll want to include these little ones on your guest list.

Of course, it helps hugely if your wedding is scheduled to take place fairly early in the day (tantrums are much more likely to occur late, when children are kept up past regular bedtimes).

And, naturally, you’re more likely to be comfortable with kids at your wedding if you welcome the whimsical spontaneity that children often bring, and are OK with some things not going exactly as you had planned (perhaps your little nephew simply refuses to wear anything but his beloved green dinosaur T-shirt, or your best friend’s young daughter decides to belt out the ABC song during your ceremony!).

If you do decide to have wee ones at your wedding, here are five top tips for maximizing their (and your) enjoyment, and minimizing meltdowns.

1. Keep Them Occupied: Nothing breeds crankiness and chaos more than boredom. If you plan to have children at your wedding, make sure you have plenty for them to do. This may mean hiring a professional children’s entertainer to tell stories, paint faces, etc., or a childcare provider (or two) to take the kids on a “discovery stroll” or lead a scavenger hunt. If your venue has space, you may want to set up a separate “screening room” where you can play kids’ TV programs or movies on DVD.

2. Feed Them: Kids tend to be finicky eaters, and they tend to behave better when well fed. Keep their bellies full and their attention occupied by providing kid-friendly meal items served at low, easy-to-reach tables. Good choices include finger foods like chicken strips, mini burgers, cheese pizza, veggies and dip, and fresh fruit, along with juice boxes or milk boxes to drink. Try to avoid serving them sweet treats, which inevitably lead to sugar-fueled hyperactivity and the inevitable post-mania crash.

3. Give Them a Role: If possible, include invited children in your ceremony by giving them tasks. Sure, there’s usually only one ring-bearer or flower girl, but who says you can’t have three darling little girls holding tiny nosegays beside your bridesmaids, or two handsome boys handing out programs to entering guests?

4. Let Parents Prep in Peace: Try to provide childcare during the hours prior to your wedding to allow guests, especially members of your wedding party, to get themselves ready. This is especially feasible if you are getting married at a hotel or club where a room can be set aside for kids to eat, nap or play while parents get gussied up elsewhere on site.

5. Don’t Force the Issue: A wedding can be an intimidating environment for a small child. Don’t try to force a resistant child to leave his parents’ side, or to participate in activities if he doesn’t seem inclined. Most children need a little time to warm up to the situation and will naturally gravitate toward other kids who are having fun when he is comfortable and feels safe and ready.

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Hot Cake: Red Velvet

NYC Cake Decorators Wedding Cake Walk
NYC Cake Decorators Wedding Cake Walk

Wedding cake shapes and decoration styles come and go, but a moist, luscious, delicious cake is always in style. For pure cake yumminess it’s tough to beat red velvet. Despite its humble associations—church picnics, backyard gatherings, grandma’s house—this rosy-hued favorite dresses up gorgeously for weddings. Brides in the planning stages for autumn and winter weddings take note: What could be a lovelier addition to a seasonal reception than a cake the color of turning leaves?

Red velvet cake is an eternal Southern favorite that’s fast becoming a wedding star on the national stage. Part of its appeal is its inimitable flavor, which typically comes from a combination of cocoa powder, vanilla and buttermilk, all covered with a rich, sweet, ever-so-slightly tangy cream-cheese frosting. Then there’s the surprise and excitement (not to mention excellent photo op) of cutting through wedding-white frosting to reveal a brilliant ruby cake underneath (red velvet cake gets its sensational hue from nothing more complicated than a good dose of red food coloring).

We love the idea of a red velvet cake done up in formal black-and-white, or decorated with dewy red rose petals, for a more romantic look.

Talk to your wedding cake baker about other red velvet wedding cake ideas—Cupcake tower? Gift-box cake done up in red or silver “ribbon?” Red velvet overlay for the cake table?—and check out these images for more inspiring ideas.

Louisa Morris Cakes
Louisa Morris Cakes
Pink Cake Box
Pink Cake Box
Artsy Carmen
Artsy Carmen
Whisking on Pens & Needles
Whisking on Pens & Needles
Martha Stewart Weddings
Martha Stewart Weddings
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Bridal Party Gift Idea: Vivabox

They throw unforgettable bachelor and bachelorette parties. They wear what we pick out for them without comment or complaint (and pay for it, too!). They stand by our side on the most important day of our life. They are our bridesmaids and groomsmen, and they deserve our love and appreciation—and a little something nice for their trouble.

We at the Houston Wedding Blog come across a lot of good bridal party gift ideas in our line of business (and will always share the best of them with you!), but when we encountered Vivabox at a recent gift show in Los Angeles, we were truly impressed. These themed gift boxes give recipients a “taste” of the good stuff, then allow them to choose the items they want most, making them a great gift choice for groups of people with different passions and preferences, who all share one thing in common: our eternal gratitude.

