Kids and Weddings – Yes or No?

The best part about your wedding is having everyone you love in one place at one time. Aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends and (may times) their significant others. People with whom you have shared experiences, and looking forward to adding this to your list of fond memories. Then, the subject of kids comes up. The subject of children at weddings is a buzzkill for almost everyone …with or without children.

People with children don’t understand why you don’t want their little darlings around, why they have to exclude their children (part of the family) from a family gathering. They do not always want to leave their children out of the celebration and if there is travel involved, how long do they have to make arrangements for their children’s well-being? They consider it a huge inconvenience and some parents will be resentful.

But, some people with children don’t always want to travel with them or take them to a fancy event. They would like to have a night out without worrying about who ate their vegetables and making sure someone uses the right spoon. No highchairs, no temper tantrums, no whining…just a night out with your spouse and a glass (or two) of chardonnay.

People without children would often prefer you leave them at home, find a sitter and be done with it. They haven’t bonded with children, they don’t need or want the worry of children ruining their event with bad behavior,  out of control, touching things that don’t need to be touched. They are not as enamored with your children as you are.


Points to consider:

Kids are fun. they dance and laugh and eat cake. They will be all dressed up and probably not eat too much, anyway.

If you are paying $100 per person for dinner, how can you justify spending this much one someone who would probably rather eat McNuggets?

Kids are noisy – what if they can’t keep quiet during the ceremony?

Kids are messy. They will probably have filthy hands and want to touch the wedding gown or other things that don’t need to  be touched.

There is also the age thing: What is the cut off? There is a big difference between a 17 yr old and a 4 yr old.

The simple fact is that if you don’t want children at your wedding, state it on the invitation and make sure you are prepared for the fallout. If you are allowing children at your wedding, state it on the invitation and be prepared for the fallout. Either way you are not going to make everyone happy.

Make your decision (as a couple) and move on, you have nothing to explain and no explaining will make a difference, anway. It is your wedding.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


First, Second and Third Weddings…Is There a Difference?

With the recent gossip ( I won’t call it news) that Britney Spears is experiencing a slight case of cold feet in regard to her second (actually third) wedding, it seems like a good time to consider previous weddings. In this case, it is when one party has been married before and the other has not.

Tradition dictates that the second wedding should be less formal than your first but, lets say it’s your second wedding and  your fiance’s first trip to the altar. No matter what the circumstances were that led to the demise of the first marriage, it has nothing to do with this union. Whether it was a mutual split, or a nasty divorce, the outcome of that marriage is not to be considered when planning this wedding.

However, there are some teeny, tiny rules of etiquette you may want to consider:

If you or your partner have been married multiple times, you may want to consider a low-key affair. Realistically, how many grand scale weddings do you need? Opt for a destination wedding or something with just close friends and family.

If this is the first marriage for one of you and not for the other, make sure that you don’t miss out on the feeling that you had a wedding. Sometimes brides or grooms regret not having some sort of event to share with their friends and family. Do not ever deny your intended the joy of declaring their love for you in front of family and friends simply because you have ‘been there, done that.” Instead, explain to t hem honestly what you are feeling and work together to make it sepcial and unique.

Having a traditional bridal shower with gifts and games for a repeat bride might seem redundant. Instead, try a spa shower with manicures, pedicures and facials for only the nearest and dearest friends.

As for gifts, this is uncharted territory but, I will go on a  limb and say that anyone who has been married once or twice before probably doesn’t need very many household items. If they are registered, follow the registry exactly and do not stray from the list. Many couples are choosing a cash registry which lets them use the funds for whatever they want.

Exes. Ugh… the dreaded question of whether to invite the ex. If you have a pleasant relationship, if you have children and a pleasant relationship, you get it, right? Never invite anyone who might cause turmoil. If you and your fiance have both been married twice before, that is 4 exes and their dates that might cause a scene… 8 people who could cause potential drama. That is, unless you are all on very good terms. I can’t imagine.

The bottom line – don’t avoid having a wedding just because you already had one. But, be respectful of the situation and modify things when necessary. It is considered uncouth to host a lavish wedding when you have been down the aisle repeatedly. But, that never stopped Elizabeth Taylor or Tom Cruise, who seems to get more and more lavish with each trip down the aisle!!!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

tom cruise katie holmes wedding


How To Have A Great Wedding – According to Children

A hot debate is almost guaranteed when the topic is children and weddings. Should you invite them? Should you have them in the wedding? The arguments are endless!  What no one ever considers is what the children actually think a wedding is all about. For a few laughs, I have compiled a short list of children’s quotes on weddings and marriage, including my own 10 and 12 year old’s views on the whole affair, along with some of their friend’s responses.

