Babies and Children and Preteens, OH MY! – Managing Kids at Your Wedding

by Sarah Macdougall on June 26, 2013

how to manage kids at your wedding (or how to politely keep them out!)

I’ve known a lot of minors in my day (especially when I was between the ages of newborn and 18). Some of them were great. Some were obnoxious. And, you know, kids cry. And scream. That’s partially what they do. That’s why they were put on this earth, because there are times when it’s just not loud enough already. If it were me, and I was in possession of (read: parenting) a child who was screaming loudly in a public place for what would presumably be a small thing in life, I’d be embarrassed, which is why I refuse to stoop to a level of shouting “WILL YOU SHUT THAT KID UP” at someone whose life story I’m not privy to. All babies do this, and it’s OK. Some adults do this too. For the record, that’s not as OK, circumstances depending.

That said, there are some occasions where you may prefer not to have minors present, or at least not running around everywhere tripping the wedding party. What are some approaches you can take to make it a seamless celebration for everyone?

1. Invitation/Reception Wording

If you prefer the entire event to be adults only, it’s OK to make a note of this somewhere on the invitation. “Cocktails will be served at an adults-only reception following the ceremony”. If you feel like your guests will need more of an explanation, you may consider saying something akin to “While children are a blessing in many lives, our venue will unfortunately not be able to accomodate guests under the age of 18”. This should stop your second cousin thrice removed from bringing her godson. If it doesn’t, you’re in luck, because you’re gaining a whole new family.

2. Childcare Service

If you know an exorbitant amount of people who have small children, and you plan on these children being at the event, and you have room in your budget, you might consider taking advantage of a local event sitting service. Someone will come to your event and keep the children occupied so they don’t run all over the place and/or start to cause trouble from boredom. While it’s exciting to you, and many of the adults there, not many seven year olds will be able to sit still while watching you First Dance or your Second Dance or your Second Second Dance.

3. Kids Table

While some kids might not want to be separated from their parents (or vice versa), you  might consider having a kids table at the reception where they can eat together and then color or play games. Perhaps I’m forgetting what it was like to be young, but as a kid, I preferred hanging out with other kids.

4. Activity Book

I’ve seen a few brides create an activity book for kids to engage in during the ceremony. These include things like matrimonial word puzzles, pictures to color, and certain things to look for (“I spy, with my little eye, some white and poufy”).

How are you handling children at your wedding?

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