Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Friday, April 13, 2012

How to Deal With Noisy Children During the Ceremony

Filed under: Children or No Children?,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

I do understand the crying, the hissyfits and hyjinks children at weddings can bring, however it is rude if parents who have children at the wedding don’t keep them under control. At a recent wedding a small fit-throwing toddler began to cry incessantly during the ceremony. The mother continued to hold the child on her lap while the crying was getting louder as time went on, but made no move to take the child out of the ceremony area. It was terribly distracting to me as the Wedding Officiant to say nothing of the adults who were trying to hear the ceremony. And the wedding ceremony was being filmed by a videographer. Can you imagine the bride and groom listening and watching the video later?

mother&cryingkidIf you have friends who would not take a crying child outside of a wedding ceremony immediately, perhaps you should rethink your friends. Why on earth do parents think that a squealing child makes for acceptable behavior at an event like a wedding? I guess duct tape is out of the question? ūüėČ If I did that when I was a child, you can bet I would be removed from the premises post-haste and disciplined when I got home. While it is true that “kids will be kids,” a wedding is not the place to tolerate bad behavior.

It’s become increasingly acceptable to outlaw little people at weddings. Small children have a short attention span so their capacity for sitting still at a wedding is decidedly limited. Because children are unpredictable and have a hard time sitting still for any length of time, you must be prepared for the unexpected when inviting children to your wedding.

If a child becomes unruly or loud during the ceremony, assign someone to ask the parent of a crying child to take the child away from the ceremony area until the ceremony ends. The person you assign must be willing to take action quickly and silently as needed.

If you’re inviting children to your wedding provide a nursery with hired personnel. You can’t force parents to leave them in the nursery, but you can print a line in your program stating that fussy or noisy children should be taken into the nursery. Because parents aren’t likely to want their children to be kept in a nursery for the duration of the entire wedding, having a nursery available for just the main ceremony should be sufficient.

Set aside a space at the reception for a “Children’s Party.” This is usually a corner or room near the main reception area that offers lots of activities to alleviate children’s boredom. You can also assign an usher at the back of the ceremony site (or church) to approach parents of fussy/noisy children during the ceremony and volunteer quietly to escort them away from the ceremony area.

bridaltablekidChildren also have a tendency to take over the dance floor, running, etc. If the children aren’t old enough to know better and the parents can’t control them, then perhaps they shouldn’t be there. Since it’s a little late for that have someone guide the children to the “children’s party.”

Brides and Grooms who do not wish children to be present during the ceremony – or reception – must make childcare arrangements for the parents. Put together a box of “fun” things with coloring books, crayons, card games, DVD movies, building blocks, art activities or video games are all great options for the children’s entertainment. Include a few other dollar store items to entertain the children after dinner.

One bride said, “With the enormous expenses of weddings today, the expectation that children should be allowed at a wedding is simply outlandish. Furthermore, the drinking of the reception, uncensored language, inexplicable boredom for children, and sexual undertones that often come with a wedding should be enough for any responsible parent to willingly omit their child from the proceedings.”

Another bride said, “There seem to be two issues at the heart of the debate: controlling children so they don’t ruin the ceremony/reception and wasting food on children, who hardly eat/sit still anyway.”

If parents with children who have a history of misbehaving are not invited to the wedding, that pretty much solves the problem. I know that is not what you want to hear but weddings are expensive and should not be spoiled by a spoiled child.

When a couple decides not to invite children to their wedding, they can head off drama (and children) by getting the word out, informally, before the invitations are sent. Pass the word through your families, during showers or other wedding parties and events, and casually with friends. Your friends will understand and not feel bad knowing you must limit your guest list.

Have someone go first to the parents of the children you won’t be inviting. Tell them you’re having to make some difficult decisions about your guest list, and that you won’t be inviting any children to the event (other than those who may be in the wedding party as flower girls, ring bearer, etc., if that’s your decision). Tell them you’re sorry not to be able to include their children, and that you’re calling early to give them as much notice as they can to find a sitter or if you have made arrangements for nursery attendants, let them know.

babyflowergirlWhen you want the children invited, the inside envelope of the invitation will include the parents names, as well as the children’s names. Most people know, when receiving an invitation, that children are not invited, unless their names are listed, or unless “and family” is written on the inside invitation. This does not, however, protect you from a thoughtless guest. Some brides choose to personally call guests with children and clarify if the wedding will be for adults only so there is no misunderstanding. It is considered rude to put phrases such as “No Children” on an invitation. One bride I know provided a list of several baby-sitting services with her invitations.

Note for Guests: It is improper to argue with a couple over their decision to include or not include children in their wedding – or to insist that your child be the exception. A wedding guest list – even if you find it unfair – is not up for debate.

To invite, or not to invite, children to the wedding is a topic that has long caused strife to wedding planning couples. Some say a wedding with drinking and dancing all through the night is no place for children. Others think that leaving kids off the guest list is ridiculous and rude. Always remember, it is your wedding and you can invite whomever you choose. You may run the risk of offending some parents, but you have to stay true to what you want your wedding day to be.

On the other hand, I’ve seen some very funny things happen when children are involved in the wedding party that really make the wedding memorable. In the end… it is only and always your choice!

BONUS Article: How to Keep Children Quiet and Prevent Interruptions During Your Wedding
No Rugrats (Children) Allowed!
Children at the Reception?
An Age Guide to the Little Ones in Your Wedding

Copyright ¬© 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on desiredassistanceweddings.


    Comment by daweddings — Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

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