Post # 1
I need everyone’s thoughts, opinions and experiences with including children both at the ceremony and reception. Did you decide (or are deciding) NOT to include children on your day? Did you not want children, but ended up caving to family pressure? If you did include children, did they behave or did you regret it?
My FI and I have 10 nieces and nephews all under the age of 10. Their parents are almost all in the wedding party (with the exception of my brother, he has 4 children). Everyone who has children are from out of town. We do not have any of our own.
After giving it a LOT of thought, we decided against including the children in the ceremony and we definitely don’t want them at the reception. The main reason is the sheer number of kids that would have to be included. In our opinion it would feel like a birthday party and their parent’s won’t be able to kick back, let alone perform their duties as honor attendents and readers. Also, at every family gathering, the kids take ALL of the attention which (trust me) they will also achieve on our wedding day (My FI and I are both the youngest in our families, so the attention is NEVER on us). We also are very concerned about children acting up/crying during the ceremony which is the most important moment to us.
I know it may sound selfish, but I don’t want my wedding day to be about the kids. We are going to have a compromise for people who are traveling and can’t leave their kids at home – a room set up with a babysitter and catered food, games, etc.
So I need everyone’s thoughts and advice, personal experiences would be great!!
Post # 3
I think it sounds like a great idea! I think it’s understandable that you just don’t want to worry about children at the wedding, but havinga compromise of games and a babysitter should be totally acceptable.
My family doesn’t have many young children at all (though I recently heard my cousin may bring her child, who will be one month old??) so I’m not really planning anything. But I would do something like that if we had children at the wedding.
Post # 4
I had children, and they had as much fun as my husband and i did. We got activity bags for all the kids and they actually spent more time dancing than coloring. It never felt like a birthay party.
If I were you, I would find out if you can hire a babysitter or two, and find out if the hotel or the reception hall has an area where the kids can be the entire time. That would allow the parents to relax and enjoy themselves at the reception.
Post # 5
Your plan is excellent – stick your ground on this one. It’s a tough road but you just need to explain to the parents that you want THEM to have a good time. And if they are attending to their children they won’t be able to enjoy the party to the fullest. If you make it about them, hopefully they won’t give you to much trouble.
Post # 6
My husband and I *love* children, and a lot of our guests had children. We couldn’t imagine excluding them, so we worked around them. My little brother is in (a smalllllll private) high school, so my mom asked his principle to recommend two girls from his school for us to hire. We paid them to keep a small nursery with the young children during the ceremony (eliminated crying), and at the reception we had a kids table. We put together goody bags for them and the babysitters kept them busy. The parents were so grateful that their kids were occupied and they were free to have a good time, and the kids all had a blast. They were all showstoppers on the dance floor, and I know everyone had a great time. It wasn’t all about the kids at all, but our wedding was definitely a family affair. But that was how we wanted it. We have absolutely no regrets.
Post # 7
- Wedding: May 2018 - Coyaba Resort, Montego Bay
I couldn’t imagine NOT having all the kiddies at our wedding & all of them were involved in the ceremony as well. They had a blast & so did we. 2 months later (which is LONG in young kids attention spans!) they are still talking about it!
10 is a lot. Is it possible to hire a nanny to watch the kids during the reception? Is there any chance you will regret not having your nieces and nephews there? I am super, super close with mine, so I know I would have regretted it.
But ultimately, it is YOUR wedding and you can do whatever you and your FI decide!
Post # 8
I’m not really into children, but most of our friends will be travelling from out of town and bringing their kids with them. There’s nothing to be done about it. I’m going to set them up at a "kids table" with a couple of baby sitters and some butcher paper for coloring on and leave them to it. I imagine they’ll dance a bit, and when it gets a bit late for them, I’m thinking of having the sitters set up a tv inside so that they can all curl up and watch movies and fall asleep.
I want the parents (our friends!) to be able to relax and celebrate with us for the entire night and not to have to leave early.
