Whether or not to invite children

Unlike decisions about menus or music, those related to whether or not to invite children to your wedding should be handled quickly to avoid awkward questions from parents who need to make plans. 

It is appropriate to not invite children especially if the wedding is held in the evening or is very formal.  It can be a bit more of a challenge to restrict children if your wedding is being held during the day or will be casual.  The no-kids rule words best when the majority of the guests are local, which means parents can leave their children with familiar babysitters for the entire day or drop them off between the ceremony and reception.

It is important to address your envelopes properly.  The traditional way to indicate whether a child is invited is to include his/her name on the invitation.  If your card will have both an outer and inner envelope, the child’s parent names should appear on the outer envelope, but on the inner envelope, the child’s name should be written beneath the parent’s names.  If the child is over age 18, they should receive a separate invitation, even if they are still living at home.

After your invitation has been sent (or even before), it would be a wonderful idea to call your friends and family who have children to explain that your wedding will be or won’t be child friendly.  If you’re arranging for childcare services during the reception, a telephone call is a great way to let parents know that their children will be well taken care of at the wedding.

If you decide to invite children to the reception, you might want to consider having a special menu just for them.  When it comes to food, children’s meals make kids happier and are often less expensive.  A small buffet or individual meals with kid friendly like macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and fruit cup could be a real hit.

It is recommended that kids aged 7 to 14 be seated at a separate table, however, those under the age of 7 should sit in another room with childcare provided.  If you really want all the children in the same room, designate an area off to the side that both feeds kids and keeps them busy.  Consider having mini tables, small buffets, and kid-friendly décor like with coloring books and crayons, bubbles, art supplies, trinket toys and treats.  If it’s in your budget, hire a babysitter to manage the tables.

If your little guests are going to be in their own supervised room, fill it with easy to coordinate activities, including board games, kid appropriate movies and simple art project.  If you have a larger budget, consider hiring entertainers such as balloon artists, magicians, and puppeteers.