Are you torn between whether or not to have children at your wedding?
Unless you already have children of your own who will, of course be part of your beautiful day, you may be considering whether having children at your wedding is something you want.
Children or Nah…
Your dreams of a glam, adult-only luxe affair in a ballroom or a party hearty wedding weekend in Las Vegas can be put on ice by family pressure and expectations. It’s important that although you may respect their desires, this is your wedding and your choice, so the final decision on whether to invite children is ultimately up to what suits you and your partner.
If you decide against having children at your wedding, you’ll want to let your friends and family know well in advance so that they can arrange a babysitter. You never know… they may actually be looking forward to a ‘night off’ to celebrate your big day with you!
No matter what you decide, it’s important to be clear on the save the date and/or invitation whether children are actually invited or not. When addressing your wedding stationery, be very specific – is it simply Mr. and Mrs. Johnson or The Johnson Family that you’re inviting? On the invite itself the wording can simply state ‘children welcome’ or ‘no children under the age of XYZ please’. Another option is to add a small card with a little message inside the envelopes with something along the lines of:
“Although we love your children we regretfully cannot accommodate them at the venue due to restricted numbers. We hope you will see this as an opportunity to let your hair down and enjoy the party with us.
Children Are Welcome
For this of you who are planning on inviting children – below we share several helpful tips and ideas for keeping children entertained and happy at your wedding!
Children can be a LOT of fun at weddings, especially then they are busting their cute little moves on the dance floor, but long periods of sitting still and being quiet can be very difficult for young children who naturally have very short attention spans. Boredom kicks in, they may become restless, hungry and overtired which can lead to tantrums, tears and frazzled parents.
If you are having young children at your wedding, you might want to consider hiring Elegant Event Sitters, an agency created to specifically provide qualified childcare, entertainment and fun activities for the children throughout the day or during specific parts of the day. They can set up an activity center in a separate room and keep the children entertained and content.
If it doesn’t inflate your budget too much, you could ask your venue if there is a room that parent’s or your event sitters can use.
Kids Are Bored at Weddings During:
But we will talk about those and every other part of your wedding below with tips on how to keep children happy and occupied.
The good thing about the ceremony is that parents will be watching their children carefully and may even provide their favorite snacks or toys to keep them happy and entertained. The last thing any parent wants is for all eyes to be on them as their child screams or cried during the bride and groom’s marriage vows! YIKES!
A gentle reminder at the beginning of the ceremony announcing that it’s ok to leave the room if needs be, may encourage parents to escort any screaming little ones out of earshot.
Children in your Bridal Party
If you have a few adorable little flower girls and chubby cheeked ring bearers leading your way up the aisle, be sure to explain to them exactly what they have to do and demonstrate it for them (their idea of throwing petals may be very different from yours!).
Tear of Joy Events will take the time to practice the walk a couple of times during your wedding rehearsal (to the music you’re using and in the ceremony venue) so that they know what to expect. Most children love having a special job to do, so tell them how happy you are that they’re helping with your wedding.
Bear in mind that no matter how confident they seem the day before, when it comes to the actual wedding day, surrounded by emotional adults and a sea of cameras and mobile devices, the youngest members of your bridal party may feel a little shy, nervous, scared or worried. Although Tears of Joy Events will be on hand, it is best to also have someone familiar to them, preferably a parent, that can help keep them calm and occupied with toys or stories prior to the ceremony.
If you can pair up your little ones, even better, otherwise have a bridesmaid or groomsman on hand to step in and walk up the aisle with them. I’d also suggest ensuring that any young toddlers’ or shy children’s parents are nearby so that they can ‘walk’ down the aisle in their parents arms, if necessary. Even if that parent is not in your wedding party or wearing the perfect shade of blush pink, it’s a heck of a lot better that than having a screaming child at the end of the aisle, just before you’re about to walk down or when you are saying your vows.
During the Ceremony
Keep in mind that children find it difficult to stand for long periods of time without fidgeting, therefore it’s a great idea to reserve seats for their parents as near to the front row as possible. Also consider how comfortable your choice of flower girl and ring bearer outfits are – nothing too hot or itchy or you run the risk of this happening…
Rose Petals or Confetti
The rose petal or confetti toss is a lot of fun for adults and children alike. However, some venues in Southern California don’t allow confetti or rose petals. Here are two fantastic alternatives that double up as another form of entertainment for children:
Ribbon wands and bubbles! YAY!
