Weddings are a great way to celebrate your love and commitment to your partner, but also a time when family comes together to celebrate your love. This may be having your siblings in your bridal party, your parents giving speeches, and aunts/uncles doing readings at the ceremony. But where do nieces and nephews fit into a wedding? For many couples, including nieces and nephews in their wedding party is a way to honor their relatives and let them know they are loved. Whether your nieces and nephews are children or adults, there are tons of ways to incorporate them into your wedding.
Why Include Nieces and Nephews in Your Wedding
First off, why should someone include their nieces and nephews in their wedding? Well, it can be a meaningful way to honor and celebrate the family; not only will the niece/nephew love it, but so will their parents and grandparents. It can create and/or strengthen a special bond between the couple and their extended family, as well as create unforgettable memories for the people involved (especially if children).
In many people’s experiences, nieces and nephews are like one’s own children, and therefore including them in the wedding day is a natural extension of the couple’s love for them.
If your nieces and nephews are children, this may be an even more exciting event for them, as children often enjoy being a part of a big event and feeling important. Including nieces and nephews in a wedding can be a way to make them feel special and valued.
Considerations Before Including Nieces and Nephews in Your Wedding
What factors should you consider regarding your nieces and nephews in your wedding? Let’s discuss below.
Consider the age of the nieces and nephews you are considering for roles in the wedding party. Younger nieces and nephews may not be able to handle certain responsibilities, while older children may have other commitments like school or extracurricular activities. Then there are adults, which should have fewer restrictions but may have some nonetheless (think: college classes, jobs, their own children, etc.).
Consider the relationship you have with your nieces and nephews. Are they close family members that you have a strong bond with, or are they distant relatives that you may not have a close relationship with? The closeness of your relationship with the nieces and nephews may influence the type of role they are given in the wedding party.
Of course, as with any person, make sure that your nieces and nephews are available on the wedding day. If they are children, check with their parents to make sure there are no conflicts with school, sports, or other activities that may prevent them from participating. If they are adults, make sure to let them know far in advance so they can clear their schedule.
Interest and Abilities
This one is especially important if your nieces and nephews are children. Try to consider their interests and abilities. For example, is your niece a two-year-old? What is she able to do? You want to make sure that the role you choose for them is something that they will enjoy and be able to handle. Or maybe if they have a particular talent, such as singing or dancing, consider giving them a special performance role in the ceremony.
How to Include Nieces and Nephews in Your Wedding
Okay, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this article – how to actually include nieces and nephews into your wedding. There are several ways we think you can do this:
Junior Bridesmaid and Junior Groomsman
Being a junior bridesmaid or groomsman is a special role that can be given to older nieces and nephews in a wedding party (but not quite adults). Of course, if your niece or nephew is an adult, you can go ahead and just make them a “regular” bridesmaid or groomsman. The term “junior” comes in because they’re likely between the ages of 12 and 17.
These roles are similar to those of adult bridesmaids and groomsmen but are tailored to the abilities and interests of children. As a junior bridesmaid or groomsman, the young adult will typically walk down the aisle with the other members of the wedding party and stand with the couple during the ceremony. They may wear a similar outfit to the adult bridesmaids and groomsmen but with age-appropriate modifications such as different style dresses or smaller boutonnieres.
The role of junior bridesmaid or groomsman can be a great way to make older nieces and nephews feel included and important on your wedding day. It allows them to participate in the wedding ceremony and be a part of the wedding party while still being age-appropriate and feasible for them to perform.
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
Being a flower girl or ring bearer is a popular role for younger nieces and nephews in a wedding party. (Although it would also be funny and quirky to have an adult niece or nephew be a flower girl/ring bearer). These two roles are often seen as cute and endearing and can add a special touch to the wedding ceremony.
As a flower girl, the child (traditionally female) typically walks down the aisle before the bride, scattering flower petals or holding a bouquet of flowers. This can create a beautiful and romantic atmosphere for the ceremony.
As a ring bearer, the child (traditionally male) carries the wedding rings down the aisle and presents them to the couple during the ceremony. This is a significant and important role, as it represents the exchange of vows and the commitment between the couple.
The role of flower girl or ring bearer is a great way to include younger nieces and nephews in a wedding party. It allows them to participate in the wedding ceremony and be a part of the celebration while still being age-appropriate.
You may want to gauge the child’s interest in these roles, as some may be extra shy or uncomfortable with walking in front of many people. Start by asking their parents and maybe doing a few test runs.
