Are weddings a child free zone?

While planning my own wedding at the start of the year I joined an online forum for brides (and grooms) to be. There were debates about wedding etiquette. There were discussions over who should lead the procession down the aisle. There were panics over centerpieces and rants about the rudeness of not replying promptly to invitations or the ingratitude of a bridesmaid in not appearing desperately interested in every aspect of the table layout.

One constant topic that continuously roused strong opinions though was whether children should be allowed at the wedding.

Family Occasions

There are of course two extreme viewpoints. On the one hand are those who say that children are the life and soul and heart of a wedding. Weddings are family occasions and children are a large part of that.

The family wedding ensures that children are catered for in every way. There are pretty little flower girls and page boys in the procession. There are gift boxes for the children on the tables, with games and toys and presents and sweets.  Some brides plan activities that place the children at the centre of attention. One friend of mine had a balloon race for the children, another had a children’s entertainer.

Of course these ideas are dual purpose. They ensure the children play a part in the day whilst also making sure they are kept occupied. A bored child is a disruptive one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Adult Affair

On the other hand some brides who do not want sticky fingers on their expensive dress, or screaming throughout their speeches. The couple who ban children from their wedding face some criticism from others. But are they wrong to do so?

For a start, consider the cost. At even half the adult price, every child is an added expense, especially when you consider they most likely won’t even eat the food.

And add up the bodies. When the venue of your dreams limits your numbers, every child you have to allow is another adult friend you can’t invite.

You can guarantee that one of the little tykes will spill drink on your train, drop a fragile present or knock down the cake. They cry during the ceremony, run about during dinner and throw up during the disco.

Kids are expensive and a risk for the bride and groom to consider. I understand that they may want to exclude them.

However, before making a final decision, there are other considerations. The ‘child free’ bride will tell parents that this is a chance for them to have an adult only night. The parent will respond that finding a sitter for a full day affair is expensive enough. Not to mention that they have to be able to get home to that sitter, a bit problematic for parents who travel a long distance to attend the wedding.

Consider also the flower girls. The bride may want her best friends daughter to follow her up the aisle throwing petals. But now there is one lonely and bored child at the wedding. What’s worse, she is not a ‘family child’! What’s this, your friend can bring her child but your own nephews and cousins are not allowed.

OK, allow family children. Only the children who form part of the bride’s life. Not Uncle Arthur’s second wife’s granddaughter who the bride has never met. Only, where do you draw the line? The possibility of starting a family feud is looming closer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Happy Medium

At my wedding I aimed for a happy medium. Of course I invited children. My own kids were bridesmaid and pageboy. It was as much their day as ours, their parents. Well, almost. Close friends and family with children were allowed to bring them, but I did limit my extended family to the one generation, thankfully cutting the numbers of cousins on one side from seventeen down to two. They were keen to agree, having to pay for their own upcoming wedding very soon.

The children had their own table, hosted by my daughter who was very pleased with her position as head of the table.  And during the speeches I had a baby sitter arranged who hustled the children out, thereby avoiding the running and screaming during the adult parts. Off they went to their own room, set aside with paper, stickers and other non-staining entertainments.

I made it clear to all my friends, as politely as possible, that whilst I had a sitter for my own children to allow us, the bride and groom, to relax, I was not responsible for the care of the other children. Bring them they could, but they were to keep them under control. As far as I am aware no one took offense. The kids had a great time moving between their own chill out room and the adult’s disco and to be honest I barely noticed them all day.

Are weddings adult only occasions?

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to this question. If a bride and groom chose to exclude children, well it is their day. Surely they have the right to choose. Unfortunately it seems that when you are planning a wedding your every decision becomes a matter for public discussion. Family, friends and colleagues all have an opinion and someone will be offended in the end.

Written for the Weekly Writing Challenge, DPchallenge. Yes, I already wrote one for this week’s subject matter, but I really had more to say, so I went for it again. 

About Piper George

Wife, mother, puppy chaser extraordinaire. Freelance copy-writer and blogger! Life is full of opportunities - it's having the time to grab them that's hard.

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Comments

Are weddings a child free zone? — 118 Comments

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a ‘child free’ wedding – but of all the weddings I’ve been to (and there have been many) I find the kids absolutely love it! They love to dress up and dance and they really look forward to it because its such a beautiful occasion. 😀

  2. I agree – they are usually having a great time pretending to be grown ups for the day.
    Perhaps though there is an age limit on that – under 2 and they need a lot more watching? Under 1 and they would prefer to be in a quiet room asleep?

