Inviting Children, or Not.
There’s articles all over the internet and pages in every wedding planning book dedicated to the topic of children at weddings. Everyone in the industry has their “take” on this stressful topic. Besides your opinion and the opinion of your most important guests, the only other opinion that needs to matter in your venue’s opinion. Most venue contracts have a clause about what kind of behavior is acceptable AND a security deposit for damages. So, here’s The Flower Farm at Dogwood Hill’s policy and thoughts about Children at our weddings.
We consider ourselves to be one of only a few truly family friendly venues in the area. Many of the venues frown upon children being on their property due to the risks they create. All the venues we’re aware of provide nothing in the way of entertaining children – no games, projects or toys. This is mostly because they are your venue, not your babysitter or daycare.
The Flower Farm at Dogwood Hill does provide a variety of children’s activities when there will be children at your wedding. We offer an outdoor play structure for smaller children, a matchbox car table complete with city map driving mat, a collection of board books and a variety of games for the school age kids, too. These things are on loan for children to use while they are here.
Having a selection of things for kids to do, the challenge becomes reaching an understanding with kids and their parents at every event. The understanding is (1) all the games and toys are our property and need to be returned to where they belong, care must be taken to see that smaller toys do not go home with children; (2) we are not a babysitter or daycare, our staff is not responsible for watching your children – you or your guests need to keep an eye on your child’s whereabouts at all times.
A child friendly wedding venue is still a wedding venue, not a daycare.
How to Have A Fun Wedding with Children
Having children at your wedding does not have to be a stress or struggle. If you want to allow children at your wedding here, we require 2-3 guests to be appointed as gate keepers of the children. You can usually find a couple of people among your family who are willing to help with this. They should NOT be members of the bridal party or your most important relatives (they will be whisked away for photos leaving kids unattended). If you do not want to assign this task to guests, consider hiring a babysitter for the day to help at your wedding.
Snacks and kid appropriate drinks available before the ceremony helps, too. Kids get hungry and cranky if they have to patiently wait, sit still and go hungry. Not all weddings start on time. We have seen delays up to 30 minutes here while waiting for late arriving guests.
Movie Night – You can ask every child to bring a pillow from home and declare it Movie Night in the bridal Suite after the meal. You’ll need to bring your own device and movies for them to watch. This is a great way to give kids a quiet and comfortable space to settle down. Yes, this idea requires a little more work and planning on your part but it is soooo worth consideration.
Anticipate and intercept damage. The role of guests tasked with watching children is to simply step in and stop the children from damaging the rose bushes, gardens, furniture and buildings of the venue AND to stop children from getting hurt. Damage to the gardens and our roses can become very expensive for you if children are allowed to run in and pick the flowers.
That’s All Folks
Its pretty simple, common sense stuff that we’re talking about. Just yesterday we had a very successful wedding with a lot of children attending. Everything we are talking about above is exactly how pulled it off. Every wedding requires teamwork on the part of the venue staff and the crowd. There was a little extra planning with the bride and family to make sure we planned for success and everything went wonderfully!