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Kids Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

The Best Ways to Involve the Kids in Your Blended Family Wedding

 Kids, Planning Tips, Relationships, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on The Best Ways to Involve the Kids in Your Blended Family Wedding
Oct 272016
 
Tips for Blended Family Weddings

Photo: Sarah Delanie

Getting married can be stressful enough, but when your upcoming wedding is blending a family, there's a lot more to worry about than whether to get married in a church or on the beach. Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers, they are bound to have some anxiety about the impending changes in their lives. Here's how to let your wedding help set the tone for blending your family.

Let them help with the wedding preparations.
You'll spend months planning for your perfect day and make many decisions, so why not let your kids help with the process? There's no need to go crazy and let them paint all over your wedding dress like Angelina Jolie, but there are plenty of other ways they can help. Take them to the wedding cake tasting and let them help pick the cake flavors. Let them help pick songs for the reception. Make assembling the wedding favors a blended family fun day activity. If your children are part of the planning, they'll feel an ownership in the ceremony, and hopefully feel more excited about their new life with your spouse and their children.

Include them in the wedding party.
If at all possible, make your children members of the wedding party — flower girls and ring bearers, junior bridesmaids and groomsmen. Your children are just as much a part of the marriage as you and your spouse, so they should have a significant role in the ceremony. However, some children are horrified at the thought of standing up in front of a church full of guests. In that case, come up with an alternative that makes them feel just as included.

Make the wedding photos fun.
Of course you're going to have photos with you and your children, but mix it up. Take photos with you and just your spouse's children, and vice versa. Take photos of just your kids and their new siblings, and take some candid ones, too. These will be their first official photos as brothers and sisters, so make it fun.

See More: How Real Brides Reached Out to Their New Stepchildren

Let them give a speech.
Hopefully, your kids love their new step-parent. Why not let them give a toast at the reception telling everyone what they love about them? Your child will feel like he or she has a part in welcoming their new step-parent into the family, and it will help them feel invested in their new family.

Consider a family honeymoon
Maybe not the night of your wedding, or even the days following, but very soon after your wedding, take a trip together to celebrate your new family. Don't worry if you have few hiccups — they'll make great stories and new family memories that you share with your spouse and his or her kids.

Denise Grover Swank is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 30 novels and the mother of six kids in her own blended family. Her latest novel, ONLY YOU (October 25, 2016; Grand Central), the first in Denise's Bachelor Brotherhood trilogy, features a protagonist who works as a wedding planner.

Can We Just Decide That All Children Get a Kids’ Meal at Our Wedding?

 Etiquette, Food & Drink, Kids, Wedding Catering, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Can We Just Decide That All Children Get a Kids’ Meal at Our Wedding?
Aug 082016
 

While it's always nice to be able to offer your guests a choice of entrées at your reception, finding out what they'd like to eat is an extra detail you need to keep track of as RSVPs roll in. Offering a kids' meal can complicate things even further: The option isn't usually included on RSVP cards, which means you'll need to get in touch with any guests with children directly to figure out whether their kids will want a children's or adult's meal. And then there's the cost! That filet is definitely pricier than chicken fingers, and it can be hard to accept that your cousin's seven-year-old will enjoy (or finish!) the fancier dish. So are brides and grooms allowed to decide all kids get the kids' meal, no matter what? Our experts weigh in.

Whether it's a matter of cost or merely simplicity, a couple can definitely decide that all kids get a kids' meal instead of serving them adult options. However, the detail you'll have to address is what makes someone qualify as a "kid." A safe bet is to say that any guests under age 12 receive kids' meals, while teens will get adult meals. Think of it as the wedding reception equivalent of sitting at the kids' table or the adult's table at Thanksgiving!

Do you have guests whose two children flank that age cut-off (say, an 11- and 14-year-old)? In this case, you may want to ask the parents. Let them know that you will be serving kids' meals to all guests under 12, and that you want to confirm if their older child would prefer a kids' meal as well.

You will also want to make sure you find out about any and all allergies the children at your wedding might have. While adults are well-versed in confirming whether a dish contains an ingredient they're allergic to, kids haven't had quite as much practice, and their parents will appreciate the extra precaution.

See more: Can I Bring My Son or Daughter as My Plus-One?

