Here’s the scenario: you want to incorporate your kids at your wedding but aren’t exactly sure how to keep them entertained, make them feel included and avoid any chaos so everyone can have an amazing, stress free day? Take a deep breath – I gotchu, boo. Having kids at your wedding might be a little stressful, but it can also add some fun and laughter to the day. Follow these tips and you will be able to have a family filled day that runs smoothly!
DO Think about your wedding timeline and how to incorporate the kiddos
Okay, first things first. Think of the timeline of your day, specifically when you will need your kids to be on their “A-game.” When will need some extra eyes to watch them? One thing to consider is getting your first look photos in before anything else. This will give you the chance to get photos with the kids right after getting ready, and (more importantly) while they still have energy and look nice. Tina said having a first look was crucial for their day. “For us, doing a first look ended up being a KEY part of the day going well…We got so many photos done ahead of time, and then Fred and I were able to tag team parenting duties up until the ceremony and hand them off to different members of the wedding party as needed. ”
As the night goes on, the kiddos might start to get a little tired (ie grumpy). One thing to consider is asking a friend/family member/nanny if they would be okay leaving earlier with the kids so that way you can enjoy the rest of the night kid-free.
“We asked my mom ahead of time if she would be okay with leaving the wedding early and going home with the kids,” Tina said. “To time things up with bedtime, we started around 4:30, kept the ceremony under 30 minutes, and had a shortened 30 minute cocktail hour so we could get right to dinner. This kept downtime to a minimum, and everyone was fed, speeches done, and the DJ was going by 7:30! By 8:00, my mom (and other guests with kids) were able to leave the wedding without feeling like they missed anything. Fred and I were then able to enjoy the rest of the night kid-free (highly recommend).”
Actionable step: Create your wedding day timeline to be in sync with your kids nap/bedtime.
Do be specific when asking for help
Be specific. B-E specific! Plan ahead and in the weeks leading up to the wedding, give certain people certain tasks. Doing it day of will be an utter mess. Who will hold the diaper bag? Who’s going to be an extra set of eyes during the reception? Who’s going to help them get dressed in the bridal suite?…When you know you can count on different people for different things, this will alleviate so much stress for you!
Bonus tip: Having a wedding coordinator is a HUGE help. This allows you to focus on our kids because your coordinator will be managing EVERYTHING else, including keeping track of time. Wedding coordinators really are like the fairy godmothers of your wedding day!
Actionable step: Assign specific people on kid duty during specific times of day. For example, ask mom to watch the kids while you are doing photos with your wedding party, and ask your Best Man to watch the kids during family photos. If people know exactly when they are responsible for kids, it will take away the stress of figuring it out on the spot.
DO Go with the flow
No matter how much you prepare, we all know that at the end of the day kids will be kids. And that’s a beautiful thing! Meltdowns, getting their clothes dirty, trying to get your attention during the ceremony – instead of getting frustrated, celebrate your offspring being their true selves, and don’t sweat the small stuff!
“Harlan interrupted our first dance, Fred carried them down the aisle, there were a couple meltdowns, etc. We didn’t expect them to do anything but be themselves and live their best toddler lives. We didn’t worry about them getting dirty, what the photos would like – or what anyone else thought. We embraced it all and leaned on our friends and family to help us and it ended up being a really special day.”
These little ‘kid moments’ ended up being my favorite photos from Tina and Fred’s day! I loved that during the ceremony, their son grabbed their vows and played with them. I loved the photos where they are running circles around their parents during the ceremony. I love that during their first dance, their son rode on Fred’s shoulders and danced with them. THOSE photos are what make Tina and Fred’s day unique, and the memories that they will want to cherish forever.
Actionable tip: When things don’t go as planned, remember that those will the moment’s that make your day unique and memorable. Roll with it now, cherish it later
Don’t Work Up Until The Last Second
Although it might seem impossible, try to prioritize taking a few days off BEFORE your wedding. Worrying about your work deadlines, on top of all the little details of your wedding can be too much to keep track of. Tina said it perfectly – “I wish I had taken off at least 3-4 days of work beforehand, so I could’ve taken my time making sure I had packed everything I needed for the kids – extra pull ups, more toys and snacks, a booster chair for dinner, etc.”
Actionable Step – take the few days leading up to your wedding off so you can focus on last minute details
Don’t forget to block out some time for family time
Not making it a point to block out time to spend with your children. Weddings run on a tight schedule which is great and necessary, so why not add in some quality time to make sure that it happens. Otherwise it will all pass in a blur and you’ll find yourself wishing you had a moment to celebrate with just your spouse and little one(s).
“The only other thing I would have done differently, Tina mentioned, “was take a little bit of time after the ceremony where Fred and I could’ve just hung out and played with the kids. We did spend time with them individually throughout the day, and they had a GREAT time being with other kids and family while we were busy mingling with everyone. However, in all the chaos, I wish we had taken 15 minutes where the 4 of us had a little time together. I will say though, having the kids be part of our first look did give us some really special family time before everything kicked off. It was the only time that we got to spend that day with just our little family and I’m so thankful for that time! Highly recommend that 😊”
Actionable Step: Carve out time to spend with just you and the kids
No matter what age they turn, your babies will always be your babies. To be able to share this big day with them will be something that you will all fondly look back on forever! There will be no shortage of saying: ‘Remember when…’ and with these tips you’ll all be sure to have the best day ever, together!
Photography: Emma Lee Photography
Venue: Heritage Hall
Florals: Petal Thyme
Planning: All In The Details
HMU: Allegra La Bella
Rentals: Grand Event Rentals
Dessert: The Sweetside
DJ: InJoy Entertainment