There’s so much content on the web and in magazines about why you shouldn’t let children attend your wedding, but not very much support for those brides and grooms who want children to be a part of their day! Here’s the benefit of allowing children at your wedding:
Helloooo, Flower Girl & Page Boy
Unless your groom’s best man comes in fancy dress, chances are if you’re having a flower girl or a page boy, they will be children. And after their flower throwing and ring holding duties have finished, you can’t just send them home. You’ll have to endure them throughout the ceremony and the reception.
Your best bet? Invite other children to keep them company and entertained and out of everyone’s hair whilst the grown ups do boring wedding stuff.
All Your Friends Will Attend, Not Just the Single Ones
Here’s a fact anyone planning a wedding needs to hear and understand: newbie parents aren’t going to be too keen on leaving a new baby at home. Don’t even ask them to consider it. You know that face you make when you’ve spotted a new pair of must-have Jimmy Choos, but pay day is weeks away? Your new parent friends will be making that face if you suggest they get a sitter for your wedding.
And don’t say, “It’s just one night!” That makes you sound like an insensitive baby hater. And we know you don’t hate babies.
It Teaches Kids How to Behave
No, really. It does. Children learn by doing and by being instructed on what to do. Think about yourself: do you think you just woke up one day and said, “Right, I’m going to walk today!” No, you didn’t. You were taught how. Your parents or guardians spent countless days on their knees, steadying you and helping you to take your first steps.
For children, a wedding and any situation that teaches valuable skills for behaving in the real world is a learning experience. As their parents teach them to keep quiet during the ceremony and not to run amok in the venue, tipping over drinks and smashing glasses, they’re learning.
No, having kids at your wedding probably won’t be the smoothest of experiences. There may be a few accidents, but it definitely won’t be the end of the world.
It Shows You’re Considerate
Weddings aren’t just expensive for the couple getting married; guests have to shell out money on clothes, travel, drinks (if you have a cash bar) and obviously the gift. Ask them not to bring their child and you’re looking at, at least, another £30 for a child minder for the evening. Just think: if you’ve been invited to 4 weddings a year, that’s 4 wedding gifts at an average of spend of about £50. Add on to that at least £30 for a child minder and you’re talking a whole lot of cash!
Make Allowing Children at Your Wedding Work for You
Listen, children at a wedding does not have to be a nightmare. Here are four ways to make it work for you:
Plan, plan, plan
Don’t leave it to the last minute to say if kids are allowed. Tell your guests at the time of inviting them so they have time to save up for a childminder (if necessary) or prepare their child by discussing the upcoming event and setting ground rules about the type of behaviour they expect on the day.
Talk to the parents
Ask your friends with kids what they would want. Determine if the majority of your guests would want their kids to accompany them or if they’d prefer a night to themselves. Also, discuss coping strategies and if they think their children will sit still. Parents will often be the first to tell you if their little darlings can be tamed.
Make it comfortable
Accommodate the children at your wedding and make the experience positive for them. Hire a wedding creche service during the ceremony to keep kids entertained in a separate room or outside. Alternatively, ask families to sit in the back and explain that if they need to pop out to allow their children to let off some steam, they can. At the reception, seat families with children together at one or two tables large enough to accommodate them. This allows the kids to keep one another company whilst giving the parents the opportunity for adult conversation. Also consider providing colouring packs and activities for the children to do during the reception, too.
Throw an adults-only after party
Children have earlier bed times than adults. Set a curfew at your reception stating that all kids must exit the premises by 9 or 10 pm and open up the dance floor and the bar for adults only. This ensures that everyone at your reception can experience a good time and guests without kids won’t feel like they have to monitor their behaviour or words the entire time.
Here’s the bottom line, whether you allow kids at your wedding is entirely up to you. If you don’t, be sure to tell parents in advance. There’s nothing worse than taking your young child to a wedding, only to be told rudely that he actually wasn’t welcome. This happened to me. The couple hadn’t given any indication that children weren’t welcome on their invitations, but had instead opted to tell people personally. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell me and it resulted in a bit of a scene and us leaving the wedding early. Not good.
If you do choose to allow children at your wedding, then be considerate of their needs. Tone down the expensive crockery, go easy on the candles and give clear instructions of what’s going to happen so that parents know when it might be more appropriate for them to nip out with really young children to minimise disruptions. Also, don’t forget that children will want to eat at the reception, too. Whilst I’m not suggesting bangers and mash and cartoon character shaped pasta, it’s probably not a good idea to only serve extremely spicy curries or food that kids will generally turn their noses up at. If you invite them; make allowances for them.