Making Arrangements for Children at a Wedding Reception

10 of 11 in Series: The Essentials of Planning a Wedding Reception

While a wedding can certainly be considered a wholesome family occasion, you may not want your wedding ceremony interrupted by screaming children or your reception disrupted by kids running around the room. Deciding whether to invite children is one of the more emotional issues you might face in your premarital process. People can get pretty fierce when it comes to their kids, so give both your decision and how you’ll approach it a lot of thought.

Don’t count on guests being versed in the nuances of invitation addressing — they aren’t going to realize their children aren’t invited if the kids’ names aren’t on the envelope. If you’ve made a no-children rule, be firm but gracious about it. The easiest way to start an all-out family war is to make an exception for some kids and not others.

Specifying an age cut-off is also problematic. Any junior members of the wedding party would undoubtedly be disappointed if they weren’t invited to the reception. And depending on your families, you might be pressured to invite more kids their age to keep them company. With smaller children who have early bedtimes, it may be best to have a quiet area with a sitter ready for naps, occupying otherwise cranky children and allowing their parents to stay as long as they like.

Completely banning children from the reception might not be the way to go. Many people won’t travel without their children, and may refuse your invitation based on that. One way to please everyone one is to include children at surrounding events and hire a baby-sitter during the wedding itself. It’s up to you to pick up the tab for this sitter.

If you decide to include children in your wedding and reception, seating them with their parents usually works best (except in the case of teenagers, who usually prefer to sit together). If the children are a bit older and capable of looking after themselves to a degree, you might consider seating them at a table together within the view of their moms and dads. It’s best to ask the parents beforehand in case the child would prefer to stay with them.

Children of the bridal party can be seated with other family members or close friends. In some cases, the bridal attendants would rather sit with their children than with the rest of the bridal party.

If you’ll have a large group of children and you have the means, consider setting up a special children’s buffet or another room available with a variety of activities for kids.

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The Essentials of Planning a Wedding Reception

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