Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Saturday, September 5, 2015

7 Dos and Don’ts For an Adults-Only Wedding

Ivy Jacobson, Guest Author

Simply put, your wedding guest list is ultimately up to you. If you want a child-free celebration, do it. That said, there are a few sticky scenarios that tend to come up when kids aren’t welcome at the wedding. Our advice? Tread lightly and follow these tips.

Adults-only wedding invitation wording

WED-NoKidsDO properly address the invitation

To make it clear from the start that your wedding is adults-only, address your invitations to exactly who is invited – or some guests with children might assume their whole family is invited. You can also go the extra mile and write in their exact names on the response card (just like you addressed them on the outer envelope), and then all they’ll have to do is check “will attend” or “will not attend.” That way, it will be clear that “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” are the guests invited.

DON’T print “adults-only” on the invitation

Even if you want to go one step further to specify that your wedding is adults-only by writing it on the invitation, that’s an easy way to hurt feelings. Having a child-free wedding can be a very sensitive issue to some — especially with family members and close friends with multiple children. For a more tactful approach, have family members, wedding party members and friends spread the word to other guests so they have lots of time to secure a babysitter.

DO feel free to put a note onto your wedding website

Your wedding website is a place to put catchall information about your wedding, like your registries, transportation options, dress code and other pertinent items. This is an appropriate place to also mention that your wedding ceremony and reception are adults-only and provide any babysitting options in the area.

Children in the wedding party

DO have a flower girl and ring bearer (if you want!)

It’s fine to have as many flower girls, ring bearers, junior bridesmaids and junior groomsmen as you want – they’re part of the wedding party, after all. But if you don’t want them at the reception and just at the ceremony, remember they’re kids and they’ll feel like they’re missing out. In that case, it’s good to come up with a plan or treat for them instead, like throwing them a small pizza party and hiring a babysitter and a magician or face painter to entertain them.

WED-NoKids3DON’T make it an “adults-mostly” reception

And while you can have children in your wedding party and still have an adults-only reception, you have to be mindful not to bend the rules for other people with children. If you let some guests bring their families and not others, it might look like you hand-selected which children were and weren’t invited – and that could lead to a pretty uncomfortable situation. Inviting children just to the ceremony isn’t a good solution either, since they might see other kids going to the party when they have to go home or to a babysitter.

Dealing with hurt feelings

DO call any guests who assume their children are invited

This is the hard part. If you do hear from family members who are questioning why your younger cousins, nieces and nephews aren’t allowed to come, that’s normal. To clear up the sensitive issue, call them and explain that you can’t invite everyone you’d like to due to “budget constraints.” Even if it’s not true, it’s always the best excuse to ward off any further questions or protests.

DON’T back down

It might be an uncomfortable chat, but don’t back down. You and your partner get to decide who’s invited to the wedding, period. It’s completely fair to want an adults-only wedding. But if you have a truly angry guest on your hands, it’s a kind gesture to look into hiring a babysitter to watch a few children during the evening at the hotel. They can have a party of their own with kid-friendly food and fun activities.

BONUS Articles: No Rugrats (Children) Allowed!
Children at the Reception?

Copyright 2015 – Ivy Jacobson. This article by Ivy Jacobson originally appeared on TheKnot.com.

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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: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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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? 😉 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: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Age Guide to the Little Ones in Your Wedding

Filed under: Child Attendants,Children or No Children?,Flower Girl,Ring Bearer — Larry James @ 7:00 am

How will the little ones fit into your wedding and your wedding party?

Kids are fun as members of the bridal party. They often provide a few laughs due to their unpredictability. They are often the high-point of the wedding.

kidwithBIGhatI have listed some of the roles that can be given to children in your wedding, including approximate age guidelines to help make things go smoother. The age, maturity and personality of the child should be considered when making your choices.

Ages three and under are sometimes pulled in a wagon or pushed in a stroller, then seated with family; dressed in tiny, adorable formal wear. Keep in mind that often small children (under the age of five) become distracted easily and notoriously have small attention spans during the ceremony. They often become bored and restless. Be sure to let the parents know that if that happens it is okay with you to have them seated after they walk up the aisle.

Preteens and teens (11 to 15 years old) could be assigned to watch after the registration book, accepting gifts from guests to gift table, be ushers, passing out bubbles or birdseed, wedding programs, distribute wedding favors to the guests at the reception, etc.

Ushers is a category designed to create a special place in your wedding party for kids who are too old to be flower girls or ring bearers (4-8 years old), but too young to participate in all of the rituals of the adult honor attendants.

