Children at weddings? Do you invite them or not? It’s always a heated topic when discussing wedding planning and we’re here to help you make a properly informed decision. Read on to find out more…

Do you invite all kids? Just babies? Or just teenagers? What about if you’re having young flowergirls and pageboys? Can you then ban your friends from bringing their offspring (we think not).

You may have masses of friends with children so you’ve decided on an open door policy for your friends’ kids as you want to have everybody along to enjoy your wedding day and you don’t want anybody to feel excluded.

But if you’re not a parent yourself, it can be hard to understand just how demanding children can be when they’re not happy or find their surroundings dull.

You might think that a long afternoon and evening chatting, drinking Champagne, catching up with friends and dancing is a fabulous way of spending your time but no five year old is going to agree.

In addition, you may have teenagers at your wedding too. They are easier to entertain (they’ll like chatting to friends and maybe even dancing if they consider the music cool enough) but you’re still going to have to bear their likes and dislikes in mind.

Considering the under fives

First off, let’s think about the young children. Very young babies aren’t such a problem – they’ll hopefully sleep and can be cuddled by everybody (something the grannies usually enjoy!)

However toddlers and under 5s can be quite demanding. Supermodel Kate Moss solved this problem at her wedding by having a marquee dedicated to children, with drama teachers and nannies on call.

Obviously that’s not something most of us can copy as we don’t all have a supermodel’s budget, but you can have children’s play areas on your wedding day – maybe a corner of the marquee or barn stocked with colouring books, toys and somewhere peaceful to watch a DVD. Overtired children can get tearful so if you can have a quiet chill-out area for them, so much the better.

If you’re having a Christmas wedding, you could invite ‘Santa’ to visit the young children and bring a gift – this would be good timing just after the wedding speeches when everybody is getting ready to party.

Finally, if you do employ childcare for the event, make sure that the individual is CRB checked beforehand.

Magical powers

Children of all ages – including ‘seen it all before’ teens will enjoy watching a good magician – particularly one who works the tables and does magic close up.


An experienced conjurer will gauge his tricks according to the age group he’s entertaining – you just have to look at the cult following of Dynamo to see that ‘how did he do that’ magic has never been more popular.

Working off excess energy

If you’re having a summer wedding and you’ve room outside, consider having a bouncy castle for the kids but alternate sessions for different age groups. An energetic 12-year-old boy let loose amongst toddlers will quickly result in tears and of course you’ll need to have a responsible adult to keep an eye on proceedings.

Garden games always go down well (but remember they’re largely weather dependent). You can hire giant games of Jenga, croquet and even old-fashioned fairground swings.

Table planning for kids

We also think it’s a good idea to have separate children’s tables (which teenagers will particularly appreciate). Have a supervised one for the under 5s (and give the parents some peace), another for the under 12s and put the teens on their own table. (Try not to mix up teens with under 12s – they won’t appreciate being put with ‘babies’.) For the teens, you might like to include some icebreakers – maybe some photographs on the table of them as young children (the parents should be able to help with this one).

Instead of wedding favours, you could supply a colouring book and pencils at the place setting of each young child and maybe get a balloon artist to visit to keep them amused. Young children aren’t going to sit still for long. Maybe rethink having dessert at the table and instead have a freestanding dessert and/or sweetie table instead so kids can dip in if they feel like something.

For the under 12s – and maybe the teens if you think they’d join in – you could have a photographic scavenger hunt. Put disposable cameras at each place setting along with a list of things that need to be photographed (bride kissing groom, a bouquet of flowers, a granny dancing, a granddad sleeping …)

The trick to making sure kids have a great time at your wedding is to think about them beforehand, maybe consulting the parents as to what they like and have some planned strategies and entertainments.

You may like to see how other brides have handled this issue by visiting the Wedding Ideas Forum, we’re talking about this very subject here.


  1. As the babe leader and vocalist of a band that’s performed at over 3,000 weddings in the past 18 years I can honestly say children add to the evening. I make up dances with them and involve them by bringing percussion instruments. Children encourage adults to dance which is a positive thing. So I say bring on the children!

  2. The kids at our wedding had a great time on the dance floor! During our ceremony when everyone was asked if they had any objections one of the kids started making noises, to which the reply was ‘ahem…I think we’ll just ignore that comment’. It actually made everyone laugh and the photographer got a great photo of all the guests grinning at the same time 🙂

  3. Early on in the planning I said to all the children only this resulted in nearly half the guests being under 10, which also meant we had to seriously consider who we could invite. After much deliberation we decided to only invite immediate family (four of which were our own children plus another six) with close friends children coming in the evening. I made gift boxes for the day children with loads of non messy craft bits which kept them bust during the speeches. All the children loved the evening and danced until the very end. From past experiences of various other occasions we have held, birthdays, christenings etc I feel we made the right decision for our wedding, plus all our friends with children took full advantage of a child free day and partied the night away 🙂

  4. Not, unless they are very close family. I love going to weddings without the kids! A good excuse to be a grown up and not just somebody’s mummy. Heaven knows parents need a break every now and then so don’t feel bad for not inviting the little darlings!

  5. We had a bouncy castle, and giant garden games to keep the children amused. The adults liked them too! It depends on your wedding, if you have a formal sit down with loads of speeches and courses then of course they’ll get bored and make a noise. We have 3 children so we made our wedding informal and fun.

  6. Yes, they should be invited and it’s better if you make for them a playground space. They will be busy there and the parents will be happy. I saw at our weddings that people prefer to bring in a clown to cheer them up. So, as long as they are busy having fun, the adults will also do it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here