Brides Up North

Are You Kidding? Children At Your Wedding

November 7th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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She’s never one to shy away from the tough topics is our resident guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides, is she?  Now that my Mum is just about speaking to me after our last advice post handling the tough topic of pushy parents, Rach is back to debate that age old issue of whether or not to include children at your wedding. We would love to hear your thoughts too – leave a comment at the end of the post to contribute your own two cents. 

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Image credit: www.sodahead.com

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Rachel says: The debate of whether to invite children to a wedding is one that rattles on, for there is no wrong or right answer – it’s a case of personal preferences and individual circumstances. The decision is ultimately down to the bride and groom who will need to approach the sensitive subject with care.

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While some couples’ worst nightmare would be a child crying throughout the ceremony and running riot at the reception, others could not imagine their big day without the little people in their lives there to celebrate it with them.

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Who to invite

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Initially couples should decide if they’re inviting children to the wedding or not.

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The venue or style of the wedding may make this decision very straight forward for some couples. For example brides and grooms may select a venue that doesn’t allow children full stop. Alternatively, they might have planned an evening celebration followed by a cocktail party in an exclusive bar/restaurant that would not be suitable for children.

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If your chosen venue is child friendly the first thing to look at is numbers. First draw up your adult guest list and then see how much it would increase if you were to invite children. While for small families this might just add a handful of extra guests others can rack up more than 30 additional invites. The question now is can your venue cater for this amount of guests and does your budget stretch far enough to cover the costs?

If not more consideration is needed. Can you slim down the guest list by using an age cut off, such as over 12s only? Alternatively you could invite children from the immediate family only, or just those who you are closet to. For example you might have a close relationship with your best friend’s children but may have never even met your cousin’s offspring. Though it can be difficult to explain to perplexed parents you can just invite the children who you consider to be your nearest and dearest. You may also choose to just invite the children who you have selected to be part of the wedding party i.e. flower girls, bridesmaids, ring bearers.

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Another consideration is babies. Parents of newborns in particular may not be able to leave their baby with a sitter due to feeding constraints as well as separation anxiety. Therefore you may need to make allowances in these situations.

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Bride-and-groom-kids

Image credit: www.beautyandthegroom.com

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How to address invitations

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Once you have made your decision the most challenging part is to come – how to address the invitations.

Unfortunately it’s not unusual for guests to assume children are invited or to challenge your decision when they discover their child has been excluded.

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If you aren’t inviting any children it may be worth pointing this out on the invite with a line stating it is an ‘adult only ceremony/reception’.

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Meanwhile if you are inviting select children you should list their name on the invitation to make this clear or include a separate ‘child invite’ within. When inviting full families you can address the invitation to the parent(s) and family.

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If you do come up against a guest who either assumes their child is invited or wants to know why their child has been left out you can explain that you have done so because you need to limit the guest list for practical not personal reasons.

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Image credit: www.a-to-z-of-manners-and-etiquette.com

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How to cater for children

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If you do choose to invite children you might want to think about how to keep them entertained during the day so parents and little ones alike can enjoy the celebrations.

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During the meal be sure to seat parents with their children and serve the young ones their meals first to keep them happy. You may be able to save money and heartache by choosing a kids menu for the younger children of pizza or hotdogs so they eat the food rather than pushing it around the plate. Older children may prefer to be treated like an adult and would therefore prefer a smaller portion of the adult meal.

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For entertainment you could have a kids’ room with toys, games and crafts overseen by a hired babysitter so parents can let their hair down and enjoy the party knowing that their children are in a safe and fun environment. Alternatively you could give the children goody bags with a present, puzzles and colouring pencils or hire a children’s entertainer. For outdoor ceremonies garden games and activities can be great fun for both adults and children, whether you choose to hire a giant Jenga set or go all out with bouncy castle.

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In the evening discos and/or live bands will keep guests of all ages entertained. You could even request a few songs that you know will appeal to your younger guests – after all what’s a wedding without a child sliding across the dance floor on their knees?!

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What do you think Brides Up North?

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  – Images © 2012 as credited

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comments

  • Rebecca
    November 7, 2012 | Permalink | Reply

    Having a son of our own made the decision to have children at the wedding an easy one. Our little man was a massive part of our big day! We made the decision that immediate family (nieces and nephews) would be included but made a very firm stance that no other children would be able to attend the day part of the wedding. Having such a large family meant that if all children were invited our budget would be blown out of the water. It didn’t stop people from being upset and it didn’t prevent tears two weeks before my big day from me because of family members making me feel guilty :(.

    Good family and friends will understand that it’s not always possible to accommodate an extended guest list that includes children… the others? Well, they won’t be coming to my next wedding ;) x

  • Michelle Donkin
    November 7, 2012 | Permalink | Reply

    I asked my friends and they all said they would rather a day to relax and enjoy than worrying about their own… It is a long day for children and they get bored xx

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

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