Children are little, so it’s easy to overlook them

Whether the kids are yours, in your bridal party, or came with your guests, they need some attention in your wedding planning.

First things first. You should carefully consider whether you want children to be part of your wedding celebrations? At the ceremony? At the reception/dinner? Later in the evening? If not, what is your cut off age? Will the no-kids rule apply to close family and friends as well as to the main body of guests? What accommodations can be made for children of guests who are travelling from out-of-town? What will you do if a guest does turn up with their children anyway? Make sure the information is clearly spelled out in your invitations.

If children are welcome, how will you include their needs in your plans? How much time and money are you willing to allocate to keeping them quiet and happy? What accommodations are you willing or able to be made for children of guests who are travelling from out of town, as the evening wears on?

The question of whose responsibility it is to amuse the kids at a wedding is a bit tricky. After all, it IS the parents’ job to keep their young miss or master amused, not yours. In the best of all possible worlds, parents would instinctively choose to leave their rambunctious child at home, rather than put themselves through the drama that can be keeping a small child quiet during a wedding ceremony. But generally, unless specifically asked not to, most parents will bring their children with them. Even though technically, it’s not your problem,  it can pretty quickly become everyone’s problem!So it makes sense to allow for them in your plans.

While any sensible parent will also pack a bag full of distractions for their tiny tot, it’s not often that they’ll do the same for their slightly older child/ren, which is a shame. Bored pre-teens are sometimes worse than bored two  year olds, having had more practice at it. For the sake of everyone’s sanity, it’s a great idea to include them in your plans. Just how much effort you should go to will depend greatly on the size of your junior guest list, and the age range it spans.

If you’re in the middle of a baby boom, and you know that most of your guests will have one or more pre-schoolers with them, it may be worth hiring a nanny, a children’s entertainer, if space permits, a bouncy castle, or even all three.  For older kids, small gestures, such as providing a box of crayons and a colouring book at their table is a nice gesture, and you’d be amazed at how many bigger kids will ‘keep an eye on the littlies for you’ [read: hang out in the kids zone] or go play in the bouncy castle as long as no-one’s watching! Older kids may enjoy being asked to be ‘second camera’ or videographer – with digital technology, it doesn’t matter too much what the results are, and you will probably be pleasantly surprised at what they manage to capture.

Usually, you will know well in advance which guests are bringing their children, so, especially if there will only be a few school aged or pre-teen kids, you will be able to choose a puzzle book, simple game,or other age appropriate amusement, and have it waiting at their table.

It doesn’t take much effort or cash, just a little bit of forward planning. Not only will you win the gratitude of the parents of said children, but you’ll also receive the benefit of having happy children, rather than whiny, bored ones on your wedding day!

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