Wedding Tips: Children at Weddings
Wedding Tips & Hints from Kookaburra Showboat Cruises professional Wedding Coordinator.
Do you invite children to your wedding?
First of all, do you want children at your wedding? If not, then don’t. It is also perfectly acceptable to have your own or close family (nieces, nephews etc) and not invite other guest’s children. Just ensure you send out invitations with plenty of notice so those guests with children can ensure they have childcare for the evening. You should never feel pressured to invite children to your big day if you do not want to.
If you have guests traveling to your wedding from interstate or overseas you need to consider the logistics of them not bringing their children to the wedding. You may need to help them find someone they feel comfortable to leave their children with if they bring them on the trip.
If you would like your own or close mini family members to attend the ceremony and not the reception this is also fine. Make sure you spend time finding the right babysitter to spend the night with them. You do not want to be sat there worrying about them at your reception because all your usual sitters, like Grandma, is at the reception. It is a good idea to ask other parents you trust who babysits for them or if they attend Kindy, ask their teacher if they would babysit. Meet with them before the day and talk about what you want from them and talk them through your little ones routine. If you have babies or toddlers, you may want them to take the child out of the ceremony if they become unsettled; you may wish them to walk down the aisle with them etc.
If you are getting married in another town, it is a good idea to book a hotel room for the carer in the same hotel as you or as Grandma (whoever will be taking over in the morning). Ensure you are well organised and have packed and prepared everything the carer and little ones needs. Don’t forget to pack lots of activities and comforts. It can be challenging packing overnight for a little one at the best of times, you do not need this added stress on your wedding day! If you are getting married in your hometown, it may be best to invite them to stay at your place so the little ones are in familiar surroundings. It is a nice idea to arrange room service or takeaway for the carer and maybe leave them some DVDs etc.
If you decide to have a child free wedding there is one thing you may have to consider – a breast feeding mum. Mother’s that breastfeed often do not have a choice but to be with their child 24/7. Often babies will not accept a substitute, even for your special day. This is something you will most likely just have to understand.
If you are thinking of inviting children to the whole day the first thing you should do is discuss it with your venue. Ask are children allowed, how much they charge for children, what facilities they have for children, do they provide children’s menus, etc. This may help you with your decision.
If your venue is kid friendly then you may wish to ask close family and friends, if they want to bring their children. Often parent’s secretly love wedding as they get a night off to let their hair down. You may think you are being kind by inviting their children but the reality is they may prefer to leave them with a sitter. On the other hand, if the wedding is far from home it may be more comforting for a parent to bring their children.
You should also consider timings. The parents may need to leave early (especially if the children are young). You should consider finishing the formalities early enough, so if anyone needs to leave early they do not feel obliged to stay.
Weddings can be boring for kids, which may cause disruption (probably when you least want it such as a very teary speech!) so ensure there is plenty to keep them occupied. Activity packs on the table are a great way to keep kids seated and quiet during dinner. If the space allows in the venue, you could set up a kids area filled with activities or if your budget allows you could even arrange for a kids entertainer. The day is also very long and for younger kids very unsettling as their routine is disturbed. You may wish to allocate a quiet place for them to nap or rest.
Do you have a kids table? This is something I get asked all the time. It really depends on the ages of the children. It is a fantastic idea with older children as they will be much happier and entertained in each others company. If there are little ones, I would recommend speaking with the parents. They may not feel comfortable with this. The child may need assistance cutting food or feeding etc. A way around this is ensure the parents are sitting within reaching distance of their child by carefully placing the tables. Another way is to enlist the help of someone to join the kids table (perhaps a teenage niece or cousin) who would enjoy the responsibility.
For families staying overnight, it is a nice idea to recommend accommodation that has family rooms that is close to your reception. When you do this, you should also consider budget. Not all families can afford to spend as much on your day as other guests without young children.
Whatever you decide, make sure it is what is best for you and your partner. It is your big day. If you have anyway concerns your decisions will offend anyone, speak to them directly before you send out the invitations and explain your reasons to avoid any unnecessary upset or stress.
Wishing you the best on your big day!