Sometimes, the youngest guests can cause the most trouble when planning your wedding. There are so many considerations such as, “Does it cost the same as the adults for them to eat?” or, “How can I make sure they behave?” Though there are many couples that elect to not include children on their guest lists and in their ceremonies, if you do decide to invite children to your celebration, you will want to keep their interests and needs at heart. Below are some great tips on how to have a stress-free day with the presence of little guests!
1. Decide Who You’re Inviting: First of all, you must decide, if any, how many children are welcome at your wedding and if there are any age restrictions. If you’re open to having all the children of all of your guests attend, do so. This generally works best if you’re having a casual ceremony and reception. You can also stipulate a certain minimum age that children must be to attend. You may choose to only invite the children in your wedding party (flower girl(s), ring bearer(s), junior bridesmaid(s), junior groomsman/men, the children of your bridesmaids and groomsmen, etc). Whatever you decide, don’t make any exceptions. This risks causing hurt feelings and confusion.
2. Pick Your Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Wisely: These roles are best suited for children of close relatives or friends, ages 3 to 7. Talk to your flower girl and ring bearer in advance about how important their role is and how much it means to you that they’ll be a part of your special day. Provide their parents with the music that will play when they walk down the aisle so they can practice. And if all else fails, bribery always work! Make sure you get your flower girls and ring bearers small gifts to reward them for a successful walk down the aisle.
3. Let Them Feel Grown-Up: If you are inviting children who are not in the wedding party, feel free to give them small tasks so they feel like they have a role in your day. They can hand out ceremony programs, give out favors, or hold your bouquet while you’re getting a makeup touch-up. Even the smallest of tasks will help little ones feel important.
4. Smile! If you’re concerned about children smiling for portraits, have a parent or grandparent of the child stand behind the camera with a puppet, acting silly, or singing a favorite song.Be sure to make your photo sessions with kids very short because they will not stand still for very long and will lose interest in the photos. Take a few shots and then set them free!
5. Offer Activities: Ask the invited children’s parents if their little ones would prefer sitting at a table with other children or staying close to their parents. Whether you create a kids’ table or allow children to sit with their parents, be sure that you offer lots of entertainment for them. This can be in the form of games, coloring books, and/or small toys (that don’t make noise!).
6. Kid-Friendly Food: Sure, you may be offering gourmet cuisine at your wedding, but for kids, chicken fingers and grilled cheese is their dinner of choice. Be sure to have kid-friendly meal options for your smallest guests and be sure to ask parents of any allergies.
7. Offer Babysitting: It’s not necessary, but having babysitting at your reception site is a very kind gesture for your guests with children. If your reception will run until late in the night, ask your littlest guests to bring sleeping bags and create a fun slumber party environment.
8. Don’t Sweat It: No matter how much you prepare, children will misbehave and act out. If a child behaves poorly at an inopportune moment, just laugh it off. After all, the unexpected moments are often the most endearing of the day.