Worried about screaming flower girls? Here's how to have a child-friendly wedding

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Because flower girls aren't always as angelic as they look…

Children at a wedding

© Getty - Handbag

Have you ever played wedding bingo? You get points for every cliche you see at a wedding: Father of the bride shedding a tear? Check. Best man trying to cop off with a bridesmaid? Check. Flower girl under seven having a boogie/tantrum on the dance floor...

Before you check off that last point, think again. A survey by wedding blog Love My Dress reveals that one in three weddings are a child-free event.

"The issue of whether or not to invite children is often an incredibly complicated one," says Annabel Beeforth, founder of Love My Dress. "Brides often feel under pressure to provide entertainment or activities for children to keep them amused, lots of couples already have their own children, so feel it's impossible not to invite others. While for some, the added cost of having to cater for lots of little people is just too much."

But Annabel says there's no need to ban tots from the proceedings altogether. "Maybe if you're planning a wild party, a no-children policy might be a good idea, but otherwise weddings are a great opportunity for children to spend time with family members they might not often see and to learn valuable social skills."

Here's Annabel's advice for planning a child-friendly event...

1. Prepare parents

Let parents know what will be provided in terms of food and drink for little ones so they can bring anything else needed. Be clear and consistent on your child policy – once you start making exceptions, other guests can easily get upset.

2. Keep little ones busy

Consider entertainment from a professional company such as Artfull Splodgers or just go for colouring books or a classic film session if you're on a budget. Arranging a treasure hunt or fun races can help kids burn off some energy before dinner. Oh, and get the photos done early in case of any messy mishaps with pretty dresses or smart suits.

3. Be accommodating

Your friends-with-children want to enjoy the day and not spend it worried they're getting in the way or making demands on you. Arrange a quiet room for feeding, changing and napping. And make sure to keep the children's table place settings free of tall glasses.

4. Set reasonable expectations

Even adults can find the speeches a bit boring sometimes. Does it really matter if someone's little darling is tearing up a tissue into 100 pieces on the floor? And relax - adults kick back at weddings too so allow children a little freedom too. Remember, we were all children once. Try to see the funny side in any mishap and remember, it's much better to be a laughing bride than a cross one!

Hopefully this won't happen to you...

What do you think? Are you having children at your wedding or have you been-there-regretted-that?

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