BRIDES New Jersey: 5 Boutiques to Find Adorable Flower Girl Dresses

 Kids, Local, New Jersey, NY, NJ and CT  Comments Off on BRIDES New Jersey: 5 Boutiques to Find Adorable Flower Girl Dresses
Aug 072016
 
NJ Flower Girl Dresses

Photo: Kristyn Hogan

While all eyes are certain to be on you as you make your way down the aisle on your big dal, the special little girl in your life has big shoes to fill, too. She will also never forget having a part in your big day, and it's important to make her feel as special and beautiful as you hope she does. Finding the right dress for your little love can be one of the most fun tasks of wedding planning, so grab her little hand and shop until you both drop at our favorite NJ children's boutiques for flower girl dresses.

Dress 2 Impress (Linwood)
Whether you're looking for a mini-ball gown or a sleek and refined silhouette for your flower girl, Dress to Impress boasts a slew of styles — perfect for the cutest little member of your bridal party. Designer Jessica Lynn has over 150 styles of dresses to choose from to ensure your flower girl and/or junior bridesmaids look and feel like the little princesses they are. Read real brides' reviews here!

Ragamuffins (Cherry Hill)
Ragamuffin's children's boutique has been helping families dress their kids for all of life's special occasions for over 25 years. With an impressive collection of Joan Calabrese flower girl dresses available, whether you're looking for lace, embellishments, a hint of color or a traditional gown you'll be able to dress your mini-me in the perfect dress for her while creating meaningful memories together that will last a lifetime.

Nene's Lullaby Boutique (Turnersville)
Looking to knock off two to-do list tasks — finding the oufits for both your flower girl AND ring bearer? You can do so at the adorable Nene's Lullaby Boutique in Turnersville, New Jersey. With a broad selection of boys formalwear and suits and flower girl dresses by designers including Christie Helene, Sweetie Collection, and Macis Designs, Nene's specializes in upscale children's apparel. Dressing little ones for their special occasions for 20 years, Nene's offers heirloom quality items to be cherished long after the big day.

See More: Get a Sweet Treat Your Flower Girl (and the Rest of Your Guests!) Will Love at These New Jersey Wedding Bakeries

Jefre Bridals (Greenbrook)
Aside from being a one-stop shop for brides-to-be and their own ensembles for the big day, Jefre Bridals also offers an extensive selection of flower girl ensembles. Whether you're looking for traditional, modern, or trendy styles the consultants at Jefre can help you find the dress you dream of in the fabric, texture, and color you're looking for. With designers including Rosebud and US Angels, this boutique can also get any dress you desire, from any manufacturer — just ask! Read real brides' reviews here!

Angel's Gowns (Red Bank)
Flower girl dresses, handbags, baskets and headwear are all available at Angel's Gowns in Red Bank. Specialty children's clothing items is Angel's specialty, and this boutique can outfit the tiniest of toddlers through older children's sizing as well. With designers including Joan Calabrese and Sweetie Pie, you can be sure to find a flower girl dress to please any vision you may have had for the littlest bridal party member on your big day.

Dress the rest of your bridal party in fabulous frocks from these other New Jersey bridal boutiques!

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How Should We Tell Our Guests About Wedding-Day Childcare?

 Etiquette, Kids, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Guests, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on How Should We Tell Our Guests About Wedding-Day Childcare?
Jun 162016
 

Deciding whether or not to have children at your wedding can be tough, but if you've got friends with little ones or a soccer team worth of flower girls and ring bearers, it's pretty much a no-brainer. That doesn't mean, however, that Mom and Dad have to be on parent duty all night! Providing babysitters to help keep kids entertained is a great way to enable your friends to join in the celebration, even if it's past someone's bedtime. But how do you let your parent pals know you've got childcare set up for your wedding day? Our experts weigh in.

If only a few couples are bringing kids along for your wedding, sending an email or making a phone call is a quick and easy way to let them know that there will be babysitters on-hand. This way you can clearly communicate how long the sitters will be there, where the kids area will be set up, and whether there are any special requirements like highchairs or portable cribs that the kids in question might need. If you're sending out an email, include all the parents in the same message so they can coordinate things like games or movies the kids will enjoy.

Having a larger group of kids as part of the party? Stick an information card into your invitation and include a line about childcare being available on-site.

You should also definitely display the details prominently on your wedding website. Request that parents contact you, your wedding planner, or even the sitters directly with any questions and any needs they might have. You could also include a hint about activities that are planned to get the kids excited about the party, too!