  3. Not a fan of children in general, so also not a fan of them at weddings. My own aunt exlcuded my brother and me from her wedding when we were little (Iwas kindergarten age). My parents were not offended. That being said, I think every bride and groom should be able to make their own decision, and they shouldn’t get grief about it either way.

  4. I recently got married and we kept it child free. My husband and I don’t have nieces or nephews. A couple of our cousins and friends have children. In total there were 5 children under the age of 2 we could have invited, but we have never met 4 of these children. We had a black tie wedding, and we just did not want screaming babies ruining our elegant wedding.

    Most people were very understanding, one couple was a nightmare about it. (Nightmare = family drama around a baby’s grandmother not attending unless we would accommodate the 1 year old, searching for a babysitter for these people, and then they chose to travel to town for the wedding, but did not attend the wedding).

    I think it should we left up to the couple, but they need to be consistent. It was easy for us to say that absolutely no children were invited. I see how making exceptions for flower girls and ring bearers leaves the potential for drama.

    • I do believe that weddings are more stressful than moving house. I took complete control of my wedding planning and still had arguments with other people about what I was apparently doing wrong. Someone will always end up offended.

  5. I had a child-free wedding and for us it was the right decision. Many of our friends don’t yet have children and the very few that do were happy (with one or two exceptions) to have a night away from them. (Or in my matron of honour’s case, a week away from them while they stayed at home with their grandma in Canada!) Our venue was a very urban & very ‘grown up’ livery hall, so not really suitable for little ones at the best of times. Also, not having to worry about pre-adolescents having access to alcohol or stepping on babies toddling into the dancefloor or screams during the ceremony made sure we had a stress-free evening.

  6. We had kids at our wedding, but not that many–probably about 7. We only wanted the closest family and friends to bring their kids and inevitably this happened without us saying anything. Some adults left their kids at home because they wanted to enjoy themselves. Other parents brought their kids (middle school to teenagers), but they were well behaved. The 1 baby present was also extremely well-behaved. I guess if we had toddlers or pre-schoolers around it would have been a different story.

    To be honest, I’m not sure if having a “no kids” request for our wedding would have gone over well…and I’m not sure if we would have made one (thankfully we didn’t need to). At the same time, I completely understand why a lot of brides / grooms will make the request! ((It can get expensive, the guest list can explode and it can be rowdy if every kid came with their parents.)) Definitely a conundrum!!….Congrats on being FP! 🙂

    • Another factor to consider, I suppose, is the age of the bride and groom and how many of their own friends have kids anyway. As ours were 2 and 6, so were most of our friends kids. But then, a large majority of our friends don’t yet have kids, which helped keep the numbers down.

  7. My parents have been invited to a child-free wedding before. I don’t remember if they went or not: I was always a well-behaved child and so I think they were a little put off by the request. But I think I would want to go for the happy medium rather than excluding them entirely.

    • There are so many variables. If it was a family wedding I expect I would appreciate more of an explanation, but if it was a friend or even a work colleague, I would probably be happy to have a night out anyway and understand they don’t know my kids and want the space for more of their own friends.

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  9. i am 68 years old, have never been married, nor do i have any children, and i’m not always fond of having kids around for long periods of time. but, a wedding is a special occasion and the kids usually get a big kick out of “really” dressing up (as i do). if their at their own table headed by someone who really enjoys the company of children and will keep them occupied, a wonderful time can be had by all. as i think back the weddings that had children attending were more lively and more fun. their excitement and enthusiasm brings something special to the day. and it’s usually something they remember fondly as they grow up.

    bottom line, i vote for the kids attending.

    WHATEVER WORKS, normandie

    • I know where you are coming from, but would you feel the same about a work colleague if she invited you and your husband, but not your kids are she doesn’t know them or have the room?

      • Ooooh…good question, because I would tend to be less close with work colleagues than friends or family. I would instead question why she felt close enough to invite me to a family affair but not close enough to want to invite my family (not to her face, of course). So I think I would feel the same way (that she doesn’t want me in her family, which would probably be right), but flattered that she wants me in her life/friendship.

