A number of couples we've worked with face the dilemma of whether or not to allow their guests to bring their children along to the ceremony and/or reception. The usual considerations are around the cost and if their guests will be able to relax with children around. If you already have children this may not be such a difficult questions (see flower girls and page boys), however those couples who imagine their wedding as an 'adult only affair' will need to make it clear to their guests from the outset. Pros & Cons:
If you would love to have little people celebrating your wedding day then be mindful of the following:
Flower girls + page boys: Arrange for them to be at the rehearsal so they can practice what they will need to do for the ceremony. Assign one of your child friendly bridesmaids to hold their hand as they walk them down the aisle. Then seat them close to their parents.
Attire: Schedule a fitting with the children to make sure they are comfortable in their clothes. Ask their parents to bring an extra set of formal wear and shoes to the wedding day just in case of any accidents. Flat comfortable shoes and seasonal sensitive non-crease fabric that breaths well.
Meals: Ask your wedding venue to cater specific meals for children. These are usually cheaper and easier for little ones to stomach. Send a note to your guests (in their invitation) asking if any of the children have allergies. Seat all the children at a specific children’s table for meals close (situated close to their parents’ tables).
Candles: Whilst real candles look magical, we'd suggest you opt for LED candles on the children's table to avoid any accidents happening with live flame.
Activities: Arrange to have some games specifically for children. This will not only keep them nicely occupied, but will prevent them from dominating the adult games. You may also like to create an “activity bag” for each child with their name on it. Fill it with colouring books, wash-out crayons, playing cards, disposable cameras and games for them to play. You may even have some dress up items for them!
Photos: Pair up them up for photos. They will appreciate the hand to hold, it takes away a little pressure, helps stop them fidgeting and it looks really cute!
Assign Them Jobs: Children love to be part of the day so why not ask them to hand out the bubbles or confetti or to help hand out gift bags to guests?!
Reception Style: A casual outdoor reception is much more kid friendly than a formal black tie occasion. Kids can race around and play in the garden, you can set up activities such as hopscotch, croquet or skittles for them. If you do want an indoor reception then consider setting up a children’s craft table near the parents’ table so they can be kept entertained. This will help prevent them racing around the tables to find mum and dad all night!
Babysitter: It is a nice idea to have a babysitter who can help mind the children throughout the day and take them home once it is too late (all to one house). It might even be possible at your venue to hire an extra room for all the kids to retreat to once it is bedtime. They can watch a DVD and play together. Contact us if you need some ideas on who might be good, we know a few awesome wedding nannies!
If you are planning for an adults only affair then you may need to consider the following:
Rules: Be upfront and clear. Tell your guests in plenty of time what your plans for children are at your wedding so that there is no misunderstanding. If you are worried about a sensitive friend, then a phone call is usually a good idea.
Babysitter: You may need to arrange for a babysitter to be available for your guests children if at a destination wedding. They may prefer to arrange their own but you can always give them the option. Again, contact us if you need some ideas on who might be good.
A lot of your decision process will come down to what you really want your wedding to be like and how much you believe your friends will take responsibility for their own children. Whilst it is lovely to have them there on the day, you want to be sure that they don’t end up bothering your other guests or knocking the elderly over as they charge around the room.
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Image: Tutu De Monde & Baby Dior.