THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS…
Now that we were getting closer to the wedding date, it was time to start thinking about the guest list. Apparently this was one of the most stressful parts yet for my bride. I remember planning my wedding and having the same anxiety over the one major guest list question that everyone kept asking:
“Are children invited to the wedding?”
Holy moly. There is no scarier prospect than offending a parent by telling them that your wedding is an adults-only event. I agonized and changed my mind back and forth between the two options for over a month before I made my final decision, so I could understand my bride’s stress. She was completely torn, and it was taking its toll on her.
There are a couple of factors to consider when trying to answer that question for your big day. What kind of atmosphere are you looking to achieve for your wedding? Our wedding reception was a huge Irish party, and we didn’t want to have to worry about children mixing with adults, alcohol, and a rock ‘n roll band. It just wasn’t a child-appropriate venue.
From affordableutahweddings.com, this pic shows how one couple made their reception kid-friendly
Another thing to consider is that children tend to get bored very easily. I have 24 nieces and nephews, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s to come prepared at all times with entertainment. The moment a kid’s attention wanders, trouble will soon follow. One really great idea for brides who don’t want their wedding to be adults-only is a kid’s fun table. Load it up with artsy things (no paint or markers, you will never forgive yourself!), popsicle sticks, small craft projects, coloring books, or a bead station where they can make “presents” for the bride and groom. One of my favorite sites for inexpensive children’s crafts is www.orientaltrading.com. You can even have the craft match the theme of your wedding, and these crafts will keep the kids busy and out of trouble for awhile.
Decorative lantern kits...great for both boys and girls from Oriental Trading, and you can set up a special place to hang them when they're done!
The dinner menu is also an important factor in your decision. If your menu includes chef-inspired dishes, chances are that your young guests will be more tempted to turn THAT into a craft instead of eating. To avoid this, adding a children’s menu of chicken fingers, mac ‘n cheese, or other child favorites will encourage them to put the food in their bellies and not waste it. If your budget allows for a separate kid’s menu and dinner table, then this might be the option for you.
All in all, it is the bride and groom’s decision. It’s their special day, and even though it’s a tough call, it’s not made to inconvenience or offend anyone. I have attended weddings with children, and those without and all were enjoyable. It’s a good idea to let your guests know well in advance if they need to find a babysitter, and the guests should be respectful of the new couple’s wishes.
My bride had some tension and craziness when a few important members of the guest list were very vocal about their dislike of the couple’s decision to not include children. These guests even went so far as to declare that they would not be attending the wedding because they didn’t want to have to get a babysitter for a few hours in the evening, and this broke my bride’s heart. Although it may be more inconvenient for parents to find a sitter, please consider the feelings of the bride and groom before reacting. Save some poor woman from being the Mad MOH that now has to calm her highly emotional bride down over the guest list, and think of it this way…
You will get to enjoy some adult time, too.