Shying away
Heidi Hodges Photography

Shying away

A young flower girl shies away while getting her hair styled for upcoming the ceremony.

There's so much attention paid to children in wedding parties. Some kids handle the pressure better than others. And sometimes, even children who seem well prepared, fall apart on the day. After shooting hundreds of weddings, with hundreds of children involved, I've observed a few things: the more impatient and upset a person becomes with a child, the harder it is on the child. One thing is universal: kids never "improve" their behavior if the adults around them get impatient and angry. It only feeds their insecurity. And that insecurity and fear can come out in a variety of unexpected ways.

On the other hand, children who are handled gently, without much fuss and with a lot of understanding are the ones who do best. Imagine being a child at a Very Important Grown Up Function (it could the coronation of the king, for all they know) getting dressed up in an unfamiliar and probably-uncomfortable outfit. Being told you can't play in that outfit. And then being asked to perform a duty during the day, like bringing flowers down the aisle while EVERYONE is looking at you. That's pressure.

Having said that, some kids are such troopers. And most parents and wedding party members are kind and gentle.

At this wedding, the bride had many children participate. All of the children were treated so wonderfully. Even the ones who had a bit of difficulty in the beginning, all came through in the end. And they all had a great day.

Including children in your wedding day can be really charming. Just keep your expectations in the "realistic" zone. And go with the flow. Remember, this is new territory for most kids (although I did once run into a young girl who had been a flower girl at three weddings. She was almost a pro!)

Location: Cudahy, Wisconsin.