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Kids at weddings: advice, wisdom and ideas

Kids at Weddings | Wisdom from an Experienced Wedding Planner

When it comes to kids at weddings, we KNOW you’ve got questions!

  • Should I invite kids to my wedding?
  • How do we write invitations to make it clear whether or not kids are invited?
  • Do I need to plan activities for kids at my wedding?
  • What are some great ideas for ways to occupy kids on the wedding day?

 

We’ve got a decade and a half of planning Wisconsin weddings and we’ve seen it all! We’ve seen adults-only weddings, family-friendly weddings, extra measures taken to accommodate kids, straightforward wedding planning with little additional thought to kids – and we’ve got some ideas. Before you and your fiancé begin to plan the intricacies of your wedding, it’s important to establish whether you want kids invited to your wedding or not, because then you can make venue, design, food, and alllllll the other choices with kids in mind, or not! 

As we compiled our thoughts and reflections, we also used the wisdom from Jamie Wolfer. Click the hyperlink for her resources on the topic as well! We thought her thoughts were really helpful in answering these questions about whether or not to invite kids to weddings.

So sit back as we guide you through the decision making process – should we invite kids to our wedding? And then what?

Bride dancing with son at wedding dance
Mom and baby dancing on the dance floor

Should we invite kids to our wedding?

In response to the question of whether or not you should invite kids to your wedding, we really don’t have a suggested answer for you! There is no right or wrong answer. There are benefits to having an adults-only wedding, and there are benefits to opening the celebration up to kids too – this decision can only be made by you. It’s your wedding!

You should feel all the freedom in the world to make the right choice for you. Just because we’re writing a blog about it, doesn’t mean we think everyone should invite kids! But – if you do decide to invite kids, we have some suggestions on how to make those invitations clear, and how to make your wedding kid-friendly and a blast for families.

How do we make our invitations clear?

No matter what you decide, it’s important to make your decision clear! As a parent (Jana, speaking!) who has been to many weddings, it’s always a little awkward when the invitations and envelopes don’t specify who is invited to the wedding – it forces me to reach out to the bride and groom to ask if my kids are invited to the wedding. When the invitation wording is clear, I know right off the bat whether or not I need to seek childcare in order to RSVP “yes” to the wedding.

Invitation wording to tell if kids are invited or not

If you’ve decided not to invite kids to your wedding, we would encourage you to spell out who is invited on the invitation envelopes. By listing the names of the family members who ARE invited, it is clear to guests who is included in the invitation. You may also include on your wedding website specifics on which people are invited, rather than simply saying “family” on the envelope.

Invitation wording when kids are not invited to the wedding

Let's say we've decided that we want to invite kids to our wedding. How do we make our wedding family friendly?

First of all, most weddings do not do anything extra for children, and kids usually have a GREAT time at weddings. As a kid, there are so many things to look forward to! Exploring a new place, fun food, dancing, playing with friends – you do not need to do anything extra for kids to have a great time. Plus, parents are used to finding creative ways to help their kids enjoy life! 

All that being said, you do not have to do anything extra for kids at your wedding, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it! But, if you choose to go out of your way to make kids and families feel welcome and taken care of at your wedding, they will appreciate it, and your wedding will be even MORE fun for them! Here are some suggestions we have of ways you can make your wedding tailored to families.

Coloring

Coloring sheets are such a cost-effective and helpful addition to your wedding day – especially for the ceremony! The ceremony is the point of the day when the kids have to be on their best behavior, so having a quiet activity ready and available when everyone walks in would be super helpful to families.

Make sure not to put the crayons or coloring supplies in crinkly wrappers! Imagine saying your vows over the annoying sound of kids noisily messing around with the plastic baggies. No one needs that. Instead, use twine or ribbon to tie them together, or find another quiet way to pass out supplies.

Coloring is also a great idea at the reception. Below, James and Susanna created a little coloring booklet available at the reception, and tons of kids (and adults!) loved having it available while they waited for dinner to be served.

