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No-fail ideas to keep kids busy at your wedding

Many couples prefer not to include children in their wedding reception. It could be the difficult task of keeping them occupied, or the worry that they will cause too much distraction. So, if you have a list that includes these young guests, you are being very considerate.

Having young children attend your party means more planning than before. Nevertheless, many wedding parties involving children have happened without many hiccups, and you can do the same at yours. All you need is to plan some entertainment to keep them engaged throughout the evening; give them great food, and they should enjoy it just as much as the other guests. Here are some ideas to try at your wedding, so the little ones are engaged and have fun.

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Plan a play space

You cannot expect children to sit still, and enjoy a serious party like adults do. If you do, they will simply squirm and whine, and spoil the fun of the party. So, plan a separate space for the children, which will be filled with activities to keep them busy. Art-and-craft centers are favorites, where they can entertain themselves. Just make sure that you go with options that aren’t messy, and there is plenty for all of them to indulge in.

Appoint a babysitter and/or hire an entertainer

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While most of the parents will manage their tiny tots, at least a few would appreciate the chance to engage in some conversation and enjoy themselves in the other activities at your wedding. This wouldn’t be possible without the help of another responsible adult, who can manage the kids. Consider hiring the services of a babysitter or two, to attend to the children. If there are quite a number of children from different age groups at the wedding, set up an entertainment plan for the kids and hire a professional who can either put up a show or plan games for them. Face painters, clowns, comedian, puppet artists and magicians are always loved.

Plan their menu carefully

If most of the kids are very young, seating them down to a five course meal wouldn’t be a good idea. Rearrange the menu choices and throw in child-friendly food choices, when planning their meal. The service should be such that they will not be forced to wait. Substitute gourmet adult food choices with those that kids love, in their menu. You can also consider sending out a few options, and having parents choose what the set menu. This will eliminate confusion, and they will get what they are most likely to enjoy.

Make arrangements so they can rest and nap

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If the guests are really young and your reception is in the evening, they will most likely be tired and sleepy before the evening is over. Take this factor into consideration and make arrangements for them to rest or nap comfortably, should they require it. This will allow their parents to relax and enjoy the evening, without disrupting their child’s schedule.

With a little planning and preparation, you can easily make your wedding party child-friendly. And, don’t forget that kids love gifts. So, choose some awesome party favors. For more wedding tips and advice on planning your lifetime celebration, visit us on Best for Bride.

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Roles for children at your wedding

Many couples choose not to invite children to their wedding. However, there are other couples who not only choose to invite children to their wedding, but also look forward to including them in the ceremony.

Let us face it, having children in the ceremony makes it all the more pleasant and interesting. So, if you want your child or other children from your family involved in your wedding, here are some ideas on how you can have them participate.

Roles for very young girls and little boys

Flower girls are the most obvious role little girls can take care of. Choose their attire to either match the pattern or style of your wedding dress, or so it goes well with the bridesmaids dresses. Since your flower girls will usually be very young children, aged 6 years or younger, it is good if you stick to a dress that is knee-length or calf-length. Keep it simple and manageable, as you cannot expect a little girl to sit still for long and have her dress stay crisp and clean for much time.

If your wedding dress has a long train, you can also have one or two little girls as your train bearers as you glide down the aisle. Just make sure they are capable of handling their role and have them practice their act with you, before the wedding day.

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Little boys can be ring bearers and the cutest way to dress them up is in a suit that matches the groom’s. Discuss with the parents to make sure that the children will be comfortable wearing the attire you choose, or you will have them fiddling and complaining, instead of being cheerful and excited.

Roles for older girls and boys

Girls who are ten years or older can be a part of your wedding party as junior bridesmaids. While they needn’t dress up exactly like the rest of the bridal party, make sure that the color and pattern of their dress matches the wedding color theme.

Boys of this age group can be junior groomsmen or ushers. They can also hand out programs or be in charge of the guest book. Plan their role based on the personality of the child involved and whether they would be fine with performing the tasks you want them to.

While you can expect older children to behave and not create a scene at your wedding, you cannot always say the same of younger children. Unless they are familiar with such formal occasions, you have to be prepared for last-minute tantrums and tears. Before you decide on including children in your ceremony, make sure you can take this in your stride, should the situation arise. Talk to the parents and find out how you can make their children comfortable.

