One decision that inevitably pops up during the wedding-planning process is whether your wedding will be “child-friendly” or not. It may seem like a simple afterthought, but in reality the choice to allow children to attend the ceremony and/or the reception (or not) cause unexpected issues if you don’t plan ahead.
Some couples want everyone included on their special day – including the younger people. Others want to celebrate their nuptials in a more elegant fashion and feel including children just doesn’t fit with the atmosphere they are trying to achieve.
Be aware that if you decide upon an “Adult Only” wedding, make it clear on the invitations and RSVP’s, leave no wiggle room. If you have family and friends that you expect will be hurt that their child isn’t invited, consider letting them know before the invites are sent to explain your reasoning. It may help to soften the blow and avoid hurt feelings.
If you invite some children, such as close family but not extended family or friends, explain that you have a guest limit. If you invite children only 10-years and up, let your guests know why. Chances are, there will be at least a few children in attendance – for instance the flower girls, ring bearers, immediate family, and chances are you will here you will hear at least one “but she’s coming, how come MY Susie can’t come?” Be strong, stick to your guns.
Things to consider:
Are your guests local or with they be traveling to attend your wedding?
If the majority of your guests are local, it will be much easier to ask guest to make their own childcare arrangements. However if the majority of your guest are from out-of town or you are having a destination wedding, it will be much harder to ask them not to bring their children. If you are still sticking with “adults only” you may need to make arrangements for them, hiring teens that you know to babysit for the evening for example.
One work-around to the childcare issue is having a separate room for the children with games, crafts activities and movies to keep them busy during the reception. Hire some trusted teenagers or adults to man the room and keep the kids safe. The kids feel like they are at the party and the adults know their kids are safe.
Child-friendly menu and seating.
If you do choose to invite the younger set, consider having a kids menu for the little ones. Kids may be less likely to eat the fancier dishes at weddings and would be much happier with spaghetti or chicken. Plus, this would likely be cheaper. Don’t forget to first check with parents about food allergies, nothing would ruin your big day quicker than an allergic reaction.
Remember to seat the younger kids with their parents, and seat the families with kids close together. It would not make for a memorable evening for a guest to get stuck sitting at a table full of someone else’s children.
Quick tip: Oftentimes you can find a Great wedding venue that offers catering as well as wedding planning too.
Are you serving alcohol?
If you inviting guest of all ages and serving alcohol you will need to take precautions to keep everyone safe. We’ve all heard stories of teens getting snookered at so-and-so’s wedding, not only could this lead to potential legal issues for you or a guest, also think of the medical implications. One option is to have guests show their ID to the bartender, another is to stamp the hand of underage guests or give them (or the adults) bracelets similar to hospital bracelets.
Allowing guests to bring children to the wedding is entirely up to the bride and groom but the decision should be made early so that arrangements can be made in either scenario.