In addition to which flavor of cake they should have, the types of flowers and the colors of the plates and cups, brides and grooms often debate if they should invite children to their wedding. Of course, if one or both of you have kiddos, they will probably be included in your special day, and the same goes if you are planning on having flower girls and/or a ring bearer. But for the people on your guest list who have kids, it’s important to decide ahead of time if you want them to attend.
The following tips should help you determine if your big day will include pint-sized guests, as well as ways to keep these young ones entertained.
Decide Who You Want to Invite and Stick with It
As The Knot notes, you don’t have to extend a blanket invite to all kids; it’s perfectly OK to include children who are part of your and your fiance’s immediate family, and/or those of close friends. If a co-worker fusses that you are not including her precious angels in your special day, let her know kindly that you are sorry, but you are trying to keep your guest list to a manageable number. With this in mind, when you are addressing your invitations, only add “and family” to the envelope if you want those kiddos in attendance. If someone RVSPs and adds in their kids’ names, you’ll have to gently let them know that you are unable to include everyone’s children.
Once you have an idea of how many kids will attend your wedding, help ensure that they have an enjoyable and reasonably calm and quiet time. For example:
Offer Activities to Keep Them Entertained
The wedding and reception can go on for hours, which can tax the patience of even the most well-behaved kiddos. To help keep them happy, set up a kid-friendly zone in a separate room or area from the ceremony and party. Hire a friendly teenager to take charge of the kids and the room and stock it with some family-friendly DVDs, a game system and games and/or arts and crafts. You can also print out plenty of coloring pages and word puzzles to keep the kids quietly entertained. For example, Busy Teacher is a great source of free printable puzzles that you can personalize with the names of your young guests. If the budget allows it, you can also give each kiddo a goody bag filled with items that will help them stay busy; these can include crayons, scented markers, stickers and small pads of colored paper.
Provide a Kid-friendly Meal
Keep your smallest guests in mind when working with the catering company. Remember that young palettes might not like fancy-pants hors d’oeuvres and gourmet entrees and provide them with kid-friendly fare like chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese. As a bonus, you won’t waste money on food that the kids might not want to eat. During the reception, seat families with other families and consider lining these tables with butcher paper and providing glasses and small vases filled with crayons. Buzzfeed offers some great ideas for keeping children happy during the reception, including making at least some of the centerpieces super kid-friendly. For example, fill small tin buckets with LEGOs and place a small sign in the bucket that says something like “Build Our Love Story Brick by Brick.” Chances are good you’ll find plenty of adults putting together towers and other LEGO masterpieces during the reception.