Junior bridesmaid or junior groomsman, usually ages 11-15, stands with the wedding party at the end of the row, dressed in child version of wedding party attire and often the same wedding attire.

Flower girls are generally between four and eight years old. Sometimes, “mature” two and three year olds pull it off quite charmingly, possibly with parents or other children they know escorting them down the aisle. If the girl is a bit older, you might consider making her a junior bridesmaid – junior bridesmaids wear dresses similar (or often the same) in color and style as the bridesmaids, they walk down the aisle in the procession, and they stand at the altar with the other attendants. A young girl over the age of eight could walk down the aisle as a junior bridesmaid instead of a flower girl. The flower girl tosses petals on the aisle before the bride walks down it. You can have as many flower girls as you would like.

flowergirl:ringbearerAppropriate ages for ring bearers range anywhere from four to eight years old. Anything younger can pose problems due to unpredictable behavior – it may be difficult to coax them down the aisle, and they may not be able to stand through the duration of the ceremony. Some think that children over the age of eight may be too old to serve as ring bearers. It may be more appropriate for a boy older than eight to serve as a junior groomsman or an usher. You may have two ring bearers if desired.

Ring bearers often carry a white pillow with faux rings attached to it. Sometimes, depending upon the age of the child, it may be wise to have the best man actually carry the real rings. To those who may want the best man and the maid of honor to each carry a ring I would remind you that the maid of honor usually carries a bouquet and at some point during the ceremony may also hold the bride’s bouquet and she doesn’t have pockets. So… I vote for the best man to carry both rings.

A gift attendant (ages 12 and up) is responsible for the gift table. He or she watches the table during the reception to insure that gifts remain on the table. After the reception, he or she helps to load the car with gifts. This is a simple role that is great for the responsible child.

The guest book attendant’s (ages 14 and up) job is to get people to sign the guest book. He or she should be in a location where this is feasible, and should ask each person that enters to sign the guest book. This is not a role for a shy child, but should be reserved for someone who is friendly and reasonably outgoing. Instruct this attendant to ask each guest to “please sign the guestbook” or “will you sign the guestbook” for best results.

kidwatchcakecuttingA Junior Attendant (ages 8 to 14) is the perfect title for a young girl in the groom’s wedding party or a young boy in the bride’s wedding party. See junior bridesmaid and junior groomsman usher for role description.

A Junior Bridesmaid (ages 8 to 14) is reserved for girls who are too old to be a flower girl and too young to be a bridesmaid. In most cases, her only duty is to come to the rehearsal and to walk down the aisle. Some couples do include junior bridesmaids in other festivities such as showers.

Junior Ushers (ages 8 to 14) is reserved for boys who are too old to be a ring bearer and too young to be a groomsman/usher. As a junior groomsman, his duties include going to the rehearsal and walking down the aisle. As a junior usher, he helps to seat wedding guests.

The personal attendant (ages 14 and up) is expected to help with the preparations before the ceremony and/or reception. The role varies, but this person (boy or girl) is a “wedding helper” and helps the bride or groom where needed. He or she can also be called a Bride’s Attendant or Groom’s Attendant.

Consider hiring on-site sitters during the reception. Provide toys, coloring books and crayons, etc. The children’s parents will be grateful.

Provide kid food for the children. Hamburgers, french fries and pizza will suit their palates much better than filet mignon and will be far less expensive. Most caterers can arrange a special menu of food more suited to children.

Although it is not necessary to have children to fit into each of the above categories, these are some positions that others have filled. Generally speaking, the two most often filled positions are for the flower girl and the ring bearer.

BONUS Article: Children at the Reception?
No Rugrats (Children) Allowed!

Copyright © 2011 – 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 800-725-9223. 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: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Making Your Guest List Budget-Friendly!

It’s never too early in the wedding planning process to start talking about your guest list. First things first. It’s all about the budget! The best way to cut the cost of your wedding is by managing the guest list.

Know what your budget is for food at the reception. Decide how many you want to invite then use the following list to help. If you’re on a tight budget, a smaller wedding may be the way to go. Each guest you invite translates into dollars spent on your wedding.

Here are a few things to think about when you are building your guest list for your wedding and reception. If you are paying for it yourself, you can pretty much invite as many as you can afford. If someone else is paying for the wedding, consult with them about a budget – and stick to it.

Who is so important that you can’t imagine getting married without them there? What can you afford? What is the wedding venue charging per plate? Sometimes a buffet is more economical. Who is absolutely not welcome?

Budget-Wedding-GuestlistRemember: family first!

