There are endless decisions to make for your wedding day: what to wear, what kind of décor you want, what food to serve, what music to play, the list goes on and on! There’s one question that has proven to be controversial time and time again for couples everywhere: should you invite kids to your wedding day?

Photograph by Mario Testino via Vogue

There are pros and cons to including little ones in your big day, but ultimately, if you’ve decided to invite your smallest friends and family members, it’s important to make a few plans for your wedding day to ensure things go off without a hitch!

When it comes to having a kid-friendly wedding day, there’s no need to panic: you definitely don’t have to sacrifice in your vision! Simply planning ahead and being smart about accommodating (and including!) the little ones in a way that works well for all of you is the best way to make sure that the kiddos feel comfortable (which also is most likely to lead to their best behavior) while keeping your event feeling like, well, a wedding – and not a children’s birthday party!

We’ve enlisted our friends at Be Inspired PR to round up expert tips and tricks from event industry pros on how to keep your wedding kid-friendly! These tips are sure to keep all of your guests happy…no matter their age!

Offer childcare.

“If you can swing it, there are amazing childcare companies out there, such as Happily Ever Laughter in California. They actually send fairytale characters to keep children enchanted with whimsical activities so the grown-ups can sit back and relax. Faeries, Pirates, or other fantastical characters arrive at your event with magic shows, face painting, balloon twisting, outdoor games, obstacle courses, and more. Plus, their performers have passed a background check and many of them are CPR certified for parents’ peace of mind!” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide

Provide a space for parents.

“Usually when people picture kids at weddings, they're thinking mainly of children old enough to run around, play, and enjoy special entertainment. Don't forget the extra little guests though! A private room or space away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding day excitement can be beyond valuable, especially for nursing moms. They'll appreciate that you took a moment to consider their needs on your big day!” – AJ Williams, Founder and Creative Director, AJ Events

Keep the photos short and sweet.

“Kids notoriously have a short attention span, so when it's time to include them in portraits, keep it short and sweet! Snap the shots you need and then let them get back to the festivities. Prioritize capturing the spirit of the day rather than “the perfect shot” – little ones aren't professional models, so remember that a photo with your flower girl smiling but looking off-camera is better than one capturing her meltdown moment when she's over it!” – AJ Williams, Founder and Creative Director, AJ Events

Create a “Kids Only Lounge” and hire help.

“You can create this special “lounge area” full of activities just a room away from the main reception, with the supervision of course, so that kids feel like they get an entire room that is “off-limits” to the adults! It’s a win-win, as the adults will know the kids are in good hands, and the adults are able to fully enjoy themselves without the worry of keeping one eye on the kids.” – Jessica Flores, Founder of Wedding Sitter

Put together a “play station.”

“Turn the traditional kid’s table up a notch by creating a full-on “Play Station” for your little guests! The ideas here are endless—but definitely go beyond the basic coloring books and crayons. You can set up a crafting station and let the kiddos go crazy with pipe cleaners, pom poms, and glue sticks. Or DIY some giant lawn games like Jenga, Tic-Tac-Toe, or Connect Four. You can even go big and rent some old-school arcade games! From pinball to Pac Man, all kids—young and old—will have a blast.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide

Serve kid-friendly fare.

“The chances the children will eat a full plate of Chilean sea bass are slim, so mix up the menu by providing kid-friendly finger foods they’ll actually enjoy. Ask your caterer about customizing a kid’s menu with things they’ll not only eat, but get excited about! From colorful fruit skewers to a make-your-own-tacos table to milk-and-cookie shooters for dessert, making the meal fun will keep the kids entertained—and actually eating!—during dinner.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide

Put as much thought into the kids' entertainment as you do for the adults.

“If you are going to include kids at your wedding reception, they are your guests as well so put as much thought into their entertainment as the adults! Design a kid-friendly program that serves double duty as a coloring book to keep them entertained at your ceremony. During the reception, plan for sitters to set up a room with activities so parents can enjoy the festivities knowing their kiddos are in good hands. Interactive activities like video games, arts + crafts, magicians, face painters, or the like will get all kinds of action. If all else fails, set up a comfy area and put in a movie!” – Nora Sheils, Founder Bridal Bliss + Co-Founder Rock Paper Coin

Embrace their playfulness.

“Weddings can feel very buttoned-up to kiddos — ensure they're having a great time by including touches throughout the evening that embrace their playfulness. Coloring pages while waiting for dinner, fun finger foods to munch on, and even their own lounge area/movie corner would be a fun reprieve. The secret weapon I've seen parents pack? A change of clothes that ensures kiddos will transition easily into the car at the end of the night!” – Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events

Pick a fun kids' meal option.

“There are a lot of ways to make your wedding kid-friendly. I often suggest to couples to pick a delicious and fun kids meal option and put the kids at a kid's table together with some activities. It keeps them occupied and entertained. You can also have fun lawn games for both adults and kids to play with during cocktail hour or throughout the night.” – Kari Dirksen, CEO + Lead Planner of Feathered Arrow Events

Have a few late-night interactive food stations.

“While there is certain entertainment you can bring in solely for the kids, there are also some family-friendly options you can incorporate! Think about making the late-night snacks interactive with food cart stations, a popcorn cart where you can add your own toppings, a cotton candy bar, churro station, etc. Both the kids and the adults will get a kick out of creating their own dessert masterpiece!” – Jessica Flores, Founder of Wedding Sitter

This article was written by Be Inspired PR, a PR + Social Media Agency for wedding, wellness & lifestyle clients. With over 10+ years of experience, we’re here to take our clients to the next level! Find oodles of stylish wedding inspiration on their Instagram & Pinterest.