The answer is tricky – with many sensitivities, choices, ages and relationships taken into account. There is no right or wrong; it’s your day

The key to how you answer this question is: What do you want? You might have children of your own, nieces and nephews or your best friend’s children to take into consideration. However, in the end, it’s your day and you get to choose.

So whether the decision is Yes or No to children, once the decision is made, lock it in so everyone, including all the parents, can prepare with certainty.

It helps with decision making if ages and expectations are considered. Young children can easily be overwhelmed while some teenagers might be too cool to attend the entire event or mingle.

Make it clear if children are welcome (or not)

Address the invitations clearly: by that, we mean eliminate the vague or casual such as the Smith Family. If children are expected to attend, then name them on the invitation. This is also an opportunity to provide assurance that children will be catered to - or not, as the case may be.

Tips for having children in your wedding ceremony

To incorporate children into your wedding ceremony, give them a task. In a formal wedding service, this might be getting them to read passages or sentiments you’ve chosen. Mini groomsmen can give out wedding programs or stand by the guest book, making sure everyone signs it. For those a bit more hesitant, give them the responsibility of passing around the packets of confetti, rice or flower petals.

Preparation is key

You should make sure that children who will play a part in the ceremony attend the rehearsal and that their parents help them to practise their role. Parents might think about having children practise in a busy place like a shopping mall so they’re comfortable with other people looking at them. On the day, you want them to be at ease so they can perform their duties with aplomb. Remember most littlies will need extra prompting and coaching and are likely to go blank at the most critical time.

As everyone with children knows, a Plan B is needed – like when little miss or master refuses to budge at the last minute – and consider safety in numbers. You’ll need a designated kiddie-wrangler; again, someone they are familiar with, to give them their cues. 

Children, especially very young children, might think the idea of dressing up for a wedding and a reception seems fun. In truth, it can be a long day where the attention is everywhere but on them.

Pro tip: If you are using children as ring bearers or as flower girls,
we suggest that the child be no younger than four years old.

How to manage children at your wedding reception

With children as guests, it’s almost like organising an event within an event.

Will all the children on one table? They will enjoy that more as a long meal at the grown-ups tables may be difficult to sustain. Think kid-friendly foods, party favours, games or even a sitter to look after them. Perhaps specify an age limit; for example, the under-10s on the children’s table and the older children on the adult tables. If you aren’t sure about what the children would prefer, check with their parents.

Pro tip: Help parents and children by ensuring the

children’s table is kid friendly; think small buffets

(as most children prefer to graze rather than eat
a full meal), colouring books and games.

How to manage parents of children at your wedding

We’ve noticed that putting parents in touch with one another well before your big day is much appreciated. Go over every detail with the parents, such as whether you expect children at the ceremony, the reception or both, where they can bed down and at what time.

Communicate with the parents at every stage. Remind parents to bring high-chairs if they’re not part of the venue. If the reception is at outdoors, say at the beach, let parents know where the nearest facilities or change rooms would be.

What if I choose ‘no children’?

This is your day and, ultimately, your choice.

However, a ‘no children’ invitation may ruffle some feathers and be prepared that some guests might not be able to attend without their offspring.

The key thing is to make it clear from the outset, diplomatically, that you want your wedding to be an adults-only affair.

Your day and your choice

It’s your day so let us help you plan to ensure it is stress-free.

Our celebrants each have ways of incorporating the young ones into the day; for example, having the celebrant mention the names of the children makes them feel extra special. Make a point of introducing key children in your wedding service to your celebrant well before the event so they are familiar friends on the day. The better everyone knows each other, the more comfortable all the participants will be. When your celebrant understands the different personality of each child, they can communicate with them more effectively.

If you want more tips on how to incorporate children into your wedding, or how to offer tactful hints that children aren’t welcome, talk to us.