The question of whether or not to have children at your wedding can be a tricky one. Some couples dream of having an adult only, glamorous, sophisticated candlelit evening of fine dining and dancing; while other envision a family filled day of fun. No matter what your choice (and it is ultimately your choice), our helpful tips will make your decision that little bit easier!
Will you invite children at all?
To have a child-free wedding is a very personal decision and comes down to what the couple wants. There is no right or wrong answer, but there are different ways to broach the subject. If a number of your family and friends have small children and you are fearful that your wedding will end up like a family day at the local kindergarten, an effective approach is to tell families as soon as you can so they can make plans. Not sure how? Check out our blog on how to tell guests that children aren't invited to your wedding here. Try to be considerate of families with special circumstances (for example mothers with newborns who are breastfeeding). If you are worried about how people might react, give them a call, that way you can explain your decision and talk it through. Just remember that this is a personal subject, whether you are the couple or a guest, so proceed with a caution and kindness!
Keep your mini wedding party happy!
Generally speaking, flower girls and ring bearers are between the ages of three and seven. However, the younger they are the less predictable they will be. If possible, pair up the little ones; it will help their confidence and looks even cuter in photos! Prepare the children with some practice walks to the music that will be played on the day so that they know what to expect. There is no guarantee they won’t get stage-fright so have a bridesmaid on hand to step in and walk up the aisle with them. Small children get fidgety when
Having to stand for long periods so have seats ready for them, preferably close to their parents. When it comes to dressing the ring bearer, page boys and flower girls, take the comfort factor into consideration. Flat comfy shoes that fit are a must and if you are making the flower girls’ outfits use fabrics that are not going to itch or be too hot.
Older children who are eager to participate in the wedding ceremony can be bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids and ushers and can be given more responsibilities with the guests such as greeting arrivals, helping them find their seats, assisting in taking care of gifts at the reception, taking candid pictures of the family and bridal party, being in charge of the guest book or serving the wedding cake.
Consider an outdoor wedding
Casual outdoor weddings are more kid-friendly, enabling children to run around and let off steam. Make use of any outdoor space and set up activities to keep the children occupied, for example, hopscotch, skittles, croquet even a treasure hunt. If your reception is indoors, consider setting a children’s craft table. Children under five or mischievous children are better seated next to mum and dad as they can be kept under control and thereby cause less disruption. This also stops them from running between their and their parents’ seats throughout the event. Children over five seated together at their own table should enjoy the social interaction with the other children.
TIP: Weddings can last a long time, and having a refreshment stand that provides drinks and healthy snacks for the younger guests, especially if it is a warm day, is worth considering.
Set up a kids zone
Depending on how many children are attending the wedding, it may be worth considering hiring a nanny to give the parents a break throughout the event. If you have hired a venue, think about hiring an extra room for the nanny to set up a mini crèche with activities to keep the children amused. If your budget does not stretch to a nanny, at least organise an area for parents to take their children so they can change them or give them some time-out from all the excitement. Having a TV or DVD player set up in the room is a good idea and often a way to settle the children and get them to sit still if they are getting a little restless.
Cute little activities are also the perfect distraction for the little ones at your wedding. We love little activity bags filled with little toys and lollies. Discount stores have a plethora of items that are ideal. Incorporate such things as colouring-in books, crayons, sticker books, bubbles and some healthy treats. For older children include such things as puzzles, disposable cameras, playing cards or board games. If you have a photo booth with a dress-up box, that is a bonus - it will keep them occupied, especially the older ones.
Ribbon wands are perfect on sunny windy days for both boys and girls. They love running around with them and seeing them flapping in the wind. The wands can also be given to guests to wave and farewell the couple. To make a ribbon wand, cut a 35cm length of thin dowel and glue a bell to one end using a hot glue gun. Cut 45cm lengths of ribbon and hot glue one end of each ribbon around the dowel just below the bell.
Doin' it for the kids
If you decide to invite children at your wedding, their presence will be an absolute delight! And if the children are close to you, you'll love being able to look back on your wedding with fond memories of them as littles. A little consideration will go a long way with children, and will ensuring that age is no barrier for fun at your wedding.