Whether or not you should invite children to your wedding will almost certainly be the cause for great debate, and unfortunately there is no right or wrong answer.
Some friends will be delighted to have the excuse to leave their little darlings behind and enjoy a day without them, meanwhile relatives may feel that their children are such an important part of the family that they should be included in all family events, including your wedding.
There is no doubt that children can take the focus away from the bride – so many of us missed “The Kiss” at William and Kate’s royal wedding as we were so transfixed by the grumpy looking bridesmaid on the balcony with them.
Although many venues will offer a children’s menu and even a separate area for a creche there is still a considerable cost implication in catering for and entertaining your little guests.
On the other hand it is not easy to arrange child care for an entire day and evening and some guests will find it difficult to attend without their children.
If you have children from a previous marriage who will (obviously) be attending or if you have young bridesmaids or pageboys you may decide to invite additional children to keep them company. This in itself creates even more of a dilemma and the rule is often “invite one, invite all”.
Venues are very sympathetic to the plight of brides who feel obliged to invite young children but don’t want them to be running around during the meal, chatting through the speeches or getting over-tired in the evening.
They are usually very happy to supply a room close to the main festivities which can be set up as a creche. Depending on the age of the children the creche staff will be quipped with anything from soft toys, books and beanbags to computer consoles and DVDs.
Although it is tempting to use a local babysitter to run your creche they will not have the equipment needed nor the skills to coax an over-tired child away from the excitement of the reception into a quieter environment for a much needed break.
All creche staff should be CRB checked and the creche company should be fully insured.
If you aren’t having a creche facility there a couple of easy things you can do to keep children happy and occupied at your wedding.
1. Give them a job. Put a child in a bridesmaids dress and she will generally become an angel. Although there are only a certain number of bridesmaids you will want, get a few extra flower cosages for your younger guests and give them a little job such as handing out the Order of Service.
2. Keep them occupied. Wrap a little gift in tissue paper- a book or wedding colouring book and a few colouring pencils will keep them busy for a while. Consider a few quiet sweets such as a tube of polos.
3. Keep them fed. Most venues will arrange a children’s menu. It will be cheaper and they will enjoy the food. Remember children are generally used to regular meal times and can be fractious at times that adults are happy with canapes and champagne. There is no reason that they must eat at the same time as the rest of the wedding party.
4. Create a chill out zone. This is hard in a marquee, but most venues will have somewhere where guests can go to sit away from the noise of an evening reception. Have an hour snuggled up with their teddy in front of a cartoon will have most children ready for a few more hours of dancing!
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