Kids at Weddings – A Do or Don’t?

It’s true – some guests will just assume their children will be invited to your wedding.  You may start to hear comments like, “Oh, we’re so glad you aren’t one of those brides who says no kids allowed” or “Will you have things to keep little Johnnie occupied during the reception?”

There are some couples who may want to have kids at their wedding.  My husband and I were one of those couples.  We have close family and friends with small children and we wanted to include them.  Some took us up on the invite while others just wanted an evening out without the kids. 

If you decide to have children attend your wedding, plan a few things to make it easier on everyone involved.

First – the bride and groom.  As much as you love little kids, you may not want to have them screaming during your vows or during your first dance.  Make sure kids are seated with their parents or adults who are designated to “watch them” during the wedding.  No one wants children running around as if this were a friend’s 7th birthday party.  Also, ask your caterer / venue if they offer a kids menu option.  This normally consists of chicken fingers and French fries type of dish and usually at a significantly lower per plate cost. 

Second – the parents / guardians.  It probably wouldn’t hurt to let the parents know their kids will be sitting with them and not a designated “kids table”.  That should drop the hint to them that they will be responsible for their kids while they are at the wedding and it’s not a free pass for the parents to hang out at the open bar all night without the kids.

Third – the kids.  Some may like the idea of dressing up like a grown up for a night and going to an adult party but others may just dread it.  Plan a few things to make it easier on them during the reception.  For instance, coloring books and (washable) crayons for little ones or puzzle books for older kids may make the night go by faster and give them something to do between dinner and (maybe) some dancing.

If you decide not to have kids at your wedding, you are not alone, but be prepared.  People may make unwanted comments about it, but just hold your position.  At the end of the day, this is your wedding and you are paying for the meals not your guests.

A few thoughts:

Word your invitations carefully. Address the invitation to “Mr. & Mrs. John Smith” only.

Add “adults only” with the reception information. 

If you feel very generous, offer a child care option for those traveling from out of town.  Maybe you know a trusted sitter who is willing to take on a small group of kids that night, possibly in the same location as your wedding (for example, if your wedding is in a hotel, you could reserve a room and have all the kids there with a sitter or two, order pizza, and watch movies while the parents are at the reception).

Whatever you decide, make sure you and your groom are comfortable with it and are polite to guests who may just assume things (there are some people out there who will assume!)  This is your wedding and it should be what you both want. 

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