Coloring sheets for kids at wedding ceremony and reception

Photo above and below by Haese Photography

Nursing Room

To offer nursing moms and parents of infants some privacy and hospitality, consider making sure that a nursing room is designated at your venue. This attention to detail really communicates love to the parents who must carry on with feeding their babies even in the midst of celebrating your wedding day, and having a nursing room makes a huge difference.

Buffet-Style Food Service

Having an interactive food display, or buffet, for appetizers and desserts can be helpful for families. For weddings who opt to have appetizers carried by waiters and waitresses on trays, it is challenging for families to consistently be able to gather snacks and food for their kids; it almost feels like they are depending on chance for the right food to arrive at the right time. 

Appetizer buffet board at wedding reception
Kids serving themselves at wedding buffet table

Games, Big & Small

Indoor and outdoor games are such a fun way to let kids have a blast, and there are many ways to do this. Some couples opt for a game table, where you can have board games that can be taken to tables, or interactive games that can be played throughout the wedding day, like a photo scavenger hunt or trivia. 

Sometimes, having a room dedicated to kid activities works great. I’ve been to weddings with a full bouncy house in a separate room, and you’d better believe it was packed with kids and families! The benefit of a choice like this is that the kids have a special space where they can be noisy and not distract from the more formal environment, but it also means that parents need to be separated from the rest of the wedding. For some families this works well, but for some parents who still wish to be in on the wedding action, these split spaces can feel isolating.

Outdoor games, like lawn games, are such a treat for families because it gives kids a chance to run around and have fun outside and still be part of the planned activities. And nothing is a showstopper quite like the giant yard games available through Stevens Point’s Party Envy, pictured below!

Kids playing with giant ladder golf at outdoor wedding reception
Giant ladder golf at outdoor wedding reception

Goodie Bags

Goodie bags are often thought of as the gift on the way out of a wedding, but what about a goodie bag waiting for kids at the reception? Brianna and Zach did this well with a goodie bag waiting at each kid’s dinner spot with a bag full of treats – coloring supplies, small trinkets and toys, snacks, stickers, glow sticks, and more. I (Jana) was at this wedding with my kids and they were just floored when they saw the gifts just for them! This extra touch spoke volumes to me, and to my kids.

It is easier to pull off reception goodie bags if you have a seating plan where you know where everyone will be sitting. If you don’t exactly know which guest will be in each seat, no problem! You can leave goodie bags at the corresponding table, and the families will figure it out. You can also leave bags at the reception’s entrance or on a display table for families to help themselves.

Goodie bags waiting on kid's seats at wedding reception
Coloring supplies in goodie bags for kids at wedding reception
Glow sticks as part of goodie bags at wedding reception
Chalk and little trinkets in goodie bags at wedding reception

The Dance: Considerations

To make your dance perfect for families, we recommend to begin the dance at a reasonable time so that kids and families can have a chance to dance before everybody falls asleep. I’ve felt bummed before when I’ve had to leave weddings before the dance has even started just to put my kids to bed!

We also love it when brides and grooms opt for the radio versions of songs rather than letting the hardcore expletives ring out loud and clear – this makes for a more family-friendly dance, and probably happier parents! Or, if there are some inappropriate songs that you want to make sure are part of the dance, consider saving them for later in the night when most of the kids have gone home.

Dance floor with tons of energy and awesome pregnant lady
Bride dancing with tons of people and little boy at wedding reception

It's up to you!

When it all boils down, this is your choice – it is up to the happy couple to decide if having kids at your wedding fits the vibe you’re going for, or if it goes against your hopes. You do not have to feel guilty, either way! We hope we’ve given you some factors to consider to help you make the choice, and if you do invite kids to your wedding, you can use our ideas to make your kids feel welcome.

For more wedding inspiration, explore our gallery of Wisconsin weddings, and reach out – we are your experienced wedding planner, ready to make your wedding dreams reality!

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We are your experienced Wisconsin wedding planner with the know-how and connections to orchestrate and execute your perfect wedding day.