Adult Only Reception or Kid Friendly Wedding?
Whether or not children should attend a wedding is an age-old question. It’s one of the most important things to decide at the very beginning stages of your planning because much of what you plan will depend on this key factor. Ultimately having children at your ceremony and reception is going to boil down to how significant their presence is to you. This blog is for those who have a strong opinion and have already made up their minds AND for those who are riding the fence trying to make a decision. We’ll go over some important questions to ask when deciding to have children present or not and the pros and cons of both situations. Each item will provide you with a resolve to make sure you have an excellent plan for a successful and enjoyable day for everyone!!
Should Children Be Invited To My Wedding Ceremony/Reception?
Where am I holding my Wedding at and what type of atmosphere do I want?
The first thing to consider when deciding to include children on your guest list is the type of Wedding Celebration you want. Are you envisioning an elegant evening affair or a fun daytime event at a local farm?
Consider the type of venue you’re hosting at first. While a barn location may be the perfect family atmosphere to host a wedding, an old mansion on the historical registry probably isn’t the best place for children. Look around your venue and make notes of what’s on location. Is there equipment, furniture or decorations that are easily damaged or can cause potential harm to children? If the answer is yes- you should consider leaving children off the guest list.
Next, consider the time of day you’d like to host your wedding. Remember that your wedding is a long day for everyone. Adults can easily handle an event that begins at lunchtime and doesn’t end until after the sun goes down, but little ones get very cranky if there’s a change in their schedule or if they have to stay up far past bedtime. If your wedding is early and ends before little one’s bedtimes, it will be much easier on them. If you’re planning on rocking the place until midnight, it’s a better idea to have those friends and family find a sitter so they can enjoy the late hours with you.
The last element of your atmosphere will come from your vendors. This is VERY important to consider because you will be paying a decent percentage of your wedding budget to your vendors who will be bringing expensive equipment with them to make your day special. Are you planning on using specialty lighting such as Up Lighting at your venue? If the answer is yes, it’s best to leave the kids at home. Up Lighting is not only easily damaged; it’s powerful lighting that can hurt little eyes if they peer into it. Photo Booths are fun, but children often don’t understand that the equipment is heavy and can hurt them if they bump into it. They also tend to think that the props are toys and will run off with them during the reception causing delays in service when the photo booth attendants must leave their stations to hunt the props down for other guests to use. The catering staff walking about with hot food is another hazard to consider. And finally, your photographer usually brings thousands of dollars in sensitive cameras and lenses to capture the perfect shots for you. All are susceptible to children who don’t understand. The last thing you want on your wedding day is someone to get hurt or to end up owing your vendors additional money to replace the equipment that was damaged at your wedding. The best idea when planning is to ask your vendors ahead of time how they feel kids will do and how comfortable they are. Some vendors love having children around and will make special accommodations, others will not. If you plan on having children present you should select vendors that will happily work alongside you with it.
How Will Children Affect My Guest List?
The first thing to consider when adding children to your guest list is how it will affect your adult guests ability to attend and enjoy your wedding day with you.
There are several issues to think about here:
- Inviting children may make it difficult for those with little ones in tow to enjoy themselves because they’ll be focusing on entertaining kids instead of your celebration. The other outcome is that they do not attend to their children because they are so distracted with the party that the children get hurt on equipment and decor in the venue or worse another adult loses out by unwillingly becoming the wedding babysitter. We served a few weddings in which a very frustrated aunt or grandmother ended up missing pivotal moments like first dances because they were watching children.
- Leaving children off the guest list can make it stressful for your guests in other ways. It may be hard for your out of town guests to find sitters. They may opt not to attend because of the difficulty or if they do attend they won’t be able to focus and enjoy while kids are with them. Even your local guests may have a difficult time securing childcare to attend your wedding.
- Inviting children can reduce the number of guests you’d like to ask. If your venue has a limited amount of space, children can increase the guest count to the point where you have to start making tough decisions on who to cut from your list. You will more than likely find yourself stressing out about leaving your favorite college roommate off the guest list to accommodate your cousin’s children.
- How much will children attending your wedding add to your wedding budget? We all know that kids cost money and that kids need to be entertained and watched. Entertainment for kids might be as easy as a table set up with board games and coloring books or can be as elaborate and exciting as a bounce house! Whatever you decide to do will have to be added to your wedding expenses. Along with entertainment for the children comes the cost of meals. Venues and Catering Companies charge by the guest. Having kids present means adding them to your food budget as well. If you’re hosting a plated meal that’s not kid friendly, you’ll need to order individual dishes for the children as well.
What’s the Solution to Children?
There is a happy solution to inviting children or leaving them out that works for every situation listed here. I strongly suggest hiring childcare for your wedding day if there are many adults invited that do have young children. This option is probably the most cost-effective and least stressful option for everyone on your wedding guest list. What’s great is that it works well for Adult Only AND Kid Friendly Weddings.
If you choose to host an Adult Only Reception, include that information in your wedding invitations as well as making your guests know that their presence is so significant to you that you’ve hired childcare to make sure they can come. In that situation, you’ll need a secondary location for the kids to play. If you’re holding your reception in a hotel, the place is quite easy. Set aside a room for movies, games, snacks and other fun activities to keep the younger guests entertained and safe. You could also choose a home that’s nearby.
If you choose a Kid-Friendly Reception, I’d still suggest hiring a babysitter to keep the children occupied and happy while the adults are free to mingle and catch up with loved ones they haven’t seen in awhile. Make sure to let your guests know that childcare will be available during your reception right on the spot, so they don’t have to worry about asking grandma or another family member to help watch the little ones. Remember to still provide entertainment for the kids while they are there such as a table set up especially for them.
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