When someone decides to have kids at their wedding. The best thing they can do is implement that decision into the overall planning as soon as possible. Allowing children might not come with the social fallout as deciding not to invite kids, but there’s plenty of winding turns and preparations to consider. This can be especially tricky for couples who don’t have kids of their own, and it’s not unreasonable for them to leave tiny details out that makes weddings a much friendlier and palatable experience for both the children and their caretakers.
- Always Check Vendors for Kid-Friendly Options
Whether it’s a space for the kids to play in at a venue, (or their own reception area) or kid-friendly meals, the easiest way to make things go smoothly for your child guests is to consider options for them with each vendor.
- Leave The Guest List Open to Assistant Caretakers
It may be wise to plan your guest list with the option to include nannies and other types of caretakers. In your invites, include a caretaker option for your guests with children. Every child is different, with different needs so it’s not unwarranted or unfair to pick and choose who has the option and who doesn’t.
- Address Seating Arrangements
One of the questions people often have about having a kid-friendly wedding is where to seat them. Should they have their own special table(s)? Or should they be sat with their parents and caretakers? Franky, this is a tricky one. So the best choice is to try and leave your options open. Some kids are going to need to be right near people they’ll feel close and safe to –either for physical and/or emotional reasons, and others will feel more at home being surrounded by people in their age group. So here options translates to having some tables be “seating flexible” where you can mix on a need to and moment’s notice –where you can have a child who’s scared be seated next to their parent/caretaker and vice-versa, have caretakers seated at the kids table as needed.
- Little Things Help Them Remember Weddings Fondly
The cute bridal/groom dance with the flower girl/ring bearer might be considered cliché by 21st century standards (thanks, Hollywood), but little things like that go a long way to making kids feel comfortable and more relaxed at weddings. It’s easy for all of us to forget they are in a state of high sensory input, high learning and how overwhelming an event like a wedding can be. Take whatever social anxiety you may feel and turn the volume up to eleven; add in that all of your authority figures are performing strange rituals like chasing after flowers and shoving cake into each other’s faces and it’s not difficult to figure out why some kids tend to act out (the adults are acting weird, why not us?) The formative years are named such because they’re the trial-and-error period of socialization that tends to influence how they perceive people and events for (possibly) the rest of their lives. Know someone that’s not thrilled at the thought of attending a wedding? Their first experience might have been a loud, confusing event where adults acted out and they got scolded for thinking they could act differently, too.
- Stand By Your Decision
Last week, we talked about how important it was to be diplomatic with those that don’t agree with your wedding choices, but also being firm and standing behind your decision. While people are more likely to hum and haw at hearing that their children will not be invited to a wedding, contrary to popular belief it’s not all unity in the ranks for the opposite decision, either. You may get those lovely, I told you so passive-aggressive looks from people who didn’t agree with you if a child misbehaves. Ignore them, and politely let them know they’re out of line should they press the issue. The maniacal “Bridezilla” (or even Groomzilla) may be something people are wary of being, but there really are some things in which it’s my wedding, deal with it becomes appropriate. Likewise, should events like this happen at your wedding, laugh it off and take in stride. You wedding is far from ruined. If anything, it’s arguably more entertaining and memorable.
Lastly we want to stress there’s no foolproof plan for children and weddings –there’s no foolproof anything, really, when it comes to people –only measures, preparation and planning. Don’t fear, anticipate the unexpected, the wild and the crazy, and if this list doesn’t seem doable for you, there’s nothing wrong with deciding on a no-kids wedding as well. Being honest with yourself and what stressors you can abide by goes a long way to making your ideal wedding a practical reality.