The topic of whether children should be invited to weddings is very contentious. Some people firmly believe they have no place and do not invite them, however for other couples it would not be the wedding of their dreams without their children or the children of people they love present. It is fair to say that kids can sometimes find weddings boring or become overstimulated, and either scenario can cause issues. So, this blog assumes you do want to include children on your special day and looks at ways you can ensure they have a fantastic time and there is no stress for the bride and groom and anyone else at the wedding party.
Set Your Expectations
Start by agreeing as a couple the expectations of children being part of the day. Some people have an open event, but others respectfully ask that children be excluded from the formal ceremony but welcomed at the meal and following celebrations. Once you have it in your head how they fit in, making plans for them becomes much easier.
Rehearsing Helps Kids
If some of the children at the wedding will form part of the ceremony, a flower girl, ring bearer, etc., then try and schedule a rehearsal. We have all seen videos of little ones crying or refusing to cooperate at the crucial moment. This is a big deal for them, so knowing what will happen makes it more accessible. Also, make sure what they are wearing is age-appropriate or let them change after the ceremony if you don’t want them crawling on the floor in a pretty dress, and make sure they are warm enough if the weather turns.
Feeding your guests is expensive, but most caterers can add a cheaper, less fussy kids meal that makes things run smoothly. It gives the parents peace of mind, too; trust us, no one wants to be the red-faced stressed parent trying to deal with a child who hates the food and won’t eat. Also, consider incorporating a goodie bag with the kid’s meals. Something to colour and some crayons, a small bag of sweets, a little pocket game, anything that helps them stay entertained. It can be a long time for a child to sit still and stay in one place! Sit your older teens together; they really won’t enjoy adult chat and will much prefer to be with people their age even if they don’t know each other before the day.
The other option is to look into activities. Some venues have a room set aside and can help organise a children’s entertainer to take over at a certain point, especially if there is going to be a lot of waiting around, or perhaps during the speeches. Other venues will be happy to arrange a big screen where you could leave kid-friendly movies running for any time they need to escape the main party. If you have entertained the children in the day, there is also nothing wrong with putting a curfew on the evening party and requesting that kids are taken home or collected by grandparents for the last few hours – by that point, the parents will probably thank you as they get some time to themselves!