As we finalize our client’s wedding plans for the summer, and their RSVP numbers come in, we find ourselves with the very real issue of kids. Particularly, what to do with them at weddings (or any event really).
As I got ready to think about this week’s advice to my clients, I realized that the simple act of inviting kids to an event opens up a whole host of details that, if taken care of, will make everyone’s experience that much more pleasant.
So, let’s take this Step-by-Step.
No, you can’t simply put “no kids, please” on the invitation. Don’t even ask. You can’t do it. ESPECIALLY if you then turn around and say, “Well, except for my sister’s kids, cause they’re in the wedding.” So, how do we deal with that?
Option 1: Go back to good ol’ fashion envelope etiquette – address the envelope correctly, and don’t list the whole family on the invitation and that should be a clue to parents to at least ask.
Option 2: Plan on alternative activity for the kids during your wedding. See below on hiring a babysitter, or at least having options available. Especially for traveling families.
So, you want to invite kids. We highly recommend that you ask in advance on your RSVP card – remember, the RSVP is YOUR gathering info space. It’s your space to get as much information upfront about who is attending your wedding to give your guests the best possible experience. Here’s what to ask:
# Attending – that way you know if the kids are coming.
How many kids and what are their ages?
Do your kids need a Kid Friendly meal? This is especially important if you’re doing a plated dinner.
Figure out what information your caterer needs to make the right food. Ask her what the age breakdown is for per-head pricing? Does she plan something for kids or is that something you need to add on? (it most likely is) Usually, kids are half price or free depending on the age, so make sure you ask.
Then, figure out what you’re going to do for seating. Kids can be tricky – do they sit at the kids table? Do they need a high chair? Can you rent high chairs or boosters? Here’s our key for seating:
Under 3.5: Need to sit with their parents – Should have a high chair or lap.
5 – 14: Can sit at a kid’s table. For younger kids, kids table should be within eye shot of parents, but older kids can be trusted to sit at the table.
15+: These kids want to be considered adults. They really don’t want to be at the “kids” table, unless it’s with relations, cousins or good friends. Consider a table with their parents, or other adults, but one other kid their age.
Be prepared. Here is our check-list for things to consider and get when you’re putting together your day-of details. I have always found that planning ahead for kids will do WONDERS for your relationship with the parents….whether friends, relations, in-laws, etc. Take care of the kids, parents will have an amazing time, and it will be a GREAT party!
- Research babysitters – having a special space for a babysitters to watch kids at the wedding is great, or look for an off-site space like a rental house where relations can drop their kids and feel comfortable. We recommend 406 Nannies and Dino Drop-In, both do on-site and sometimes off-site babysitting, for here in Bozeman.
- Plan seating accordingly – ask your planner how/where to get high chairs, etc.
- Have a kids table – add one more table to your layout, cover it with newspaper or kraft paper so you don’t have to add another linen, and no worries! Then, go out and get goodies for the table! You can find the holy grail of kids table supplies on Pinterest, but DON’T do: Playdoh, stickers, glitter, paint, facepaint!
- Feed kids first: Have a kid friendly dish at your buffet; offer a kids dish at your plated dinner; give them cake first. Trust me, it’s cheaper and better!
- Offer kid-friendly drinks: don’t just have sodas. Have some juice boxes, fruit juice and water.
- Along with the babysitter, consider a breast-feeding space for newer moms. They’re most likely at their first wedding with their kiddo.
- Buy activity packs for the ceremony! Especially if you’re having a LONG ceremony – head to the $1 section at Michael’s and pick up TV Show Themed activity packs. They’re $1 and they’re worth all the time in the world.
- Let kids dance! Let the 6+ request songs with your DJ. It’s amazing how kids really brighten up the dance floor. But make sure that if you don’t want the Chicken Dance, that you tell your DJ that that’s off limits no matter how cute the face that requests it is.
Remember: Happy Kids, Happy Momma and if there’s a Happy Momma, the party will rock.