        • Having read the comment on here, I have come to the conclusion it depends on what your relationship is to the couple. If I were family, I would expect my kids to be invited. But if I was a work colleague I think I would be surprised that they had invited my kids. As you say – good to be considered a friend, but not close enough to be family.
          I had to put a limit to the number of people I could invite to my wedding and if it had been a choice between friends I really wanted there and a work colleagues children, the children would have been out. Luckily I suppose, many of my friends don’t yet have kids.

  10. My stepfather’s family has always included us in their invitations and my parents have always left us behind with a sitter or family member. I don’t know if they just wanted a date night or if it was because those weddings could get quite raucous, but it never bothered us. I imagine that when I get married I’ll want to keep it to a small number of children. Maybe only flower girls/ring bearers. Weddings seem very adult and maybe the importance is lost on a child?

    • Little girls love the magic of a wedding and the chance to dress up. But unless it was a family wedding, I would happily leave my kids behind and have a date night with my hubby!

  11. Whew! You are so right and so brave to tackle this subject. I’ve been to weddings, and funerals, that were totally disrupted by children. But, when I was a child we weren’t allowed to go to my grandfather’s funeral which in my opinion, was wrong. And coming from a large family, I know about resentments and feuds that arise from the include, or not to include the children. I think having a separate area for children is an extremely good idea. It solves the problem of disruptions, babysitter problems, resentments, and feuds. Thank you for posting this information and how you handled it. I definitely will be passing along what I learned here today!

    • Funerals are a subject I have not had to deal with yet. I didn’t consider taking my kids to the most recent family funeral I went to but they didn’t know him. I would have to take them to a grandparents I think – kids need some sort of closure too.

  12. I got married almost three weeks ago and we had a child free wedding—like, we didn’t even have a flower girl or ring bearer. My now husband has cousins with the most ill-behaved children I have ever seen, and their parents do nothing to stop their behavior. Those three kids alone were the deciding factor to not allow any children. The fact the we were paying for the wedding ourselves and keeping it as small as we could was another deciding factor. The few adults there with children seemed more than happy to get away from them for the evening.

    This is how we worded the “no children” rule on our invitations:
    “Though children are a gift of God, we ask that this be an adult only affair. Thank you for understanding.”

    • Oh I know that feeling. There were two children in particular we were wary of, but turned out that they were good as gold (I think they were ill). It’s a great idea though to put a nice rhyme or comment on the invite to make the situation clear though. Good tip!

  13. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I grew up in a large family and I have very fond memories of going to weddings when I was a child. Children were always welcome. We did not need baby sitters. In adittion to our own parents, we had aunts, uncles, and older cousins that kept an eye on us.

    • Thanks – I am ridiculously excited by it! We had the sitter because our family all involved – ushering, best man etc. I wouldn’t hire a sitter if I was just a guest though.

  14. I know for me, personally, we paid for much of our wedding ourselves 14300 years ago during the Neolithic Era when I got married. It was just over $80 a head to serve dinner to our guests. I am sure that some children would have had fun, but I am not sure that I would have felt comfortable attaching that kind of a price tag to feeding children of my husband’s cousins that we’ve never met. We decided to invite anyone 16 and up. For us, it allowed us to rule out very small children who we didn’t really know, but include the children of family and neighbors that we actually felt were close to us.

    My motto for our wedding was “If you don’t love me, you don’t belong at my wedding.” I insisted that we stick to an invitation list that included only people who really knew, understood, communicated regularly and truly loved us. It was a celebration of our joy and we wanted to share that with our loved ones, not with our loved ones’ loved ones and their children.

  15. Since I’m now planning my wedding, this post hits home for me. Although I can sort of see the benefits, both in cost and stress, in a child-free wedding, I’m not sure the feedback from family and friends would offset it. Having a child myself as well as nieces and nephews, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable asking some friends not to bring their children, especially considering that most of their kids are better-behaved than my own most of the time. Although it is also tempting to ban kids in terms of the cost savings, I guess we’re just not the type of people who value elegance over sharing a celebration with all of our loved ones.

    Regardless, it sounds like you struck the right balance with your wedding. Congrats on being freshly pressed and on your new marriage!

    • I would not have enjoyed our day without our kids there. But I am glad we planned for them.
      We had bubble guns in the day (as we had bubbles instead of confetti for the photos) and I told all the other parents to bring guns for their kids too. The kids spent hours in the garden playing with those – kids of all ages love bubbles. And in the kids room we had cardboard swords, shields and crowns for them to decorate with stickers – they had a great time playing prince/princess for the day – especially as we married in a castle.

