It’s one of the most delicate topics we EVER hear being discussed when it comes to Wedding Planning – and it’s definitely a controversial one at that.
Most couples planning their wedding will be faced with the decision at some point – whether or not to invite/allow Children to attend. Let’s start by noting – it’s the 21st Century, lots of couples have already started their family by the time they choose to get married and so for some people it’s a-given that there will be children at their Wedding and that’s exactly how they want it. But for others – the decision isn’t quite so simple. What if you don’t want children at your wedding? Or what if you only want certain children at your wedding? What if your Maid-of-Honour has children and doesn’t want to leave them at home or with a sitter, or what if she can’t? What if one of you wants children to attend and the other doesn’t? What about the guest who’ll be offended if their children aren’t invited? And what about the ones who’ll be annoyed if children are there?
See – it’s a sticky subject. I’ll be willing to wager that there are some people who’ll be fiercely nodding in agreement already and others who are offended by my mere suggestion that children wouldn’t be invited to a wedding.
So – my first piece of advice when it comes to the subject of kids at your Wedding is to realise, straight from Day One – that you are NOT going to be able to please everyone no matter what decision you make. But here’s the important thing to note – this is YOUR Wedding and your wedding only. So you have to make the right decision for you, then plan from there. The people who love you will learn to respect your choice if they want to share in your special day.
Make the decision early on – because SO many other aspects of your Wedding will be dictated by your decision. If you’re on the fence – here are some points to take into consideration when making your decision:-
- Do you WANT certain children to feature in your Wedding? Flowergirls or Pageboys? Special family members?
- Is your Venue Child Friendly? Do they accommodate Children? Is it safe (is there an open body of water, easy access to main highways, etc )? Will you be sharing the space with other people?
- Do you have capacity restrictions? Does your budget allow for children to attend?
- Does your venue have an age restriction?
- Will there be friends or family members who will be unable to attend if their Children are not invited?
- Will you or your guests experience be compromised if Children are/aren’t in attendance?
- Are you having a destination Wedding with no childcare options?
(It’s a good time to note that if you decide against having children – some of these points will be helpful in explaining your decision to friends and family who might be otherwise disappointed.)
So – you’ve made the decision….what now?!
If you’ve decided you WANT Children to be invited to your Wedding – here are our top tips for making sure your wedding still goes off without a hitch:-
- Kids can be unpredictable at the best of times – but with the addition of excitement and cake, who knows what could happen – decide in advance WHO is going to be responsible for Children. Have a conversation with their parents, in advance of the day, and indicate your expectations around what time children can stay till, if there are areas off limits to children and if your venue has any hazards they should be aware of.
- Consider having a specific kids area – you could hire childrens entertainers, hire childcare specifically for the day/night so the parents can relax, create specific children activities to keep them occupied or consider having Goodie Bags with colouring books and pencils, bubbles, simple games etc. Occupied and entertained children have a tendency to behave better than bored children. If there’s WIFI at the venue – make the password available.
- Consider having a special kids menu, offer cake pops or cupcakes instead of Wedding Cake etc. Ask in advance if any child has specific allergies you should be concerned about and cater accordingly – kids can be very easily pleased when it comes to food, but likewise some children can very quickly become very unhappy when expected to eat “adult” food.
Happy and content children can be adorable and enjoyable guests at Weddings – taking their needs, and their parents needs, into consideration in the planning stages will maximise their experience and yours and minimise the potential for issues on the day.
If you’ve decided AGAINST having Children at your Wedding – here are a few tips to minimise the potential upset and ensure all your guests are still able to attend:-
- Communicate your decision as EARLY as possible to your friends and family with Children. Take advantage of the above points to explain your decision and give them as much time as possible to make alternative arrangements.
- Word your invites accordingly – insure you specify the names of your invited guests on your invitations and perhaps clearly state your requirements around Children (ie. if they’re invited to the ceremony but not the reception, or you’re only allowing children over a certain age). Leave no room for ambiguity – it’ll save you lots of time fielding questions. Some suggestions for invite wording include:- We love your kids – but think you guys deserve a night off so it’s an adults only affair OR Due to budget constraints we’re unable to accomodate Children at our Wedding Reception – we hope you understand our decision OR To allow all our loved ones to relax and enjoy our wedding, we have chosen to make our special day adults only. Thank you for your understanding.
- If you have out of town guests travelling to your Wedding who will be bringing children with them – ask around for reliable babysitter recommendations and include this information with your invitations.
- Be prepared that some guests will be unable to attend your Wedding but don’t be offended by their decision. Acknowledge their RSVP politely and be careful not to make them feel guilty for their decision. Don’t allow the decision not allow Children at your Wedding to affect your long-term relationships.
Whatever decision you make regarding having Children at your Wedding – it’s important to make it for yourselves. This is YOUR day and it’s important to have it YOUR way. Making the decision is the hard-part and we hope these helpful hints have made that, and the planning easier!
Happy Wedding Planning!