So you're planning a wedding, and--gosh--if there aren't a lot of things to decide. For one thing, you've got to find a partner, but hopefully that's out of the way. Then there's the cake, the decorations, and what people will throw at you when you leave. At some point--we think--you should think about the children. You know, kids, those little boys and girls that look super cute in bowties and dresses but can also be rather--um, dicey--to have in formal situations. Here at the Savoy, we think it's totally up to you whether or not you invite children to your wedding (it's YOUR wedding!), but we offer these things to consider when you're thinking about kids and your big day.
1. Be Clear from the Beginning
As with anything, communication is key. When sending out your invitations, don't be vague about who's invited and who's not. If you want children there, invite "The Jones Family," but if you don't, it's okay to say, "This event is for adults only." There's really no right or wrong here--couples and wedding planners make convincing arguments to both invite and exclude children, so it's your choice. If your wedding is more formal, but your reception is relaxed, feel free to say so, "Children are welcome at the reception." And if they are welcome, you might even state, "Activities for children will be planned."
[Above photo from Little Print Store on Etsy.com]
2. Think about Your Venues
Some places are more kid-friendly than others. For example, a venue with a lot of fancy chandeliers and breakables may not be the ideal environment to bring young ones. So think like a bored toddler, since weddings are usually boring to children. Ask yourself--Will this party favor fit in my mouth? Can I throw this bag of rice across the room? Will this cake smear easily on my dress?
3. Plan Appropriately
When having children (or teenagers) at your wedding, involve them as much as possible. Many children want to participate, and there are plenty of jobs you can give them. Giving a reading at the ceremony or passing out sparklers at the reception, for example. If you or your future spouse have children, consider including them in the marriage, like the candle-lighting ceremony. Have the officiant mention their names.
For the reception, many brides and grooms designated a children's table, complete with coloring books or games for them to play. Think how a sturdy piñata could keep them entertained! For kids who are too young to sit on their own, remember that high chairs go a long way to make parents feel like their children are welcome, as do kid-friendly foods. Some weddings even provide a babysitter or at least connect families with children so they can all pitch in on one.
[Above photo from Buzzfeed.com]
4. Strategies for Success
Consider having your ushers seat families with children near the aisles or doors to the wedding venue. This allows them to easily "snatch and grab" their little ones if they get upset or need to leave quickly.
If there are children IN the ceremony, be sure to have a Plan B if they freeze up, maybe an adult who can walk or carry them down the aisle.
For parents, it never hurts to have a "dry run" or two. Let your kids try on their wedding-day outfits and see how comfortable they're going to be. Take along coloring or activity books for them. It really is asking a lot for a child to "act proper" for several hours in a new environment, so come prepared.
5. Final Thoughts
In today's Pinterest-perfect world, it's understandable to want a wedding day that looks and goes "just so." This is why kids are often excluded from weddings and receptions. You never know what you're going to get! Again, this is okay. Still, your big day is a celebration of your life, and kids sure know how to celebrate. Often, they're the first ones on the dance floor and are a great example to have around--they don't care what people think! Whatever you decide, just plan ahead and know that--kids or not--something WILL "go wrong." But that's all right--this is life--not Pinterest!
As always, if we can be of any help at the Savoy, please reach out!