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Kids At A Wedding

This is often a touchy subject for some families when making a guest list. For some couples, it’s a no brainer… you just choose to have kids and think nothing of it or you never even question it, they’re just not even considered. For other couples, it becomes a cause for heated debate and disagreement. Either way, a good rule of thumb is to make a decision and stick with it. If that means setting an age minimum, inviting only kids in the immediate family, or opening the invitation for all the kids… you should make the rules the same for everyone.

First let’s look at the pros and cons, starting with the pleasure of having children on your special day. There is a certain feeling that children bring to a wedding that is surely a positive one for some. Kids are in awe of what is happening and love to see all that is going on. As an adult, it is our responsibility to be good role models for the children of the world, and inviting them to witness one of the most special days in your life is a mark in your “done good” column. It teaches them, introduces or reinforces the tradition and ritual of marriage, and welcomes their curiosity for life. Their youthful energy is felt by all… if… IF and only if… the children are well behaved.

On the other hand, children don’t see things the same as adults (and shouldn’t for that matter). They don’t understand the significance and importance of a wedding celebration like an adult does. A prime example is money. Most likely a child will not fully appreciate the beauty (and expense) of a wedding cake, and an unruly kid would think nothing of sliding his index finger across the cake to taste the sweet smelling icing. A child doesn’t see a gorgeous marble dance floor; he simply sees the biggest dry slip ‘n slide perfectly crafted for a running slide.

The decision about children at a wedding needs to be made in context with your overall vision of your wedding day, keeping in mind the feelings of your close family and friends. If you decided to have your niece and nephew in the bridal party, you are not obligated to invite your ten 5 year old cousins. Furthermore if you invite your 5 year old cousin, don’t worry so much about hurting the feelings of your neighbor who has a 4 year old son. You should be empathetic to their disappointment, but not obligated to invite unwanted guests. You should be honest and explain that there will be several other children which are family, but that you decided not to have too many kids by inviting friends’ kids. Hopefully, that will be a good friend and she will understand.

So what’s my advice? I do not recommend having children at a wedding, especially if your visionincludes a lot of dancing. Kids use the dance floor as their play ground and parents enjoy the fact that their kids are visible and safe on the dance floor. This precedence of the dance floor being a play area ALWAYS inhibits guests and hinders dancing. I think a select few are okay, as long as you either know their parents will look after them or you can suggest they do so. My experience has proven that kids in the bridal party seem to be better behaved… I don’t know why.

If dancing is not a priority to you, invite children to enjoy the celebration with you… their presence will be remembered and appreciated by most. If you want your guests to be dancing a good portion of the reception, either choose not to have children at the wedding or be very specific when asking the parents to not allow the kids to run around the room and play on the dance floor. That kind of activity will (nine times out of ten) take away from the dancing and the overall celebration.

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