There are many strong opinions when it comes to kids and weddings, and it is hard to keep everyone happy, but let’s look at some dos and don’ts of inviting children to your wedding…
DO – REMEMBER IT’S YOUR WEDDING and the guest list is up to you. Don’t feel guilty; not every venue or wedding is kid-friendly or you may just decide that you don’t want children there, and that’s ok!
DO – DECIDE EARLY, and ensure you give people plenty of notice. If you are choosing to have a kid-free wedding, parents will need time to make other arrangements with babysitters etc.
DO – BE CLEAR WITH YOUR DECISION BUT BE CONSIDERATE and know that there may be exemptions to whatever you decide. It’s fine to not invite children, but new babies need their parents, especially if they are being breastfed. Consider a babes-in-arms rule (babies too young to walk).
DO – PROPERLY ADDRESS INVITATIONS by including just the names of those invited. If you are going kid-free just include the parent’s names, and specify any age restrictions or that the reception is going to be an adults-only event.
DO – TALK TO PARENTS. If you are worried about hurting anyone’s feelings by not inviting their children, be sure to give them a call. Many will understand restrictions and that planning a wedding isn’t easy and they will appreciate you being open and allowing them the time to make other arrangements.
DO – PUT A NOTE ON YOUR WEDSITE. This is where a wedding website comes in handy. You can add all the information that won’t fit on the physical invitations. Still be sure to contact the parents, but direct them to your website for more information or childcare options.
DO – STILL HAVE FLOWER GIRLS AND RING BEARERS. Having a kid-free wedding doesn’t mean you can’t have flower girls or ring bearers. Guests will understand if your sister’s children, or godchildren are there to walk down the aisle with you!
DO – CONSIDER PROVIDING CHILDCARE OPTIONS, especially if you are having a destination wedding or having your wedding over a long weekend or holiday. If your guests are travelling and children can’t be at the wedding, think about hiring a babysitting or nanny service and have all the children in one house for the day/night of the wedding.
DON’T– SEND CEREMONY ONLY INVITES for the kids. Logistics (pick up’s, transport, babysitting) can be difficult from ceremony to reception, and children may find it hard to be separated from their parents and taken away from the celebrations.
DON’T – JUST PRINT ‘ADULTS ONLY’ on your invitations… it quite honestly just reads a little weird… consider using some of the below options:
- We are sorry, we are unable to accommodate children.
- Regrettably, children are unable to attend.
- With respect, we would like our special day to be an adult only occasion
- We are very sorry, but due to restrictions at our venue, we cannot accommodate children.
- Due to safety reasons/limited space, we are unable to extend this invitation to children.
- Although we do love all of your little cherubs we request that our wedding remain adults only. So, book a sitter and dust off those dancing shoes!
- As much as we would like to invite all the children of our friends, it is only possible to accommodate the children of close family.
DON’T– FEEL YOU NEED TO JUSTIFY YOURSELF. It is your wedding and your decision. There are many considerations, from costs, number and venue restrictions, to safety, and parents will recognise that weddings aren’t always child friendly. Be open, but don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about your decision.
If you do decide to have a kid-friendly wedding….
DO – PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT whether it is colouring books, puzzles or an iPad. Unfortunately, children can’t always be expected to sit for hours in their seats and behave.
DO – PROVIDE A KIDS MENU. Most venues will provide kid-friendly options, that are usually at a lower cost than other guests.
DO – CONSIDER HIRING SOME HELP. If you have a number of children attending consider setting up a kid’s area for them to retreat to, and hiring a babysitting or nanny service. That way parents can still be near their children, but can also let their hair down and enjoy your wedding!
DO – SEAT THE KIDS WITH THEIR PARENTS. Putting all the children on one table can be a recipe for disaster, especially with the excitement of a party going on. Sit the children with their parents to ensure there is adequate supervision, and to promote the family-friendly atmosphere!
DO – EMBRACE THE CRAZINESS THAT IS KIDS, and DON’T– EXPECT EVERYTHING TO GO AS PREDICTED AND PLANNED. Kids are unpredictable, but can provide the cutest of moments and so many laughs, so try and go with the flow!