Many couples struggle with the decision to invite kids to their wedding or to ask parents to leave them home with a babysitter. There are a lot of factors to consider. Kids bring a lot of joy and life to an event. On the other hand, they require more attention and accommodation than adult guests and aren’t always suited to formal or evening events.

If you’re discussing this option with your partner and other involved parties, consider how you can make a kid-friendly wedding run more smoothly. And, whatever you decide, make sure it is clear from the get-go, so parents know what to expect.

Planning Kids Activities During the Reception

Delegating is so important for enjoying your wedding day. Assign duties to family and friends who are close and whom you trust. The mother of the bride is particularly well placed to help with whatever needs doing on the day. 

Consider putting her in charge of creating a kids’ area at the reception and escorting the young ones there as they arrive. She doesn’t need to stay and be a babysitter, but she can spend a few minutes getting them settled in.

Just be sure that if you assign her this role, she has selected from among the appropriate mother of the bride dresses that will allow her to hang with the kids comfortably. A dress for the bride’s mother doesn’t have to be stuffy and formal. They can find comfortable dresses that will allow them to engage in every part of the wedding, including playing with kids.

Another option is to hire someone specifically to watch the kids. A nanny for the day can be responsible for keeping them entertained and safe, so you don’t have to worry about it. However you assign the duty of keeping an eye on kids, make sure you plan the venue space accordingly. If you will have a lot of young kids, be sure there is room to run—whether you like it or not, they will run around—without breaking anything.

Will the Kids Be Bored During the Ceremony?

The last thing you want is a child interrupting your ceremony. Parents of infants will be responsible for their own children, of course, but older kids are a little harder to manage and might get bored. Sitting still for a wedding when you’re little is difficult.

Consider giving them easy responsibilities if you have just a few kids attending. This will keep their minds occupied and help them feel more engaged and a part of the event. There are the usual roles of ring bearer and flower girls, but you can also come up with other creative ideas. 

They can hand out the programs or confetti bags, for instance. Give each child a cheap disposable camera and assign them the job of taking pictures.

What About Food and Drinks for the Kids?

Kids can be picky about food, so work with the caterers before the event to ensure they will have a kid-friendly option. Ask the bar to have a mocktail prepared for all the little guests, so they can feel special with a fancy drink.

Let parents know ahead of time what will be on the menu so they can plan accordingly. You might need to accommodate a child with a food allergy, or parents might choose to bring their own food.

Bedtime and Naptime

You probably have families traveling to be at your wedding. They have the added challenge of figuring out how to accommodate their children’s typical nap and bed schedules outside of their normal routine.

This might not strictly be your problem as the bride, but it’s polite to be as helpful as possible to your guests. Provide attendees with a schedule of events for the weekend well in advance, so they can plan.

You can also provide some accommodations with families in mind. For instance, if everyone is staying at one hotel, arrange for a shuttle that can take families back early from the reception if needed. You might also consider hiring babysitters to stay at the hotel for the main event if some parents feel it would be too much for their kids to attend.

Kids or No Kids is the Real Question

The choice of having kids at your wedding is up to you and your partner. But if you do decide to include children, be accommodating. They are guests just as the adults are, but they have different needs. Keep them happy for a stress-free event.