Wedding Guide: Wee ones welcome

While some couples opt not to have children at their wedding, others do. They take great delight in young children and can’t fathom having a celebration without them. If you share in this feeling and would like to have children at your wedding, make sure you plan for them accordingly.

If at all possible, hold your wedding in the morning or afternoon. The later your wedding is, the more likely your young guests will become tired and act out of sorts. Those accustomed to going to bed around 8 p.m. may even fall asleep during the celebration, forcing parents to leave early.

Look for a venue that is child friendly. Don’t select a hotel with a lot of fine antiques. Young guests will be too tempted to touch all of the wonderful things surrounding them. Select a hotel with modern decor and make sure there are rooms nearby where young guests can nap if needed. Ask your ushers to seat all parents with young kids near the back of the room during the ceremony so they can leave quickly if needed.

Provide ample entertainment. Even the best-behaved children act up when they get tired and bored. To prevent this at your reception, hand out crayons and coloring books to little ones at tables and set up an area where children can play after dinner. If most of your young guests can handle sitting by themselves, you could set up a separate table for them where they could sit, draw and color together. Just make sure you have an adult on hand to supervise the action.

If you have the budget, consider bringing in a clown, magician or some other form of entertainment for your young guests. If you are having your reception outdoors, rent a bouncy castle and find a volunteer to supervise the operation. You might even arrange for a group of volunteers to serve as babysitters and whisk the kids off to another room for hours of fun while their parents enjoy the reception.

Finally, make sure you have plenty of food and drink on hand. Provide snacks and beverages for young guests before dinner to alleviate any hunger pains they might be having. Then serve them a meal they will eat. Children do like to eat, but that doesn’t mean they will like what you are serving at your reception. For the best results, consult with your caterer and create a child-friendly menu for younger guests. Serve chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese in lieu of lemon chicken and rice. Your younger guests will appreciate it, and so will their parents.

These are just some of the accommodations you can make for your young guests to ensure everyone has a good time. Keep in mind you may need to take fewer or additional measures depending upon the number of young guests at your wedding. If you are planning on five or six youngsters, then you may be able to have an evening wedding at an elite hotel. If you are planning on 10 to 20 youngsters, then you may need to set your wedding for an earlier time and bring in some entertainment. If your budget allows, you could always hire a professional on-site babysitting service and leave the supervising and entertaining to them!

by Tresa Erickson, MultiAd