Children are so cute! Except when they’re crying during your wedding vows…
Clients always ask whether or not to invite or include children in their wedding so here are a wedding planner’s tip on those those little bundle of joys.
1. First decide whether or not you want to have children and stand firm.
When you put together that initial guest list, you need to decide as a couple if you want kids and if so, allocate seats with children that can sit in a regular chair (with or without boosters). Many parents have anxiety leaving a newborn at home with a sitter so they may not be able to come is something you’ll need to keep that in mind. Count how many guests you think will bring children right off the bat and remember out of town/country guests will most likely have to bring their kids if they’re gone for more than a weekend. Your parents and friends with children will definitely try to persuade you so you will need to stay strong by your decision, just make sure you make it clear from the beginning. Give any guests with children a call once they’ve received the invite and have a quick chat to make sure they understand. Usually, the more formal a wedding, the less you are expected to invite the youngsters. Say “sweet dreams to children under (insert age)” right on the invitation so it’s crystal clear. If you have a wedding website or Facebook event, put it on there too!
2. Group babysitting
Some couples arrange for a baby sitter for the few children that are invited to the wedding. The parents and kids will attend the ceremony and for the evening reception, the baby sitter can be at the nearby hotel and take care of a few kids rather than each family arranging for a baby sitter far from the wedding venue. Some venues even have another room like an extra bridal suite that the kids can play or nap in. Don’t forgot some jammies or a change of clothes.
3. Age restrictions on children
Some couples really don’t mind having children at their wedding… over a certain age. If your main concern is the really little ones, consider children over 12 so that it’s a little less restricting.
4. Too much pressure
Children will get cranky and fast! If you do choose to have children in the wedding party, don’t overwork them. During the wedding ceremony, keep the parents and the baby sitting next to an exit if they might need a quick getaway. If you decided to have an adorable group of children in the wedding party, remember that waking up on the wedding day is hard enough, nevermind all the choreography and staying up late. If you have children walking down the aisle, don’t force them to walk into the wedding reception during the grand entrance with all those people and lights on them; they may have a meltdown. Keep it simple and keep their parents near by. Ipads can also help in distracting them… and bring a charger.
5. Entertain them
Children don’t really care for a jazz trio or the gorgeous florals. Keep the kids busy with a goodie bag filled with colouring books, some snacks, plastic cups they can’t break, a new stuffed toy and bubbles.
6. No children in the wedding party
Some couples love children and want them to be there enjoying the day with their parents, but still decide not to have ring bearers or flower girls. It’s enough pressure for adults to walk infront of the camera and guests so they let the kids just enjoy the day. They know they aren’t always 100% behaved but roll with it! Nothing will ruin your special day.
7. Factor in those kids
If you decide you would like to have the kids at the reception, make sure you have high chairs and booster chairs available. A bib might be a good idea for those messy little ones not to ruin their adorable dresses/suits as well. Ask your caterer about their food options for children and don’t forgot to take them out of the head count for the bar. If they are your children, you may want to make them at your head table!
Weddings are the absolute best way to see your friends and family.. and yes, that often means children too. If you’re at an age or you have a close circle that has many children, keep those tired parents in mind. They may want an evening out without the kids but they may also really want to bring their kids. Either way, make that call and hold your ground while trying to find ways to accommodate.
Featured photo by Vanessa Heins and Jess Baumung / Bottom image by Lucas and Tay