When most wedding etiquette rules were written, couples were walking down the aisle without having their own children in the bridal party or sitting in the pews. Today, things are much different. Not only are many couples starting their families before saying “I do,” but blended families and second marriages are increasingly common, too. For these families, the wedding isn’t about uniting two separate lives; it’s about bringing together an entire family unit. That’s why it can be a good idea to include them in the invitations and in the wedding.
Family Friendly Wedding Invitations
One way to include your children in your wedding is to add their name to the wedding invitations. You’ll probably need to select vertical stationery so you have plenty of room for the additional name(s). Normally, they are either listed as hosts or co-hosts of the wedding. For example, “April and Brandon Stevens invite you to the wedding of Jeannie Jones and Thomas Stevens” or “Jeannie Jones and Thomas Stevens, along with their children April and Brandon Stevens, invite you to their wedding.”
Of course, if you want to include your own children in the wedding, then it wouldn’t be fair not to extend that courtesy to your guests as well. You can even include their children’s names on the invitations or if you’re not sure of the names address them as “Guests’ Names and Family.”
Your Children & the Wedding
Your children will enjoy being a part of the wedding. Even if they resist a little at the beginning, they want to feel as if they are an important part of this special day. Little boys under the age of 7 can act as ring bearers, for example, and boys under 13 can be miniature groomsmen. Young girls can be flower girls or junior bridesmaids. Older children can be full-fledged members of the wedding party, although they may not be included in planning the bachelor/bachelorette parties.
When you have children in or at the wedding, then you should be ready to handle them at the reception. After sitting still for the ceremony, most kids will be wound up and unable to contain themselves. Make sure to have activities that can keep them busy. Coloring books and quiet toys might be a good option for some kids, but it might also be a nice idea to reserve a room at the reception location as a playroom. Hire a babysitter to keep an eye on the little ones. Be sure to order children’s meals and to serve fruit juice for the wedding toast.
Remember when you already have a family, your wedding isn’t just about the two of you but about all of you.