The “kids or no kids” question comes up for nearly every couple planning a wedding. We have all seen both ends of this debate firsthand, from cherubic flower girls and adorable ring bearers eliciting numerous “awes,” to frenzied little hellions throwing forks at the head table. Add two more elements to the equation, your own kids as a couple, and a destination wedding location, and things can get even more complicated.
When it comes to kids of guests at your destination wedding, the fact many couples would love the kid-free getaway solves many problems right off the bat. All others can be tactfully handled with specific wording on the invitation, but in the case of this blog, we are addressing those prefer only your own kids in attendance.
The kids of the bride and groom open many other doors which we will explore below, with the top twenty ways to handle your kids at your destination wedding.
- No matter the ages of your kids, find ways to include them in as many wedding planning details as possible. Worried about risking purple and orange as your color choices? No problem, have them help you shortlist icing flavors, napkin shapes or other smaller details. Consider age-appropriate DIY crafts that will create a unique family mood such as having them hand-write guest place cards or seating plans. Ask them to help assemble welcome bags or stamp invitation envelopes.
- Another great way to make your kids feel special and included is to write them into the vows. This is also an excellent way to establish the fact you are committing to being a family rather than just spouses. Consider making the vows that include them into wall hangings or engravings.
- Have the kids be part of pre-wedding activities such as bridal showers and possibly bachelor and bachelorette parties, according to ages and planned activities.
- Ask your kids to create their own unique signature drinks such as Shirley Temples, alcohol-free pina coladas or milkshakes.
- Include your kids on your wedding website, not only with pictures of them but a few fun family pix or their favorite activities at the beach.
- In the same partway you might present your fiancee with a special note or gift on the big day, provide something for each of the kids as well. Make it something they will cherish for years to come, and present it to them in the spirit of the love and excitement you feel about them taking on this new family role.
- Be sure your accommodations are kid-friendly. Although most resorts, boutique hotels and of course, private villas in Cabo welcome families, it’s still best to check all regulations right off the bat. Even if your accommodations allow kids, be sure your wedding planner checks for hazards such as stairways with no railings.
- You may also want to be sure to have a fridge in your room to accommodate the types of snacks and foods you may be relying on for them.
- Be sure to arrange for intermittent babysitting services for younger children well in advance; your wedding planner can assist with this. Especially when and where there is water present on the oceanfront or at a pool, you will need supervision at all times since your attention will obviously be focused elsewhere! Evening parties can be even more trying when there is alcohol present and relatives may inadvertently let their guard down.
- Typically, younger children are assigned flower girl or ring bearer duties, no matter the familial relationship.
- Older kids are often asked to accompany you and your fiancee down the aisle, no matter how many of them there are. Standing by your side as you exchange vows, they can also serve as maid of honor holding the bouquet or best man, handling the rings.
“It’s super important to do a ceremony rehearsal to reduce stress for kids. Teens especially are often uncomfortable, and I ask the parents permission to speak with them. We discuss their mixed feelings, how special this day is for their mom or dad, and how their non-support will hurt her them. I personally request they walk down the aisle slowly, face up and smiling. It always works!”
-Arianna Ocampo, Managing Partner and Head Wedding Planner, Del Cabo Weddings
- Many couples these days conduct a unity ceremony, using a candle, colored sand poured into a container or other symbol to signify or reaffirm the unity of your families. Allow them to light the candle, choose sand colors or create a totally new symbol such as handprints for future display in your home.
- If your kids have abilities or talents in performing arts such as dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument or reading poetry, offer them a moment in the spotlight. If they prefer more of a supporting role, have them write or choose a poem that could be dedicated to you and appear in the program.
- For the younger ones, have a room on hand just for the kids and their sitters at the reception venue. It will be easier for sitters to entertain and control them, and parents and other relatives can pop in and out. Stock up on movies, toys and games that will keep them entertained while the adults enjoy the festivities nearby.
- Photo time can be boring for anyone, so arrange for some outdoor games and activities for older kids that will keep them amused and wear them out a bit to save on energy bursts during the reception.
- Organize a scavenger hunt for older kids that could reward them with future family games or small tokens recognizing their individual personalities.
- Ask your older kids to perform a toast; even younger ones could recite that poem or say a quick word into the mic. In addition to or instead of this, you could give a toast or speech dedicated to them!
- Consider preparing a slide show featuring numerous snaps of the family, especially the kids.
- Older kids could be asked to choose a special song for a first family dance, while younger kids could have a couple of children’s music songs on the playlist for some wiggly, energy-burning fun.
- For the cake-cutting, arrange a unique cake table when kids can decorate their own mini-cupcakes with your wedding colors or their favourites. Great photo opp!
Many weddings these days are about joining families rather than those for traditionally young couples. The variations involving half-siblings, step-parents, step-grandparents, multiple second cousins and so-on are truly mind-boggling. By taking some time to include your children in as many ways as possible, you can help them feel like the vital part of your marriage and brand new family they will be!
If you have more tips to share, let us know.