There are a lot of reasons brides may want to include children as guests at both their wedding ceremony and reception. There may be large families on the guest list from both the bride's and the groom's side. To exclude the children would not be considered. If that is true for you, children can add an extra dimension to the festivities if you make plans to incorporate their interests.
If children are invited to the wedding and reception, be sure to let the parents know they are invited by including their names on the inner envelope of the invitation. Some brides create a separate reception invitation to the children.
To entertain the children, you may want to suggest a special reception area. Include some arts and craft supplies and small toys. Be sure to provide smocks or aprons to protect their clothing if including messy activities and hire a sitter or two depending on the number of children expected. The children should make special cards for the bride and groom.
Some brides arrange for a special kid friendly menu served at a separate area in the dining room. They may eat with their parents if that is preferred or at special kids section in the reception area. Some brides have their caterer prepare a special box lunch which contains kid's favorites
After the arts and crafts and done and the food eaten, provide a TV with age appropriate videos and/or hire a clown or magician for entertainment. Some parents may want to include their children in a portion of the wedding dance segment. If yours is an evening wedding with a dance, you may wish to be sure that the children's area has cots or sleeping bags available for children who may be there through the evening hours.
Children can have a good time and free their parents to participate if you spend some time creating a special area and activities especially for them.