It seems to be a budding trend to keep children off the guest list at weddings to avoid chaos and broken glasses, but it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, kids should be an integral part of a wedding, as they are often the promise of what is to come in the lives of the newly joined couple. Children are also notorious for their adorable antics and the moves they pull on the dance floor. There are many ways to accommodate kids at weddings so that they are not only part of the wedding, but also kept out trouble as well.
One great way to incorporate the kids is to do a candy toss rather than a garter toss. It would probably be a little unappreciated by the parents if you tried to pull kids into the fun of a garter toss. Instead, swap out the garter for some sweet treats. Another way to keep kids out of trouble is to give them the title of photographer for the night. Kids love to be given special jobs, as it makes them feel important and part of all the hustle and bustle. By involving them in this aspect of your wedding, you will keep them busy throughout the evening, while also allowing for the possibility that they may capture a moment or a perspective of your wedding that wouldn't have been caught otherwise. You will have plenty of professional pictures taken through the eyes of a trained adult, but image what your wedding looks like from the eye of a child! You can also employ them in other ways. Children loved to please and be praised for a job well done. Have them act as usher assistant or allow them to hand out programs. They will love feeling like they are playing an important role in the wedding.
If wanting to separate the children from the wedding, especially as it gets later and people have had a little too much celebratory drink, you can always have a room set up next to the wedding reception. Most hotels are very accommodating. In the room, set up board games and coloring stations. If feeding the children in this separate room, have a kid friendly menu and centerpiece with "sweet treats," such as lollipops. Either hire a babysitter or have a friend or family member check in on the kids periodically. Private entertainment is always a hit with children at weddings. This could always be an option if you wish to involve them in the wedding but want to give them a fun place to escape to when the adult entertainment starts to bore them.
Regardless of the route you choose, either integrating the children in the wedding or creating a separate haven for them, kids will generally have fun wherever they are. The joyous occasion will be infectious and will surely keep them entertained and happy.