Just about everyone has an opinion about whether or not kids belong at a wedding, and if you've elected to include them, then we salute you! Inviting tiny feet to join you in your walk down the aisle does require some additional planning — from what the little ones will be wearing to what they'll be eating. Here are 67 inspiring photos and ideas to ensure that the smallest members of your guest list have a blast!
Whether or not to include children in weddings is an age-old debate. Will they make it down the aisle? Will they steal the bride's show? Will they behave during dinner? (The answer to all: who knows?!) But if you have your heart set on adding mini members to your wedding party, then there are a few things you should first consider to ensure both you and your tiny attendants have a happy wedding day! Keep clicking for the six things you must consider before asking children to be in your wedding!
Once you've made the decision to bring pint-size guests to a wedding, it's in your best interest (and theirs!) to keep them occupied with kid-friendly activities beyond cake, dancing, and bride watching. We've rounded up some amazing wedding activities just for kids, including scavenger hunts and I Spy, outdoor games, and favor kits that might just keep kiddos at the table during dinner. Keep clicking to check them all out!
It can be difficult to decode wedding invitations and decide whether or not your kids are invited, but learning the proper etiquette guidelines will help you clear things up. Whether you're struggling with vague wording or an unusual format, we've gathered a few tips to define the gray areas. Not sure how to handle your reply card? Follow these pointers to respond in a gracious, respectful manner, and if your kids are included, then follow these tips to ensure that they're welcome, well-behaved guests:
- Your invitation reads "Mrs. Smith": It's perfectly fine to get in touch and ask about possible plus-ones, whether you're wondering about your children or a date. If you do have questions, then steer clear of texting or email. Call and thank the bride and groom for the invitation, and then politely ask about wedding specifics to bring up the plus-one topic.
- Your invitations reads "Mr. and Mrs. Smith": According to the Emily Post etiquette guidelines, you can assume that your children are not invited if this wording appears on the envelope. As a general rule, only the names that are specifically addressed are guaranteed an invitation.
- Your invitation reads "The Smith Family": In this case, things are a bit less clear. Typically, an envelope addressed to the entire family means that everyone is invited — kids included. Still, if your children range in age, then you may want to follow up and confirm with the bride and groom. If they've set an age limit, then the invitation should be addressed to each invited member of the family, but it's best to communicate and be sure before you assume anything.
Still not sure? Don't hesitate to reach out and ask. It's better to find out for certain than to guess, as seating charts and final guest counts are crucial to the couple's planning process. Be kind and straightforward, and respect any guidelines the bride and groom have set for their big day.
Here come the kids! Some couples opt for an adults-only bridal affair and others welcome the pitter-patter of little feet on their wedding day. Whether your lil one is playing a featured role in a wedding as flower girl or ring bearer, or you're just bringing the whole family to witness a couple's nuptials, here are some tips for keeping your children — and the bride — happy.
A marriage between two individuals is a tremendously significant merge on its own. But add in kids and the event takes on an entirely new meaning. Whether the bride, groom, or both parties have children from previous relationships, ensuring that they feel included in their parent's next life step begins even before the proposal.
The good news is that getting your newly blended family off to the right start is entirely within your control. Incorporate your own spin on these suggestions to make sure that your kids (or new stepkids) feel included, and honored, in your wedding planning, wedding day, and beyond.
- Raise the Issue in Advance: Don't wait until a wedding date's being set to address your new relationship status with your kids. Depending on their age(s), have an appropriate conversation about what the marriage will mean to you as a family — both logistically and in terms of the changing dynamics.
- Will You (All) Marry Me? While it's still appropriate for a proposal to be an intimate moment between two people, gathering the whole family for a celebratory discussion around the time of an engagement is a nice way to address any concerns and share the excitement.
- At the Altar: In addition to including your children in the wedding party (or having your wedding party consist exclusively of your kids), many couples opt to give them special roles. If they're old enough, kids can do readings during the ceremony, or you can write your own "family vows" that include everyone.
- A Special Ceremony: Work with your officiant to come up with a unique ritual that you can incorporate into your ceremony. This should take into account your kids' ages, religious beliefs, and family traditions to ensure that it's a meaningful event as opposed to just "going through the motions."
- Family Ties: Gifting your children with a special piece of jewelry or family heirloom gives them something symbolic to represent their new family.
Source: Flickr User bkleinh
Kids and weddings don't always make the most natural partners. Brides often dislike pint-size guests' affinity for screaming out at inappropriate times and their tendency to hog the spotlight (don't they know she's the star!?), while kids can find the hours-long events mind-numbingly boring. Finding a way to make everybody happy can be tough, but follow our advice and odds are, the whole family will enjoy your next wedding — and the bride won't regret adding your children to the invite.
- Before you go, communicate! Prepare your child for the day's events. Will the reception be short or long, and will they be expected to sit quietly and pay attention? How long do you plan on staying at the reception and is it outdoors or in? Let your kids know in advance what's coming, and they'll be more likely to be on good behavior.
- Bring along quiet activities for the reception. Soft books for young children or a noise-free, inconspicuous hand-held video game for older ones can be a lifesaver for ceremonies, especially if they include lengthy religious services.
- Think food. Hopefully the couple has thought ahead to order kid-friendly meals, but just in case, pack extra snacks for kids who might not like the steak or chicken options, or prepare for your kids to fill up on wedding cake.