Often the cause of much debate but to invite (or not invite!) children to attend your wedding day does not have to be a daunting prospect; with careful consideration everyone can have a fantastic day…
There you both are saying your vows carefully chosen and delivered with heartfelt emotion and a little voice in the background says, “Mummy I need a wee”! But with a little thought and preparation it could be easier than you think to include children in your big day.
Some couples may well not have the budget to cater for children at the reception, or the chosen wedding venue may not be suitable, or have enough space – so the decision is already made for you! Sometimes a way of keeping costs down or overcoming this is to stipulate an ‘adult’s only day’. This point can easily be put across without offending anyone by way of a small carefully worded inclusion on the bottom of your invitations. This could be followed up with a list of adult activities available at your chosen venue to reinforce your message. Anyway, most couples like the thought of a child free weekend now and then with time on their own, so will probably jump at the chance of a day (and night) away from their little ones!
It is also worth considering the number of small attendants you want to include in your wedding party; your guests may be offended if you then have ten small flower girls and pages when the day is supposed to be child free.
There are so many great reasons to invite children to your big day, children can be brilliant “ice breakers” and bring some comical and magical moments to your day. With a little bit of thought you can keep everyone happy and have a great time.
1. Ask ushers to seat families towards the back of the ceremony room or church so if any awkward moments arise parents can slip out with their little ones unnoticed.
2. If you have the budget and a small room is available a children’s entertainer may be the answer to keep little ones happy throughout the ceremony.
3. Just providing a colouring book and crayons for each child during the service is a cost effective alternative
4. Ask a family member to provide small bags of freshly chopped fruit or boxes of raisins to keep hungry moments at bay.
5. It is always an idea to think of photography in advance. If you can sort the pictures with the bridesmaids and children first they are then free to roam for a while!
6. To prevent boredom setting in during the drinks reception hire a bouncy castle, or a giant board game such as ‘Twister’ or ‘Snakes and Ladders’. The adults will get as much fun out of it too!
7. During the reception think about where to seat families with children. Your child free guests may not be happy sitting next to a fidgeting two year old!
8. Safety also has to be an issue, think about table decorations. What will be child friendly, not towering candelabras or too many twinkling tea lights. A puzzle book or a small story book placed in each child’s place, perhaps with a bead set for girls and a small box of Lego for boys, will keep them entertained throughout the speeches.
Guests should always assume that children are not invited, unless they are named on the invitation (i.e. Mr and Mrs Johnson, Samantha and Rebecca).
If you are not inviting ANY children, it is sensible to include a note with the invitations saying “unfortunately we are unable to accommodate children” – don’t feel that you need to justify your reasons.
If you are only inviting children of close friends and family, it is tactful to telephone others with children before sending out the invitations to let them know or they may feel that their children have been singled out.
If you do have to invite children to your wedding, here are some tips and handy hints to try and keep “little ones” amused and allow the adults to have fun.
Hire babysitters or a crèche service.
Hire a children’s entertainer, clowns or puppet show.
Seat children together at a special “kids table”. Cover the tables with paper and put crayons or felt-tip pens in the middle.
Give each child an activity pack including games and puzzles, bubbles, crayons, colouring books.
Serve a kids meal consisting of chicken nuggets, pizzas, cheesy potatoes, pasta, fish fingers etc.
Give children jobs at the wedding reception i.e. asking guests to write messages in the Guest Book, passing around favours, handing out disposable cameras.
Have a special cinema corner set up for young ones, with comfy pillows, popcorn and juice showing tiny-tot favourites like Finding Nemo, Shrek, The Lion King etc.
It may seem like a lot of additional effort, but this day is one to remember for the rest of your life, and if having children at the wedding means you can ensure your closest friends and family can also be there, it’s well worth it!