First Books About Weddings | Milestones

In this installment of SLJ's new "Milestones" series that takes on “firsts” for young children with relevant book suggestions, we round up some festive titles perfect for nuptial newbies. Whether children are attending a celebration for the first time or having the huge honor of being a member of the bridal party, their first experience with weddings can be overwhelming (and fun). Here are some titles that can help get little ones through the big day.

In this installment of SLJ's new "Milestones" series that takes on “firsts” for young children with relevant book suggestions, we round up some festive titles perfect for nuptial newbies. Whether children are attending a celebration for the first time or having the huge honor of being a member of the bridal party, their first experience with weddings can be overwhelming (and fun). Here are some titles that can help get little ones through the big day.

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What better way to calm down children’s wedding day jitters than to introduce them to the motions of the day through the eyes of a familiar friend?

Maisy Goes to a Wedding by Lucy Cousins. Candlewick. ISBN 9781536200119.
Part of “Maisy’s First Experiences” books, this entry follows the little mouse as she attends her first wedding. Fancy clothes, music, flowers, speeches, dancing, and a tossed bouquetthis work matter-of-factly presents all the must-have details that mark the special day. The bright, familiar palette will get kids in the right mindset for the big day.

Lilly’s Big Day by Kevin Henkes. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060742362.
In this beloved classic companion to Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, another feisty mouse makes her splash at a wedding. Lilly self-appoints herself as the flower girl at her teacher’s wedding, but she’s disappointed to find out the couple has already chosen a niece instead. An adorable twist prompts Lilly to step in and save the day, and kids and adults alike will be charmed. Henkes’s illustrations are lovely as ever, and his animal characters are every bit human.

Pinkalicious: Flower Girl by Victoria Kann. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062187666.
Everyone’s favorite pink-loving preschooler jumps at the chance at being a flower girl, even though she’s not quite sure what “flower girl” means. While being a girl “made out of flowers” would’ve been super cool, Pinkalicious is just fine when the real definition of her role is revealed. Over-the-top fun is a given in this one.

Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century by Jane O’Connor. illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062083197.
Fancy Nancy is excited to finally be invited to a wedding; she can’t wait for the frills and thrills. But she’s disappointed when she finds out that not only is her hippie uncle’s wedding decidedly NOT fancy, but there is also not a traditional flower girl. Eventually, she learns that weddings are more than just pomp and circumstance—they are about family, joy, and pancakes!

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Other than the happy couple, the child members of the wedding party are always the center of attention. They often have big responsibilities, and these titles help model what those tasks might be.

Flower Girl by Barbara Bottner. photos by Laura Grier. Two Lions. ISBN 9780761461197.
A little girl longs to be a flower girl, and her dream finally comes true when her aunt Penny is to be married. Brief text and glossy, full-color photographs taken at a real, very traditional wedding at a golf club pay glorious tribute to all the requisite details of flower girl-dom: flowers in one's hair, beautiful bouquets, fancy shoes and dress, and a funny ring bearer named Henry (who rebuffs the flower girl's proffered good-luck kiss). The child enjoys her active role in the ceremony and relishes the dancing and the cake at the elegant reception. While the narrative isn’t overly inspired, this book is perfect for those in need of a no-nonsense, direct explanation of flower girl duties. The photos reinforce the day’s traditional flow and can very easily be used to prepping in advance.

The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper. Philomel. ISBN 9780399167409.
From the late, great Cooper, this charming book is also perfect for blended families. It's the day Jackson's mother is getting married, and the boy is anxious about many things. The ring bearer, he's concerned about tripping as he goes down the aisle. Jackson is also getting a new stepsister named Sophie, and he's not sure what to think about that. More, he’s now supposed to call the man he knew as Bill "Dad." Sophie is the flower girl, and with a little coaching from Grandpop, the kids are ready to go down the aisle. Ignoring Grandpop's advice, Sophie skips instead of walking slowly, and trips on a step. Jackson sees what's happening, catches her before she falls, and saves the day to cheers and applause. The repetition of words and phrases will bolster confidence in young readers just as Jackson's confidence is built up by his family's loving kindness. Children will identify readily with Jackson's fears and enjoy the way he overcomes them.

