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All Kidding Aside

Some advice on kids at weddings

Children and weddings. Two words that are not necessarily a match made in heaven.

The smallest members of a wedding party can be adorable additions to any ceremony. But there’s always a chance that the pomp and circumstance of a wedding will be frightening. They may be fine in rehearsal, but they may panic when they see the crowd.

Imagine this wedding business from a kid’s perspective. Who knows if they really understand what they are doing there, much less whether they really want to be. One little boy thought he was the ring “bear” and growled his way to the altar. Perhaps the bride should have been a bit more clear on the semantics.

Some advice on kids at weddings: If you are relaxed enough to see the humor in things not going perfectly, by all means—bring on the young attendants. But if you are a bride or groom who wants everything to proceed according to plan, it’s better not to press your luck.

Inviting children as guests is another matter. It’s your day and you do have a choice, no matter how many friends or relatives tell you otherwise. Your cousin Susie may take umbrage, but it is unlikely that her two-year-old is going to be an angel during cocktail hour - or realize that she’s missing the midnight salsa dance-off.

Informal and outdoor weddings are more amenable to the young and the restless. As long as they can sit still and stay quiet during the ceremony, kids are fairly easy to accommodate. Just be sure you don’t pay the caterer for a six-course meal for a five-year-old guest.

The truth of the matter is that evening ceremonies or receptions with sophisticated menus are not child-friendly. Do everyone a favor: Offer to arrange childcare with a babysitter you trust (perhaps in a separate room with video games and a kids menu) so that parents are free to enjoy the festivities. Just hope that some of your adult guests don’t decide the kids are having more fun than they are. No matter what you indicate on the invitation, you always run the risk of some couple showing up with their precious, though uninvited, offspring. Just smile and make a mental note not to not invite those parents to your next wedding. We trust that will never be an issue.

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