  16. Great post!! I definitely understand the dilemma. We had a somewhat child-free reception…We had children at the wedding which was crazy in itself. Through the pictures I noticed that some of the children were standing in the pews and pulling at the decorations on the side. There were also infants that started crying but luckily the mothers took them outside. I think you’re going to run the risk of that but on your special day, you’re not really focused on it. 🙂 For the reception, we made that an “adult” event (with the exception of the flower girl and ring bearer). Our situation was a bit unique, but long story short, when we explained to the parents why we couldn’t allow their children to come, they completely understood. In fact, a lot of the parents were pretty excited to have a “get away” from the kids–it ended up being like a date for them. We didn’t get any complaints or bitterness from anyone.

    At the end of the day, it’s your wedding so you can do what you want. 🙂 I think most people understand that (and if they don’t, then there’s usually a deeper issue there anyway…)

    • During the day you don’t really notice the noise from the children. I know that when we looked back at the photos you could spot a small body in the background view, or over the video there was a rustling or screeching at the wrong moment. After all the planning you put into your big day, you can never account for everything though.

  17. I agree on a happy medium. When my husband and I got married we had his 4 sons and my son. Children were invited to the wedding but our reception was an intimate small dinner for only family and close friends so only our kids were present for dinner. We let the pricey restaurant know out situation and they had a designsted table just for our kids, and two staff specifically attended our kids table during dinner so as adults we could enjoy the adult company. It was perfect 🙂

  18. I think that weddings have been “child free” due to the fact if the children were invited and the parents would watch them, this would not have occurred. Weddings are special times and not to be ruined by annoying unattended children. Perhaps if the children had an art project to do, this would make them not annoying. Would you agree?

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  20. The best wedding I’ve ever been to is my younger son’s wedding. It was in summer, it was out in the garden (not mine, I have a courtyard) and for that reason it had an informal feel to it. Everyone had fun and nobody worried about where the children were. I’m going to a wedding this weekend that is also being held at a house. The bride said she wanted a ‘party’ atmosphere. I’ll be interested to see how it turns out. Congratulations on being freshly pressed.

    • I personally do prefer an informal wedding, although it still needs to feel special of course. Although we had ours in a castle, we made sure there was not much ceremony and plenty of fun and games.

  21. It should by all means be left up to the couple. Not the family, but the COUPLE. It is their day. Parents of kids should understand if children are not invited, actually they should enjoy it. For family that kids that travel to the wedding, it would be good to provide offsite care for kids if they are not to be included. Considering the cost of weddings, this should be a very minor expense. As a clergy, most of the weddings where kids have participated have gone off well, but it is always a gametime decision if young kids(2-4 years) are going to be able to participate, and everyone should be ready and ok if the kids balk.

    • I know exactly what you mean there! When it came time to walk down the aisle, my pageboy (my 2 year old son) balked, the sitter I had on stand by picked him up, and he was asleep before the ceremony actually started! I had the best man on stand by in case my daughter freaked out walking down the aisle on her own, but she lead the way with style and grace – no fear on her.

  22. Great post! And congratulations on being Freshly Pressed 🙂

    At our wedding, of 170 guests, we had 50-odd kids and 5 babies. It was never a question of whether or not to have kids, as 4 of those were younger siblings (the youngest being 7), and 20 were my husband’s cousins on one side, who he is extremely close to. We had the ceremony and reception at the same place, where there was a pool, go-carts, etc, so we arranged for those to be available and for food to be served while we were having the photos done, but other than that we didn’t make any special arrangements for the kids (and to be honest, that was as much for the adults as it was for the kids – I always get hungry waiting for the reception! Haha). We had 5 kids tables, broken up by age, and the kids just entertained themselves.

    At my sister’s wedding, there were no kids.

    My brother is getting married soon, and there will only be 3 children: My niece (who will be 11 months old), my baby (who will be unbelievably brand new, we wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise), and the small child of a friend of theirs. No one in my family has a problem with that. I wouldn’t even have been too worried if our new baby couldn’t come. I understand that they might not want a potentially screaming infant at their wedding.

    I think it really should only matter what the couple want. I get frustrated when I see people get annoyed at couples for wanting something specific at their wedding.