For children under 5, be sure to purchase non-toxic bubbles and have someone supervise them so that they don’t accidentally swallow them. Ribbon wands are perfect for sunny and breezy days. Kids really enjoy running around with them flying in the wind.
Of course, you could also have other forms of entertainment suitable for both children and adults such as face painting, lawn games, a magician or a caricaturist.
Indoors or Outdoors?
If your venue has large open spaces, these are perfect for children to let off some steam after the ceremony. If your reception venue is inside or it’s raining, you might like to provide an kid-friendly goodie bag of quiet toys and activities for each child during the reception and dinner. Or even set up a movie area in a quiet room with blankets and cushions.
Kid Friendly Snacks and Drinks
If you are providing appaetizers, you might want to consider kid-friendly options such as carrot sticks, cheese cubes or apple slices. Receptions can last for several hours, so it’s worth noting that your tiny guests might not be so impressed with those goat cheese and crostini bites. You can also ask your caterers to provide juice in child friendly cups or juice boxes.
When tackling your table plan and considering whether to have a children’s table, talk to parents before you assign seating to avoid any potential problems. Another consideration to note is how many children’s meals and high chairs you’ll need for your tiny guests. Typically children’s meals are mini versions of the adult’s dish. Therefore, discuss options with your caterer for something more child friendly such as chicken nuggets and french fried or a lunchbox type meal. Kids’ meals generally cost quite a bit less than adult meals.
Will You Have a Children’s Table?
It really comes down to the age of the children because children under 5 should absolutely be seated with older siblings or parents.
The children are all contained in one area so that your wedding coordinators and catering staff can easily serve their meals, activity kits and goodies. Besides, the children can chat away and be messy without parents constantly hushing them. Parents also benefit by getting a bit of a break while relaxing with a glass of wine or champagne during their meal.
Parents can’t monitor how much their children are eating, what they’re eating and the level of their rowdiness. Another concern is young or shy children being grouped with children they may not know may be a little overwhelming.
Kid’s Activity Packs
Whether or not you decide to have a kid’s table, a great idea is to provide a children’s activity pack for each tiny guest filled with entertainment to keep them occupied throughout the meal such as a coloring book, finger puppets or stickers.
Have you ever been to a wedding where the father of the bride’s speech was over forty five minutes long? GAH! Remember how sweet you thought it was at first then how bored and fidgety you became after the first 15 minutes? You probably reached for your phone and hopped onto Facebook! Remember how you kept wishing he’d hurry the heck up so you could get back to having a good time? Now, imagine that feeling times 1,000! That’s what it feels like to a kid.
Children naturally have super short attention spans. Plus, the majority of kids under seven are not going to have a clue what the man at the front is talking about and why it’s so important. And they are expected to sit still, be quiet and listen. COME ON!
This is where having an event sitter comes in handy. They can usher the kids into a room setup with activities just for them, allowing them a much needed outlet.
Photo Booths Are SO Much Fun!
We don’t know about you, but we LOVE jumping into photo booths at events! FUN! If you’re having a photo booth at your wedding, that’s an added bonus for kids. They loved putting on the props and making silly faces for the photo booth. The kid’s photos are some of the funniest of the night!
Dance, Dance, Dance
Plenty of children enjoy hopping away to music, being twirled and swung around by adults, pretending to be airplanes, weaving in and out of guests on the dance floor. They generally have a BLAST!
Bear in mind that tiny ears may be sensitive to loud music and, after a long day filled with excitement, young children could very well be ready for bed by the time the dancing starts. There is a chance that their parents may have to leave the party a little earlier than anticipated. To ensure you get a dance or two (or lots more!) with your friends and family who have children, it’s a great idea to get the party started as early as possible.
Last But Not Least
Ultimately, it’s up to the children’s parents or caregivers to keep the children happy and entertained so don’t feel like you HAVE to provide toys, games, activities and treats for them. More than likely, parents will come equipped with their child or children’s favorite toys and possibly a mobile device for watching cartoons during the ‘boring party the adults are having’!