Planning a wedding? No matter how large or small your celebration, there is always the question of whether to invite children. Kids are adorable and important members of the family, but they're also unpredictable, loud and occasionally smelly....not things you necessarily want on your "Big Day." Parents and non-parents alike will have highly charged opinions on this topic, so pick the option that works best for you and your fiance and stand behind it.
No Kids Allowed. Hosting a black tie wedding at 8:00p.m.? Why would anyone want to bring a child to that event? It's a recipe for exhausted children, stressed out parents and most likely an ill-timed tantrum. No one enjoys mid-vow meltdowns...especially the bride and groom. If you don't want to invite children to your wedding, you are in no way obligated to and should find a clear yet delicate way to mention that in your wedding invitations.
Speaking from experience, you and your fiance should be prepared to be a united front for one off conversations with friends and relatives. As soon as one of you lets "just one" little person attend your wedding, word will spread and the floodgates will open. You also risk hurting the feelings of any parents who didn't get to bring their children and jumped through the hoops of busy schedules and babysitters to attend.
Children in the Wedding Party Are Invited. I (along with the known populace) adore flower girls, and actually had not one but three of them in my wedding. If you plan to have flower girls and ring bearers as a part of your wedding party, it is completely acceptable to make them the only kids on your guest list. Worried about aisle antics? Consider giving each child a special incentive for good behavior, such as a thank you present at the reception.
Young Family Members Only. This option allows you to include your nieces, nephews and cousins in your wedding, but limits the overall number of munchkins in attendance. Ideally, all of the adult members of your families will help watch their youngest family members and keep the peace. If any of your guests ask how they can help you with your wedding planning, you can solicit them to keep an eye on the kids during your ceremony and reception.
The More the Merrier. If you're including all of your guests' children in your wedding guest list there are several things you can do to make the event more fun for everyone. Have your ushers hand out tiny coloring books and crayons to keep little hands and minds busy during your ceremony. Both children and their parents will be thankful.
Also, consider coordinating with your venue to have a separate table with kid-friendly entrees and a few hired hands for supervision. Whatever you spend on the supervision, you'll make back in mac and cheese entrees instead of filet. Everybody wins!
I love the idea of kids using a photo booth. Adults in mustaches and boas are funny, children in them are HILARIOUS! You can also coordinate with your photographer to do a series of photos of you and your spouse dancing with all of the kids in attendance or of them blowing bubbles as you exit your ceremony or reception. Some of your best wedding photos may be the result.
Another option for entertaining little people at your wedding is renting a party room for children during the reception so they can hang out with other kids and possibly work on a craft to give you as a wedding gift. Bonus: parents can enjoy a few dances sans kids and you end up with a handmade gift from all of the most important children in your families.
What are your thoughts on children and weddings? Did you come up with a creative solution to accommodate them on your big day or was is a major pain point in your wedding planning?