Ten years ago, it was unheard of for a wedding invitation to exclude children. And many don't find it any more appropriate today. We've heard it called rude, selfish and inconsiderate. However, even with the negative feedback, we're occasionally seeing couples who don't want children at their otherwise perfectly formal event, and we're hearing a wide array of reasons for this.
Of course, the most obvious reason is the disruption that can come along with children who become tired and cranky after a long day of ceremony and reception. A couple who have spent several months planning their perfect ceremony, and paid good money for a videographer to capture every special moment, may be worried they'll end up with a permanent reminder that their awe-inspiring vows were drowned out by a crying baby.
But not every child-free request is about preserving the perfectness of the day. We also hear couples who have opted to serve alcohol and genuinely don't want to expose children to the expectation of intoxicated adults. They speak of it as equal to inviting children to a tavern for an adult party.
Some others have childhood memories of "Aunt Sarah's wedding" where they were bored to tears and expected to behave eloquently while all they really wanted to do was go outside and play. Why would they want to do his to another generation of children?
Whatever the reason, for some couples it's important enough to say no. Meanwhile, other couples couldn't imagine not having their younger siblings or cousins share in their most special moments. Either way, if children are going to attend your formal event, some simple planning ideas may help alleviate frustrations for the adults and children alike.
-Children's table? This can be debatable because some children do better being closely monitored next to mom & dad. Most though, are happier and on better behavior when they can mingle with one another at their leisure. You know the children in your family best. Talk with your planner about options for including a children's table.
-Provide plastic drinking cups with lids for younger children. These can be fun, color coordinated and even personalized with names & dates. Whatever you add, they will protect from spills and double as an excellent party favor. (Let's face it, the kiddos have no interest in wine corks or soap petals as favors anyway.)
-Personalized, wedding coloring books are a growing trend. Again, another great favor they can take home but coupled with a few crayons in a jar, they can be a life saver during the celebration.
-Think puzzle games. You remember those little hand held puzzle games we had as children before electronics were all the buzz. Get the little ball through the maze, or slide the pieces to complete the picture. A few scattered in the children's area can spark some renewed interest in a whole new generation.
Any or all of these ideas can make the day more enjoyable for your little guests while taking some pressure off the adults to entertain and monitor every move. Of course, there are countless other treats and tactics that keep the boredom and accidents to a minimum. Talk with your planner. You'll be amazed at some ideas we've used that work wonders!