See more: These Kids Tell the Truth About Love and Weddings — and It's Hilarious

How Can We Politely Remind Guests that Children Aren’t Invited to Our Wedding?

 Etiquette, Kids, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Guests  Comments Off on How Can We Politely Remind Guests that Children Aren’t Invited to Our Wedding?
Jun 012016
 
no children at wedding

Photo: Getty Images

While cute kiddos are adorable additions to your wedding ceremony processional, entertaining them during cocktail hour and at your reception can be a challenge, which is why a lot of couples opt to have adults-only weddings and skip the kids altogether. But while some parents are excited about the prospect of a night out for two, others may not understand why you want them to leave their little ones at home. So how can you remind guests that children aren't invited? Our experts weigh in.

Clear communication is the easiest way to get the point across. From your invitations to your wedding website, repeating that your wedding is adults-only will definitely help. While you shouldn't put it directly on your invitation, the way you address the envelope (using only the parents' names, instead of "The Smith Family") is the right place to start. Then, on your information card, add a line about the party being just for grown-ups.

On your wedding website, put the adults-only note in a few different places (particularly the details for your wedding day's timing and anywhere you are asking guests to RSVP). Do you have a lot of friends with young children? You might want to arrange a few babysitters to keep them entertained back at the hotel. Include this on your website as well, on the same page with your room block information. Be sure to collect the names and ages of all the children so that the babysitters will be ready for them, whether the kids are toddlers or in elementary school.

If you've heard through the grapevine that a guest is traveling with his or her kids (or saw five people included on the RSVP card when it was for only two), make a polite phone call. Remind your guests that you really want them to be able to enjoy the evening, and that children won't be joining anyone. You could also subtly offer to help them find a babysitter, hinting that they'll have to leave the kids at home — and giving them an opportunity to catch on!

See more: Kids Gone Crazy: How to Handle Unruly Children at Your Wedding

7 Adorable Outfits for Infant Flower Girls and Ring Bearers

 Flower Girls, Kids, Ring Bearers  Comments Off on 7 Adorable Outfits for Infant Flower Girls and Ring Bearers
May 312016
 

Is there anything cuter than including babies in weddings? Whether you're using the terms "flower girl" and "ring bearer" pretty loosely (it's hard for them to carry rings and toss petals when they can't walk!) or are having your sister-in-law carry her new son down the aisle, there's nothing quite so aww-inducing! And that's before you get around to picking out the tiniest formalwear you've ever seen — itty bitty tuxedos and clouds of tulle are sure to put a smile on your face! To make sure your littlest attendants are as well dressed as you and your wedding party, we've rounded up some of our favorite wedding attire for tiny tots.

01-Boden

Photo: Courtesy of Boden

Boden Baby Floral Dress
We fell in love when we discovered Boden's baby and children's line. This floral dress, complete with a collar, eyelet trim, and matching ruffled diaper cover, is just the thing for a little girl with a summer full of wedding plans. (Baby Floral Dress, $52.50, available at Boden)

02-HM

Photo: Courtesy of H&M

H&M Dotted Tulle Dress
For a girl who loves sparkle, this dress has just the right dose of shimmer, on a soft tulle that won't scratch little arms. Add matching silver flats (and a sweet sweater if the weather calls for it), and she'll be the chicest baby in the room. (Dotted Tulle Dress, $14.99, available at H&M)

03-Target

Photo: Courtesy of Target

Target G-Cutee Oxford Shirtall
Don't worry, we haven't forgotten the little guys! This little oxford onesie is perfect for a summer wedding — and comes with an attached pastel bowtie for an extra dose of style! (G-Cutee Oxford Shirtall with Bowtie, $24.99, available at Target)

See more: The Best Role to Give a Little Sister Who Is Too Old to Be a Flower Girl and Too Young to Be a Bridesmaid

04-Magic Tulle

Photo: Courtesy of Magic Tulle Couture

Magic Tulle Couture Flower Girl Tulle Dress
There's a reason you've seen dresses like this one all over Pinterest — they're one of the cutest ones we've seen! The huge tulle skirt will transform any flower girl, from an infant to a 12 year old, into a fairy princess, and the huge selection of colors means there's sure to be one that's a perfect fit for your wedding day. (Flower Girl Tulle Dress, from $39.00, available at Magic Tulle Couture)