  23. I have been to many weddings… Actually tons of them. At my young age it is hard to believe but I took count of over thirty I can recall. There were also many my parents attended without because they were child free… My parents have many affluent friends and surprisingly to the very wealthy it is rude and unheard of to not invite children.. I disagree with that notion but did find it comical when my parents were invited to one when I was in my late teens and I was considered a child and not invited.. I had not intention to attend anyhow thus it was a mute point but nonetheless funny to realize at 17 I was still a child.. I think either way is fine it’s up to the bride and groom… I will say the ones that children were included in but where provisions had been made for them seemed to come across the best.. One of the weddings that as a child I was not invited to, the one I could not attend because I was still 17 my parents went to and enjoyed and not offended. I would personally invite families to bring their children and then have activities for them. Of course that adds to cost… But I would be too worried about affending someone. Most black tie weddings I have attended children were permitted but rarely brought along…. I think in making the event extremely formal most parents will opt to not bring their children along.. I guess one question I have is in a child free wedding what age defines a child? 17 and under?

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  25. Congrats on FP. This is one topic I know everything about. Having spent the past 30 years as an event manager I’ve seen every wedding scenario imaginable. I’ve even had a bride breast feeding at the head table during speeches. Rule of thumb – babies with their parents who hopefully have the common sense to exit the room should a tantrum or howl materialize during speeches. Older kids – have a separate “kids” table with activities, “hire” an older child or get a dedicated sitter to keep them occupied so everyone including their parents can enjoy the evening.

      • A wedding is a celebration, it should be fun. As soon as rigid guidelines, timelines, and schedules are imposed the fun is replaced with tension. If a couple doesn’t want children at their wedding, I might suggest they consider not having any. Ouch! That sounded horrible. Of course there are an infinite number of valid reasons to restrict attendance. Trust me when I say that whatever decision the couple makes it will be understood and accepted. I’m simply suggesting that from my experience kids have never spoiled the big day.

  26. Aha! I actually thought of writing a post similar to this one because I, too, am currently planning our wedding for next year. We do have children as part of the entourage, but we would discourage family members and friends to bring their little ones as we want it to be an “adult only affair”.

    Very well said! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  27. Aha! I actually thought of writing a post similar to this one because I, too, am planning my wedding for next year. We intend to invite only a few close family members and friends, but we do have children as part of the entourage. Perhaps we would request our guests to not bring kids below 3 years old as we’d like the occasion to be an “adult only affair”.

    Very well said, by the way, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  28. Elope.

    Oh well, that’s probably not such a great idea as it would upset too many people.

    I think it depends on the backgrounds of the 2 families.

    If they’re both close family orientated groups, then kids would be acceptable. If not, then a kids free zone would probably be acceptable by the majority.

    Either way, it’s the happy couple’s day, and they should have the final say, and not be abused in any way.

    http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/humorous-illustration/#jp-carousel-275

    Cheers

    Mick

  29. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    I don’t really have a strong opinion about kids at weddings (except that little bridesmaids and ringbearers irritate me for some unknown, certainly irrational reason), but if I had to travel a long distance to get to a wedding, I wouldn’t attend if I couldn’t bring my kids or if there weren’t childcare set up for me. I have enough trouble finding a babysitter in my own town, much less trying to find one in a place with which I’m unfamiliar.

    I’ve only attended one wedding since my oldest was born. When my daughter was six months old, my husband’s brother got married. He and his bride wanted the wedding to be child-free, but when we explained that, at her age, my daughter and I were a package deal, (not in a mean way, just in a “passing-along-the-facts” way) they made an exception for us (recognizing that we were flying in from 1500 miles away helped). I sat at the end of a pew, ready to bolt if my daughter fussed during the service. As it happened she nursed and/or slept the entire time and most people didn’t even know she was there until they saw her at the reception. Now, if she’d been two at the time, that option wouldn’t have worked.

    • Thanks – I was very excited to be FD’d.
      I do sometimes wonder at the point of a bridesmaid so little they don’t know what to do but then I did have my 2 year old son as page boy and he really didn’t have a clue what was happening either.
      I think a nursing child really has to be counted – definitely a package deal.

      • Having one’s own children in one’s wedding at least makes sense to me. So far, I’ve only been to weddings where the bride and groom had someone else’s kids in the ceremony just because they looked cute. It always ended up being an expectation that the kids act like little adults, which didn’t work out well at all. Your bubbles-and-coloring-books plan sounds a little more realistic to me.

