Kids are precious, and if they are important to you and your fiancé, then they should be at your wedding. Here are some considerations as you plan...
Some people are adamant that kids and weddings do not mix. They say that:
Weddings are formal, special events and kids are not ready for the behavior that is required. Parents of young kids would rather get a sitter or a family member to watch the little ones and take the night to truly celebrate with the bride and groom.
Weddings are expensive, and inviting kids (while they're typically less costly guests than adults) can add a whole new expense when you consider all of them.
There are so many kids. If you invite a few, you need to invite them all, so you might as well invite none of them.
Adult-only weddings are just the way to go. Alcohol will be served, people will be a little crazy as a result, and it will be a late night. These things and kids do not mix.
Kids get tired and cranky, and if they are at the wedding, there's a good chance their parents (your friends/family members) will have to leave early :(
Then again, some brides & grooms feel that kids should be included. Perhaps:
They have children, nieces, nephews, or siblings of their own who are underage and of course they will be invited to the wedding.
Extended family will be traveling in by plane for the weekend and will not be able to leave children behind. Plus, they want the kids there, and so do you (considering you don't get the chance to see each other that much and any opportunity to catch up with family is a treat).
They like kids and have been to weddings where kids were the hit of the party. They tend to have have some good dance moves and like to party! They don't need alcohol to use their dancing inhibitions and will be ready to dance ASAP.
The kids that they know are very well-behaved, excited to attend and/or old enough to handle the excitement in an appropriate manner.
They want a flower girl, ring bearer, and junior bridesmaid(s). Wouldn't those kids want other kids there, too?
This is sort of an exhausting topic, because we can think of points for each side and argue until we're blue in the face (and that's not the kind of 'something blue' we want) without knowing who is really right. So let's just say this...you're right. Whatever it is that you and your fiance(e) want, that's what you should do. Consult with your parents, but ultimately know that the decision is yours.
Here are some options:
Kids are invited for the whole wedding.
Adult-only event (no kids)
Kids are invited to the ceremony/service (but not to the reception)
All kids/kids above a certain age (10+?)/only kids in the wedding party/kids below a certain age (babies only) are invited to stay for the whole wedding
Kids are invited to the whole wedding, and a kids' activity room and a babysitter (or two) will be available for their care and entertainment at the venue.
Kids are invited for part of the wedding, and a sitter is provided back at the hotel for the rest of the night.
There are more options, but these are typically the ones that we see. You should strongly consider placing kids with their parents for seating. I've seen all kids' tables and they can get a little out of hand when nobody is there to be a model of good party behavior. However, if you do go with a kids' table, I'd suggest leaving candles/votives off of it and loading the table up with activities for them to do. Ask the venue if they have smaller kid-sized tables and chairs, and have some kid-friendly hors d'oeuvres during Cocktail Hour. Kids will often receive a different meal that adults at wedding venues and will get this meal when the adults' salads come out (if there is a salad course and an entree for adult guests). This means that kids may have to sit patiently while adults eat dinner. One solution to this problem is to have a Kids' Dance Party during dinner. Have the DJ/band play some dancing music just for the kids and watch them go!
Okay, they might not be THIS good, but they will be entertaining :)
If you're having kids at your wedding, you should also consider what they'll be doing. Provide activities for them- coloring books, crayons, word puzzles, etc.- and think about making a game for them, such as the I Spy activity below (love these!). Provide cameras on the tables or ask guests to use cameras/phones.
I think there's a limit on the number of children when it gets to be too many. If you have a LOT of kids in your life (like 20+), maybe you should consider only having a few (or none at all) at the wedding and then inviting them to celebrate in another way, another day (if that's something you would like to do). Maybe a pizza or ice cream party after the honeymoon where kids could play and you could catch up with their parents.
In any case, it's your choice, so do what works for you. Just be prepared to have a clear line drawn somewhere- "we're inviting kids under the age of _ only" or "we're inviting family members from out of state only" or something to that effect. People will understand, but they'll also want to know and you won't want them to feel offended when they arrive and see other kids but theirs weren't invited.
What has been your kids/weddings experience? Anything that anyone did really well? Feel free to post a comment and share!
Pinterest Recommendation: Check out http://www.pinterest.com/bellagala/kids-in-weddings-minneapolis-wedding-photographers/ for some great kid wedding pic ideas!
More Great Kids' Activity Ideas: http://proudtoplan.blogspot.com/2013/04/entertaining-kids.html