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The Kiddo Quandary: Inviting children to your wedding and reception – Pros and Cons

14 Aug

As a wedding photographer’s assistant to (and one-time wedding planner with) Roberto of Roberto Farren Photography, I’ve seen a ton of different approaches to the wedding day. Some are more serious, faith-based ceremonies, some are itching to get the drinks poured and the music blasting, and some are relaxed, laughter-filled events focused on friends and family.

Kids are, at minimum, a part of most extended families (hey, we were all there at some point) but it’s not always clear if it’s appropriate to include them in your wedding celebrations. Here are some pros and cons to think of if you’re considering this question for your own wedding.

Pros of including kids:

  • Cuteness: Who doesn’t love watching a tiny flower girl and ring bearer toddle down the aisle? Stick a flower crown on a niece and a bow tie on the nephew, and you’ve got great wedding photos at the ready!
Cambridge Harvard wedding photography

These two cuties led the way to the party after Caitlin and Aaron’s Harvard wedding ceremony.

  • They’re usually hysterical: Whether they’re sprinting down the aisle or asking questions at full volume at the ceremony, kids keep it real. If your ceremony is relaxed and not overly formal, these funny interruptions just add to the laid back, family-focused feel.
  • They get the dancing going: If you’ve ever been to a wedding with kids, you know that they’re usually the first ones on the dance floor. Kids love dancing, and definitely break the ice for adults to join them.

Cons of including kids:

  • Unpredictability: Even the most well behaved munchkin is prone to freaking out when they’re in constricting clothes, with 100 people looking at them and they’re supposed to sit still for an hour.
  • Catering: You’ll probably have to accommodate for younger palates when planning your menu, and this might incur an extra cost. Talk to your caterer or event planner for options.
  • Early departures: Members of your family will most likely be drawn away from your reception early in order to get little ones washed up and into bed at a reasonable hour.
London wedding photographer

Claire’s two nieces wrote and read the sweetest note to Joe and Claire at their recent London wedding.

Tips:

  • The Kids’ table: Don’t separate super young (or anxious) kids from their parents, but designate a kids-centered area where more independent kids can hang out.
  • Plan activities: Keep them occupied! Depending on the various ages that may be attending, plan some activities for the kids. Things like games, coloring books and little toys, will keep them happy when they get bored with a three-course meal, and they always love a photobooth!
  • Hire a sitter: Make sure you include the parents when making this decision, but getting outside help to look after kids can be a great help. Ensure everyone is clear on the guidelines (what times the sitter is around, responsibilities, location, etc) but this takes some of the pressure off of parents and lets them relax a bit more while they celebrate your wedding with you.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Be realistic about what you want on your wedding day, plan accordingly, and communicate clearly. People would rather know ahead of time what’s expected of them and their families. They’ll appreciate knowing what the plan is, and the ability to prepare their little ones will help the day run smoothly for both of you.

Thanks for reading,

Erin

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