  30. I have to admit that you had me at “cheesecake” before I even read any further!! I’m not sure I’d want to attend a wedding where there wasn’t any children, it’s the oldies and the youngsters negotiating decades of generational differences on the dance floor that provide most of the entertainment!

  31. Great post! Our wedding in April was definitely kid friendly. I was in the same predicament as you, obviously wanting our son and my nieces and nephews to attend but having to figure out a way not to open the flood gates too wide and have every guest bringing a giant brood. Our main concern was making sure that parents kept an eye out for their kids throughout the night. Honestly, a small treats table, some handmade coloring books, and one dance floor did the trick. The children at our wedding were equal parts polite and entertaining!

  32. When my husband and I married 15 years ago, we didn’t have kids, but we didn’t have any real friends with kids yet, and we didn’t even have a flower girl or ring bearer. Now that we’ve got our own kids, we’ve been to several weddings where there are no kids except the flower girls and ring bearers. The last one we went to was particularly difficult, because it was 90 minutes away and with family. We had no one to watch the kids, so my parents missed the ceremony and my husband missed half the reception. My kids are ridiculously well-behaved and would have had a lot of fun (and enjoyed the candy bar) but it is what it is. Not everyone is going to be happy.

    • It is hard to plan what to do with children if you need to be away over night. Although actually the largest trauma in the lead up to our wedding was what the mother in law would do with her dog! 😉

  33. A lot of it depends on the happy couple. We did not invite the children, but were aware some would come. We made clear that there were no child minding facilities, but that they would be welcome. Most of my friends made it a “finally out for a party without the children” occasion. All in all we had 5 children attend and it was a happy occasion.
    My husband’s brother made it a child friendly occasion. In part because of his own two. The bouncy playpark/castle was a total hit with all the children (thank heavens for a sunny day) As a result a happy day for kids and parents.
    It did mean some people did not come on both weddings, you never can please everybody

    I don’t think either way is better or worse. There is no perfect way, it just depends on who gets married and what they prefer. As long as it is the wedding they want then I think it is the perfect wedding.

    • Bouncy castles are a great idea. Unfortunately we married in march so it was a little too chilly to have the kids out all day. You are right though, there is no pleasing everyone.

  34. Good post! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    As the son of a minister, my sister and I got dragged to many weddings when we were kids. We were always told beforehand that we’d be bored, and if we couldn’t sit still to bring something to do (with the promise of getting in big trouble if we acted out). Based on my memories of my own childhood and recent experiences at weddings (I’ve hit the age where several of my friends are getting married at once) I don’t think it’s too much to hold the parents responsible for keeping their kids in line, or taking them outside if they get disruptive.

    I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t have kids present, but I also haven’t seen one where any activities were planned for kids. Honestly, the idea of a kid-free wedding strikes me as pretty odd, but I come from a very close middle-class family in the Midwest, so that might have something to do with what I expect at a wedding.

    Either way though, it’s the couple’s call to invite who they like.

  35. We avoided the whole issue by eloping. It was just the two of us and the J.O.P., with another couple getting married as witnesses. This method works best if you don’t tell anyone in advance. Just ask my sister.

  36. Hmmm having 2 kids myself it will have to be a ‘kid friendly’ wedding and their aren’t loads of kids in our family.
    I wonder how I would feel it there were. its a hard one because as much as I can understand its the brides/grooms special day and nice clothes + icky paws is stressful I was brought up to include all family and take it all in my stride.
    However if I was a guest at a wedding with very young children again I would *if possible get a sitter.

  37. People that invite adults only are selfish materialistic freaks. Simples in have been invited to this kind of wedding minus my 3 well behaved kids, sorry its a decline.

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  39. I personally don’t like weddings, it has come to mean less about the gravity of the day and lifelong decision and more about invitations and dresses and presents. However, when I do go, and there are kids, it usually just makes things worse. All the running and shouting makes me feel like I’m at Disneyland and not at a serious event. Which it is, but am I a curmudgeon about placing importance behind a huge decision?

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  41. I say each to their own; if you want children there then that’s your decision and your guests should just be happy in celebrating your big day. I have been to weddings before where the children may come to the ceremony, but by the time the reception is in full swing are so worn out anyway that they tend to crash out not really causing any problems. Either that or you don’t have them at the ceremony and only at the reception. However, I do think a wedding is a lot down to personal preference and we shouldn’t solely be relying on internet sources. If it were my wedding children would be invited; I have a large family and wouldn’t not want some to come because they can’t bring their children!