Julián at the Wedding by Jessica Love. Candlewick. ISBN 9781536212389.
In this lovely follow-up to Julián Is a Mermaid, the title character and his abuela are attending a wedding. Julián is even part of it—he’s walking the brides’ dog down the aisle. There he meets new friend, baseball hat-wearing flower girl Marisol. This joyous book celebrates love and gender in all of its forms and would be the perfect tool to get kids ready to party and make new friends.

Sona and the Wedding Game by Kashmira Sheth illus. by Yoshiko Jaeggi. Peachtree. ISBN 9781561457359.
During her sister's Hindu wedding, Indian American Sona’s family participates in many cultural practices that are new to her. One such tradition involves a little mischief and humor: hiding the groom's shoes. Jaeggi's dreamy, watercolor illustrations show the hustle and bustle of the event without losing the intimate moments and complicated feelings involved. Readers will enjoy seeing a sumptuous wedding and learning about some of those traditions along with Sona.

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There’s just so much to enjoy at weddings—dancing, food, fine clothes, and family. These titles give kids a taste of what to expect when it’s time to ring those bells.

The Electric Slide and Kai by Kelly J. Baptist. illus. by Darnell Johnson. Lee & Low. ISBN 9781643790527.
In the Donovan family, everyone has a dance nickname bestowed by Granddad except for Kai. When Kai’s aunt Nina invites the family to her wedding, Kai becomes determined to learn the moves and earn approval (and the coveted nickname) from his grandfather. He approaches each family member for advice and practices for the whole month before the wedding. Kai finally shows off his moves and becomes “Lil’ Slide.” This is an uplifting story with just the right mix of humor, family love, and an unobtrusive lesson in persistence, plus a glowing look at the hubbub around a wedding.

Bindiya in India by Monique Kamaria Chheda. illus. by Desbasmita Dasgupta. Mango & Marigold. ISBN 9781645437130.
Nine-year-old Bindiya goes on her very first adventure to India to attend a cousin’s wedding. She is delighted to meet her extended family at the airport. Bindiya blossoms while partaking in a medley of activities and becomes acquainted with her roots. Listening to anecdotes from her grandparents, eating scrumptious sweets, and adorning her hands with traditional henna tattoos are just a few of her favorite things. The unfamiliar is now familiar as Bindiya embraces her culture while unwrapping the greatest gift of all—family. Chheda writes a triumphant bilingual tale about a little girl exploring her heritage, while also presenting a window into the experience of an Indian wedding from a child’s perspective. English and Hindi words coexist in the pages. Dasgupta’s vibrant illustrations capture the heart of India, from the characters’ brown skin and expressions behind the lined eyes to the fluffy waves of hair and intricate details of the wedding attire. This is a charming and authentic story that all children will find relatable.

Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding by Lenore Look. illus. by Yum Heo. S. & S./Atheneum. ISBN 9780689844584.
Jenny, who first appeared as an energetic big sister in Henry's First-Moon Birthday, loves being her uncle’s special girl and is having difficulty with the idea of sharing him with a new aunt. Look perfectly captures the child's envy and jealousy as the bride becomes the center of attention. As the family gathers to celebrate, readers learn about many of the traditions associated with the ceremony, including bargaining for the bride, wearing red for good luck, and bed-jumping. The busy day has a sweet resolution as Stella chooses Jenny to release a box full of butterflies and thanks her for sharing her uncle. Heo's child-inspired illustrations contribute to the story's strong appeal with lively colors, perspectives, and details that accentuate both Jenny's feelings and the wedding traditions.

Ritu Weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar. illus. by Ameya Narvankar. Yali. ISBN 9781949528947.
Ayesha can’t wait for her favorite cousin Ritu’s wedding. When she and her family arrive, she notices that the rest of her extended family isn’t there; when she asks, she is told that many of them didn’t want to come because Ritu is marrying a woman, who will be leading the baraat, a festive wedding parade, typically a role reserved for a man. The baraat starts out fine until onlookers start jeering; a group of men protesting the wedding threaten the couple and somehow get a fire hose and soak the entire party. Ayesha saves the day by leading the way back to the wedding ceremony; her love for her cousin shines throughout. Hindi vocabulary is used freely; the context is clear, and there is a glossary in the back. With a dearth of picture books authentically addressing marriage traditions within the South Asian community, and particularly LGBTQIA+ couples, this is a welcome attempt at rectification.


See also: First Books About Grief and Loss

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