PLUS 9 GREAT WAYS to keep the kids happy!
Aaaw, look at these little angels. Butter wouldn't melt in their mouth, right?
WRONG!!! (you're new here, right?)
Brace yourself - this is how children REALLY look at weddings..
Okay, so maybe not ALL the time.
There are times when the couple gets it right and the kids (and therefore the adults) have a ball and are an awesome source of fun and laughter at weddings.
Just imagine a little page boy busting some moves on the dance floor or a sweet flower girl raiding the dessert table before she should; super cute!
It's the sitting still quietly for (what seems for them) a lifetime, during the ceremony or waiting to have photos taken, that doesn't end well.
We have seen the good and the bad and want to make sure that you are armed with the best tips and tricks to get the kiddies onside for your big day.
First up, making the decision to include children in your wedding (or not) as early as possible, is by far the wisest path to take.
This immediately circumvents parents getting in touch individually to ask if their little cherub will be in the bridal party or invited to the ceremony and/or reception as a guest. Which in turn means that you will not be put on the spot or feel pressured to make an important decision without weighing up your options, or checking your fiancé's expectations, first.
For example, if you're planning an evening wedding, or it's very formal (or very informal/adult in nature) it may not be appropriate to invite kids in the first place.
A good guideline is for children aged 3-7 years old to be assigned the role of flower girl or page boy and then from 8-18 years old they are referred to as junior bridesmaids or groomsmen.
Be VERY clear on the invitations as to who's invited and who's not and draw a clear line.
Some couples decide to extend the invitation to children for their immediate family only and others keep it to the flower girls or page boys in the ceremony only, with children not invited to the reception.
It's always best to make a reasonable and understandable distinction and to be consistant.
Call all of your guests with children to inform them of your decision.
Before the invitations are sent out, make a call to your friends and family who have children to explain that your wedding is (or isn't) child-friendly. If you're arranging childcare services, letting the parents know ahead of time will save a lot of time and energy and reduce the chance of misunderstandings later.
So you've decided to invite the kiddies?
Best to be armed with a few ideas on how to entertain them, so you can have fun too..
Here are 9 great ways to keep the kids happy!
1. If you are including children in your bridal party and expect them to be in the processional (that's the walking down the aisle part) help them practise or better still arrange an onsite rehearsal.
If there are several flower girls or page boys, pair them up (littlies find confidence in numbers), ensure that their shoes and outfit are comfortable and be sure to arrange seats (or a picnic rug for an outdoor ceremony) so they are not required to stand for the duration.
2. Confetti is (in most cases) an environmental no-no, but rose petals, noise makers, wands, bubbles and kazoos are SO MUCH FUN!
3. Think about age-appropriate seating. Whether it be on their parent's laps or with their own kid-sized chairs. Make them (and their parents) feel like you've thought of them and their comfort.
4. Personalised kids packs. Things like mini-colouring in books, crayons, sugar-free lollies, bubbles and stickers in a little bag or box WITH THEIR NAME ON IT like these from Blueberry Boo Kids are worth their weight in gold.
5. Cater for the kids with age-appropriate meals. A fed child is a happy child. 'Nuff said.
6. Dedicate a kids table or kids room (crèche). If you are having a lot of young children at your wedding, you might want to consider hiring crèche facilities run by qualified nannies who can supervise the children throughout the day or during specific parts of the day. They can set up an activity center in a separate room and keep the children entertained, safe and content.
7. Games. Board games, video games or quizzes - again the age-appropriateness is key.
8. Facepainting. An experienced face painter with a spare hour and a case full of paint can do magical things.
9. Quiet room. Allocate a room for parents to take their children if they need a bit of time away from all the excitement or if they need changing. A TV and DVD player in a ‘quiet room’ is perfect - throwing on a G-rated Disney cartoon on is a sure fire way to get children of all ages to calm down and sit still for a few minutes at least.
How did you make the decision about inviting children to your wedding and how are you going to keep them entertained? Let us know in the comments.