Whether or not to invite children to your wedding can be a dilemma of unforeseen magnitude. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion and is not afraid to voice it. Loudly. Including kids in your celebration can provide relief for their parents, who would otherwise have to deal with childcare (this is especially difficult if traveling for the event). However, as a parent myself, I can say that sometimes I secretly like not having the option to bring my kids to an event. It forces me to enjoy some adults-only time, rather than spend the evening constantly reminding people that we do not throw our partially chewed food at the bride (that’s just not polite). The most important thing to keep in mind when you choose whether or not to invite kids to your wedding, as with all aspects of your day, is that the two of you must make your decision regardless of outside pressure.
With that being said, this collection of tips is for brides and grooms who have decided to roll the dice and invite guests of all ages and impulse-control ability levels. Now what, aside from announcing mid- ceremony at the top of their lungs that they need to go to the bathroom and EXACTLY what they plan on doing in there, will they have in store for you on your big day and how can you exercise some damage control?
Don’t expect flower girl and/or ring bearer to stay with you at the altar
This is a long time for kids to stand still with people looking at them. After they’ve completed their dutiful walk down the aisle, provide a chair for them in the front row or off to the side, and seat at least one of their parents there to receive them. You may want to suggest that their parents provide them with a quiet toy or book once they’re seated.
Busy is Better
It’s all about keeping them occupied. If there will be more than a handful of children at your reception, and your venue and budget will allow for it, provide a kid-friendly area in an adjacent room. Games, movies, and even special entertainment such as a magician will help keep the little ones happy and busy. Consider hiring a babysitter or two to supervise the area so that parents don’t have to monitor constantly.
The most compelling reason to offer simplified fare to your young guests? Cost. Why should you pay for all of those extra servings of beef tenderloin that will be ill received “Ewww Gross!” when chicken nuggets cost a fraction of the price and are sure to be a hit? You may even want to provide a kid buffet, with delicacies such as a pizza tower, macaroni and cheese, and fruit. Also, seating children together at specified “kid tables” will be more fun for everyone. They get to put their veggies up their noses without those pesky parents spoiling the fun, and said parents get to wine and dine in peace. Hint: be sure to have your photographer capture some of the mayhem at the kids’ table.
No matter what you plan for, kids will be kids. There is sure to be some measure of chaos surrounding them, and the best that you can do is to see the humor in it. After all, while the three-year-old streaker on the dance floor may be an unexpected addition to your first dance as husband and wife, it will surely create a moment that you and your guests will remember forever. And that’s what it’s all about, right?