Wedding Planning - Children And Weddings
Should we invite children to the wedding or should we have an "adult's only" affair? It's a question that still endures with today's engaged couples. Kids are cute. They seem to be constantly equipped with smiles, giggles, laughter and carefree innocence. They can add a ray of sunshine to any room just by gracing it with their presence, and turn a dead reception dance floor into a fun, upbeat party within a matter of minutes. Kids are kids. They also have scheduled naptimes and snack times (which shouldn't be disturbed), moments known to parents as "terrible 2's" and times when sitting still during a formal ceremony just won't be an option for them. Consequently, for many couples, choosing whether or not to include children in or at their wedding can turn a simple decision-making process into a minor dilemma. Let's suppose the bride and groom has dozens of young nieces, nephews and cousins. How would it be possible to exclude children from their guest list in this case? What is the right way to go about this issue?
You'll probably receive all kinds of opinionated reactions from other family members and friends. Aunt Martha may express her disappointment if you exclude her nine precious grandsons. On the other hand, your mother may be telling you that children at your wedding will undo the elegant atmosphere. But, as with all other aspects of your wedding day, the decision you make regarding this issue should be made with the two of you in mind. For a moment, set aside what everybody else expects of you. Ask yourselves: what will make us happy? Then, turn to the following advice to help you follow along with your decision.
A Kid Friendly Wedding
Nothing appears quite as precious as the young flower girl gently tossing petals out of her basket onto the aisle or watching the exhausted ring bearer find the perfect naptime spot in grandpa's arms. If you've decided to have children participate in your wedding day and attend as guests, we would like to suggest that you be prepared to make your wedding day as accommodating for the little tikes as you will for the adults. Here are a few tips to ensure a happy event for all guests, big and small:
- Kids usually do best at casual celebrations. A formal, Black-tie ceremony and reception probably won't be the most appealing to them, as they will most likely become restless and bored. If the environment on your wedding day will be quite formal you may want to consider hiring a trusted sitter to have on-site as a second resort for any kids that may become restless and cranky. Provide a separate room with coloring books, crayons, puzzles, video games and/or kid's movies so the sitter can easily entertain the kids. This option would allow the parents to have a more enjoyable time without having to worry about junior, as they could check up on him/her as they wish.
- Delegate special duties to children over the age of 5, such as passing out programs, taking charge of the guest book table, watching over the gift table and handing out favors. They will love the fact that they have an important responsibility and will feel special and included on your wedding day.
- Roasted duck and steamed asparagus may please the palates of adults, but it probably won't be a very popular choice with the younger crowd. Speak with your caterer and ask about providing a kid's menu for the children attending your reception. Nearly all caterers provide this kind of menu and it'll serve as a cost-saver for you as well. So, while the adults are munching on more sophisticated fare, the kids will be content noshing on chicken tenders and fries.
- Always seat children with their parents at the ceremony and reception.
You and your beloved have decided to exclude children from your wedding celebration-- whether limited space at your reception site was an issue or the idea of your toddler-aged nephew throwing a tantrum in the pews as you recite your vows made up your mind-- don't fret. This decision isn't uncommon with brides and grooms today. After all, a late-evening, formal reception with cocktails probably isn't the greatest atmosphere for the under-12 crowd at any rate. So how do you gracefully exclude the greater population of kids in your families without getting a backlash? Heed the following advice:
- If you word the outer and inner envelopes of your invitations correctly, there shouldn't be any problems conveying your wishes. Write only the names of those you intend to invite on the outside of the envelopes. You wouldn't address the invitation to the entire Smith family if you only care to invite Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Keep any reference to the children off of the envelopes.
- Though it shouldn't be necessary, using word of mouth to assist in getting the message out may be a good idea. If you feel comfortable calling any close friends or family members to inform them before sending out the invitations, it will give them plenty of time to prepare for a sitter or make the decision to decline the invitation.
- Through all your best efforts you may still receive the infamous reply card with extra guests written on it. This is an inconsiderate offense often made by guests, though you don't need to call the wedding off in frustration. Call up the guest and kindly inform them that kids can't be accommodated on your wedding day. Be prepared; this may ruffle some feathers. Though, the guests should have understood and obliged your wishes from the beginning. Do your best to be understanding but stay firm with your decision.
- Are you in a situation where you still feel obligated to invite children? It's possible to please everyone and still maintain your wishes of a kid free event. Hire a trusted on-site daycare aide/sitter and have a separate room set up for the children. Fill the room with fun stuff-- coloring books, craft projects, videos, etc. If your event will be held at a hotel, a separate suite for the kids would be a great idea. Be sure to inform the parents beforehand and let them know that a prearranged sitter will care for their children.