The discussion of whether to invite children to a wedding can become a passionate and sometimes an emotional one. In one corner, you have people (often with children of their own) who think kids add a certain magic to the atmosphere. In the other corner, you have those who feel as though that "magic" is more the black variety -- the screaming, the messing, the ruining. But, including kids in your festivities doesn't have to make your wedding into a kids party, so here’s some hot tips to ensure that your wedding is fun for everyone.
Decide Who's Included
Don't feel as though having kids at your wedding opens it up to everyone. Although it may seem tough to exclude, it's perfectly fine to only invite children who are part of your or your partner's family. Just because you want your niece at your wedding doesn't mean you must have everyone else's child. If you let yourself get caught up in the drama of "Why wasn't my child invited?!" you're going to find yourself in a big (and expensive) mess. Stand strong, and tell people you're sorry you can't include everyone -- that you're trying to limit the guest list.
Make It Clear Who's Invited
Parents tend to automatically assume that their little cherubs are invited so they often don't check to see if that’s the case. It’s up to you to make it abundantly clear who is included.
If you are inviting kids, adding the words "and family" to the invitation envelope indicates as much.
If you aren't including children it’s okay to just specify the invited guests by name eg.“Joe and Sarah you are invited to the wedding of..”
Managing the Kids
If possible, seat all the parents and their children together at one table or at tables close to each other. While it might seem like a good idea to put all the children at a table alone, an unsupervised group of kids is the fastest way to go from elegant reception to playground madness. Ideally you might find that your venue has a separate area that kids can eat, watch TV or sleep and that’s when it’s a great idea to hire a chaperone. If you know a teenager or young adult who can take the kids to the bathroom, supervise their play activities, meals etc and put a Band-Aid on then it works for everyone.
Offer Kids Meals
Be thoughtful when choosing the food you want to serve to the little ones. This is the time to keep it simple, no fancy food required -- most kids will eat only fun foods like little pizzas, chicken fingers and hot chips. For dessert, a make-your-own-sundae bar is always a hit. Since its kid’s meals remember and ask the venue for lower price. Also be sure to ask if the kids can get their food early and quickly, especially at an evening reception, that way the kids can settle down early and watch a movie. Remember to ask if any of the kids have specific food allergies or intolerances.
Keep Them Entertained
Since kids get bored easily it’s great to have a variety of diversions to keep them amused such as TV & movies, board games, PlayStation, drawing, arts & crafts.
Go with the Flow
It’s pretty much summed up in the old saying “ never work with children & animals” .Things are going to happen so just remember that children do bring surprises but also a lot of laughs. Keep a sense of humour about having the little cherubs there, instead, laugh and tell the photographer to catch it on film and you can show the footage at their 21st birthday celebrations!