If parents are bridesmaids or ushers, you can have the younger children complete their role and then join their parents on the stage. Else, have them directed to the front row, where they can sit for the rest of the ceremony and not create distractions.

With a little luck and planning, everything should go smoothly and the children will fondly remember you for honoring them with a role at your wedding. For more wedding day tips and advice, visit us on Best for Bride.

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10 topics you must discuss with your partner before marriage

kiss“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”    Fawn Weaver

A happy marriage involves a lot of adjustments and compromises. The change in your relationship status will reflect on how you see each other as a couple, and also have a significant effect on your personal and social lives. There are many things that are bound to change. Some of these will be evident from the minute you are engaged, while others become obvious over time. As with any other relationship, expectations change, obligations increase and with all this, the scope for arguments also increases. Soon after the honeymoon phase wears off, many couples start battling challenges.

Nevertheless, no relationship is hassle-free. While most factors will fall into place over time, discussing the potential problem areas in a relationship before you tie the knot will help you avoid quarrels to a great extent, in the future.

Let us take a look at the most important things (in no specific order) that couples should discuss with each other, and reach a consensus on, before they agree to spend their lifetime together.

We do not suggest that you sit down and discuss all this in one go. Instead, take your time to talk about it, but make sure everything is sorted out.

1.Finances and bills

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How do you intend to settle your bills, once you are married? What is your household budget? Will you pool all your income together, or will you retain individual bank accounts and split the expenses? If so, who pays what? How much personal spending is too much? Discuss how you will handle emergencies, gift giving and daily spending, and there will be fewer nasty surprises in the future.

Making a plan and sticking to it, is a lot easier if you are currently living together, and already have sorted things out to a great extent. Nevertheless, this should be a definite point to discuss, as a surprisingly large number of marriages are affected by money problems. If either of the partners comes into the marriage with an outstanding debt, you should discuss how this will be handled. The same goes for a partner who has an asset, how will this be treated?

2.Careers

Both you and your partner should be aware of where the other is on the career ladder, and what your job aspirations are. Discuss what your careers will be like five years from now. Will you be taking on a more demanding role, and if so, what will that involve for your spouse? Do you see yourself quitting work to finish studies? If so, how long will that take, and when do you plan to do it? Will your career require you to travel extensively or relocate to a new destination in the future, and is your spouse fine with this?

While you are at this, also discuss options for worst-case scenarios, say one of you couldn’t work. How will you handle such a situation? This will prepare you in advance for giving due importance to both your career aspirations in the coming years.

3.Your dreams and biggest wishes

If your current career is just a stepping stone till you put aside enough money to start your own business or pursue an artistic venture, make sure your partner knows about it. Whether you will be without an income for a short while in the future, or you need support while you try to break into a new career, your partner will be better equipped to assist you, if he/she is in the know and agreeable to it. This is very important, especially if your future plans involve drastic changes to your current situation.

It is not just about your job, but you should share your ideas for your personal goals too. Do you wish to move abroad and settle down in the future? If so, it wouldn’t be fun when you put this idea across to your partner post-marriage, and he/she is shocked by the very idea. It may be too early to think of settling down, but you should still discuss where you would prefer to buy a house and live long-term. Although all this may change in due course, you should both be open to the current expectations, or it can be a huge source of worry.

4.Family obligations

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Once you are married, it is no longer “me”, but “we.” You cannot just assume that everything you’ve done with the rest of your family, will continue to be the same in future. Your partner’s family will also enter into the equation, and radical changes are to be expected. Remember that your partner may not be as excited as you are, about spending every Sunday at your parents’ place, just as you may not be if it were the reverse.

Have reasonable expectations, and your fiancé will respect your requests and appreciate your personal space better. Rather than argue about where to spend next Christmas, it will be better if you discuss this upfront. How about family vacations? Will this be a continuing practice, or will you consider each event only if it works for you at the time? You can always change your plans down the line, but setting the expectations right will prepare you better for the near future.

5.Children

 

baby-17369_1280There are couples who decide they want to start a family right away, those that want to put off having children for years, and some that don’t want children at all. The important thing is that you realize your partner may not share your idea. So, be sure to discuss this before you commit. Just because he loves playing with kids, it doesn’t mean he will want some of his own, or that he is ready to bear the responsibilities of a child soon after marriage.

