Our editor-at-large answers all of your questions about having kids at your wedding.

Everyone loves kids, but when planning your wedding, you'll have to decide whether or not to include them. There's no wrong answer, but personally, I love the energy in the room when all ages are there to celebrate. You just have to figure out a few details. Here are some kid-related questions I often hear.

Do you have any tips for dressing the kids in my wedding?

There are 
no firm rules. You can have kids coordinate with or complement your bridal party, or even set them apart in all white. What really matters is that they like what they're wearing and are comfortable. Bridesmaids might smile through an itchy shoulder strap or a color they hate, but kids won't. To avoid squirming and complaining-or flat-out refusal to get dressed-have them try on outfits well ahead of time. If they aren't excited to wear the clothing (maybe have them do some twirls!), try something else.

And don't overlook how fast kids grow. If you have a long engagement, wait to pick flower-girl and ring-bearer outfits until the date is closer, so you can be sure they'll fit.

How can I keep kids entertained at my formal wedding?

So much depends on the number of children and their ages. If your list includes a gaggle of little ones, think about hiring a babysitter, freeing up their parents to have more fun. Otherwise, I like to keep kids busy and engaged in the day. For the ceremony, have youngsters arrive near art time so they're not exhausted before going down the aisle.
 Then, to ensure they make it down the aisle without a major meltdown, fuel them up with some prewedding snacks (nothing too messy!) and offer up small treats or "prizes" in case a young attendant is feeling reluctant. Most importantly, give jobs to kids who are not in the wedding party: They can greet guests (especially older relatives), hand out programs, or man the guest book.

For the reception, you'll want to pack quiet activities, like sketch pads and colored pencils (safer than markers!), puzzles, and games. Set up a kids' area with mocktails and snacks where they can hang out.
 If your wedding isn't too formal, let the youngsters give toasts 
or perform a song or dance. If your reception is more black-tie than backyard, this a good idea for the rehearsal dinner instead.
 You can also have older kids run the photo booth or record their own video interviewing guests. Don't cancel your videographer, but you'll get spontaneous fun stuff!


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