Say the phrase “kids at weddings” and some people cringe; other couples can’t imagine having it any other way.
If you’re in the latter camp, you still have to admit that formal ceremonies such as weddings can be a recipe for misery, not only for attendees and parents, but for the little ones themselves.
So if you want to include the younger set at your wedding, what are some ways to make everyone happy? Here are a few tips for hosting a kid-friendly wedding.
Base decisions on budget
Weddings are expensive, and every couple has a budget. This is a convenient—and legitimate—excuse for not including the children of every guest you’re inviting.
Remember that not only will you have to provide food for them, but also entertainment and possibly child care. If you can’t afford it, explain to guests why the children of close family and friends might be allowed, but unfortunately you won’t be able to include everyone you would like to.
Give them their own space
Because younger children aren’t really interested in the grown-up’s nuptials, not to mention the post-ceremony socializing, they’ll be happiest if you can offer them a separate area or even room where they are free to play, offering various types of age-appropriate entertainment.
You might include a clown or magician, movies, a bubble machine, face painting, crafts, or a Lego station, for instance.
Include them where possible
At the same time, it’s best to avoid a kid’s table, where they’ll need supervision. Seat them at the main tables, where their parents can keep an eye on them and watch for signs they’re getting sleepy, cranky, or bored.
Be sure to offer them kid-friendly, less-mess food, though, like chicken fingers, pigs in blankets, and fun cookies instead of cake.
Other nice-to-have touches: high chairs for the babies, booster seats for the smaller ones, and cups with spill-proof lids.
If all else fails, hire an on-site babysitter for the duration. Some services specialize in weddings and other events.
And if you’re looking for a truly kid-friendly wedding venue for your wedding and reception, be sure to consider the Historic Alfred I. duPont Building in downtown Miami. A former bank, the site features two different ballrooms and 22,000 square feet of event space lined with Tennessee marble paneling and flooring. So it’s beautiful and resilient as well.