Imagine this. You are just about to step onto the dance floor for your bridal waltz. The moment is perfect, your brand new husband is looking at you with those adoring eyes. Everything is perfect.
And a three year old is having a screaming tantrum about something right next to you.
The issue of children at a wedding is a big one. For some couples, the idea of not having little Jessica at the wedding is an impossible thought. For others, little Jessica and all the trouble she could get up to leaves them shaking.
The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Our first recommendation is to make a decision and stick to it.
Consider the kind of wedding you are planning. If it is a formal or evening affair, it is entirely appropriate to not invite children. Other types of weddings may not be quite so easy. A casual lunch affair may have your guests assuming children are welcome. A destination wedding even more so, as parents will have the cost of bringing the child with them or making other arrangements for them to stay at home.
Our second recommendation is to communicate your decision. If children are invited, include them on the invitations you send to ensure their parents know. If children are not invited, it may be worth making a small note of this somewhere or bring it up in a conversation. The key is making sure that your guests know what you are expecting, particularly in cases where the issue may not be so obvious.
If you do decide to have little Jessica at the wedding, there are several things to keep in mind.
- Try to balance the number of children invited with the number of adults. Most people will be accepting that immediate family may have their children at the wedding, but not a coworker.
- Consider making use of those babies! Children (especially those close to you) can act as ushers, hand out programs, distribute confetti or pass out favours. The list goes on. Giving a child a job will keep them occupied and really excite them for the whole big day!
- Make the logical plans. Speak to your reception venue and caterers about children’s meals and their charge. Ask whether there is access to change tables. When you are laying out your floor plan, ensure that guests with prams have ample room to enter and leave the area. You can even remove a chair from these tables, to help your guests tuck a pram underneath. For toddlers, consider booster seats or high chairs. While it may not look at nice, it is definitely more practical.
- Go the extra mile. Think about what will make the day run more smoothly, for adults and children alike! Perhaps you could hire a babysitter to watch young children or babies who might need a nap during the day. For older children, it may be an idea to put entertainment on the tables. This could be colouring books, arts and crafts or even little toys.