When should you get married?  “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you are stuck with.” (Kirsten, age 10) Now, that’s a revelation!

What does a groom do on his wedding day? “Take a shower and put on a nice suit so I can be the best man.” (Evan, age 11) I guess the groom is the best man, after all!

What does the bride do on her wedding day? “Kiss the groom, eat cake and then put your dress on.” (Olivia, age 8 ) In that order?

What is a wedding? “Weddings are mostly when the bride walks up to the husband, they have a piano player and they say stuff about if you want to get married or not. If you say “I do” and the bride says “I do” then you are married and it’s all over.” (Frankie, age 10) Sometimes thats exactly right.

How do you plan a wedding? “You pick a best man and a flower girl and go to church.” (Jacob, age 12) Interesting… no bride?

What is the best part about having a wedding? “Everybody smells good and there is enough cake for everyone.” (Alan, age 7)  Cake is definitely a bonus.

How do you decide who you will invite to your wedding? “The groom, my kids and both of our teachers.” (Pam, age 9) Don’t forget your classmates!

Follow the advice of these kids and you are guaranteed to have a great wedding!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago



Do Children Make Good Wedding Guests?

One of my favorite movie weddings is the fictional Mafia marriage of Connie Corleone to Carlo Rizzi. The Wedding is an elaborate backyard event with thousands of twinkling lights, traditional Italian music, children playing and dancing everywhere and the bride’s mother offering a rendition of  C’e’ La Luna Mezzo Mare. Despite the whole ‘family business’ thing, the movie shows a closeness of family that not only allows children at the wedding, but encourages them to dance, sing and enjoy the fun as much as the adults. Make no mistake about it: this is a family wedding. In reality, it is also a movie and the children were paid actors and sometimes children just don’t really fit into the grand scheme of  certain weddings.

So when should children be invited and when should they be politely excluded? Unfortunately there is no simple answer. For some couples, inviting the young offspring of their closest friends and family is a must. The whole family comes to the wedding and everyone enjoys as much fun as they can pack into the time they have together. It is a celebration and they use this time to sing, dance and  bond with everyone.

For some couples the thought of inviting children to their wedding is about as welcome as inviting ants to a picnic. Usually couples who don’t have a lot of smaller children in their immediate family, couples hosting formal black tie events and those who just think children do not belong at weddings. This is your wedding and you are allowed to invite whomever you want and plan the affair however you see fit. Don’t apologize if you want to omit children, it is perfectly acceptable and there are many ways to avoid conflict if you have chosen this path.

If it  becomes a hot topic and there is contention among your family, offer a solution before it hits the boiling point.  If you are having your reception at a hotel, you can book a room for the kids and plan a  children’s event at the same time with games, food and paid adult supervision.

If the wedding venue is not a hotel, speak to some of the parents who have children that are close to one another in age or relationship and find out if they would be interested in helping you organize a social event for the children off-site.

Honesty is the best policy to avoid disaster and hurt feelings. Talking to your invited guests about the no-children policy will help to open up the dialogue and give you a chance to work things out if they are having problems with the idea of leaving the little ones at home.

Being a parent is hard work and bringing them to a wedding is equivalent to an Olympic event. The parents may be glad you decided on an adults only evening.

If you have decided that children are welcome, include them in the fun.  Make sure there are some kid-friendly activities like a magician, balloon animal artist and one or two adults designated to ‘entertain’ the children and wrangle them if they become out of control.  Face painting sounds good but can be messy.

Instead of seating children at one table, seat them with their parents. Everyone knows that a group of ten kids can spiral out of control easily, not so much when they are wedged between their parents. Ask about a children’s menu- many caterers will oblige with special requests and it is often less expensive than having children eat the gourmet meal prepared for your adult guests.

Encourage the  DJ to play some songs the the children will recognize and enjoy. If they are dancing, they are happy and not disturbing the cake! There is nothing sweeter than to watch little ones dancing together in their wedding attire, or little girls dancing on their father’s feet.  It will make for a great photo opportunity that can later be included in your wedding album.

At the end of the day you have to decide what fits your budget, your style of wedding and your personal preference.  Make your decision early, stick to it and don’t offer any excuses. This is your wedding and you deserve to plan it however you see fit.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago