Let’s say you’re putting together your wedding guest list. You start address the one for your sister and brother-in-law when it dawns on you that they have four kids. Oh yes, your adorable little nieces and nephews, how could you forget? Well you have to invite them, don’t you? But wait a minute; your best friend has two children and your boss has three. Do you have to invite them as well? Honestly the decision is yours. But it is definitely one you are going to have to make, because even if you don’t specifically include the children’s names on the invitations, you will have some guests who will ask you if it is alright to bring them. In the end many couples decide they would like to invite the children closest to them. You may even consider having children in your wedding party. So if you do decide to involve children in your big day, here are some tips and suggestions to help things go as smoothly as possible:
Children as Guests
• Make sure your wedding venue has highchairs and changing tables to accommodate young children.
• Children are picky eaters, so make sure there is a kid-friendly alternative to your chosen adult meal.
• Consider seating older children at their own table. Cover the table with white paper and put out crayons and stickers so they can decorate it.
• Give each child a goody bag containing items such as activity books, small puzzles, and some candy.
• Get the photographer to take a photo of all the children together early in the day before they get cranky.
• Hire someone to entertain the children, such as a magician or clown.
• If your wedding is outside you can rent a bounce house to keep the children busy.
• Have an attendant organize a treasure hunt for your young guests.
• Have a special room for the children to play in. Stock it with a crib, VCR, and many crafts and activities.
• Consider hiring a babysitter to keep an eye on the children so their parents can enjoy themselves.
Children in the Wedding Party
• Try to have your wedding ceremony early in the day, because as the evening progresses children tend to become cranky.
• Make sure the children you want to have in your wedding party have the right personality for the job. If they are hyperactive or very shy, they may not be the best choice.
• Make sure you dress the children as comfortably as possible so they are not pulling at their clothing or complaining that their feet hurt.
• Do not give your real wedding bands to the ring bearer. Buy inexpensive costume jewelry to attach to the pillow, and give your real bands to the best man and/or maid of honor.
• Choose an attendant to be in charge of the children in the wedding party. Do not make it your best man or maid of honor because they have other responsibilities to attend to.
• At the rehearsal, have the children practice their job more than once or twice. The more comfortable they are with what they have to do, the more likely it is that everything will go smoothly during the actual ceremony.
• Make sure they know where their parents will be sitting during the ceremony. You may even want to let small children take a seat next to their parents after the procession.
• Besides being a ring bearer or flower girl, good jobs for children include reading a poem, handing out programs or flowers to guests, being in charge of the guest book, and giving out favors.
Have a specific question about including children in your wedding? Send me a note, because from “I will” until “I do” I’m here for you.