Connolley in MD: We can't decide whether to have an adults only wedding or let our guests bring their kids. What do you think is best from your experience. Are kids okay at weddings or are they a pain?
Rev. Ann: Wow, that's a loaded question. If you ask it on a wedding planning forum grab yourself a bag of popcorn and sit back. Whether or not you should include children on your guest list completely depends upon a number of factors and is a highly personal decision.
I cannot honestly recall a child guest so thoroughly disrupting a ceremony that it caused a serious problem, a humorous one maybe. But I can't speak for the reception. If you do include children on the guest list, I highly recommend hiring professional child-care/entertainment such as Nannytainment. The peace of mind is worth every penny!
Guest lists are not vague suggestions with fuzzy boundaries. Decide between you what makes the most sense in your circumstances and then be firm with family and friends.
Jessica in Ormond Beach: My fiance doesn't think our daughter should be in the wedding, but my mom thinks she should be a flower girl. Our venue doesn't allow flower petals so I thought it would be nice if she walked me down the aisle. The wedding is a week before her second birthday, what do you think would be a good role for her in our wedding?
Rev. Ann: As much as you are probably not going to like hearing this, I completely agree with your fiance. I have previously covered my opinion about good ages for ring bearers and flower girls, and two years old does not work well for either one.
As odd as it may seem, when an infant or toddler is the couple's child (or the bride or groom's) it really is best to leave them out of the wedding party completely. Dress them up adorably for portraits and give them a seat of honor next to an adult they have also bonded with such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc.
The difficulty arises when the child "wants mommy or daddy.....now!" Children that young do not understand what is going on and have no idea why everyone is trying to keep them from jumping into daddy's arms or clinging to mommy's weird white skirt. I have officiated a number of ceremonies where the bride and groom handed a squirming fussy infant/toddler back and forth when they really should have been focusing on the weight of the occasion and the pledges they were making to one another.
This is behavior you absolutely cannot predict, nor can you reason with a child of that age. Put her in a cute outfit, hand her a new book or toy right before the ceremony, and give someone she trusts the responsibility of caring for and entertaining her during the ceremony.
Rev. Ann Fuller
The commentary on this blog is my own opinion developed over years of officiating a wide range of wedding sizes and styles. I am always happy to answer any questions you may have.