Children at Weddings
For some this conversation about whether children will attend the wedding is a non-starter – their view is clear. The nieces and nephews are part of the family and they will be present at this major family event. They will share in the memories. In fact, with great regularity these children are the offspring of the couple getting married.
For others, who take a contrary view, they must negotiate a safe passage through a path that is fraught with touchy political pitfalls. They believe that weddings are boring for children and parents are not free to enjoy themselves. Besides if they invite one set of children they may have to invite about fifty. A further complication is when guests come from abroad as they do with increasing frequency. They cannot easily leave their children behind and do not have obvious access to a babysitter here.
Whatever the decision – to invite or not – there are some special circumstances that should be taken into account vis-à-vis children.
Some couples arrange for an entertainer for the children. I am not sure that this is necessary as they are very good at entertaining themselves when they have so much company. At Barnabrow, their favourite game is hide-and-seek. There are plenty of places to hide and explore, they play safely for hours at this. Perhaps this money would be better spent in providing a babysitter to watch them, freeing adults to participate fully in the wedding celebrations.
Occasionally, couples have arranged gifts for the children, simple items like colouring books or bubbles. The children are individually called up to the top-table via the microphone to collect their gift and usually they are quite chuffed. Colouring takes on a renewed excitement when shared with their peers.
An average wedding will invite children of a range of ages. Very many put all of the children sitting together at one table, which I think is a good idea. The children enjoy each others company and adult tables are then not made up of awkward groups of, for example, three adults and three children – the additional adult being the only non-family member However, at Barnabrow, it is our experience that children do not sit at the table for the duration, in fact, they tend to stand and graze and then quickly go outside to play, abandoning a shattered and unsightly table and environs, which parents do not want cleared away for fear that they will return to eat more. So, we recommend that this table is kept as far from centre stage as possible.
If you are engaged in a political battle on this issue, it may be simpler to compromise. You could arrange the gifts, the baby sitter but apply the rule that the children are off to bed at a reasonable hour – at sundown?
Barnabrow House is the perfect intimate venue located in idyllic East Cork