1. Bride’s list (Family) – Must be invited

2. Groom’s list (Family) – Must be invited

3. Our list (Friends) – Should be invited

4. Would be nice to be invited. If you’re no longer friendly with certain people from your past, don’t feel obliged to invite them.

Narrowing down the wedding guest list is never an enviable task, but since a lot of your major wedding planning decisions are dependent on the number of guests you’re inviting, it’s a good idea to not wait until the last minute to finalize your list. Go through it with a red pen. It is better to first write up a preliminary list, then after a bit of consideration, have a second meeting to finalize the details. There is only one way to include everyone on your wedding guest list and that is increase your budget, which is usually unrealistic. 😉

If your wedding guest list already approaches your budget’s limit, take a step back. You might want to consider making your wedding an adults-only affair. You can trim the reception budget quite a bit if you eliminate having children at the reception. You do, however, run the risk of some close friends who have kids deciding not to show up for the wedding, either because they are offended by your choice or because they have no babysitter. You might want to consider providing guests with the names and numbers of local babysitters.

Kids look cute at weddings in their dress-up duds, but they don’t need to be there if you need to make cuts. It is inappropriate to write “No Children” on the invitations. Note on the reception “RSVP” card that an adult reception will be held after the ceremony. The only correct wording for your “save the date” cards is “Adult Reception,” “Adults Only Reception” or “Adult Only Ceremony and Reception.”

guest_listConsider limiting the amount of people you allow to bring dates. Forget about adding “and guest” indiscriminately to single friends’ invitations.

Will your ex and their date be excluded? Inviting an ex to a wedding is generally considered taboo, however, in some cases it might be acceptable, especially if one partner has an ex with whom he or she shares children.

How about people who are known to always drink to much?

If you see you will be over budget, begin your trims with business associates, then parents of your attendants. The people on your wedding guest list should be people you truly care about, not people you feel obligated to invite.

The first stage of planning your wedding is excitement! Yippeee… it’s FINALLY my turn! You can avoid hurt feelings if you hold off on the big announcement to everyone except your immediate family. I know you’re excited but resist the urge to tell anyone else until you know the wedding’s approximate size and your budget. Remember this is YOUR wedding, not your parents or in-laws. Set limits. I know that may be difficult if one side of the family is paying for the wedding and the other side insists on inviting a bigger share of their friends.

One of the most important first steps is to clearly define your parents’ involvement in the wedding. Odds are, if they’re the ones coughing up most of the cash for your nuptials, then they’re going to be eager to invite everyone on their guest list. And its only proper for the two of you to extend that courtesy.

The easiest way to satisfy everyone and avoid conflict is to set an equal number of guests that each family is allowed to invite. How they choose to select those guests is up to them. Make things clear to both your families early on. Once you have a final number of guests in mind, it’s a good idea to divide the number of invitations by thirds. One for your family, one for the new in-laws and one set of invitations for your friends. Determine how many guests each set of parents will be able to invite. Ask them for a list of names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail that does not exceed the number of guests they are allotted.

Most wedding consultants agree that if you invite 100 guests, about 20% may not respond or show up. Have a small back-up guest list ready for those who decline the invitation. Once the guest list and the budget are determined, you may have to make some adjustments to one or both to accommodate everyone.

It is impolite for a guest to ask if he or she can bring a date, however, it is not impolite of you to refuse. Say, “I’m sorry, Erica, but we have very limited seating at the reception and we just can’t accommodate any additional guests.”

Allow for errors when you order your wedding invitation. By the way, it is always a courtesy to send invitations to those people you know will probably not be able to attend due to great distance or illness. Mail your invitations out at least two to three months in advance for a normal wedding and six months or more if you’ve selected a holiday weekend. Be patient waiting for RSVPs, and don’t hesitate to call unresponsive guests at least two weeks before the wedding.

Plan your wedding guest list according to budget, guest importance and stay with it!

BONUS Articles: Wedding Guest List Mistakes
No Rugrats (Children) Allowed!
6 Questions to Ask Before Inviting Your Ex
The Stages of Wedding Planning on a Budget
Does Your Wedding Guest List Include Out of Town Guests?

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. 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 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No Rugrats (Children) Allowed!

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

In order to avoid the possibility of kid related catastrophes, a bride and groom may wish to exclude children from their wedding and reception. If you are thinking about the option of an “Adults Only” wedding reception, its critically important that you consider the matter carefully and realize that some may indeed find this to be a tad offensive, tacky, ungracious, or downright cold.

