Do I Have to Invite Children
to My Wedding?

Etiquette, Kids
casual flower girl dress and ring bearer suit

Photo: Anna Palma

Whether they're pilfering petits fours off the dessert table or twirling themselves silly on the dance floor, these photo ops in party shoes can bring joy and spontaneity to a wedding. Here's our guide to the pros and the cons of inviting the pre-cocktail set.

How to decide. Pros: Kids bring major spunk to your wedding album and swagger to the dance floor. Cons: Their need for constant supervision can make it tough for parents to let loose. Be honest with yourself about your vision for your wedding before saying yea or nay to tiny guests. And once you make a decision, stick with it.

Compromise is possible. There are ways to include kids in the wedding without giving them an all-access pass. One is to invite only your child attendants or close family members. Another is to set across-the-board age restrictions—say 10 and up. But the most diplomatic strategy, says wedding planner Tara Guérard of Soirée, in Charlston, South Carolina, is to include kids in the ceremony and cocktail hour, then ask that they depart before dinner and dancing.

Spread the word. To make your preferences clear, mark your invites with the full name of each guest. If you're not inviting kids, include babysitting information on your save-the-date, and ask close friends and family to pass the word along. Another way to make it explicit: Plainly state on your wedding website that the event is grown-ups only.

Browse adorable flower girl dresses here.

—Sarah Bernard

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