HOST: Debbie Quain
Whether you're personally for the idea or not, many of your clients will invite children to their wedding. During this episode we discuss how to keep the cutest wedding guests entertained so that everyone enjoys the Big Day.
Did you know that about a third of all U.S. weddings are adult-only…no kids allowed!
If your clients can't decide, or if he wants to invite children but she doesn't, you could suggest that they:
- Allow only children in their bridal family and/or the kids of close family members to attend
- Set (and stick to!) a strict age limit for wedding guests; for example, 10 years and older
- Invite kids to attend the wedding ceremony and cocktail hour, only.
How to Let Wedding Guests know Kids are NOT Invited
- Only include the full names of invited guests on the wedding invitations
- Get close family and friends to spread the word
- Say so on the save-the-date and on the couples wedding website
Keep in mind that traditionally (i.e.the wedding etiquette police say), the wedding invitation is not the place to announce that children are not welcome — although I've seen the term ‘adult-only reception' used on a couple of wedding invitations that I've received.
A few Tried-and-True Tips for Managing Children at Weddings
- For the cutest bridal party members — the flower girl(s) and the ring bearer — have them practice, practice, practice. Make sure they're a part of the wedding rehearsal. But before then, encourage their parents to coach them at home.
- Position parents of the flower girl and/or ring bearer upfront, close to the altar so they can coax a reluctant Johnny or Julia to head on down the aisle as planned.
- If you can, arrange to have the photographer take photos of the youngest bridal party members taken before the ceremony, if possible.
- For the wedding ceremony, direct families with young children to sit toward the rear of the wedding ceremony and close to the aisle so they can make a quick exit, if necessary, with the least amount of interruption.
- It's probably best to attach fake wedding rings on the ring bearer pillow.
- Don't expect young children in the bridal party to stand throughout the entire wedding ceremony. Be sure to reserve seating for them at the front, ideally with their parents.
- Help your clients plan a kid-friendly menu with the caterer. Simple food like chicken nuggets, mac ‘n cheese, is best and costs less
- At the wedding reception, seat kids together and maybe hire a local sitter to oversee the table. You can hire the sitter and promote (and charge for) this as an additional service of your wedding planning company or have your clients contract with a sitter directly.
Wedding Activity Packs and Treat Bags for Children at Weddings
Picture books, sugar-free lollipops, finger puppets, crayons (I wouldn't suggest handing out crayons during the wedding ceremony, though. Without a surface like a table, kids can't really draw comfortably.) are good items to get started with and can likely be found at your local dollar store or online.
Here's a 12 pack of Individually Packaged Children's Wedding Activity Sets that you can use as an ‘ingredient' for creating your own activity pack.
You can also purchase complete kid packages already filled from a company like Oriental Trading Company.
**CHOKING HAZARD: Please make sure that any items that are part of a kid's package are not too small, especially if you're handing them out to children under the age of 3 years old!**
Bring in the Pros!
Research off-premise sitters in your area and add them to your list of preferred wedding vendors. Remember that out-of-town wedding guests who are traveling with children may also need the services of local sitters. So, make sure you share your sitter resources with them, too.
Another wonderful way to ensure that ALL wedding guests have a great time is to suggest a company like Elegant Event Sitters to create a wedding reception just for the kids so that their parents (and all the other adults for that matter) can ‘party in peace'. In this instance, your clients would pick up the tab as they would for valet parking, for example.
Whatever your clients decide to do when it comes to having, or not having, children attend their wedding, be ready with resources and encourage them to stick with their decision. Because, after all, it's all about them, right?
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Wedding Business Guide – Interested in starting your own part-time wedding planning business? Check out the Wedding Business Guide to learn more.
Get a Free Audio Book! – Don't have time to read your favorite book? Hop on over to Audible for your free 30-day trial and a free book of your choice. Learn more about Audible and get started, here.
Elegant Event Sitters – This incredibly fun company (with an amazing-looking website), provides a variety of services to entertain children at your client's wedding. Get the inside scoop about Elegant Event Sitters, here.
More about Children at Weddings
- Here's a great article from the New York Times about children at weddings.
- Kid Friendly Weddings offers a variety activity packs for your youngest wedding guests.
- TLC provides 10 Tips to Creating a Kid-Friendly Wedding