Here’s how Vivabox works:
Vivabox themes include Wine, BBQ, Spa, Coffee and Fragrance, among others. Say your groom-to-be selects the Wine Vivabox for his best man. That lucky lad will receive a sleek, well-designed box containing a copy of Wine Spectator magazine’s must-have guide, Essentials of Wine, and a menu of wines from which he can select six choices that will be delivered to his door. Your groom’s right-hand man also gets a subscription for 12 issues of Wine Spectator magazine. How cool is that?
Want to lavish your bridesmaids with luxury fragrance, but don’t know which scent each girl prefers? The Fragrance Vivabox contains 10 designer-fragrance samples–five for her, five men’s scents she can try out on her guy (ladies’ choices include Dior J’adore, Lolita Lempick Fleur de Corail and Juicy Couture) and a gift certificate she can redeem at Sephora for one full-size bottle of the perfume of her choice.

You get the idea.

What we love about these versatile boxes is that they allow you to show that you know your bridesmaid or groomsman, but they also give the gift recipient the freedom to choose what he or she wants for himself or herself (without the impersonal quality of a gift certificate). What could be a more thoughtful token of your appreciation, Houston bride?

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What Lies Beneath: Best Bets in Bridal Shapewear

No matter what shape or size you are, Houston bride, chances are you could probably use a little extra help fitting perfectly into your perfect wedding gown. That’s where wedding shapewear comes in. A good foundation garment is a bride’s best friend—essential for firming, flattening and enhancing your figure and showing off your dress at its very best.

Choosing bridal shapewear can be a tricky task. You want a piece that works body-contouring magic, but you also want to wear an undergarment that’s worthy of your wedding day. Here’s a bit of advice: When it comes to bridal shapewear, go for invisibility and comfort. You can always slip into something slinky, lacy and wedding-night sexy after the guests go home. What’s most important on your wedding day is that you feel confident, comfortable and gorgeous in your gown. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to hoist a bodice or suck in a belly bulge as you pledge your eternal love to your betrothed.

Of course, prioritizing function over femme-fatale fashion doesn’t mean resigning yourself to a grandma-style girdle. Here, instead, are two of our top bridal shapewear picks:

A Little Assistance, Please

Ah, Spanx, what did we ever do before you? No, these are not the most glamorous undergarments you’ll ever encounter, but for sleek, simple, effective body contouring that completely disappears under even the most form-fitting gown, nothing beats Spanx.

The Hide & Sleek Hi-Rise Body Smoother, with terrific tummy- and bottom-smoothing power, is a seamless, no-legband garment that ends just below the braline—perfect for almost any dress style.

Major Support

For fuller figures and ample bustlines, Va Bien is a lifesaver. Our top choice is the Ultra-Lift Seamless Bustier (Va Bien style 1503), which features incredibly strong support, super-soft microfiber material and silicone-treated elastic for an extra-secure bustier grip. All this, and removable straps and garters, too!

There are, of course, many more shapewear styles to choose from. Your selection will depend upon factors like your dress silhouette and material, bodice style and tightness, and whether you plan to wear stockings or not. No matter what undergarment you ultimately choose, remember: Always bring your bridal shapewear with you to your gown fittings to ensure a flawless fit.

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How to Look Gorgeous in Your Wedding Photos

Your wedding photos, like your wedding vows themselves, are meant to last forever. You can make sure those photos capture you in all your bridal glory by following these foolproof steps to picture perfection.

Step 1: Hire a good photographer. The best wedding photographer is the one who makes you feel comfortable at your very first pre-wedding meeting, and who understands exactly how you want your wedding photos to look and feel. Make sure the photographer shows you actual wedding photos he or she has shot, and talk to the photographer’s former clients for feedback and referrals. Don’t rely on eager but inexperienced family members or friends who offer to save you money by snapping pix on your big day, but do let them take photos of their own and send you the best shots as keepsakes.

Step 2: Have your makeup done by a professional. A pro makeup artist knows how to utilize cosmetics to make your face look its best under specific photo conditions (harsh lights, flash, sunlight, etc.). Do a run-through with your makeup artist prior to your wedding, and make sure you feel comfortable with how you look. On your wedding day, have touch-up supplies at arm’s reach (oil blotting sheets, pressed powder, lipstick and lip liner, mirror, etc.). Last but not least, two words: waterproof mascara!

Step 3: Practice in front of a mirror. Take a tip from Tyra and spend a few moments rehearsing your smiling and posing. Closed- or open-mouth smile? Right side of your face or left? You’ll get a sense of your preferences and be ready for your close-up when the photographer points and shoots.

Step 4: Work your angles. Don’t face the camera head-on, but rather tilt your body 45 degrees, even in portrait shots. Also, follow the lead of your favorite celebrities, and slightly cross your legs when standing, placing the heel of your forward foot near the toe of your rear foot. This position will help to narrow your silhouette and avoid the dreaded “deer in the headlights” look.

Step 5: Check before the click. Prior to any posed photo shoot on your wedding day (directly after your ceremony, cake-cutting, etc.), check your hair and makeup, and make any necessary adjustments. Smooth down flyaway hairs, and blot or powder the shine off your nose and forehead. Our favorite pretty-picture trick? After touching up your makeup, press your palms to your cheeks, hold for a moment, then release. This will give your face a natural, rosy glow and minimize the overdone look that sometimes mars wedding photos.

Step 6: Relax. Before your photographer shoots, take a couple of deep breaths and lower your shoulders (but keep your neck long and chin slightly down—again, what would we do without Tyra??). Feel the love surrounding you, savor the joy of the moment and smile.

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