It’s an age-old debate, and one that we see couples grapple with year after year – ‘should we invite children to our wedding?’
We have all seen the hilarious wedding video compilations of flower girls running down the aisle in full panic mode and page boys sneaking handfuls from the back of four tier wedding cakes. One adorable wedding child related disaster after another and we can’t help but smile and laugh at the cuteness. That is, until we go to plan our own weddings, and then it quickly becomes a different story, and we look at those videos with wide eyed fear and a sudden realisation that it could happen at your wedding!
The stakes are higher. This time the wedding, and everything in it, has been dreamt up and paid for by you. You start to look at the numbers and realise just how many of your wedding guests have children. Sometimes this moment doesn’t even come about until you create the table plan – wedding guests that didn’t have children when you sent out your RSVPs have now become parents and the number of under 13s seems to have quadrupled over night!
Deciding whether or not to invite children to your wedding is a tricky one – made even more complicated by well-wishing wedding guests and family members. It is a topic that can be quite sensitive and a decision that feels as though it will cause stress no matter which option you choose.
Before you decide to give up and elope though, we have come up with a few things that might help make the decision-making process a little easier…
Your Little Guests Will Thank You for Inviting Them
For children, weddings really can be a lot of fun and usually end up becoming key childhood memories. We spent some time interviewing our couples this year and found that they all had fond memories of the weddings that they attended as children. For most, a family member’s wedding was the only memory they had of being in the same room as every single member of their family. Some even went on to comment that their only lasting memories of loved ones who had passed, were of funny moments during a wedding, such as dancing or enjoying cake together.
Weddings form really lovely opportunities for children to develop socially. They give children the chance to catch up with cousins and friends and even push them to make new ones. Whether it’s creating routines on the dance floor or hiding under the gift table scoffing cake – there is no doubt that weddings are brilliant places for children to forge new friendships and memories.
Your Grownup Guests Will Thank You for Inviting Them
As a parent myself, I adore bringing my three daughters to weddings. Absorbing their excitement as they get dressed up in their smartest clothes, seeing their faces light up as they watch a loved one walk down the aisle, finally getting them to stand together for a family photo that I will undoubtedly frame and treasure (and then embarrass them with on their 18th birthdays).
Sharing such a happy and loving day with children is a gift, they experience and learn so much at weddings and it is lovely to be stood right alongside them when they do – guiding them through the day and helping them to enjoy and make sense of it.
You will thank them for being there
Children at weddings, particularly flower girls, traditionally held a symbolic significance – they symbolised the bride moving forward, growing and becoming a wife and mother. Today though they seem to add a sense of joy and wonder to the wedding. Children have an innate ability to warm the hearts of even the most grumpy wedding guests and with their hearts warmed and smiles planted firmly on their faces, children help to get the wedding guests ready to enjoy the ceremony an emotionally deeper level.
As well as all the adorable emotional stuff, children also provide a great icebreaker. It can be tricky to enjoy a wedding when you don’t know anybody, particularly if you aren’t a people person children are great at providing something to laugh at or coo over, and therefore give less confident wedding guests an easy conversation starter. Guests who feel happy and settled at your wedding are much more likely to stay well into the night. Kids also have a great habit of filling the dance floor!
A word of Warning
There are so many reasons why children make a wedding even more wonderful, but that magic comes with a word of warning. There are obviously parts of the wedding that children find far less interesting, and it can be tricky for them to sit quietly during the important bits, they are children after all. A successful, child friendly wedding simply takes a bit of planning and preparation. A creche is always a brilliant option (wink wink) and will always give you the very best of both worlds – somewhere for the children to play, rest, eat and even sleep when they need to, and a way for them to access your wedding at their own level. Private nannies also work brilliantly when there is a smaller number of children and really help each child to fully be a part of every bit of the wedding. When the budget won’t stretch though, or there isn’t enough space for a creche, an activity table or even activity packs work brilliantly to keep the little ones busy. We always recommend that couples feed the children as regularly as possible – making sure that they have access to food that they are familiar with, that isn’t too sugary. Often when children get hungry, they also start to feel sick, meaning that they refuse to eat later on. A hungry child is an angry child, so keeping them fed will always work in your favour!
A Child Free Wedding
For some, the best option is to have a child free wedding. In some cases, inviting the children would mean that there are more children than adults, and it wouldn’t be fair to invite some but not others.
Your wedding is just that, YOURS, and so if the idea of having children at your wedding fills you with nothing but anxiety then it’s totally ok to decide not to.
In any case a great way to win around your ‘parent guests’ is to offer them their own private nanny or the number of a great babysitter. By doing this you make your wedding accessible, particularly if your ‘parent guests’ are travelling far and feel uncomfortable leaving their little ones behind.
Whatever you decide, we will be here to offer our assistance in giving you and your guests the best of both worlds and helping you to create your perfect wedding day.