Image by Adam Gibson via Emma and Alex’s Summer Butterland Wedding

I loved everything about my wedding day but I must admit, I do have one small regret – excluding children from my wedding. Yes, I owe my sisters-in-law an apology! Back then, I was determined to have a child-free wedding because I thought parents would welcome a child-free night out, and at age 24, I selfishly dreaded the thought of hordes of children creating chaos. Now with the benefit of being a celebrant and a Mum, I realise children can be a lot of fun at weddings. It’s children who create truly beautiful moments and truly beautiful photos too!

vintage inspired garden wedding0043Image by Vivid Photography viaStacey and Matt’s Vintage Inspired Garden Wedding

Flower Girls and Page Boys

If you’re having flower girls and page boys or ring bearers, make sure they’re comfortable with their role. Rehearsing is always a good idea. Talk them through what they have to do and then walk them through it – practice throwing petals or walking down the aisle so they know exactly what to expect. And on the day, if it doesn’t go to plan, don’t stress! These unpredictable moments are often funny and completely adorable. Your best bet is to keep their parents nearby so if all else fails, they can quickly be rescued!


Image by Xiss Photography via Kobi and Brad’s Relaxed Boyd Baker House Wedding

A Gentle Reminder

If you have decided to invite children, the ceremony and the speeches are probably the trickiest for keeping little ones quiet and entertained. Consider asking your celebrant to offer a gentle reminder to parents at the start of your ceremony, that it’s OK to leave the room if need be (that way there’ll hopefully be no crying, talking or tantrums during your all-important vows). The same reminder can be announced just before the speeches. It’s safe to assume their parents will bring along snacks or quiet toys to keep them occupied at those key moments.

Activity Books and Bags

At your reception, consider providing children with activity books or even ‘show bags’ – think of it as wedding favours guaranteed to keep the little ones entertained. If your ceremony and reception are at the same venue, consider organising some games on the lawn or in a suitable play area to keep children happy for that ‘in between’ time.


Image by SugarLove Weddings via Kate and Stuart’s Fun Dunbar House Wedding

A Children-Only Table

Deciding whether you have a children’s table is another tricky decision – are they going to enjoy being tucked away with a group of children they’ve not met before? Is leaving a bunch of children unsupervised irresponsible and potentially asking for chaos? The best answer I can offer is it all depends on the ages and stages of the children you’ve invited.

Extra Help

If you’re inviting quite a few children and if your budget allows, consider hiring nannies to keep an eye on the little ones. Make sure you let their parents know about your plan – it saves them searching for a babysitter. If you do have nannies, your venue may even allow you to set up a designated ‘games’ room away from the celebrations to ensure everyone’s kept entertained.

Child-wedding-guest-550x367Image by Renee Stamatis via May and Hugh’s Urban Garden Party Wedding

A Final Point

If you and your fiancé have decided on a child-free wedding, don’t feel pressured by anyone to change your minds. Remember, I did the exact same thing! You may decide the easier option is to have a child-friendly ceremony but a child-free reception. Ultimately, it’s your day and your decision. Good luck!


Image by AMR Photography via Natasha & Ryan’s Wedding In The Yarra Valley

Swirl divider

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Some wonderful advice on how to include little loved ones in your wedding day celebrations – the activity table is a must!!!

About Melissa Polimeni Marriage Celebrant: I love weddings and I love what I do. As a celebrant, my job is getting to know couples and crafting memorable marriage ceremonies – and that’s always such a pleasure and privilege.