A wedding is the poster child for Murphy’s Law-whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. As cynical as that sounds, it can quite often be true because there are so many specific things that need to happen to make a wedding run smoothly and beautifully. One error can throw the whole ceremony into a spiraling disaster of ripped lace and drunken wedding toasts from you’re fiance’s frat-boy best man. Usually these types of events, say the Officiant forgetting the groom’s name or the Unity Candle setting the bride’s veil on fire, are completely out of the control or influence of those attending. However, there is one loud, messy hub of pure chaos that can be kept from spinning out of control by the guests themselves: children.
Don’t get me wrong; I love children. I love children when they’re quiet, calm, and someone else’s. I do understand the reasons for having kids at a wedding i.e. they are the flower girl/ring bearer, they’re too young to leave at home, it’s too hot to leave them in the car with the window cracked but there is no excuse for letting a kid run rampant during the ceremony. So here are some rules to help keep your kid calm.
1. Bring something QUIET that can entertain them.
This one is pretty obvious; if the kid is distracted he or she be quiet. Give them a coloring book or dolls to play with. Don’t bring toys that bounce or fly or roll, don’t bring markers, don’t bring video games that don’t have a mute button OR that will send your kid into a live action shoot-em-up frenzy, or other toys that entice any kind of general bedlam.
2. If you ask your son/daughter/niece/nephew/cousin/friend’s kid/whatever to be in the wedding and they don’t want be, DON’T MAKE THEM.
First off, remember that kids are people (smaller, dirtier people but people) and if they just really don’t want to be in the wedding, don’t make them. If you do force them into the wedding, they will show you why you shouldn’t have. And don’t expect a three to ten-year-old kid to stand at the alter without being a figgity mess-most adults can’t even do that. It’s completely fine to let the flower girl dump her flowers in a pile at the end of the isle and sit down (seriously, every kid blows the flower girl thing).
3. The second your kid starts crying or misbehaving take them away.
I personally think this should happen every time, no matter the occasion, but weddings are especially important. It starts off as a whiney “Mommy, how much longer” and quickly turns into a screaming, snotty nosed, running-up-and-down-the-isles hissy fit. Take care of the problem before it become a problem.
4. If the couple requests no children, don’t bring them anyways because you think you’re special.
Though most people don’t request the ceremony be child-free, we have plenty of brides that come in and ask for “Adult Only” be added to their reception cards. This can be attributed to the fact that most receptions are later in the evening, closer to when the little
monsters go into hibernation angles go to sleep. Also, there is mass consumption of “Adult Beverages” that can cause behavior that children don’t need to be around. No matter what you’re excuse, if they say no kids find a way not to bring them or don’t come.
5. If you plan on having kids at your wedding, make sure you prepare for it!
If you want all this craziness to run smoothly you must give the kids something to do during the reception. Some sites suggest you set up a craft room, or hire a babysitter for the party, or have a movie room. The point is, PUT THE KIDS SOMEWHERE ELSE and give them something to do that doesn’t involve them making the table linens into their own personal coloring book with Pâté and mango salsa.
When it really comes down to it, use your common sense when inviting or bringing children to a wedding. Your best bet will always be to not bring them so you can have fun and not have to worry about your kid barfing on the dance floor, causing the first dance to be a little bit more Spaghettio-ey than predicted.