A fantasy....yep. That's exactly what it is. When it comes to planning our weddings, we tend to have amnesia about what little goblins kids can be, especially when they're expected to dress up, look nice, and behave. So, what to do? Well, there are two ways to approach this. You can decide not to include kids in your wedding and miss all the adorable moments like your favorite niece forgetting to drop flower petals until the end of the aisle and then dumping them all out at the altar; your matron of honor's son tripping and sending the ring pillow flying...or you can accept the fact that kids are gonna be kids, and they're gonna do kid things like trip or have a meltdown. Kids do best in weddings if the following plan is in place:
- Have a rehearsal and make sure they know what they're supposed to do and when.
- Make sure they are well-rested and fed before the wedding.
- Let them know it's okay to be nervous, and that everyone there is going to love and adore them even if they mess up
- Don't expect too much from them if they're under 5 years old. Chances are they've never done this before, and they have no idea what the big deal even is.
- Have a point person (who is NOT another member of your bridal party) that they know and trust to act as their "handler" to help direct them during the ceremony...preferably someone equipped with a cell phone on silent so they can play a game after they take their seats.
- Don't make them get dressed until JUST before the ceremony. Fancy clothes are cumbersome for littles, and they will get fidgety if they have to be dressed up and sit still for a long time.
Let's face it...kids running around, talking and squealing during your ceremony, needing to be entertained during your reception...it's not everyone's cup of tea. Sometimes you just want a little adults-only time. Totally understandable. You might be planning a quiet ceremony and you don't want it ruined by someone's toddler going Fukushima in the back row. Or you might be planning an epic throwdown reception with an open bar and a badass DJ...do you want your sweet little 9 year old niece or nephew there watching your groomsmen dry humping their girlfriends on the dance floor, or watching you and your new spouse chugging from a beer bong? Not to mention...can you afford extra plate dinners for your cousin Mandy's five kids? It's not like they're going to eat what you're serving, anyway...unless you're having chicken nuggets and PB&J catered.
"We have reserved __ seats in your honor"
"Please join us for an adults-only night out"
"We invite you to celebrate with us at our wedding, followed by an adults-only reception"
Sure, there will be haters. Some parents have a hard time leaving their kids, and that's okay. They can see the photos later and congratulate you. But chances are...if they're like me, they'll relish an opportunity to go have a good time sans kiddos. Some of us need an excuse to make a date night with our spouse, and what better way to reconnect as a couple than to enjoy dinner and drinks with beloved newlywed friends? So if you're hesitant to say no to inviting rugrats to your big day, don't be. It's YOUR day, after all, and if your guests want to enjoy it with you on your terms, they'll show up!