Wedding Dilemma Advice: Children At Weddings
Having children at your wedding can go two ways: delightful little cherubs in their prettiest and aw-inspiring outfits, skipping merrily through your happy family themed wedding…or those screaming the place down through the vows, dancing round the celebrant and trashing the reception. Having children at a wedding is very much a conversation you need to have as a couple, bearing in mind the sensitivities that come with it.
If you choose to ban children from your wedding, you are likely to offend parents. Some of your friends will see it as a great excuse for an opportunity for a lovely, romantic day or so away and, if there’s an overnight stay involved, it will work out cheaper for them. However, some parents will be mortally offended that you don’t want their little darling around. Part of your mind may think ‘it’ll be fine if they can behave’ and you may assume that, should the child get disruptive, the parent will know to remove him/her for a break, but that – on occasion – will be assuming too much. You may find yourself standing at the altar wishing you could turn around and glare at those parents who, so used to the noise, haven’t considered the polite removal as an option.
If it’s likely to be an issue, you should discuss the involvement of children with the celebrant, priest or vicar in the first instance. If you decide not to invite children, explain the reasons for your decision on the invitation. Be prepared for disappointed or disgruntled parental reactions and do your best to smooth over any hurt feelings. It does bear thinking about that catering firms charge as much for a kid’s meals as for an adults.
When wording the wedding invitations, to save costs you could add a small printed card to those that do have children. You could say something along the lines of “due to the number restrictions at our venue, no children/only children from our immediate family can be invited – we hope you understand and look forward to seeing you both at our wedding”. Send it out well in advance to allow families to make childcare arrangements. If you have got relatives or friends who have a very small baby they may feel they can’t leave the baby to come to your wedding – especially if they are breast feeding so try to be accommodating if you can.
It is possible to have a great wedding and have kids there too. It just takes that bit extra planning. You need to think about every stage of the day and what you can do to ensure maximum entertainment to keep them sweet for the long day. You should aim to provide toys, entertainment and maybe even goody bags. Goodie bags are great for entertaining kids during the speeches. Involving them fully in the wedding by giving them roles in the ceremony – like a page boy or flower-girl or as an usher to hand out the Order of Service- is a great way to really help them feel involved and important and you can always start the disco with music for the kids.
If your budget will stretch, provide a different children’s meals which are junk food-free. Speak to your caterer about what menus they can provide for both children and adults which fall within your budget. It’s important to cater for children in drinks too – jugs of sugar free squash and water are ideal.
For entertainment, things that entertain the children can sometimes entertain the adults too. A children’s entertainer, such as a magician, balloonist, face painter, story teller is a good idea for during the taking of photographs. Even setting up a crèche for younger children could work if you’re having a few there. If you want to keep it cheap, involve friends and family.
Another great idea is to have an area in the reception which you can stock up as a craft table to save older ones from getting bored. Be careful what you stock up on though – no superglue or paint – think of the outfits! Items that can damage the furniture of the venue are best avoided too. A nice idea is to ask all your young guests to draw a picture to commemorate the wedding. Your venue may even have a room where you could set up a TV room or a game console. (You may find the dads in there too, though!) You could put board games and toys in there too as either a chill out or a break out zone for the kids.
Summer weddings can have outdoor entertainment such as giant party games, a bouncy castle, a slide or other outdoor activities (that won’t get them filthy!). You may find that you can borrow things for the kids to do from families you are friendly with. You can organise a treasure hunt for another fun activity or get a piñata for the kids to have a chance to burn up some energy! Bubble machines are also much loved by children.
If you have loads of kids, make sure you get a picture of the bride and groom with all the children. They’ll love all the attention! And it’s worth making sure you have nappy changing/feeding facilities for young children. A great source of ideas would come from parents themselves. Ask parents in advance for any hints to make a great day for the children. They will really value your thoughtfulness.