Orange County | Los Angeles | San Diego Photographer ~ Wedding Wednesday

8/16/2012 01:03:00 AM

How to make your wedding family friendly

If you are planning on inviting children to your wedding, it’s important to ensure the comfort of all your guests, both young and old. It is becoming more and more common for brides to include young children in the wedding plans, whether the kids are part of the ceremony or simply invited to join the celebration.

Planning a wedding reception that is family-friendly means that you have to do more than just include “and Family” on the invitations; if you want everyone to have a good time, it’s good to plan a few activities that will keep small children entertained and happy — and, by extension, their parents, too!

Your wedding reception center will have stairs, outlets, hiding places, or even an open fire, make sure your guests know ahead of time. Although there is probably little you can do to change these features, equipping parents with all the information they need will help them plan accordingly.

Having on-site babysitting can be a great way to ensure that everyone has a good time, and teenage nieces or nephews can be a great source for sitters. Ask your wedding reception center if they have a separate room that is (or can be) equipped with a television and movie equipment, or with toys and games that you bring from home. This way, parents have the option of keeping their kids with them during the reception or dropping them off for a little while so they can enjoy some grown-up time.

Little Diners: 
Not only are kids not very likely to enjoy your dinner menu, but it isn’t exactly cost-effective to serve them the same foods you have for your adult guests. Plan a separate, kid-friendly menu and make sure there is a seating area set up that can either fit highchairs and booster seats, or that allow for families to eat together without upsetting your seating arrangement. Having a separate room for breast feeding mothers is another nice touch.

If you’ll be having an evening reception, there’s a good chance kids will get tired a little bit early. You can either bring in some pack-and-play carriers to put in the “babysitting room,” or set up a quiet area in another room with pillows and blankets. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have a sitter or responsible party who can keep an eye on the little ones.

Let parents and other guests know your plans. Tell them what features you’ve set up to make the wedding reception kid-friendly, and ask for RSVPs so that you can hire the appropriate number of sitters. Being open and honest about what they can expect (as well as your expectations in return) will make parents feel better about the decision to bring their families and result in a better reception experience overall.

Not everyone likes having children at a wedding, and that’s okay, too. If you’re planning a grand, formal affair at a wedding reception center that doesn’t cater to families, you have every right to keep things child-free — as long as you’re upfront with your guests about your wishes.

However, with the right kind of planning, you can have kids at your wedding reception and still have an incredible experience. After all, marriage is about family and sharing your union with those you love…and in many cases, that means letting everyone— of every age — participate in the event.

Happy Planning Ladies!

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