I’m going to get a tad controversial here today, just a tad, but this is a topic where my thoughts and opinions have definitely changed over the years. Yet, it’s a subject that seems to really divide people, no matter which side of the fence you sit on. What’s the thorny subject I hear you ask? Is it political? Moral? Well, children and weddings. It shouldn’t be that hard to discuss. After all, a wedding is a celebration of love and, what love is stronger than that between parents and their children?
Despite this though the question always seems to come up as to whether or not children should be invited to a wedding. And age two camps can be very divided. Now, I had children at my first wedding, but there weren’t actually that many of them there. At the time not many of my friends and family had kids, so whilst we invited the ones that did, there weren’t many of them attending. The children that did come were utterly delightful and cute, including one that fit in with the wonderful Peter Kay skit where he slides across the dance floor on his knees. Others managed to speak up at just the right moment in the ceremony (does anyone know…) and the speeches were interrupted by gorgeous toddler giggles in totally inappropriate places.
We ensured that there were a couple of things on the tables to amuse the kids, but didn’t really go too overboard. I think things would have been different though if organising a wedding now, where so many of my friends have children of all different ages.
If you’re organising a daytime wedding I really do think that you should invite children along and allow them to join in your special day. How you do that is very much up to you though. Children’s party planning can be an art form in itself. There’s really opportunity to do something very very special for the children, and their parents, and make them all part of a magical experience. But at the same time, be kind to yourself. Planning a wedding can be a full on job if you let it be. It’s a role that some brides to be absolutely love. But also a role that others can find incredibly stressful and difficult.
Talk to the parents of the children that you want to come to your wedding about what is likely to work best for them. If you’re not a parent yourself it may be that what you think would be wonderful for them would actually be more difficult for their parents. You need a balance between something that will hold their attention and something that needs full on parent involvement. If you’re organised staff at the wedding to help with the children that can remove some of the pressure from the parents, but it also comes at a cost. An involved craft activity may sound good, but what if it ends up with paint and glue everywhere? Would a film be a better option? If there are older kids, can you sort a room with a couple of games consoles?
At the end of the day though, your wedding is your special occasion, so do what you want. And what your budget allows. The main thing I stress though is to talk to the guests you want there about what works best for them. Some parents might actually appreciate an opportunity to leave their kids with their grandparents and enjoy some grown up time together. Others may not have that option available to them. If they’re true friends then they will fully understand what you want and work with you to make your day yours and magical.