Should You Allow Children At Your Wedding? Here’s What You Need To Know

Updated 05/08/19

Photo by Morgane Lay and Jonny Cocherane

If your wedding going to be ‘family-friendly’ or ‘adults-only’? It’s a troubling question for many brides out there. While you don’t want to offend your guests, you may also have some concerns about children attending the event. Here’s what you need to know about how to handle the situation without getting on anybody’s bad side.

Make your decision early on

Before you start writing your wedding invitations, you need to make the decision. It’s a topic that tends to divide people. According to a recent survey, 25% of people believe that all guests should be able to bring children to a wedding. However, the reality of the matter is that accommodating families on your big day may be harder than you imagine.

There are a few factors you have to consider. For one thing, children can be unpredictable and you will need to rely on their parents to take control. You also need to think about how having kids in attendance will affect your budget; will you have to pay for a crèche or nanny service for the event? Figure out what works for you and your plans.

On the other hand, issuing an all-out ban on children at your wedding is likely to cause offense. If you happen to have close family members with little ones, they may find this move unaccommodating and rude. You should also think about the inconvenience this will cause your guests. Those with children will have to organize childcare ahead of time.

Consider making a compromise

Are you willing to compromise? While you may not want your wedding to be overrun by children, you could make a few exceptions here and there. For instance, you may invite children within your families but not those of friends. That way, you avoid upsetting close relatives and yet don’t have too many children attending the wedding.

Alternately, you may have a close friend— let’s say a bridesmaid—who has a child. There’s no written rule to say that you can’t make an exception and allow them to bring their child. Remember, there should be absolutely no gray areas in your decision.

Be clear about your expectations

Next, you need to let your guests know what you’ve decided. No matter what you have figured out, you need to be 100% clear about it. How you deliver this information is up to you. You may want to include it within your wedding invitations or create a separate page for it on your wedding site. Regardless of how you convey the information, make sure you include:

Whether children are invited

Of course, the most important piece of information you will need to share is whether you have decided to invite children. If you are not inviting any children, be honest but avoid over-explaining your reason. This is your wedding day and so you have the final say.

Which specific children are invited

If you’re making a compromise and only inviting specific children, you should tell your guests which ones can come. Be aware that some guests, i.e. the ones who cannot bring children, may not take the news well. Tread carefully. Explain that you have a guest limit.

What you expect from the parents

You should also let parents know what you expect from them in terms of care. The majority of these duties should not fall on your shoulders. Let each of them know that they will need to take responsibility for their own family throughout the event.

Cater specifically for children

Of course, if you do decide that children are invited to your wedding, there’s yet another conundrum you will have to face. How are you going to cater for them? The chances are that you will need to tweak your plans to suit them and ensure that they have all that they need. With that in mind, here are some ideas you may consider:

Hiring a children’s entertainer

When it comes to entertainment options, you may want to include the children in this decision. For example, you could hire a children’s entertainer as the opening act before your wedding band. Doing so will wear out the little ones early on. - #### Activities on children’s place settings

Small children have notoriously short attention spans, which means that you need to give them something to do during the reception. One quick and easy solution may be to give them some activities, such as puzzles or coloring sheets. You could put these on the children’s place settings ahead of the event.

Creating a children’s menu

You may have the fanciest, five-course menu planned for your wedding guests. But what about the children who attend? The chances are that they’re not going to be fans of fine dining. Work with your catering team to create a plain and simple children’s menu.

Organize childcare

One of the best ways to ensure that children are occupied during your wedding is to hire childcare or a babysitter to watch over a group of children. While this addition to your plan will cost extra, it could make the event as stress-free as possible. Shop around to find the best local service for your needs.

Conclusion

Whether or not you allow children at your wedding is a huge decision. It’s not something that you should take lightly. Spend time discussing it with your fiancé and determine what works for the two of you. So long as you plan ahead and make this tough decision early on, you should have no problem navigating this tricky area of wedding etiquette.

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