Just as falling in love and getting married are part of the circle of life, so are children. But for some brides that are in the midst of their wedding planning, children and weddings just don’t seem to mix. When I was growing up, children were always welcome at weddings. Families and friends gathered to celebrate and everyone helped. Older children in particular were enlisted to help and play with younger ones, allowing parents a few moments of adult time. Children were more easily entertained with simpler activities like tag or hide and seek. One of the best weddings I ever attended was as a young teen, and I was helping with the younger children. We discovered an empty room at the venue that housed a juke box. Score! We danced the whole afternoon to our kind of music (60’s & 70’s) and had a BLAST, and periodically an adult came in to check on us and danced too!
I laughed so hard when I saw these before and after photos!! :)
Photos by Melissa Jill Photography
Why invite children to the wedding?
Because they are part of a family – whether immediate or friends. And because a wedding is technically the beginning of a new family, everyone should be there to celebrate. Children also can bring their own unique joy to a wedding. Their laughter and spontaneity make for great pictures and special moments like no other.
Why not to invite children to the wedding?
Let’s be honest, nowadays, it seems there are far too many children behaving badly, and some parents do not have the patience to correct their out of control children appropriately. I agree there would be nothing worse then having a toddler temper tantrum (TTT) during one of the most meaningful and intimate moments of the ceremony. Ruins it for everyone!! And I am not talking about a baby that is hungry or fussy due to a diaper needing changing. Parents, please be responsible and take the necessary action to not be disruptive – be respectful! If you were in the same shoes, you would want the same courtesy done for you. Also, if you have numerous children that are allowed to do whatever they please and don’t listen well, they could in fact, create a liability for staff at a venue. I was at a wedding where a child was allowed to run wild, ran into a waitress, who tripped, and fell with a large tray of dishes – disaster!! Very bad, and might I add, the parents of said child behaved equally as badly :(
Here are some tips for you to consider when choosing to have children at your wedding or not:
- Know the parents and children that will be attending. I think this is common sense and obvious, but overlooked many, many times. If you know the children of friends and family are well behaved, listen well, can play nice with others, and are polite, then I feel that they should be welcome at your wedding. They are an extension of your family and friends after all.
- You cannot play favorites! You cannot nor should not extend invitations to include some children and not others. You will have to decide, and yes, this may be very hard and stressful.
- If you are going with the no children option, please discuss with parents honestly ahead of time, before the invitations are sent, to avoid hurt feelings and tempers later. Explain why you are choosing not to have children. Be sensitive and tactful.
- If you want to have young ring bearers and flower girls as part of the wedding party and no other children there, please be sure to let everyone (those with non-ceremony children) know that they are there for the ceremony only and will then be moving on to a playtime outside of the reception.
Photo by Katelyn James Photography
- If you are going to provide amusement for children, don’t go overboard. After all, it is your wedding, not a birthday party for kids.
- You may create a little goodie bag for the children. Again, don’t go overboard! You could include bubbles (you can easily DIY these), crayons and a coloring book, organic fruit juices (avoid other candy-sugar highs), and rubber bouncy balls (nothing too small/remember your age groups!), to name just a few.
- If not enough older teens are available to help, then consider hiring a caregiver. Ask for referrals. And family should do this for free! Take them all out for ice cream afterwards! :)
- Take care of the whole children or no children right from the start when creating your guest list. Don’t wait! Get that stress out of the way, right away! Then go plan the rest of your wedding. :)
Just like your wedding is about personal choices, so is inviting children but with a much more public impact. This decision is not about colors and style, but it can make a difference on how enjoyable and memorable your wedding day will be for your guests, and especially, you!
We would love to hear from any and all of you that made this tough choice! It’s been a very hot topic of late!