05-Twice As Nice

Photo: Courtesy of Twice As Nice Baby

Twice As Nice Baby Special Occasion Vest
For a dapper little ring bearer, these onesies customized with fabric vests (complete with buttons!) are too sweet to pass up. From tweed to seersucker, you're sure to find an option that's a perfect fit for your theme. (Special Occasion Vest, from $25.95, available at Twice As Nice Baby)

06-Pink Perfect

Photo: Courtesy of Pink Perfect

Pink Perfect Gold Sequin Flower Girl Dress
What little girl wouldn't look adorable in a dress covered in sequins? The shimmery bodice and soft tulle skirt are the perfect silhouette for twirling. Add a floral accent and a matching headband, and she'll be ready for her moment in the spotlight! (Gold Sequin Flower Girl Dress, from $35.00, available at Pink Perfect)

07-Macys

Photo: Courtesy of Macy's

Lauren Madison 4-Piece Tux
We don't think anything could be cuter than a baby in a tuxedo. The tie! The tails! The satin trim! Because even babies need to follow that black tie dress code. (Baby Boys 4-Piece Tux, $65, available at Macy's)

Should We Have Different Welcome Bags for Adults and Children?

 Etiquette, Kids, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on Should We Have Different Welcome Bags for Adults and Children?
May 282016
 
welcome bag ideas

Photo: Jose Villa

If you have a number of wedding guests traveling from out of town, greeting them with welcome bags is a great way to kick off the wedding weekend and thank them for coming to join you. There's no need to create customized bags for each couple (though a personalized note is a great idea!), but what if some of your guests are traveling with children? Our experts weigh in on whether you should create separate kid-friendly welcome bags.

The need to create kid-friendly welcome bags depends on what you'll be including inside the bag. If you're filling it with a selection of your favorite snacks, reusable water bottles, and a map of town, you could definitely get away with using the same bag for guests of all ages. But if you're including alcohol, such as a bottle of wine or a kit to make your favorite cocktail, you'll want to set aside a few bags and swap the booze out for drinks like fruit juice or soda.

For a weekend-long event, you might want to put together a little something to keep the kids entertained. For a beach wedding, tuck in inflatable beach balls or a frisbee. Getting married in the city? A guide to the local natural history museum would be a great addition.

You might want to swap out those fancier snacks for something a little more approachable, such as gummy candies or cheese crackers. Instead of leaving them in the branded bags, buy in bulk and package the treats in cellophane bags tied with ribbon for a dressed-up spin.

You could also include kid-friendly activities, from playing cards and coloring books to I Spy games paired with instant cameras, to entertain the little ones during cocktail hour or once they've finished having dinner. And as a fun memento, you could add postcards for them to send to friends or small stuffed animals embroidered with the local sports team's logo or the name of the city.

See more: 7 Unique Items to Add to Your Welcome Bags

Our Flower Girl is Throwing a Fit Right Before the Ceremony… Can We Fire Her?

 Etiquette, Kids, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Our Flower Girl is Throwing a Fit Right Before the Ceremony… Can We Fire Her?
Apr 262016
 
flower girl

Photo: Getty Images

The tiniest members of your wedding party may be the cutest, but they can also be the most volatile. After all, you probably won't see a bridesmaid having a temper tantrum about putting on her dress, but a three year old flower girl who missed her nap due to the excitement? It happens more than you'd think. So what's a bride to do if that meltdown happens right before everyone's supposed to head down the aisle in your wedding ceremony? Here's what our experts have to say.

First, see if there's something that can be done to calm the child down. Would walking down the aisle with mom or dad cure a case of stage fright? Offer that as an option, especially if the parent in question is in the wedding party — it will seem like you planned it all along! Or would a sweet bribe (something that won't melt, like gummy bears) do the trick? Pull out every trick you have to see if it will solve the problem.

If no amount of pleading or negotiating will help (and if you've got an over-tired, hungry, or overwhelmed toddler, there's a good chance nothing will), you might need to go to plan C and "fire" the little tyke. Stash the basket of petals, tuck the ring into the best man's pocket, and send the bridesmaids and groomsmen down the aisle as planned. Then pause for dramatic effect at the end of the aisle, wait for your processional song to start, and head to the altar.

Of course, you'll still want to capture some of the cuteness in photos. If the flower girl or ring bearer has calmed down by the time the ceremony is over, include him or her in your pictures alongside the bridesmaids and groomsmen. It will be a great story to tell in 20 years at their wedding!

