Each and every wedding is as unique as the couple celebrating their love. And each and every wedding guest list is different depending on who the couple chooses to have join them in that celebration. Any decisions regarding the guest list are yours to make. It should be a reflection of you and meet your personal wishes. After all, it is your wedding!
To include children or not is a topic of conversation that frequently comes up in discussion. But before we go into a few things to consider, we want to make one important point. The decision of whether or not to invite kids is solely up to the couple – without intervention from parents of the children.
Once your minds are made up, let people know quickly to avoid awkward questions from parents who need to make plans. Make a call to your friends and family who have children and explain that your wedding is or isn't child-friendly.
If you do decide to have children attend the wedding, the following suggestions might aid you in the planning process.
1. Who’s invited?
You’ve decided some children will take part, but you want to keep it limited. Where do you draw the line? Opinions vary, so it's best to choose a clear rule and stick to it. Some suggest only allowing kids in your immediate family, since most children who have wedding duties are close relatives, such as a niece or nephew. Generally, sibling's children take priority over, say, a friend's, but if this rule of thumb still leaves you in a fix, consider traditional etiquette. This limits your choices for flower girls and ring bearers to younger children.
2. What are their duties?
Looking for a few jobs to have the kids be a part of the day, and keep them occupied? At the ceremony, children can act as ushers, hand out mass books or distribute rose petals. At the reception, kids can manage a guest book or pass out favours in a basket or on a tray.
3. Where do they sit?
Then comes the table plan. Where do the children sit? Depending on their ages, we recommend seating older kids at a separate table. This will allow them to entertain each other and keep the interruptions to a minimum. Because they tend to require more attention, younger kids are best seated with their parents. Don’t forget to ensure high chairs are available at the venue.
4. What do they eat?
When it comes to food, children's meals make kids happier and are often less expensive. For older children, half portions or child friendly foods like juice, pasta, chicken, and ice cream tend to work best. Ask parents about this ahead of time and be sure to let your coordinator know of any special requests.
5. When do they eat?
In terms of the timing of kid’s meals, often younger children are caught up in the excitement of the whole day and can easily become tired. Therefore, consider feeding the children on arrival to the reception, well ahead of the adult meals. This ensures quieter time at the table later on!
If there are lots of children attending, another suggestion is to book an additional room solely for the kids, with childcare provided either by the couple or the venue. If little guests are going to be in their own supervised room, we suggest filling it with easy-to-coordinate activities such as board games, kid-appropriate movies, and simple art projects.
Whether you invite children to your wedding or not is entirely up to you. But, as stated above, just be aware that there are a few additional items to consider if there are going to be small ones attending. Either way though, your day is going to be beautiful as you’ll be getting married, and that’s the important thing!