(Closed) What to do with children during the ceremony and reception?

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
170 posts
Blushing bee

Well it seems like there is no perfect option…but it looks like these are the three you have:

1) Add the expense for childcare onsite to your budget but still expect that some parents will not be comfortable leaving their kids with babysitters and insist on bringing them to the ceremony and reception.

2) Make a strict "no children" rule and potentially deal with angry friends and family, some of whom probably won’t attend due to this rule.  (This is what we’re doing by the way)

3) One you may not have considered… have an earlier, kid-friendly ceremony and reception. Having it earlier in the day, potentially lunch, would make it more affordable and you could get kids meals potentially.  Then have an ‘afterparty’ bash with the friends who want to party late.  Plus photos with kids at the reception are always so cute.

Post # 4
Member
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

We left the decisions up to the parents.  We have two families with 4 children +.  One family is bringing all the kids, one family is bringing 2 of the 4.  Some of those invited are not bringing their children at all.  One couple is bringing their child to the ceremony and then not to the reception. 

It might suprise you what parents decide to do. 

As far as entertainment?  I made up little gift bags with stickers and crayons and notepads.  I also got a bunch of those foam boards and foam stickers. (Made sure there wasn’t glue anywhere).  We also have an activity booklet for them to draw us pictures.

For the added cost of kids at the reception, check with your coordinator, we actually got them to cut the app cost out and the meal cost is under $12.  

 

Post # 5
Member
297 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Having children at your reception is not too expensive – at our hotel, children under 5 were free and children between 5 and 12 were 1/2 price. Ask your venue about options! 🙂

We also gave construction paper and crayons for the kids. It wasn’t anything amazing, but I did receive a few cute drawings 🙂

Post # 6
Member
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

We are having a kid-free reception and offering babysitting at the hotel. The plan is to do it in a hotel room, like you mentioned. To minimize costs, however, and get the most use out of the room, we’re planning to split the cost of the room with some of our guests who are more flexible and won’t mind if the kids take over their room for a couple of hours. They’re actually happy to pay the reduced price! These are also friends who will for sure be attending the after party, so no worries about them wanting their room back before all the kids are picked up.

Post # 7
Member
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

"We can’t have babies and really little ones at the reception, the parents will not be able to have a good time."

 I dissagree. Some people will not be willing to even come if their children are not invited, simply becuase when they do things they do them as a family, and I have never met a child that didn’t love dancing with grandmom, pop-pop and aunts and cousins. Even the real little ones will be fine.  We had one baby that was 3 months old.  The mother breastfed so it really would have been MORE of an inconvience if no children were allowed.  (she probably wouldn’t have come)

And kids will behave better than you think, even at the ceremony.  Ours was a 45 minute catholic ceremony with quite a few kids, and we didn’t have any problems.

And ditto on the price of kids. Anyone under 21 should get a discount because they are not drinking, and kids ages 0-5 should be really cheap or free.

Post # 8
Member
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

Oh, and if they are drinking, they should be getting a hotel or drinking minamally anyway, because drinking and driving is drinking and driving whether or not you have children in the car.  After all, the car you may hit may have kids in the car.

Post # 9
Member
90 posts
Worker bee

I made up little cute coloring book/programs for the kids at the ceremony..There are big pictures on each page and a few words that explain what’s going on in the ceremony…..

 Ex: "Here comes Auntie Gracie in a white dress……

Next page "And Uncle Robbie looking so stressed."

The first has a picture of a bride and the second of a nervous groom.

 The kids will get these and crayons (no roll of course, so they won’t have to go running after them) at the church.  At the reception, they’ll get activity bags with coloring, stickers, an easy craft, a gourd (it’s in november), and a kid friendly snack.  This way they can use them there and stay occupied before dinner or take them home and do whatever they want with them.  Orientaltrading.com and catalogs are great as are dollar stores to get this stuff cheap and easy.  I’m not telling anyone what we’re doing so they’ll be surprised.  

 As a sidenote, I’d personally NEVER consider a "no-kids" wedding….think about how you’ll feel about that in a few years when you have a kid and are invited to a wedding with no kids.  I love kids and can’t wait to see them dance!

Post # 10
Member
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I had some pressure to have a kid-free wedding, but didn’t, for a few reasons.

Our experience was:

We had some kids at our wedding–3 babies (less than a year) and about 8 kids 3-16.  We had activity bags at the church for the older kids (crayons, dollar store colouring books, cars, animal figures).  One of the babies (our friend/priest’s son) cried for a few minutes during the service.  His mother took him to the nursery for a bit, I think–it wasn’t any more distracting than adults laughing during the homily!

