Someone Wants to Bring a Baby to Our Adults-Only Wedding. What Should We Do?

How to keep your celebration totally grown-up

Updated 11/08/17

Photo by Christopher Velasco

You’ve weighed the pros and cons, considered your guests’ families, and have finally come to a decision: You will not be inviting kids to your wedding. But just because you understand it’s adults-only doesn’t mean your guests get it, too. Even with crystal-clear envelope addressing and reminders on the invitation and your wedding website, there’s a chance a guest or two will want to attend with their little one in tow— especially if their little one is a baby. What’s a couple to do? Our experts have a few ideas.

Unlike uninvited children, which can be taken care of with a few recommendations for local babysitters or even an on-site kids’ room, having uninvited babies at your wedding is a little more tricky to deal with. Sure, they’re small and cute and won’t eat any dinner, but they also cry and aren’t used to loud noises or big crowds—making attending a wedding tough. So should you risk the disruption? Or stick hard and fast to your “no kids” rule? Consider these questions.

Is the Mother Nursing?

If a mother is nursing, leaving her infant with a babysitter presents a logistical (and physical) challenge. Some babies are just as happy drinking from a bottle as they are nursing, which means pumping or formula will work for the child in question. Others, however, won’t drink from a bottle at all—which means not allowing the baby to attend forces the mother to decide not to come to your wedding in order to take care of her child. And of course, nursing mothers also have to deal with the fact that milk production does not stop simply because they’re at a wedding. Even if they do find a way to leave their baby at home, they will have to bring the necessary equipment to pump at some point during your celebration, meaning more bags and extended time away from the party.

Is the Venue Accommodating?

When deciding whether to make an exception for your friends’ baby, think about whether your wedding is one that will be easy for them to attend with a child in tow. If your wedding will be held in a hotel, the answer is “yes.” Encourage the parents to book a room upstairs so they have a convenient base and stick to bedtime. Help them locate a local babysitter so they can come back down to the party after their baby is sleeping, or add one of their in-laws to your guest list so they can bring Grandma or Grandpa along to watch the baby once the festivities are underway. On the other hand, if there’s a long shuttle ride or other challenging commute between the lodging properties and the venue itself, it’s not the best scenario for a tiny guest.

What Does “No Kids” Mean to Their Attendance?

Before you decide whether or not to invite children, think about what saying “no kids” might mean. If the parents aren’t comfortable leaving their infant at home with a babysitter, they may choose to stay home. So if you can’t imagine your wedding without them, make an exception!

Worried about what other parents on your guest list might say? There’s good news. Other parents are much more likely to be understanding if they see a new mom with an infant in her arms (whereas they might be offended if there is a single eight-year-old running around while their kids are at home). And if you do decide to allow said baby to attend, let other new parents on your guest list know so they can decide whether or not they’d like to bring their newborn along.

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