Incorporating the Little Ones in your Day
Setting guidelines and expectations are crucial if you want kids at the wedding (or in the wedding). For example, perhaps you have an adorable little chicky poo in mind as a suitable flower girl candidate aka your childhood friend’s little girl. But when it comes to your sister’s kids, your neighbors’ teenage son, or your boss’s brood of four you really want to avoid having to invite them (or have them show up uninvited) to the wedding. Here’s the good news; you can do all that and avoid conflict. Have your flower girl and consider giving your sister a free pass to bring her kiddos since she is after all your sister.
Here’s the bad news though. You will look like a total hypocrite if you invite select kids but don’t allow others. And you’re walking a fine line between doing what you want and being rude slash hurting feelings. Tread lightly. No one wants to see a humiliated girl in a pretty white dress. Nobody.
If you do end up having kids as guests, prepare accordingly. Depending on your planner or coordinator (if you have one) and how rad she is, she may bring snacks, games, and activities for the kids in order to keep them busy and out of your hair during the reception (and ceremony if said kids are spectators and not part of the wedding party). If it’s in the budget, look into hiring some sort of separate entertainment for the kids like a babysitter, a clown, a fairy princess, or some sort of person who can make sure the kids don’t get bored, restless, or out of hand on their own. Check with your venue to see if there’s a room this can be set aside, preferably close to the main event so parents are within a close enough distance should a problem arise. Ask the caterer for options kids will eat and get some juice boxes. Lot’s of juice boxes. Or sparkling pop for the older kids for the champagne toast.
You can make it work, and to your expectations. Just know that with kids in the (sticky) situation, your dance floor might attract some younger dancing kings and queens.
A lot of couples debate whether or not to invite children to their wedding and reception. If you have a large family, many nieces or nephews, or a lot of close friends with children, including kids in your big day can add to the overall fun, excitement, and magic. However, it’s no surprise that kids have short attention spans and no shortage of energy so plan ahead with ways to keep the children in attendance happy and entertained.
Kids Meal: A great way to please kids and parents alike, as well as cutting down on overall expenses for your wedding, is to offer a separate meal specifically for kids. Talk to your caterer about providing a small kid-friendly buffet that includes staples like chicken fingers, hot dogs, or grilled cheese. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your caterer for a lower cost on the kid-friendly fare since it’s clearly cheaper to prepare and much less of it will be consumed.
Goodie Bags: In lieu of favors for children, provide them with a fun and entertaining goodie bag. Head over to your local arts and crafts store and stock up on drawing kits, coloring books, markers/crayons, bead sets, or something similar. Hit up the dollar store for other fun games and surprises to drop into the bags, as well. If you want to go the extra mile, create gender or age-specific goodie bags and mark them as such. Have them waiting on the children’s seats at the reception or at a special table for parents to pick up on their way in.
Games/Entertainment: Depending on the age of the kids in attendance, you might want to consider providing games or entertainment for them, as well as an additional space for them to play. If your reception venue allows it, book a small separate room to be used for children. Hire a teenager/college student (or two) to chaperone kids during the reception. For younger kids, offer a showing of family-friendly DVDs or cartoons or provide an arts and craft station. For older kids, set up a video game station with Game Boys or various game consoles. If you want them to remain in the reception hall, offer board games or cards that can be played at their table during the event.