Organizing a wedding party can sometimes be like organizing a heard of cattle! Jobs, family responsibilities, travel and simply life’s little bumps can all affect the schedules of the people in your party which, in turn, can ultimately affect the outcome of your rehearsal and even ceremony. Along with the wedding party, wedding guests are up against a myriad of challenges which can cause them to miss your Big Day or be forced to only attend the ceremony and not the reception or vice versa. Often times, a conflict which exists before the wedding, such as childcare issues, does not simply disappear before the Big Day. Perhaps your maid of honor just had a beautiful baby girl or your piano player has two rambunctious boys that must accompany her to your event. Children can be a welcome source of entertainment in any situation but can also be an unwelcome distraction in more serious moments. That beautiful baby girl just may decide it is time to eat during your vows and those boys will certainly not make it through all of Ava Maria in the church pew. Also, do not forget that your may have a precious flower girl or ring bearer of your own that may make it down the aisle but need something to look forward to at the reception. Let’s take a look at a few ways to accommodate both wedding party members and guests with children…
First, understand that children are a natural part of life! Although you may not have any of your own yet, remember that your family and friends may have been handling situations with their children for a while. Even though they may be accustomed to making arrangements for them during special events, nothing would make life easier than having a plan supplied for their family’s needs.
Have childcare on standby. Local drop-in childcare facilities, nanny organizations and even churches typically have plans in place for special event childcare. Arrange a special rate with the manager of a local center and be sure to mention it in an insert in your invitation, on your wedding website and by word of mouth. Parents can enjoy the event while knowing their children are safe and happy while paying a reduced rate.
Be prepared with a “quiet room” at your ceremony. Even the best behaved child can have an off day! Hiring a babysitter to be available at your ceremony can save you and parents from loads of stress. List the option in your ceremony program in such a way that parents feel this is a benefit to them (rather than a forced option) and be sure choose your sitter wisely so that parents and children feel secure.
Have fun options for children at your event. Why should only the adults have a great time? Choose an area of your reception and dub it the “Kid Zone” complete with smaller tables and chairs, coloring projects and a few toys. To make the area more cohesive with your event, color coordinate the children’s choices with your colors and theme. Just because the area is dedicated to children does not mean primary colors are a must! If there is available outdoor space consider renting a bounce house or a small petting zoo; white rabbits would be a wonderful addition to the scene and a fun distraction for the kids. Use your imagination to create options that are both fun for the little ones and appropriate for your event.
Have “child friendly” food available. Although your boss’ wife may swoon at the idea of Oysters Rockefeller, a child will more than like squish up their face and say, “Ew!” Ask your caterer to provide a few options for children such as chicken of some kind, fruit and cheese. One sure fire way to keep a child happy is to keep their bellies full so make preparations ahead of time to make this a non issue.
I have often said that having a wedding is really your opportunity to play the ultimate party host or hostess! Having options for guests of all ages is a great way to help insure a happy time for everyone. Remember, however, that even your best laid plans my not “go as planned” when it comes down to the wire. Babies may cry, little boys may wiggle and parents may not choose to utilize the options you have put in place. In those instances just take a deep breath, walk down that aisle and say to yourself, “Well, at least MY children will never act that way!”