There is a great debate amongst the newly engaged about whether or not to invite children to their wedding. Especially if you don't have your own kids, you may be tempted to slip in a carefully written line into your wedding invites about how you are unable to accommodate children at your special day. There are good arguments on both sides of the argument so let's discuss.
Children can be an absolute delight on your wedding day. Their boundless energy and general enthusiasm for absolutely everything has a lasting impact on your day in a strange way. This is particularly interesting when you give them a job to do! When I was six, my mother's boss married in a huge country hotel. There weren't many kids but our team of superheroes were given the very important task of sprinkling the confetti over the bride and groom as they passed under the staircase. I took on the mantle with great pride and instructed my comrades with military precision. You had never seen a more elegant confetti throw.
With that in mind, you need bear in mind a few things when inviting children to your wedding.
The first is that you will need to provide children's entertainment or a nanny so that the kids can have fun at your wedding. I don't mean to call your wedding boring...but... to a five year old, your father's stories of raising you or your best man's 45 minute presentation of all your most embarrassing moments are just not as captivating to an infant audience (tough crowd). So if the venue has a spare safe room, you have the perfect opportunity to create a kid's play haven with games, DVDs and snacks to keep them entertained. They will need a childminder so do your research or ask your planner to arrange some suitable childcare options for you.
My next suggestion is to set the kids a task that is part of your day. My favourite idea is to give the kids some disposable cameras and a list of photos to capture throughout the day. The little person who completes the list first will get a prize (and consolation prizes for the others if you want). Like with my confetti story, the kids will feel instrumental to your day and it'll also keep them entertained for hours and hours.
Finally remember to make it clear in your invitations exactly who is invited. Either write the name of the entire family or put a line in your invitations to say that the whole family is welcome.
Photo by Phil Drinkwater
It was the late 1990's and a young couple came together to exchange vows. They didn't want to step on anyone's toes and it was the custom to invite everyone to the wedding, so of course their guests were welcome to bring their families. Most of the kids were true models of good behaviour. Quiet as mice. Smiles that could cereal advert kids to shame. Lo and behold, there was one trouble maker in the group. She was loud, rambunctious, annoying and messy. She spun around in circles encouraging the other kids to play too. So much energy, the adults were devising schemes of how to take her out. In the end they didn't have to. After wolfing down some lasagne and spinning around some more she vomited on the floor much to the embarrassment of her parents. Even on the way out of the dinner hall, she balled with all the breath in her lungs, which echoed through the hallways to the guests trying to enjoy their meal.
...yeah that kid was me.
The very unpredictability that makes children so delightful, can also turn them into your worst nightmare. Dresses can be jumped on. Drinks can be spilt. Cries can ruin speeches and vomit can ruin dinners. Sure you can arrange some great entertainment to keep your young guests happy as we discussed before but you never quite know what will happen on the day.
Another thing you'll note in that story is that I didn't mention how the bride and groom were feeling about me running riot, or whether their day was ruined. That's because I wasn't their problem; it was my parents who had to clean up my mess and manage my behaviour. Having kids at your wedding can sometimes make it difficult for parents to relax and enjoy themselves. Often they can't or won't allow themselves to drink to keep a level head, and poor old Mum or Dad also has to miss the speeches should baby decide to scream in the middle of them forcing them to leave the room.
Many parents may take it upon themselves to arrange childcare for your wedding day anyway. You may be doing them a favour by tactfully requesting they leave their children at home.
With all of the said, how do you say 'no' to kids at your wedding?
1) Let parents know early on
The most important thing when requesting parents not to bring their children to your wedding is to give them ample notice. Make sure that they receive your Save The Dates that clearly state that you are unable to accommodate children. I would also recommend speak to parents in person or over the phone to let them know your wishes too.
2) Be tactful!
(Particularly if you don't have your own children) Just as you may be doing some parents a favour by requesting their children not come, you may also be messing up their plans and causing great inconvenience. Some parents are more understanding in this area but always approach the subject with sensitivity and respect.
3) You may need to make some concessions for close family
If your brothers or sisters have children, and you are very close to them, it may be easier just to let them join the wedding. Of course talk to them about it first but just be prepared to make some concessions for people who are very close to you.
All in all the decision to invite children to your wedding or not is a very personal decision. I hope this little article helps you to consider both sides and make the right decision for you!
Ta ta for now,