NochildrensignHowever, your wedding day is YOUR day and the bottom line is that you have a right to have it “your way” on your wedding day. Following proper wedding invitation etiquette and protocol is crucial to not giving anyone the wrong impression. Traditional wedding etiquette provides a few ways to make this clarification known without hurting feelings.

Rule #1. NEVER use phrases such as NO KIDS, NO CHILDREN, etc., on your wedding invitations. This is not considered polite and is bad wedding etiquette.

There really is no easy way to tell your guests that their children are not invited. The most subtle approach is to spread the “no children” restriction by word-of-mouth. Word of mouth works fairly well and is best. Assign this task to the maid or matron of honor or members of the bridal party or you can post it on your wedding Website. If you are excluding some children, the rule is that you must exclude all children. There must not be different rules for different people or some individuals will be deeply offended and hurt – and rightly so.

Many couples these days have kid-free weddings, but find that some friends and family members may be unable to attend. You might want to consider providing guests with the names and numbers of local babysitters. Note on the reception “RSVP” card that an adult reception will be held after the ceremony. The only correct wording for your “save the date” cards is “Adult Reception,” “Adults Only Reception” or “Adult Only Ceremony and Reception.”

If the children’s names are not included on the envelope of the invitation, the recipients should know that the children are not invited. You list only those whom you wish to invite on the outside of the inner envelope. Only those listed are invited. The exclusion of “and family” or the child/children’s name(s) on the envelope should be understood as “no children allowed.”

“The way an invitation is addressed, whether on the inner or outer envelope, indicates exactly who is invited, and, by omission, who is not invited to the wedding.” ~ Emily Post

You can tell family members why you do not want children under the age of 17 or whatever age you choose. To avoid any miscommunication, clearly state what you mean by “children.” Some parents may assume that older kids are all right, while you may want no one under legal drinking age in attendance.

The only possible exception to this would be any children who are in the wedding party. However, the jury is out in this one. While some etiquette experts feel that it may be alright to make an exception to this, there is a stronger belief that if the reception is to be adults only, no children should be included as part of the wedding party. Otherwise, parents of children who were not allowed to attend may feel slighted that clearly some exceptions are being made to allow children, while they were instructed to leave their kids behind.

Children can sometimes create noisy distractions at weddings. They often don’t care for the food at receptions, yet because they require seats, the bride and groom must pay for their meals. The per plate charges can be as high as $40.00 per plate and up – even for children. Opps! There goes the budget. The cost of feeding a child at the wedding can be considerably less than the cost to feed an adult. However, not all caterers or reception sites have children’s menus from which they will serve kids under 12 years of age.

Mention on your “Save the Date” cards that this will be an “adults only” affair, and that you hope this ample notice will allow for plenty of time to secure babysitters or make appropriate arrangements. While you might not get the results you hope for, you can attempt to simply pass the notion of “no children allowed” via word of mouth.

young adult femaleIf someone is couragous enough to ask if they might bring their “well behaved” children, be sure you know in advance how you will respond. “We all deserve some adult time every now and then,” you might say. “We thought our wedding would be the perfect event for the adults to let loose and not have any obligations.”

If someone slips up and brings their children, let it go. Although this is a major etiquette faux pas have someone assigned to take care of this situation. It’s not worth ruining your day.

If you don’t mind having the children at the ceremony but want an adult reception, you could arrange for the use of a room and hire a babysitter to care for the children during the reception. You of course would have to provide meals for them as well, so you would incur more expense trying to please everybody. You really are better off just talking with the families involved.

BONUS Articles: Children at the Reception?
Honor Step-Children in Your Wedding Ceremony
The No Children Wedding: Tips for Enforcing the No Kids Allowed Rule for a Small Wedding

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. 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 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Honor Step-Children in Your Wedding Ceremony

Filed under: Children or No Children?,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , ,

Consider including children from a previous marriage in your bridal party as bridesmaids, attendants, junior attendants, ushers, flower girl or ring bearer. The girls can hand out programs from pretty baskets before the ceremony.

According to the National Step-parenting Association, over 25% of brides or grooms have children from a previous marriage or relationship. Bringing a new spouse into the parent-child relationship can be a challenge. Children may feel threatened by the loss of their parent’s time and attention. They may feel that they are no longer loved as much as they were previously and this can lead to resentment toward the new spouse.

I believe it is wise to include the childen in the ceremony. It will help them feel very special and a true part of this new family. Little girls love to get all dressed up and every little boy loves a party.

Children may also like to do a short reading during the ceremony, or even escort the bride (their mother) down the aisle. However, remember that often small children (under the age of five) become distracted easily and notoriously have small attention spans during the boredom of dry clerical recitations. Instead of having very young children stand with the wedding party, it is a good idea to have them be seated after they finish their part in the ceremony.