Ushers or Guest Book Attendants
Being an usher or guest book attendant is a great role for older nieces and nephews who may not be interested in being a junior bridesmaid or groomsman or a flower girl or ring bearer. These roles are typically less formal and tend to put much less pressure on the person.
As an usher, your niece or nephew would typically greet guests at the entrance of the ceremony and escort them to their seats. This allows the child to interact with guests while also taking on a helpful and important role in the wedding.
As a guest book attendant, your niece or nephew may greet guests as they arrive and help them sign the guest book or leave a message for the couple. This role can be a fun and creative way for the child to engage with guests and contribute to the wedding celebration.
The roles of usher or guest book attendant are great ways to include older nieces and nephews (whether older children or straight-up adults) in the wedding party. It allows them to participate in the wedding celebration and feel like they were part of your special day.
Special Performance or Reading
A special performance or reading is a great way to include talented nieces and nephews in the wedding celebration. This role allows them to showcase their skills and contribute to the ceremony in a unique and memorable way.
A special performance or reading can take many forms. For example, a talented niece or nephew may sing a special song during the ceremony, perform a dance routine, or play a musical instrument. They may also recite a poem or reading that is meaningful to the couple or the family.
Including a special performance or reading in the wedding ceremony can be a beautiful moment for the couple and the guests. It adds a personal touch to the ceremony and can create a lasting memory for everyone involved.
Honorary roles are a great way to include nieces and nephews in a wedding celebration without giving them a specific responsibility or task to perform. This can be a great option for the younger or less interested children or adults who may not want to be a part of the wedding party but still want to be included in the celebration.
Some examples of honorary roles for nieces and nephews include “junior wedding attendant” or “junior member of the wedding party.” These roles can be especially great for younger children, say ages one to six, who may not be able to handle the responsibilities of a specific role but still want to be a part of the wedding party.
Honorary roles can also be given to older nieces and nephews who may not be interested in a specific role but still want to be involved in the wedding celebration. For example, they may be given the role of “honorary bridesmaid” or “honorary groomsman.”
Honorary roles can be tailored to the interests and abilities of your niece or nephew, as well. For example, a child who loves to dance may be given the honorary role of “junior dance coordinator,” while a child who loves to sing may be given the honorary role of “junior choir director.”
Honorary roles can also include special privileges, such as being allowed to ride in the wedding limousine or sitting at the head table during the reception. These privileges can make the child feel special and valued while still allowing them to be a part of the wedding celebration.
A Special Dance
A special dance with nieces and nephews is a wonderful way to include them in the wedding celebration and create a memorable moment for everyone involved.
During the reception, the bride and/or groom may want to have a special dance with their nieces and nephews. This can be a fun and lighthearted dance, such as the “Chicken Dance” or the “Hokey Pokey,” or a more formal dance, such as a waltz or tango.
Show the love and appreciation by making a special dance with the nieces and nephews. It allows the children to really feel a part of the wedding, and it can create a special moment that everyone can enjoy and remember for years to come.
Including nieces and nephews in wedding photos can be a wonderful way to capture memories and create lasting keepsakes of the wedding.
There are many ways to include nieces and nephews in wedding photos. For example, they may be included in regular family photos, such as photos with the bride and groom’s families or photos with grandparents and other relatives. They may also be included in the wedding party photos, such as photos with the bridesmaids or groomsmen. You could even have a special photo with just the bride and groom, plus nieces and nephews.
You may want to schedule the photos at a time when the children are well-rested and fed and provide snacks and activities to keep them occupied during breaks.
You may also want to involve the children in the photo planning process, such as allowing them to choose their outfits or suggesting poses they would like to try.
Special Seating Arrangements
Special seating arrangements for nieces and nephews can be a great way to make them feel included in the big day.
One option for special seating arrangements is to have a designated “family table” and/or “bridal party table” where nieces and nephews can sit with other family and bridal party members. This allows them to feel like they are part of the celebration and included in the wedding party.
If your nieces and nephews are children, another option is to have a special seating area or activity for children, such as a designated kids’ table or activity corner. This can include coloring books, games, and other age-appropriate activities to keep them entertained and engaged during the reception.
Including nieces and nephews in a wedding can be a wonderful way to honor family and create lifelong mems. By considering their age, relationship to the couple, availability, and interests, you can find special and unique ways to include their nieces and nephews in their wedding day.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]