children at wedding?

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sf Posts : 12 Registered: 1/5/11
children at wedding?
Posted: Jan 5, 2011 4:34 PM

Does anyone have any ideas on the tricky area of children at weddings? We have heard so many horror stories or people being offended because children in the wedding party were included in all events and yet others were not allowed bring children to any component of the wedding.

We contemplated a destination wedding but then thought to make things financially easier for friends and family we would have a wedding closer to home. Our location will be about 3hours drive from most peoples home. Can we have it as an "adult only" event, i.e. children would not attend at all. A friend of mine has suggested we tell people children will need to stay at home, i.e. not be welcome at the hotel venue at all because otherwise some parents will take liberties and bring their children at some point during the day.

Does anyone have any advice?


PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: children at wedding?
Posted: Jan 5, 2011 5:04 PM Go to message in response to: sf

There have been multiple questions on this topic on here. I'm sure if you do a search you'll come up with even more replies.

There are several ways to approach this. We had an age limit that did not apply to the kids in the wedding party. If people were offended - tough $hit (mind you the age limit was 8 years old). I know of ONE person who said something - but she's my aunt who's known to be a bitch. That was before the wedding. I simply addressed the invites to the people who were invited. That said, my one 'cousin' and his wife showed up with their baby but oh well.

Understand that people may not be able to come as it is a three hour drive and may require them to stay over night and they may not have overnight sitters.

Also, you can't control if people bring their kids with sitters to the hotel. That's not within your purvey.





Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: children at wedding?
Posted: Jan 5, 2011 5:50 PM Go to message in response to: sf

Dear SF,

Everyone faces this dilemma.

I agree with what Mrs M said. Children are poorly behaved at ceremonial events because they are never invited to ceremonial events. I'll go further to say that children who do not routinely attend church (or any worship service) don't know how to behave in church.

We see this every year at Christmas and Easter at my church. There are the "regular" kids who are there every Sunday, behaving beautifully. Then, there are kids from families who only attend church on Christmas or Easter, and those kids are clueless. They are bored, restless and make it miserable for everyone around them.

What does that have to do with you? Are you responsible for other peoples' kids' upbringing? No, you are not.

My suggest to you is as follows. Consider, carefully, the children of your various invited guests. Ask yourself about each individual child. Is there any history of bad behavior and/or careless parenting? Do you believe, based on past experience, that Joe and Jane will let Joe Junior run wild without any attempts to stop him?

Consider, therefore, a selected guest list with well-behaved children included and children with a past history of trouble excluded.

Next: Communicating this to the guests. (ie Can Of Worms)

For invited children, just put their names on the invitation.

For uninvited, problem children, give the invitation to the parents personally, face-to-face and politely indicate that Junior is not included, due to past bad behavoir.

"Jane, I want to give you our wedding invitation. Here is is. I need to make it clear that Junior is not invited. I saw him stick his hands in the wedding cake at Freddie's wedding. I just believe he is not ready for an adult-centered event such as our wedding. Be aware that we are inviting a few other children, but they are farther along in social skills."

Then, brace yourself for a verbose blast of Mamma Grizzly defending her precious Junior. Stand your ground, but be prepared for the couple to entirely decline. It seems the most permissive, discipline-free parents are the first to take offense at being invited without Wittle Pwecious.


There are other alternatives. When you look, carefully, at children of your adult invited guests, check to see if there is a pattern as to suitability. In other words, is there a logical cut-off age? Are those 8+ pretty much OK, but 7 and younger unreliable? Then, tell people that you set an age limit of 8 and up. Again, you need to be very clear to the parents of kids under 7 that Junior is not invited.

If you really truly want a no-kid policy, then you'll have to make it no-kid across the board. The only exceptions in such cases would be siblings of the couple and their own children or grandchildren.

Finally, don't lie to your guests and tell them the venue itself is child-free, unless it really is. That's really asking for trouble. You have no control over a family taking a vacation, but bringing Grandma along to babysit while the parents are at the wedding.


sf Posts : 12 Registered: 1/5/11
Re: children at wedding?
Posted: Jan 6, 2011 7:40 AM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Thank you so much to you all for all the advice and ideas-I think you have saved me from so many problems :-)


KCI Posts : 150 Registered: 3/30/09
Re: children at wedding?
Posted: Jan 6, 2011 11:11 AM Go to message in response to: sf

We will be inviting children to our wedding. My cousin did not and the family wasn't overall thrilled with it. For me, I would prefer a big family party over a formal gathering - which is why the wedding is at a Ski area, not a ballroom or something. I am the 2nd oldest of 20 first cousins on my mom's side of the family, and I want them all there. It's not a party to me without everyone there. Plus some of the cutest pictures at a wedding can come from the kids dancing around.

The venue is also a place that can handle kids. It's going to be a tent wedding on the deck of the ski lodge, so if the kids get crazy they can easily go running around the grass for a while without bothering the adults.

But you have to make your own decision, and be prepared for people to not like it either way. Good luck!

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*Met: 9/17/2009 *Started Dating: 11/14/2009 *Engaged: 11/13/2010 *Mr and Mrs: 9/17/2011
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bridehannah Posts : 17 Registered: 1/7/11
Re: children at wedding?
Posted: Jan 7, 2011 12:58 PM Go to message in response to: KCI

I am inviting kids but I am also having a babysitter in a hotel room upstairs for them to "retire" to if needed, as I expect the night to be really late. People can take advantage of not.


Archie Posts : 6 Registered: 11/15/10
Re: children at wedding?
Posted: Jan 10, 2011 12:49 AM Go to message in response to: sf

I am not inviting children to my wedding. First there are not too many children in my family so it is not excluding many people. Second both my mum and FMIL have said many years ago when we were kids they were invited to weddings where children were excluded and had a blast. The perfect excuse to dump the kids on a babysitter and enjoy an adult night. So maybe think about not having kids as a positive experience for the adults.

Whatever you decide don't lie to the guests it will be found out and it is rude.


Kylie29 Posts : 4 Registered: 11/8/10
Re: children at wedding?
Posted: Jan 17, 2011 3:15 AM Go to message in response to: sf

Hi sf,

You asked if you can have it as an 'adult only' event and the answer is simply, there is almost always a delicate and etiquette-friendly way to express your wish. For example, it is considered rude for the couple to mention your registry or gifts, however the general etiquette guide is to have your bridal party and family mention it when guests inquire. If you have a wedding website you could easily work in your theme of grown up fun.

My fiance and I intend on having an adults only event as well. Some of our friends have young children, but we know them well enough to know that they enjoy a night out as a couple every now and then too! Know your audience and use tact, most importantly go with what YOU TWO want and don't worry about people who might be offended. As the saying about good friends goes, "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter"!


princesslollie Posts : 1 Registered: 12/5/11
Re: children at wedding?
Posted: Dec 19, 2011 10:48 AM Go to message in response to: sf

i feel lucky most of my family and friends dont have kids or they're all grown up. my concern about kids at my wedding will be MY OWN 2 young daughters who will of course be the flower girls..they are still young and hopefully as they get older will be more behaved come wedding time..otherwise id like to include some kid friendly activity on the side so i wont have to spend my whole wedding day chasing kids..otherwise my family and friends will glady help keep them under kids are exactly horrible they just get excited.


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