Children at the wedding?
There are two camps on this issue – brides who shudder at the thought of having kids at their wedding and brides who would have it no other way. Brides of the latter persuasion feel close to the kids who are in their lives and want them to share in their joy on the day. Plus, of course, the “cute factor” in photos cannot be denied!
Generally, the issue of inviting children or not, is a personal preference. This decision is sometimes also based on the composition of your family; for example, if your family has many babies and small children, it may not be possible for their parents to attend without them, particularly if most of the people who usually babysit them (e.g. grandparents, aunts etc. ) are also invited to the wedding!
The reality is that there are some guests who will be quite offended once they see that an invitation has been addressed to “Mr.& Mrs.” or states “Adult Reception.” However, what must be understood is that it’s really the hosts’ prerogative to invite whom they choose.
The onus is therefore on the guest to arrange baby-sitting and not to burden the hosts with this responsibility. If you cannot arrange baby-sitting, you may have no other choice but to decline the invitation and state your situation.
Remember that by bringing along unexpected children or other guests (friends and visiting relatives) you will not only embarrass yourself but moreover, put the hosts into both seating and catering predicaments.
Whether you have decided to invite children or not, here are some tips for avoiding family tension:
- Make no exceptions- This means if you’ve decided to only invite nieces, nephews and God-children, stick to that rule and avoid making exceptions for certain friends’ children. This will only cause resentment from other guests who have left their children at home and yet attend the wedding, only to see other invited kids.
The same goes for if you have decided that the only children who will be at your wedding will be from the bridal party- for example page boys or flower girls. Should you change the “rules” for select family/friends to bring along their children, other parents are bound to be miffed.
- Age limit – Another option for avoiding conflict is to simply to invite guests that are above a certain age, e.g. twelve years old and above.
- Have a kid-friendly zone at your reception- If your budget will allow, many couples are now doing activity areas for kids at the wedding where they can watch movies, colour, play and do crafts. This works best if it can be done in a separate room, where they will have appropriate supervision. Couples with smaller budgets can also do goody bags for children attending the wedding and can include items such as: small toys, puzzles and colouring pages, in order to keep them quiet and occupied.
- A technique for avoiding meltdowns – Kids in the bridal party, (especially those under 3 years old) are usually prone to meltdowns as a result of: crankiness, fear, hunger or boredom. One way to reduce this is to ensure they are well-fed and rested before the wedding.
It is also important to pace them well and not have them feel rushed prior to the ceremony. Rehearsals, practice sessions and reading books to them about their role, are also critical for this age group, so that they get accustomed in advance, about what they have to do on the “big day.”