With the economy in the state that it currently is, many people cannot afford babysitters for their children and a gift for you. Along those same lines, your budget or venue space might not be able to accommodate the little ones. So how can you politely tell your guests that while you would LOVE their company, their children will not be welcomed at your wedding?
There really isn’t a tactful way to say “don’t bring your children.” Moms and/or Dads of the bride and groom can spread the word that there simply isn’t enough room at the venue for anyone extra, you can take your chances and hope, or you can provide entertainment for any children who happen to be present.
In many cases, there are small boardrooms in hotel facilities that can be used, but if you run into the situation where there is not an available room, you can rent a hotel room for the children (where your out-of-towners might be staying) and provide a bonded and insured babysitter (or two!) to oversee the festivities for the younger children.
By all means, rent a G-rated movie or two for a little added entertainment as most hotel rooms will provide a DVD player, borrow some board games, and provide little goodie bags with things like coloring books, sketch pads, colored pencils, crayons, candies, water and any other kid-friendly things. What to eat? PIZZA! Most hotels have pizza delivery service available and that should be your treat.
If you think your guests might bring their children even though their names did not appear on the invitation, wait until those RSVP cards come back to see who has added their children to the invitation and then contact those people and let them know that babysitters will be provided at the rate of $5 or $10 per hour and they will be staying off the premises of the venue.
Keep in mind you can also offer a “kids” table at your reception that might be more geared to the younger ones. It can be decorated differently from the adult tables and you can still provide them with a bit of entertainment in the form of the goodie bags but in this case, parents would be responsible for their children’s behavior. In most cases we are referring to children under the age of 12 as that is the usual cutoff age between a children’s menu and an adult plate.
Should you choose to have the “kids” table, be sure to choose a menu for them that most little ones enjoy – maybe chicken fingers, burgers, mac & cheese, french fries, and some fresh fruit. I would suggest choosing a plated meal for these little guests.
I had some clients who knew and relished the fact that their guests would be bringing their children and we had two buffets – one for the adults and one for the children! I’ll let you guess which buffet was the busiest due to the food selection!
We were all children at one time or another – don’t let the little ones stress you out!