Chela429: I like the idea of "activity bags" for the kids. What did you put in them?
(To those of you who know more about children than I do–does the movie idea sound feasible? We’re looking at a bunch of kids who are around 4 and 5 with a few younger and a couple older. The reception will probably go until about midnight. Surely the kids will be ready to leave the party and go watch Thomas the Tank Engine by then, right?)
Post # 9
I went to a dollar store and gave them each 2 activities books, 4 pack of crayons. I decided against playdo, or markers. I put them in bright purple bags (purple was my color) and the kids went nuts!!! They loved them. Some parents had actually brought stuff for their kids to play with too. In the end all the kids abandoned the bags and spent the night dancing on the dance floor. all the adults with kids were seated int he same area and the kids ended up dancing with each other, and they adults took turns watching over them. I had no babysitters.
Post # 10
We didn’t have children at ours. There weren’t too many close to us anyway. But I do think it can be tricky or cause problems. I think sometimes parents, myself included, are more than happy to spend a nice evening without the kids anyway.
May I ask what are the ages of these kids? It probably ranges quite a bit. But for what it’s worth, there’s a big difference between a 3 year old and an 8 year old. If by chance these kids are somewhat older, they would probably be well behaved.
Post # 11
I also can’t imagine not having kids at the ceremony and reception. My FI has 3 neices he loves dearly and my close friend and a toddler who is basically like my nephew. They can all be high energy, but we love these kids so much and want them there. So we’ll have ages ranging from 4 months old to 11 years old. We’re have a small wedding, about 25 people total (including the kids).
We are having a short outdoor ceremony. We rented 3 houses next door to one another for everyone to stay in for the weekend. The reception is right across the street from the houses so if a kid gets grumpy or tired they can be taken right home. So we’re trying to work around the kids a lot but I think it’ll be well worth it to have them there.
Post # 12
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
I love your compromise! I would do the same thing, actually, but I don’t have to because there is only one small child in our family and I feel fine telling the parents to find their own babysitter (and won’t have hurt feelings if that can’t make it for that reason!).
Post # 13
We decided not to have kids at our wedding. We’re having a 6pm wedding followed by the reception. We are providing information on a babysitting service for Sat night and inviting the kids to the rehearsal dinner and brunch. We had considered kids tables and all that, but it’s late and kids cost money too and then we were told by some of the parents that they wouldn’t bring their kids and didn’t want to bring their kids. That made it easy for us.
Post # 14
I love children (I’m studying to be a teacher), but we decided not to invite anyone under the age of 16 to our wedding. We made the choice for ourselves and I’m happy that we did it. We had a couple of complaints from people, but ultimately, no one made a big deal out of it. We did what was right for us, our wedding (a 6 PM evening event) and our venue (which had a strict seating capacity). If you do decide not to include children, I’d check out this thread by one of the WeddingBee Pros, Christina Friedrichsen, from a couple of weeks back:
If you do decide to invite them, check out her other thread about how to keep them busy:
Post # 15
I LOVE little kids and am very excited to have them one day. But we decided to have no children outside of my 2 flowergirls and ring bearers.
We aren’t having children because it would be 20 and at $40 a head for chicken fingers and fries I can’t stomach that. Plus I am required to hire sitters for every five children per my venue’s rules. I just don’t think my wedding is the right place for a large group of small children given the formality. Dinner won’t even be served until 8p.m. and there’s going to be a loud band playing etc. Most people have been excited to have a night away from their kids. I know that is how I’d look at it.
You have to do what works best for you and just stand your ground (even when you feel like a child hating grinch ) GL
Post # 16
We’re having Mr’s niece and possibly my cousin as flower girl and ring bearer. Other than that, no kids allowed. There are a group of people on his side that have a bunch of kids that aren’t watched and are allowed to run wild. Like destroy things because it’s funny wild. So we’re making a straightforward rule. No kids unless they are in the wedding party. I keep flip-floping because I feel bad, but I think I’m going to stay firm on what we’ve decided at this point.