Some of the world’s most fearsome wedding guests are less than three feet tall. Though children can bring irrefutable charm to a ceremony—and make for extra-cute dancers at the reception—there’s a range of possible pitfalls that come from opening the guest list to tots.

“If you have a kid-friendly wedding, you have to consider how to make them comfortable and happy,” says Colin Cowie of Colin Cowie Lifestyle. Cowie loves a cute flower girl as much as anyone, but his intentions are geared toward the couple. “If the kids are well catered to, they won’t be a nuisance,” he reasons.

Catering to the kiddos starts with keeping them occupied during the ceremony. Mimi van Wyck of Van Wyck & Van Wyck suggests offering bubbles or quiet outdoor games—a babysitter-supervised round of ring toss will do—as the couple takes their vows.

Related: bridal gowns

On the other hand, planners agree that kids who are in the ceremony don’t need to be as carefully placated. “Children in ceremonies are one of my favorite things,” says Tara Guérard of Tara Guérard Soirée. “I think they’re adorable even if they can’t quite make it all the way down the aisle. It makes the whole process fun and lighthearted, and it takes pressure off the bride.”

Plus, kids still mastering the art of walking can ask for a hand from their fellow small guests. “If there are six or seven kids, ages 2 to 7, we send them all down the aisle together,” says Sara Fried of Fête Nashville. “The 5-year-old is holding the hand of the 2-year-old. It’s not a formal, single-file thing, but it’s the cutest thing ever.”

Less adorable: having kids around when the Champagne corks start popping. “I’m a mother of three, but when I go to a wedding I want to have adult conversation and have cocktails and dance. I don’t want my children to be a part of that scene,” Guérard says.

To give kids an age-appropriate scene of their own, many couples set up a separate space for guests under 16. That could mean an area off to the side of the reception, another tent on the lawn, or a contained room filled with kid-friendly tropes and more appropriate decor.

“I wouldn’t put the $450 centerpieces and the expensive crystal on the kids’ tables,” Cowie notes. And why should the little ones sit at the same tables as their parents when their dining style is markedly different? “You want kids to feel included at dinner, but they’re not going to sit down for a four-course meal,” Cowie advises.

That’s why plated courses aren’t generally recommended for young guests. “A kid-friendly buffet is key,” says Van Wyck. “That allows for an immediate plate to be made, and kids can take what they like.”

Tastes may vary from child to child, though. While standard kiddie fare like mini pizzas, spaghetti, and DIY sundaes are enduringly popular, kids are notoriously finicky with their culinary preferences. “Not only do we have a kids’ menu for a wedding with children, but we go out of our way to ask all parents what their kids eat in advance,” says Fried. “As a mom, I know that it doesn’t help to have a standard kids’ menu if your kid happens to be off chicken fingers that week.”

Personalization is also key when it comes to gifts and games. “You know which children are coming, so you can buy inexpensive backpacks and fill them with things that are kid-friendly based on their age,” says Cowie. “You can even have a coloring competition for the kid who does the best coloring. That makes the kids feel like there’s actually a place for them and that they’re not in the way.”

Van Wyck has called in everything from face painters to temporary tattoo artists to keep kids occupied at weddings and has designed decorating stations that let budding artists frost cookies shaped like wedding bells. “If you offer activities that have a wedding theme, then kids feel like they’re actually participating—not just doing something random,” she notes.

One caveat: Fluffy animals will work with any theme. “The entertainment doesn’t have to stop at arts and crafts,” Van Wyck says. “We’ve brought in puppies and bunnies to surprise the kids in their private room. That’s always popular.”

As the night wears on, children may be invited to the dance floor for a song or two, and Van Wyck suggests having sparkly maracas and tambourines at the ready. But it’s always wise to have sleeping arrangements for those likely to conk out before the last dance.

“Reserve two hotel rooms and bring in sleeping bags and supervision for each,” Cowie suggests. “One room is for the very young kids, and they can watch movies they’d want to watch. Next door is for the older kids, and it turns into a slumber party for young teens.” As a general rule of thumb, planners recommend hiring one babysitter for every three children.

In the end, remember that a kid-friendly wedding should cater to kids—not to adults who act like them. For couples debating the age range of their guest list, “the key question is whether the bride and groom think that having children at their wedding would add more meaning,” Van Wyck says. “If it would, they should invite kids. But don’t let the high-maintenance guests drive that decision.”

Also see: http://www.sheindressau.com/pink-bridesmaid-dresses-au