At one of my weddings there was a 5 year old ring bearer. During rehearsal his mother was at the back row telling him when he should walk to the front with his ring pillow. At the rehearsal he slowly walked to the front, gave the ring on the pillow to the Best Man, turned and went to his seat on the front row. Perfect, right?

At the wedding it was a different story. As soon as his Mother turned him loose, he ran all the way to the front row and threw the ring pillow at the Best Man, who jumped at least a foot off the ground to catch the pillow. As the Best Man was “in the air” the photographer took a photo, I said, “Nice catch!” and everyone got a good laugh. In the meantime the little boy, startled at the laughter, turned around and ran all the way to the back row to his Mother.

Some couples will have the children light the family Unity Candle (not recommended at an outdoor wedding). A part of the ceremony can be edited to express to them that this is a marrage of family, not just two people. They all participate in lighting the Unity Candle to signify the joining of all of the family together. If you have an outdoor wedding, the candles are sometime difficult to light or to stay lit. Hurricane lamps may help, however you may want to have the Unity Candle indoors at the reception.

Sometimes the step-parent can offer a gift to the step-children. The girls could get a heart-shaped locket and the boys get a silver rope chain. Pendents, inscribed bracelets, pins or an inscribed watch for a boy are other ideas.

Involve the children in the planning of the wedding. Ask them for ideas. Children love to be consulted about details so encourage them to suggest colors, flowers, and even wedding music, even though their taste might be in question. You may want to let the children have a say in choosing what they will wear (within reason). Include the older girls when having hair and nails done before the wedding. Have the older children take candid pictures with a disposable wedding camera.

Girls love being creative and involved with making things. Have them help with making wedding favors, head-dresses, and table decorations. Boys can stuff the invitation envelopes and apply the postage stamps.

Some couples may have the minister or a close family member offer a special family prayer.

Be sensitive to the children’s feelings and remember kids are often shy, so be sure to have some “behind the scenes” jobs or activities available. If a child is reluctant to be involved in any activity, and there may be many reasons for this, respect their point of view and never force their involvement. Remind them that their presence is of great importance and that will be enough if that is their comfort level.

Larry James has a very special “Blended Family Ceremony for Step-Children,” a ceremony that includes the stepchildren in the ceremony in a very loving way.sandchildren

Another idea is to use the Blending of the Sand Ceremony with Children (See Ceremony #2) and include the children.

It takes time to develop a relationship with a step-child, but it is important to the success of the marriage that the children feel that they a part of the new family.

By the way, “National Stepfamily Day!” is celebrated annually on September 16th and was founded by Christy Borgeld in 1997.

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister 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 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Children at the Reception?

What will the little ones do on your special day, especially at the reception? Children provide an element of surprise, innocence and tenderness, because they say and do such funny things. To keep the little people busy during the reception, have crayons, coloring books, books, paper, and a few toys available.

Give them inexpensive, disposable cameras and let them play photographer. You’ll capture unique, child’s-eye-view imagery of your celebration that you wouldn’t otherwise have and some you can never use.

Give older children jobs to do like attending the guest book, passing out favors or manning a kiddie food table or sundae station. Kids and adults love creating their own deserts.

Hire a face painter, a clown, magician (children love magic), a balloon artist who makes balloons in the shape of animals or other children-friendly entertainment. When entertaining children remember that they need lots of variety. Never assume that if you provide them with one activity that they will be content for a three or four-hour reception.

Place a table at the back of the room so children can get up and race around without causing disruption to other diners. Provide a special cinema corner with DVD player with a kids movie, complete with popcorn and a supply of pillows and blankets. Some of the kids will crash before the closing credits.

Look for a company that specializes in providing interactive entertainment for children during the wedding and the reception. Or. . . hire a trusted friend to babysit the kids in a special room. Have a private “kids only” room. This will allow you and your adult guests to focus on celebrating every precious moment of your special day.

A box of toys under the table will placate very young children, while a jug of pens and pencils in the middle of the table, combined with a white “paper” tablecloth, can provide older kids with hours of fun. Sticker books, dot-to-dot books, legos, jigsaw puzzles, and some reading books work too. Ask the kids to draw their version of the wedding and sign them to give to the Bride and Groom.

Activities are only limited by your imagination. Have the DJ announce a “kids only” dance.

For a more controlled environment with less disruptions, seat children at their parents table. Kids are usually more behaved and less rambunctious when seated next to mom and dad rather than other children.

Your comments are always welcome!

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister 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 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

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