Real Brides Share: How I Won Over My Stepchildren

 Kids, Real Brides  Comments Off on Real Brides Share: How I Won Over My Stepchildren
Apr 222016
 
how i won over stepchildren

Photo: Getty Images

When your new husband is a package deal, it can be a challenge to get the kids to accept you. Here is how some enterprising new brides managed that feat.

"It took time. When I started dating their father, I took an active interest in them as people. I asked about their hobbies, sports, and interests... I played badminton with my stepson. I even taught him how to hit a softball. Because I was genuine and authentic, he responded back in kind." —Gloria

"I knew it would be difficult for Sam's kids to accept their dad was remarrying. They acted out and pushed me away for months and months, but I stayed caring and friendly and let them know I could never replace their mom. Eventually they came around. The key was I knew their resistance wasn't about me but due to a dramatic, unlooked for change in their lives." —Kim

See More: Where to Seat Step-Siblings at the Wedding Ceremony

"I have two stepsons —13 and 17. First time I met them, I said, 'Hi, I'm Lisa. Wanna go ride go-carts?' After riding go-carts, we played skeeball. Neither boy had seen an adult take skeeball so seriously so they asked where I got my throwing skills. I told them I played massive skeeball when I was unemployed. Won gift certificates for free pizza and that how I ate during said period of unemployment. They didn't know grownups did such a thing so this led to them asking questions about me and how their dad and I met, etc. The youngest told me I was the coolest grown up he'd ever met." —Lisa

"I didn't want my husband's daughter to feel I was monopolizing her dad so I gave them plenty of time alone. That made her feel less threatened and helped ease the way to her accepting me more readily." —Jill

"I didn't pretend to be someone I wasn't. I admitted that since I didn't have children I was inexperienced at what they enjoyed but I was eager to learn. Having me admit flaws, that I didn't consider myself perfect, seemed to help calm their concerns." —Sheila

"When Charlie's daughter visited he and I were a united front at enforcing rules and boundaries. Sharyn needed to respect that she couldn't manipulate me." —Ellyn

"I started small. My goal was to have one good interaction with my stepson a day. Then two, then three. It's been a bit of an uphill battle but Joey is starting to realize I care about him as a person in his own right." —Babs

"At first when Bill and his kids talked about things they'd done together in the past, I felt left out. But I came to realize that the better tactic was not to feel excluded from their rich, shared history but for us to start making memories ourselves. Now we have Sunday pancakes and hot chocolate mornings to look forward to, and many laugh-filled adventures of our own to reminisce about." —Tara

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

Do I Have to Pay for the Flower Girls’ Dresses?

 Budget, Etiquette, Kids, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Do I Have to Pay for the Flower Girls’ Dresses?
Apr 152016
 

Flower girls bring an undeniable cuteness to a wedding ceremony. Even if they don't make it all the way down the aisle, that collective "Aww!" is reason enough to send a few adorable little ones down the aisle in front of you. What makes them even more adorable are those pint-sized dresses, from flowing tutus to full-on ball gowns, complete with tiaras and shimmering Mary Janes. But even though they're small, those tiny frocks can be expensive! The question is, who is supposed to pay for them? Our experts weigh in.

Just like you're not required (or expected) to pay for your bridesmaids' or groomsmen's attire, you aren't obligated to buy your flower girl's dress, either. It's an expense that falls to the child's parents, so they should consider that cost when deciding if their child will be in your wedding. (Side note: make sure you talk to the parents about all the details before you ask their children to be in your wedding, to make sure no little hearts are broken if the parents don't approve.)

However, purchasing the dress or an accompanying accessory is a great gift to offer, especially if you've got a particular look or outfit in mind. If you know you just want the girls in all white with lace accents, but don't mind if they're mismatched beyond that (or have found an affordable dress that comes in a range of sizes to fit girls of varying ages), it's fine to pass the cost on to the parents. But if that dress is made from the same lace as your gown and is custom-ordered (a.k.a. expensive!), you should check with the parents before you place the order, and offer to cover part of the costs.

See more: Is It Weird to Not Have a Ring Bearer?

An adorable and affordable option is to have each girl's parents buy the girl a dress in a solid color like white, ivory, blush, or navy, and then to gift the girls with cardigans to keep them warm and cover their shoulders, which will help create a more cohesive look while allowing each set of parents to spend what they're comfortable with.

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