Sunday, June 14, 2009

How To Make Your Wedding Family Friendly

One of my best friend's from college is getting married soon.

She recently sent an e-mail to those of us attending with children.

Her message sets a high bar for creating a family friendly wedding.

I replied, gushing -- "OMG! THANK YOU!! I FEEL LIKE IT IS MY WEDDING!!!"

Because she thought of everything, I thought I should share her e-mail and let it stand as THE guide to planning a wedding that both allows children to attend as well as ensures their parents a good time.

E-mail from the bride...

Hi everyone,

I thought you would appreciate a quick note to tell you about our plans for helping the kids enjoy themselves during the wedding weekend, and to check in on your needs for babysitting.

A reminder of Friday’s meet and greet at [the restaurant] beginning at 4pm, we’ll have some hors d’oeurves early on, and the pub serves organic sandwiches, salad, and chips. It’s a small town and kids will be completely welcome there until evening. One thing to know is that the pub is upstairs so there are steep stairs to keep little ones away from.

On Saturday, we’ll have a regular chair for each child during the 30-minute ceremony and we don’t mind if there is a little noise from restless children. During the reception my nieces (ages 17, 15, and 12) have games planned to keep the little kids (ten children ages 2-6) entertained from 4 to 7pm, and they will give the kids their meal. We’ve planned two 24” high banquet tables and 20 chairs so there’s room for you to drop in. We did not plan big-people chairs for them in the banquet area. We’ve also got four babies under 2, and we’ll have three girls to look after them. We’ll spread a blanket or two for them to relax and play with their toys.

For the kid's meal, we are planning quality hot dogs off the grill, macaroni and cheese, organic fruit salad, and fizzy water served on paper plates and paper cups. If your child uses a sippy cup, please bring it and we can put masking tape with your child’s name on it. We expect the babies’ parents will have their food packed with them. With your permission we’ll also give the kids goodie bags with healthy goodies (graham crackers, yogurt pretzels, trail mix and a juice box).

The high temperature should be somewhere between 75 and 85, and as the sun goes down it will drop to 50. It’s hot in the sun and cool in the shade. The back yard has pine trees which should offer shade to the kids, and if necessary we’ll move two patio umbrellas over the tables/blankets. I recommend sun block and we’ll have some available appropriate for young children. In the house we’ll have a changing table and a potty chair. We’ve also got 2 pack n plays and a lot of beds if you think your child might take a nap.

Sunday is Father’s Day, and we’ll honor the dads at brunch beginning at 10am. We’re serving eggs benedict for brunch, which we hope will be appropriate for kids. Come any time… (I think we’ll ask people to RSVP for brunch in a separate email so we know how much food to prepare.)

Regarding babysitting, we’ve received some requests and I’ll confirm them here. If you want some help with babysitting during the weekend please let me know this week, and I’ll confirm with you.

Can’t wait to see you all! All our love,
The Bride & Groom


I bow down and prostrate myself at the feet of the Bride and Groom!

28 comments:

Magnorth, Cape Town said...

I went to loads of weddings as a child and I think it's so sad that kids are left out nowadays. I'm sure the divorce rates are in some way connected to children never witnessing the solemnity and joy of a wedding ceremony - and only getting the movie or soapie version. This is SUCH a great email.... I think she ought to be beatified!!!

Not Hannah said...

Wow, that's really cool. I'm sure it will help whole families enjoy the wedding more and take a lot of stress out of the situation for everybody. Good for them.

Lindy said...

wow I want to come too!

ewe are here said...

Wha a wonderful, unselfish couple your friends are. so rare in wedded couples to be these days, especially brides.

I'm sure they will have tons of babysitting offers down the line should they have children themselves.

Amanda said...

That is so amazing! The weather detail? The healthy goodie bags? I'm blown away.

AnnetteK said...

That is one awesome bride! She really gets it. I have a cousin who did some special stuff for the kids at her wedding reception and it was truly appreciated. Too bad more people aren't so considerate!

flutter said...

that rocks, what a considerate couple

Sayre said...

Weddings should include families. All members. Your friends are just awesome for knowing that and making arrangements. EVERYONE will have a great time.

