Nily Glaser asked:
A wedding is always exciting. A lot of planning and preparation go into action so that the wedding will be memorable meaningful and as one-of-a-kind as the marrying couple. Yet, each couple has consideration unique to them.
With today’s escalating wedding costs, many brides and grooms who have no children of their own, ask A-wedding Day something akin to: “We want an adult only wedding and wedding reception. Is there a proper way to request that our guests not bring their chilren to wedding ceremony and wedding reception?”
The answer is both, yes and no. If you think that this makes no sense, keep reading.
When you send out your wedding invitations and reply cards, address them to:
Mr. and Mrs…. or
Mrs…. or Miss…. or Ms…
This indicates to them that they are the only invitees. You may even add Adults Only Wedding. Most people will take into consideration that the invitation was not sent to – and Family and will make arrangements for their children so they can attend the wedding without them.
So, you may ask: “Where does the NO come in” Well;
What about your family and wedding attendants? Is there a chance that they will get insulted and view you as ungreatful?
Did you take into consideration your out of town guests? Will they leave their children behind and travel without them? Will they simply decline your invitation replying that they can not attend? Will they be offended and think that you are inconsiderate, especially when they see your ring bearer and flower child? or will they bring the kids anyway?
This hapened at my wedding 41 years ago. Ours was a small wedding with only 35 guests. Even first cousins were not invited. Yet almost everyone understood that this was all we, 2 students on a very minimal budget, could afford at the time and did not take offense.
Everyone except Rose and Harry who drove from Haverhill Mass to Brooklyn N.Y to attend. They brought their children Debbie and Mark 7 and 8 years old at the time. Fortunately our reception was a buffet and we did not assign seats. 5 tables of 8 left a few empty seats, enough to accomodate these two.
As it turned out, the seats were not necessary because Mark and Debbie attached themselves to the photographer. You guessed it. Every group picture potraits Mark and Debbie sitting right smack, dab in the middle. It made no difference to them, if it was a photograph of the wedding party, the bride’s side of the family or the groom’s. The two parked themselves in the center.
Today we have grown up children and grand children and have learned a lot since our own wedding.
Having seen both sides of the coin, you may ask: “Is there an adequate solution that will benefit all?”
The answer is a resound YES!
It takes thought and planning but can be done even on a tight budget.
If our suggestion appeals to you, you should add a note for guests who have children that if they must bring their children, the kids will be supervised and entertained in another location.
Let them know that their children will be cared for by a qualified adult.
Ask them to reply if they plan to bring their children and if so how many, what ages and what gender. Provide this information to the supervisor(s) so they can prepare accordingly.
To decide how many adult supervisors you need consider:
Up to what age a minor is considered a child to be supervised.
Check your list of possible locations for your wedding ceremony and or reception, to find out if they have an additional room you can reserve as a children’s Center for the duration of your wedding.
Most religious institutions have school rooms.
Hotels may offer you a small conference or meeting room, or a suite that includes a sitting room.
Restaurants that facilitate weddings usually have rooms of different sizes and will be glad to accomodate you with an additional smaller room.
The same holds true for country and other club houses.
Now that you know what to look for, choose the wedding venue that is able and willing to accomodate your young friends.
Figure out how many children need to be supervised,
Secure a very capable adult or adults who can play educational games, do art and crafts, are good story tellers or readers, and are gentle and caring. Your best choice would be a teacher, a camp councellor, a den mother or a girl scout troop leader, for example.
DO NOT HIRE A TEENAGER to just sit with the kids and watch TV!
Assure your guests that their children will not just be baby-sat but will have a good time.
Interview potential adult supervision candidates and find out how they plan to give the children a good, meaningful time while their parents are at the wedding, especially since the children will be of varying ages.
If you can afford it, provide an artisan such as a ballon artist to make crowns and animals, a face painter, a magician etc…
A wedding planner who also plans Bar-Bat Mitzvahs and other children’s events can help you locate such individuals. Or if your community has a pier, a promenade, an open street market or other locations where street artisans gather to show their talents, choose those that you believe will be best for your young guests and interview them. Since many street artisans work for donations, they may agree to provide their services at a reasonable price.
So, now you have a venue, and qualified supervision for your guests’ children. It is time to plan your next step.
Find out what art and craft materials you need to supply,
Decide what entertainment items will be appropriate such as a movie on VHS or DVD, etc…
Gather your needs and have them packed and ready to deliver to the Children Center at your wedding location.
Ask your caterer to suggest a kids menu. Make sure it is healthful.
If you plan the menu by yourself, stay away from too many sweets. Avoid nuts as some children are allergic to nuts. Do provide fruit, salads and how about Pizza?
Having planned a children’s haven, you should decide how many supervising adults you need. Your best criteria should encompass:
The number of kids in attendance.
You should plan on one adult for every 10 children.
Ages of the children divided as follows:
Pre-school to 3rd graders;
4th to 6th graders;
Jr. high 7th and 8th graders.
Now that your guests children are taken care of, Enjoy your Adults Only wedding, assured that your guests will have a good time as will their children.
All of the above can be accomplished even on a tight budget of only a few hundred dollars.
Stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: “Is our DREAM WEDDING, happy and relaxed guests, combined with good will toward their children worth a few hundred dollars?”