When it comes to the kiddos at the wedding, there are a lot of ways to fizzle out the awkwardness of the flame before it happens – no matter which side you’re on, be it host of the event or parent.
Do I bring my kids? Should I invite everyone’s kids? What should I dress the little ones in? How do I keep all of the tiny tots busy and happy at the party? There are so many questions regarding kid protocol and we’re covering it all today!
It’s important that you make plans ahead of time and address the issues before any actual problems in this department arise
First things first, is it ever appropriate to not invite the children?
Yes, it is and don’t fret about it. Sometimes people’s budgets cannot handle all of the kids that go along with each and every friend and family member. Other times the venues won’t allow it or it’s just not an appropriate kind of space for the little ones to roam freely. A discreet and simple way to address the issue is to add “adult-only reception to follow,” or something similar, on wedding invitations.
Other ways to make it clear who is and who is not invited to the wedding is to be extremely specific with the invitations. List out the names of all invited inside the RSVP card. If children of the invited are over the age of 18, he/she should receive a separate invitation.
But, if you’re holding a daytime event or a more casual celebration, you’ll have a harder time not allowing kids to have a spot at the party. Be weary and as accommodating as you can. You never want to come across as “too good” to celebrate with the little ones. It’s also in bad taste to allow some kids to attend while leaving others out. Don’t play favorites, you’ll end up hurting someone’s feelings this way.
Lastly, you can always pick up the phone after the invites have been sent and chat with those that do have kids. This makes it all more personal and more considerate on your part. If the children aren’t invited, talk to them about why and give them enough heads up to plan for childcare.
Besides having a ring bearer and flower girl, what are some other ways you can incorporate your extra-special kiddos into the big day? Whether it’s your own daughter or your niece, there are plenty of ways to keep them involved and feeling special including:
They can start off the wedding processional with a “Here Comes the Bride sign.”
Couples can involve them in the unity ceremonies and vows.
They can dance alongside the bride and groom in a special “family” dance.
The Bride & Groom can have new jewelry pieces made for them and present them during the ceremony. (Promise rings, medallions, etc).
Older boys can act as ushers and hand out programs or manage the guest book table.
They can perform some readings at the ceremony, sing songs or even toast at the reception to their mom and dad.
If you know that you’ll have a lot of children coming to the wedding, you’ll want to plan ahead in the entertainment department as well and make sure all they’re all happy! From special nooks and crannies at the receptions to bites made just for little mouths, here are some creative ways to involve the kids at the wedding:
Have special “kids-only” drinks and snacks. Serve up strawberry lemonades or mini chocolate milkshakes with a side of chocolate chip cookies or personal pizzas.
Coloring tables in the corners could be a fun way to keep them chilled out and relaxed as well. Stock them with crayons, markers and lots and lots of pages to doodle on.
Create a cupcake bar! All of the children can line up and decorate their own cupcakes before they dive in and indulge in their creation.
Games could be a fun addition as well. Anything from pinatas to ring tosses will do.
And finally, when it comes to dressing the kids for the actual wedding, it’s easy! If they’re a part of the ceremony, the bride and groom should give you some type of direction if not pick out the actual ensemble themselves. It could be a suit for the little guy or a beautiful, white dress for the girl who’s making her way down the aisle sprinkling petals.
But, if your kid is a guest alongside of you, your task may be a bit harder to navigate. Play off of your outfit. More casual attire could include a pretty sundress or slacks and a button-up for your boy. While more formal ensembles will include longer dresses with richer fabrics or tiny suits for the young men.