Living

13 rules for kid wedding guests

Updated 10:40 AM ET, Fri January 10, 2014
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Parents need extra time to arrange everything from travel to sitters. Let them know early when things are afoot -- and if their wee ones are welcome. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
It's okay not to invite kids at all, especially if it's a formal or evening. This is easiest on guests who are local. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
Be explicit about your wishes on the invitation. Traditionally if a child is invited, his or her name is included in the address. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
Give parents a phone call just to make sure that it's clear they understand that it's a child-free wedding or if child care will be provided. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
Be consistent with your rules, so no one feels slighted. An age cut-off is often a polite way to do this. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
Traditional etiquette limits your choices for flower girls and ring bearers to children between 3 and 7 years old. "Younger children simply don't make it to the end of the aisle" without some adult intervention, says one expert. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
Match jobs -- like ring bearer, usher, yarmulke distributor -- to the child's personality. A shy kid may not like to meet a lot of people and be overwhelmed. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
The thoughtful thing to do is to invite the ring bearer and flower girl to the reception, even if it's just the cocktail hour and you get them a sitter for the rest of the night. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
When it comes to food, children's meals make kids happier and are often less expensive. Why waste money on food they won't eat? Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
Kids 7-14 can be seated at a special table, and some experts suggest a different room entirely for kids younger than that. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
Arts and crafts can be a great distraction for kids at a reception. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
If little guests are going to be in their own supervised room, experts suggest filling it with easy-to-coordinate activities -- including board games; gender-neutral, kid-appropriate movies; and simple art projects. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living
If it's in your budget, by all means include the nanny; not only is it a generous gesture, but it will give the invited parents peace of mind. But you are under no obligation to do so. Courtesy Martha Stewart Living