At the reception, we put the older kids at a table by themselves with dominoes, jenga and animal figurines.  One of my best friends (not a parent!) had a great time with the animals!  I think the biggest problem was that our ringbearer’s mother couldn’t get him to stop playing and eat!

Friends of ours are still laughing about "the great baby race" (two babies just crawling) at our reception, and my family was ESTATIC to meet one of the new cousins.

We found that having kids didn’t hamper the party at all.  Yes, the parents left "early"–by midnight, maybe–and didn’t get really drunk.  It didn’t stop anyone else from drinking, dancing, laughing–and in a bunch of cases, even added to people’s fun!

Post # 11
Member
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

PS–as many others said, kids should be cheaper–I think we paid about 30% of the adult food price (or maybe less) for kids 7-13, and kids under 6 were free.

Post # 12
Member
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I’m not having children at my reception for several reasons, one of which is the cost.  We have about 20 children that would need to be invited and for children 3-12 dinner would cost $40 and for children over 12 it would be close to $100.  I also worried about having kids at our nighttime reception since it would be close to the bedtime for many of the kids we would have invited.  Finally, our reception venue requires that if there are more than 10 children under the age of 12, we have a babysitter on site.

So, we are having a kids reception with pizza, DVDs and games at the hotel where most of the guests will be staying.  I’m going to get a professional babysitter and have some of my older cousins help out. This way, all the parents can have a good time without having to worry about the kids.  Luckily, many of our friends were planning on leaving the kids at home anyways so that they could have a mini-vacation.  Whatever you decide to do, make sure its what you really want and don’t let other people’s opinions get to you. 

Post # 13
Member
33 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 2008

Your initial idea was a good one!  I got my hotel to throw in a "cree" (pronounced cray) I cant do french punctuation on this site!  I am paying for ONE babysitter, telling the parents to hire more as they see necessary-hotel is giving me a list, I’m planning on one trip to costco for crayons etc and I’m out.  You have every right to say no children at the rehearsal, or anything else, MY  problem is how/when to address it, my current plan is…I wrote out invitations with only specific names, Mr and Mrs John Smith (not the john smith family) if the numbers are greater than 2 I am going to have to call and say…here’s what I have for you.  

 Funny I asked one friend (who has a 2 yr old) She said, hey that is our responsibility, we can leave her with parents or get a sitter.  She completely understands that i dont want kids at the reception.  I was at breakfast with her and her 2 girls recently, on tore open a pack of oyster crackers, they flew everywhere and she shreiked-LOUDLY…my friend said, Um–why is it you dont want kids at your reception? We both laughed. 

Post # 14
Member
440 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@Hyacinth: THANK YOU! I agree with you and your friend. When did it become the bride’s job to worry about what some else is going to do with their children.

We are not having children at the ceremony or reception. There will be alcohol served. There is no reason for a child under the age of 16 to be at a formal evening event. If my guest do not feel that they can leave their child for a matter of hours to enjoy a nice evening out, then that is their issue not ours. Will their prescence be missed? Probably a little. Will all of the issues (additional budget, entertainment, worrying that they don’t break something, or cause a disruption etc) that come with having children present be missed? NO!!!  And as far as the day when we have children and we are invited to a wedding, we will hire a babysitter or leave them with grandmothers or simply send a lovely gift and card explaining our situation and how much we wish the couple well.

Our wedding is a wedding for adults. Some weddings are more kid friendly. But either way it should not be the problem of the bride and groom to worry about their guest’s children. 

Post # 15
Member
290 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I never considered having an adults only reception, partly because our two kids were in the wedding and we had families coming in from out of town with kids. I had such a great time making kids packs and making a personalized coloring book for them. I put games, crayons, stickers, glow bracelets, candy, etc. in them and also had cupcakes for the kids table. We didn’t have any problems with any kids at any point during the day and most of the people with younger kids left earlier than the rest. I wouldnt be scared about having kids there because a majority of the time everything will be just fine. It’s your day so just do what you feel is right for you.

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Post # 16
Member
1636 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

my opinion is, kids are not an issue if they are occupied.  the problem arises when they are expected to act like adults…

definitely have kids tables, if you can buy kids tables at thrift stores, kids will automatically go to them, they will feel “grown up”  and make it fun, cover it with paper that they can automatically draw on (you can get rolls of it at michaels i believe)  just give them something to do…  they are fine. 

but on the other hand, I know alot of parents would love to have time without kids.  Parents need to reconnect as people, people who once fell in love as 2 became 1…  so.  Its a tough decision but most of all its YOUR day, make it what YOU want and don’t let anyone else dictate it for you…

I guess I wasn’t much help LOL  thats just my 2 cents;)
Ronney

 

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