Jessica said...

Do you friends need another friend?

'Cause clearly these are the kinds of friends I want to have. FOREVER.

XOXOXO to the Bride & Groom, and there's no doubt you'll have a great time...they plan to see to it! Amazing!

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Clearly they have neices and nephews - amazing!

Denguy said...

We're invited to a family wedding (on my wife's side) that's also out of town and the invitation strictly says no children.
We said: Sorry, we'll be at the cottage that weekend.

Jen said...

We've been invited to four weddings this summer (four!) that specify NO CHILDREN. We're not going to any of them. It's not that we don't care about these people's special day, it's that we are not able and/or willing to find a sitter. Now if we had been invited to a wedding like this? We would have done whatever possible to make it because this is a bride that gets it.

Theresa said...

When my cousin got married years ago, she asked my eldest daughter, then 5, to be the flower girl. AFTER I accepted, she told me my 3 year old couldn't come to the reception! And when we went to the reception, we discovered she'd let teenagers attend! She couldn't make an exception for the sister of the flower girl?

After that, my husband and I decided to decline all invitations that didn't include children.

The bride who sent the email - smart woman.

Patience said...

WoW! Many weddings don't want kids around at all, much less make such elaborate plans for them.

Your friends rock big time!!

furiousBall said...

I have a cousin that had an adults only wedding and i was seething with anger when i saw that on the invite. this goes against what families are about, especially mine. my father's side of the family escaped Armenia during the Turkish genocide and we celebrate children crying, you know why? because we're alive and our family is carrying on. people get so friggin' uppity about themselves and just don't get it.

good for this family, i am usually making dick and fart jokes in my comments, so you know this struck a nerve :)

Ortizzle said...

This woman could have a whole career as a "Wedding with Children Planner." Seriously.

Holly said...

Wow, that really does set the bar high. So welcoming, and so considerate!

Amy said...

That's awesome! I think it's so important to be welcoming and considerate to kids, if you're inviting them. At my wedding two years ago, we had the nursery at church open during the ceremony so kids could hang out and play there. At the reception, kids sat at the regular tables with everyone, but we had two babysitters there to help play with the kids and keep them occupied. We also had kids' favors, instead of what the adults got, just a little age-appropriate toy for each kid to help keep them happy and having fun. They loved using the disposable cameras we had at each table, too. Worked out beautifully and made them feel included!

Anonymous said...

Er, she didn't mention whether the trail mix would include nuts. :-> - Aunt Nancy

3carnations said...

Wow. That is extraordinary. :-)

deb said...

Awesome.

liliannattel said...

That's wonderful. It reminds me of a wedding we attended where there was a clown for the kids.

Lottifish said...

I'm a wedding planner so my view are a little skewed. I think the email is super sweet and way above the call of duty for a busy bride and groom...however, I am sad that they mention their three nieces will be watching the kids and feeding them. Why shouldn't the nieces get to experience the party too? Especially the 17 year old one?

Okay, stepping off my soapbox. Have fun at the wedding!

Color Printing said...

What a well-thought wedding. I wonder how much they spent for it? Well, congratulations to the bride and groom... and to the family they will soon have!

sugaredharpy said...

Well, well, well....we just got engaged and I was googling around for how to help kids feel comfortable and happy at a wedding and reception, and I land on your blog...the blog I already read and love!

You have good taste in friends, lady.

Kimberly said...

My college best friend had a kids reception and babysitters. Which I thought was cool even though I was single at the time.

More recently my 22 year old cousin got married. "Adults Only" reception. Out of town. We had a 14 month old. I think I responded, "We would love to come, but what with the baby and all...." The kicker? The groom's SISTER had an 8 month old, who was in the wedding! And the sister STILL had to bring a babysitter with her for the weekend!

Most recently, invite from Hub's friend. "Kids of all ages welcome"
YEAH!

Kyla said...

That is AWESOME!

WkSocMom said...

That is great. It is really frustrating when it's an out of town wedding with no kids. A friend had one of those, but emphasized there would be a big bbq the day before and kids were totally welcome, and had a hotel room reserved with babysitters for the actual wedding, so I forgave him :)