Kristen Winters, a Maine wedding and event planner, said it best, "Your wedding isn't just about you, it's your responsibility to be a great host." Many of your family and friends are likely to be traveling from a distance and will be accompanied by their little ones. One thing is for certain, wedding ceremonies and receptions are not the most kid-friendly environments. One of the most considerate things you can do is provide a family-friendly environment that lets kids be kids and adults be adults. Your friends and family will be impressed and thankful if you put some thought into how to make all age groups have a great time. A definite plus to having a barn or farm wedding is that the setting can be incredibly kid-friendly. Here are a few things to remember when considering making a family-friendly wedding:
1. Hire a babysitter or two or three
Ask your venue if they have any recommendations for babysitters or local daycare facilities that can recommend professional babysitters. Depending on how many children are attending the event, consider hiring more than one. There is nothing that gives parents more joy then to know they can be an adult and enjoy the day knowing that their kids are being watched by professionals. They can watch the ceremony in peace and focus on the day instead of fearing that their little ones can't sit still or even worse having a meltdown during an intimate moment. They will feel extra cared for if their children are considered.
2. Designate an area for kids
Consider renting a tent just for the kids. If you are lucky enough to have a venue that can have an extra room or garage to set up a kid-friendly zone, it's a major plus. At Granite Ridge, we have a 6 bay car garage that has been used as a kids area with extra rented tables and chairs. It is far enough away that the kids can be loud and not disturb the party, and close enough that the parents can check in easily. Make sure there is a play pen, pack and play, or a portable crib; all things a professional babysitter should remind you of, but be prepared just in case!
3. Provide kid activities
Another reason to hire a professional babysitter from a day care center, they know what entertains the kid crowd. They can come with games, coloring books, and all kinds of tricks to help keep the kids occupied. Simple games like hide and seek are always winners. Along with activities, make sure there is a place for kids to crash - beds, cots, you name it.
4. Remind your caterer that the kids (and babysitters) will need their own meals
Kids can be forgotten when it comes to dinner. Make sure you order enough extra food from your caterer that will take care of the kids and the babysitters. This is a detail that can easily be forgotten. A good caterer will already have a kid-friendly menu they can easily put together. You can also order in pizza, but be aware that kids may have a wheat and/or dairy allergy. A professional daycare will help coach you through a kid-friendly menu.
5. Don't forget the nursing mom
At Granite Ridge, when we placed a comfortable leather chair in the womens bathroom it never occurred to us that it would be occupied almost every wedding with a nursing mom. Moms come to us in a panic wondering if there is a place for them to nurse and they are instantly put at ease that they have a place to go. Make sure there is a dressing room or private area for moms, they often get over looked.
If you decide to have a family-friendly wedding, it is a certainty that if you put some thought into how children are accommodated, all of your guests will thank you for it.
Photography credit: Hailey Tash Photography, Bella Wang Photography, Yeah Bud! Photography