Wow! What a question. But, the answer I typically receive from the brides I work with is a very strong yes or no! Let's explore this issue. On the one hand you would like your entire family at your wedding. On the other hand you would like to maintain a level of sophistication fitting your wedding. Hm...Could there possibly be a middle ground? I think so. I love children. I love to see children at weddings. So very cute and proper in their little dresses or tiny suits. How can you not love that? But, I know that a few of you out there do not. So here is a way to have your entire family with you to celebrate your big day, and have the fabulous, sophisticated wedding you have always dreamed of having.
First, Hire a babysitter for your wedding-and let your guests with children know when they receive their invitation, that a babysitter is available for the wedding ceremony, and that you very sweetly suggest that they allow their children to frolic and have fun while under the care of a loving adult hired specifically for the occasion. I would suggest a card printed with this gentle suggestion included as part of your wedding suite.
Of course, these same children should be included in the reception festivities if their parents would like. For some parents, having a babysitter for an entire evening of adult fun is enough to make them line up to RSVP to your wedding. But, unless you are having a plated dinner served by a Waite staff, I would include the kids. Or at the very least, let their parents decide whether or not they would like their toddlers to join the reception.
So what do you do if several children are joining your reception? I would make sure there are plenty of nibbles that the kids will enjoy. Finger food is the answer here. And you will have that without doubt-so the children will be taken care of. I would have a little special lemonade or punch drink made up just for fun for the children. And I would have special treat bags made up for the children. Treat bags filled with age appropriate toys, games and treats to keep them happy and having fun at your wedding.
One final thing. I would suggest any photos that you would like of your sweet niece or nephew, are taken very early on during your reception. Children grow tired fast. And you will end up with your best photos if taken while they are still happy and alert during the evening.
Here are a few fun things I've put together before to keep the children happy and entertained:
1. Big boxes of popcorn. So very simple, but so well loved.
2.Favor table just for the kids, with dishes of candy they can scoop out into bags and take with them. Funny, adults like this also.
3. Coloring pages I have photo copied along with blank paper and crayons strewn about a kiddie table.
4. Make the candy, popcorn, crayons, etc., the decoration for this table. Totally decadent for the children. They love it.