So, don’t put off the discussion regarding having children, till after you are married. It would also be a good idea if you can decide how long you should wait before having your first child, so you can plan your life ahead accordingly. Discuss how long you would try naturally before considering medical help and what methods you are prepared to consider if there is an issue.

6.Boundaries

Arguments are part of a healthy relationship, but there shouldn’t be anything that constantly results in disagreement and either of you refuse to relent. Whether it is having his friends over all the time, either of you volunteering the other for a job the person despises, or your excessive shopping, make sure you both know where either of you have draw the line. If you take a look at the many wedding forums, you will quickly notice that many spouses constantly struggle with handling a certain habit or action of their partner. Most of the time, this puts a strain on the relationship and is a constant cause for worry. The problem usually is that these couples didn’t discuss their boundaries before they got married, or despite doing this, their partner doesn’t honor their interests.

Marriage is all about compromises and adjustments, but it should be in a direction that promotes a healthy relationship. Whether it involves family or friends, you should both realize that your partner too has a say in it, just as you do in their case, once you are married. So, you may have to rethink the way you handled things in the past. If some aspect leaves one of the partners constantly miserable, it is unfair and means that the other person should be more accommodating. Ensure that both partners know what drives the other nuts, and the two of you work on a solution to it. This will save your sanity in the future.

7.Past events

The past may be gone, but cannot always be forgotten. Honesty is crucial to building trust in a marriage, and you should share all the relevant details of your past with your partner. If there is some event in the past that will have significant bearing in your future, your fiancé should know of it. Make sure that your partner knows your family history, your past relationships and how they have shaped you, your sorrows and also achievements.

It is not just the negative, but the positives too that you should share with each other. Remember that discussing the past allows you to understand each other better, and build intimacy. Nothing shatters a relationship so much as when a partner comes of know of something significant in your past, which they believe you should have told them prior to marriage.

8.Faith and beliefs

If either of you are religious, and expect your partner to participate in religious celebrations or events, make sure your partner knows. One’s family background needn’t be an indication of how they conform to a particular faith. So, don’t assume your partner is religious just because his parents are. On the contrary, if your partner is dedicated to his faith, while you don’t plan to be involved in it, it will be best if you convey this to him and avoid a rift in the future.

If you plan to have children, you should also discuss how you will bring them up, if both of you don’t share the same beliefs.

9.Division of household responsibilities

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Gone are the days when the woman ruled the roost, and the man provided for the family. Now, the boundaries have blurred so much, that both are equal partners with equally demanding roles at home and at work. Unless you already have a list of who does what, you should discuss this before you tie the knot.

Don’t expect to divide the task list into two, but make sure that both of you do your reasonable share. If there is something like cooking or laundry that you hate doing, don’t just delegate this responsibility to your fiancé. Instead, inform them and work on a solution. These things are best sorted out at the beginning of the relationship, as it can otherwise trigger arguments, when one partner feels they are handling the lion’s share of the responsibilities at home.

10.“Me” time

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Neither of you can forego of your personal relationships, just because you get married. You have your friends, and he has his. You are lucky if you mostly have common friends, and don’t mind sharing all your time together. However, this isn’t always the case. There could be times when he wants to chill out with his friends, or you want to go on a shopping expedition with yours.

Don’t let your marriage stand in the way of your having fun. Make an arrangement with each other to continue doing what you love, without the other stepping in the way. Spending time alone, without your spouse, will give you some space to yourself. It will also make the transition from “me” to “us” easier. Try to be respectful of when the other is spending time away from you, by not planning any couple activities or family events that disrupt this routine. So, the next time you are invited home for a family dinner on Sunday, ask your partner before accepting the invitation, if that is when he will be having his band practice with his mates.

 

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It is of course, possible that your individual situation will involve more factors. For example, this list on the Huffington Post,  prioritizes a discussion on how important IKEA is in your life. It may sound irrelevant (even funny) to many. But as they say, at least some marriages are greatly affected by something as trivial as spending too much time at a home improvement store. So, expand your list, to suit your personal situation.

Relationship counselor and author, Leslie Vernick says, “ A healthy relationship is one where both people in the relationship give and both receive. There is a safe and open exchange of ideas, feelings and thoughts and all perspectives are considered and valued. There is also the freedom to respectfully challenge, confront and strengthen one another.”

Let this guide you as you enjoy your engagement and begin your marriage on the right note. For more wedding tips and advice, keep visiting us at Best for Bride.