Everyone looks forward to their wedding day — but the fact is that there is often some stress involved in planning a wedding just because of that. People have a specific vision in mind and feel as if they need to execute that vision properly, pleasing not only themselves but their guests. WeddingWire’s 2017 Newlywed Report revealed that a full 63% of brides feel a lot of pressure when planning their weddings, which can sometimes take away from the joy of getting married. Of course, you can’t devote your entire daily routine to planning your wedding. You’ll still need to go to work and take care of your household. For some people, that means largely caring for themselves, their partner, and their pets. But lots of brides also have to worry about small children.

As many brides are moms in this day and age, it’s understandable that they would want to incorporate their children into their wedding. After all, your child is the most important person in your life — they should be involved in the most important day of your life. With that being said, it can be something of a struggle to find a good role for your child to fulfill in the wedding. The younger the child, the tougher this might be. Young children have a hard time remembering and following complicated directions, and the last thing you want is to overwhelm them on such a big day. Let’s look into some of the ways you can incorporate your small child or children into your wedding.

1. Make Them A Flower Girl Or Ring Bearer

These roles are perhaps the most classic roles for small children to play within a wedding. Neither one is too complex or overly important — the children merely need to walk down an aisle, carrying an object, no legal matters to deal with. Of course, you have to understand that when working with small children, there is always the issue of worrying about something going off track. You have to leave some room for error. A good way to ensure that there is less of a chance of your child becoming distracted or forgetting what to do is to assign a bridesmaid or groomsman to help them, or perhaps the mother of the bride or groom. The best part of choosing this kind of role for your child is that it’s truly making them a part of the wedding, and they’ll probably be thrilled about it!

2. Have Your Child Take Care Of Your Pet

Just like many people want their children to be a part of their wedding, lots of people also want to include their pets in their weddings. This is especially true for those who have dogs — and as 38% of American households have dogs, many weddings end up including dogs as well. Some people choose to have their children hold on to their dogs — or occasionally other pets, like cats — during the wedding. We don’t advise doing this unless the pet is well-behaved, and of course, you’ll still want to have your child carefully looked after, and given a hand if the pet starts acting up. If your child is especially close to your dog, being with them during the wedding may actually help them feel less nervous. Keep in mind that small children can be emotional and many of them don’t naturally know how to behave during a wedding. Try to make it as easy for them as possible. And be honest with yourself about whether or not your dog will add to or take away from the stress!

3. Speaking At The Reception

Depending on how old your child is, they may want to say something at the wedding. You may want to offer this as an option to them — but don’t force anything. Let them make the final decision. They may be nervous, and you shouldn’t force or pressure them into anything. In fact, one out of every 12 U.S. children between the ages of three and 17 has a disorder related to voice, speech, or language. If they do want to go ahead with speaking, you should still make sure that everything is structured in a certain way. We recommend handling this with your child — perhaps you can help them write a letter and read it out. This allows them to present their feelings in a prepared way. This can actually be a great way for your child to not only be a part of the wedding but feel how momentous it is that their family is really coming together as one.

4. Allow Them To “Help” Decorate

Now, some children are more shy than others — and they may not want to be a visual, obvious part of the wedding. After all, the average number of wedding guests is 136 people, which can be a rather intimidating crowd for kids. This is especially true for a lot of creative kids, and these children may in fact be more comfortable working behind the scenes on your wedding. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’ll want your young child cooking or dragging chairs and tables around the venue. But talk to them about what they think would be fun at the wedding. Try to make sure that they have a voice regarding the menu — after all, you won’t want your child to be unable to eat at a wedding they’re attending! — or even talk to them about picking the flowers.

This may be difficult, but try not to stress too much about your wedding. Yes, you’ll want your big day to be perfect, but you should also think about how important it is for your child. Leave the legal matters and heavy lifting to the adults and save the fun stuff for your guests. Have fun, and make it a family event!