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Inviting Children to the Wedding

IT’S a question almost every bride thinks about. Does she want children — at her wedding?
There are pros and cons: They photograph well, but they steal attention. They don’t drink, but don’t always keep the costly food on their plates. Are children cute guests or annoying disasters waiting to happen?

It is one of the biggest questions you’ll ask while planning a wedding: Are you going to invite kids? You could opt to not have children at your wedding. In this case you would not add the children’s names to the inner envelope of the invitation. It would also be a good idea to spread the word to family and close friends that children are not welcome at the wedding to ensure guests who were curious about bringing their children would not have to directly ask you.

However, many event sites have begun offering free or discounted meals for children. This has made their inclusion easier on the budget, especially if inviting one cousin’s child requires you to invite the offspring of your other six cousins. The trend is changing because more families are spread out geographically and weddings have become one of the few opportunities for older and younger generations to bond.

There are more conventional options for including children: hosting a children’s party in a separate room, providing baby sitters, and child-friendly food. Activities can range from crayons and coloring books to DVD’s and video games. Whatever you decide on, choose items that are age appropriate for the children that will be attending your wedding.

The under-age crowd can even be invited back to the big room for dancing after dinner. This would allow more space for adults and allow friends to have some time away from their kids and enjoy the wedding.

Couples should expect to provide sitters for the children of out-of-town guests even if they are not invited. In some cases you just have to plan for children. And all professionals urge couples to use licensed baby sitters, preferably certified in C.P.R.

Another plan is to send children home after the ceremony. If it’s a formal wedding, children should go home after the cocktail hour, allowing your friends to have a relaxed, fabulous, romantic evening.

In the end, think about the atmosphere you want to create at your wedding, and decide from there how much participation from children fits into that vision. No one is immune to the charms of adorable children dancing their hearts out, and we all appreciated the entertainment value. But at the same time, shouldn’t everybody be watching the bride and groom?

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