The smallest guestsCategory: Blog
by Johanna Osborne.
When I got married in what may seem like the dark ages (all of 6.5 years ago) I recall the guest list being a big deal. Who to invite, who to leave off once the list got too long and the venue too small, and where to seat everyone. Gosh it was stressful! But one thing was for sure, the littlest guests weren’t going to be left off. I encountered a bit of eye-rolling from friends whenever I said that children were “absolutely invited”, and many asked me why on earth I’d do something silly like that.
Whilst I appreciate people’s reservations on such matters, to me it was a no-brainer. Weddings are ingrained in my own childhood memory as being the happiest, most fun and exciting events of all, and it was always such a highlight and massive treat to wear a pretty gown and attend such a fabulous party. I know what it feels like to be a child, and I don’t intend to ever forget. To me weddings have always been about family, togetherness and celebrating life – and obviously a huge ingredient in that is children! I wanted the hustle and bustle, kids running around the reception, playing tag, hiding under tables and eating cake. I wanted to be escorted up the aisle by flower girls scattering rose petals on the way. Sadly I had none at my disposal back then, but instead I had 2 handsome candle-holding, ring-bearing young boys instead. They are both teenagers now, but my wedding photos have immortalised them and their cute baby faces forever! I thought they looked so swish in their little suits and cravattes (I gave up on the idea of forcing them wear a pretty frock!) and I loved having them part of the ceremony, and equally loved having them at the party later on. I recall my 8 year old nephew Yannik doing some impressive impromptu singing and dancing to Queen at 10pm, much to everyone’s dance floor delight. It was a party and everyone was invited! My little nephew Orlando was all of 6 months old at our wedding, but I recall everyone fighting to sit next to him, and one of my favourite photos of the day was the one of my parents with him. It would not have been the same without him there.
I know I’m not alone with these thoughts as I have attended plenty of weddings where children were featured heavily. Our Editor Paula Bevege had a bevy of gorgeous children of varying ages accompany her up the aisle, and it made for absolutely stunning photos. I have also attended weddings where the whole bridal party (apart from the bride and groom of course) was made up of just children, with no bridesmaids or groomsmen at all. It can be done, it’s different and it’s wonderful.
Yes, children – especially babies – do cry. And they can be annoying. But mostly for the parents, and not so much for the host. If the Mum and Dad are game to bring them, then really it’s them we need to help and reward. And there are a few ways of making sure kids are entertained and have fun – and from experience a happy child is a good child.
A good way to eliminate any issues is to assign tasks to as many children as possible. At the ceremony, children can act as ushers, hand out programs, circulate mass books, or distribute packets of rice or rose petals. At the reception, kids can manage a guest book or pass out favors in a basket or on a tray. Children can also perform a group reading either in the church or the reception. A kids table is always a good idea with great food and fast service and activities and games. If a separate room is available, activities including board games and movies are an option. Invite a children’s entertainer or make it a real “Kids’ Club”, and hire insured childcare providers to act as supervisors for the day who set up themed activities. The parents will love you forever!
Of course child-free weddings are also nice. I have been to a few very formal ones and it was understandable that it might be better not to have kids there wreaking havoc. Whatever path you choose, it’s your decision and it will be the right one. Just remember to make it clear early on, so that parents with children can make arrangements.
And if you do opt to go the ‘children are welcome way’, then enjoy the ride. It will make for colourful moments and memories, not to mention some fantastic photos! From experience the smallest of guests make the biggest of impacts!
NB: In today’s blog Paula and I have chosen to share with you our very own personal images from the moments in time that were incredibly special to us….
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children”. Charles R. Swindoll
“Children are a handful sometimes. And a heart-full all the time.” Unknown