  42. This was actually one of the biggest conflicts between my husband and me about our wedding. My husband was strongly anti-kid, and I thought people should be able to bring them. We ended up having no kids, because I realized that our venue — an elegant restaurant — might not be the most kid-friendly place. A few of my friends had just had babies, and I told them that they could bring their newborns. My husband was annoyed about the presence of breastfeeding, etc. at our wedding. It’s a tough question sometimes for a couple!

  43. I caught the bouquet at my Uncle and Aunt’s wedding at the age of 8 or 9. It was amazing… my older cousin didn’t invite kids when I was 10ish . I lived. It’s a personal preference. No one should be judged. Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up

    • Thanks for commenting. It really is a personal choice. It’s the way people react to the bride and groom’s wishes that is aggravating.

  44. Some of my most favorite memories from our wedding day were those created by my nieces and nephews. My three nieces sat perfectly quiet during the ceremony and I kept thinking wow for kids ranging in age from 2-5 they are certainly being good, only to turn around and see the entire church floor in front of them was covered in ripped flowers from their bouquets. We still laugh about it. It’s definitely a personal preference but having them at my reception didn’t hinder me from having a good time. They danced, they played and then they fell asleep at the table while the adults went on to dance the night away. Great post. Found you via the Hump Day Hook Up. 🙂

    • The kids were great at our wedding. My son fell asleep as we walked down the aisle and woke up just in time to refuse to be in any photos. My daughter was a little star.
      The only annoying child related moments were actually due to their parents. One aggravating friend kept encouraging her kids to come and gift me the same plasticine creation 4 or 5 times in a row, while I was greeting other people, clearly to bring her children to the attention of whomever I was talking to. I ended up telling the kids to put it away, when it was her that I was cross with. The only other incident we noticed afterwards, that the only child who cried through the speeches (and should have been taken to the children’s room) happened to be stood right next to the video camera so that’s all we could hear on the playback.

  45. Found you on the Hump Day Hookup! I’m so interested in this topic. I didn’t even consider the option of a child-free wedding, but I know how stressful it can be to deal with everyone’s opinions and I am a firm believer in the “It’s your day” mentality – you should be able to do what you want to do! That being said, I still think its kind of weird to exclude children, and I think if you do, you really need to be consistent or else you are going to hurt some feelings. Last summer I was *in* two weddings, so it’s not like I could choose to not attend, and I at the time I had a 3 month old who I was nursing (plus a 1.5 yo). Both weddings were far away (one about 600 miles, the other in another state! and expensive plane flight away.) Personally, I would RATHER not have my own kids while I am a guest and/or attendant at a wedding, that way I can actually enjoy myself and not wrangle babies all night, but with the complications of infants and nursing and not having family around to watch kids for a whole weekend, it just made it super difficult and stressful. We ended up working it out but it was not ideal. On top of that, both friends graciously arranged for child care right next to the weddings, but the poor kids who did come were screaming their faces off and losing their minds with these stranger babysitters they’d never met before, which in turn ended up ruining the parents’ evenings. I found myself spitefully thinking “I hope they get invited to attend (or be in) a wedding when they have a 3 month old so they know how shitty this feels!” I’m a jerk, I know 😉

    • It really does depend on a lot of factors – age of the couple marrying, how many of their peers are likely to have children, the location, the cost . . . We wouldn’t have dreamt of not having kids at ours, since our kids were in it, but I was fairly careful to invite adults only to the more distant friends – work colleagues whose kids we didn’t know etc. If they had asked to bring their kids, we would have said yes, but we didn’t specifically name them on the invites.

      Babies of course are a whole other matter – any nursing mother especially should be welcome to bring their kids.

    • I went to one for the first time this year – being child free meant it was very upmarket, held in a deluxe, Michelin star restaurant and all canapés and cocktails. And really very dull!

  46. We got married young, so there really weren’t children to invite to our wedding. None of my peers had them yet, and no family members were that young. So no issue for us! It’s a personal decision for each couple, but once that decision is made then the guests should honor that. Bringing kids when they aren’t invited drives me crazy.
    Dana recently posted…My biggest pet peevesMy Profile

  47. I believe that if it is your wedding you should go whichever way you choose and your guests should be understanding. I’ve never had a problem with receiving an invite to a wedding that was “adults only”. I’m not paying the bill!
    Sandy Ramsey recently posted…Playing Catch UpMy Profile

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