Ever since I've become a mother, I have found myself understanding children a lot more. That applies to my wedding planning as well. When children are included in a wedding, it's important to entertain them. Ask any parent, and they will tell you how incredibly stressful it is to eat out with kids, especially toddlers. Add on the pressure of being well dressed for an event as special as a wedding, and that may be enough to make parents check the "Decline with Regrets" box on the RSVP card.
I always remind my clients not to forget about the children. Whether it's 3 children, or 30 children, you still need to think of a good way to entertain them so that both the children AND their parents can enjoy the wedding. This is all a part of being a great host/hostess!
If your venue has an extra room that you can utilize as a babysitting room, you can consider hiring babysitters (from a licensed agency) to watch after the kids throughout the wedding. Honestly, kids would much rather be in a room with a TV, toys, and other entertainments than to be forced to behave properly in a room full of nicely dressed adults. You can serve them pizza or chicken fingers instead of filet mignon, and entertain them with drawing books, movies, and special performances. We once brought in a clown and magician for the kids, and they had the best time ever!
For a recent wedding that I did, the bride told me from the very beginning that there would be over 20 kids at the wedding but she didn't want to separate them from their parents. So, instead of hiring babysitters and putting them in a different room, I created "Kiddy Stations" to keep them entertained. We rented bean bags, ottomans, and cubes, and had everything from crayons and coloring books to dolls to cars...and much more. I don't even remember how many parents came up to thank me during the reception. Their children were happy, and that meant they could fully enjoy the wedding too!
Top left photo by Angie Silvy