Children at weddings can be a very contentious topic.... will you or won't you? I always think that its your wedding and should be a reflection of what you as a couple want and let all decisions come from that place. However life isn't always that simple and straight forward, so here are some musings on the topic....
First of all make it super clear on your invite if children are invited or not……. e.g.. you are inviting the Wilson family or Rochelle & Jon Wilson? Don't feel as though having some kids at your wedding opens it up to everyone under 13. Although it may seem tough, it's perfectly fine only to invite children who are part of your or your fiance's family or those of close family friends. We invited a lot of people to our wedding that we would have loved to be there, but were pretty sure they wouldn’t be able to come. (We actually invited 40 more people than our ceremony & reception venues could hold) We weren’t able to invite cousin’s children until after the first lot had all let us know they couldn’t make it. Even then we had most peoples children but not everyones children. Just because you want your niece at your wedding doesn't mean you must have everyone else's niece. People get that you can't invite the whole world to your wedding and a lot of parents will also enjoy a night off!
Children in your bridal party
If you have children in your bridal party, explain to them really clearly (and their parents) exactly what is expected of them during the ceremony and have a few practises before the ceremony. Try and have at least one practise in the venue and definately practise the walk down the aisle with the music a few times. We found explaining where they had to look and what to do with their hands also helped!
Is there space at your venue to have a play room for the younger kids and a quiet room for babies to sleep? If you can have a play room, arrange for some games & dvd’s to keep the children entertained.
If there will be quite a few young children present, can you hire a babysitter or a nanny to look after them during the reception? They could entertain the kids and help you and all the parents relax knowing that children are safe and having fun! If that would blow the budget, can you ask a friend or family member?
Will you have childrens tables at the reception?
This can be an awesome option depending on the ages of the kids and how well they know everyone. Check with the parents (and the kids!) on seating, they will be the best judge of if their kids will enjoy / behave through the reception. We had childrens / teenagers tables at our reception and it was one of the best things about the seating. BUT, most of our kids were over 10 years old and already knew each other. We also had the parents of the younger children sitting at the table next to them so that they were close by if needed. If the children are under 5, this might not be quite so easy, and it would be probably better if they are seated with their parents or an older brother / sister.
Also check if the food & drink on your menu kid friendly? Ie. will they eat it and will it give them a major sugar high?
Make Goody Bags with Activities and Snacks
Goody bags are a cool way to keep kids entertained during a wedding reception. They don't have to cost a bomb and you can find lots of great bits and pieces in the pound shop or stores like Tiger or Smiggles. You could include:
snacks and juice cartons
mini puzzles and toys
crayons or colouring pencils (but definately not markers, paints, glitter or play dough)
colouring and activity books
Make sure to have the same gift sets for everyone, or one for boys and one for girls so that you don’t inadvertently create world war 3 over who gets the frozen colouring book and who gets the bead set.
My husband asked his 13 year old daughter to film our wedding. He showed her how to use the video camera and handed it over 3 days before the wedding so that she could practise. Unbelievably, this kept her occupied for most of those days and she was not bored at all during the reception. But, big BUT, the footage is terrible! The camera is jerking around so much that its like car sickness on a screen. We literally cannot watch our own wedding video. However, we both agree it was entirely worth it to have a happy 13 year old on the day, and would do it again.
Check out our pinterest board for more inspo about children at weddings xx
All images from pinterest.