For every couple that adores the idea of kids at weddings, there’s another couple that gets nervous at the thought of the complications they can cause. Neither group is right or wrong. Asking children to be a part of your celebration (as participants, attendees, or both) can definitely impact the big day, and is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Many couples go back and forth with the idea of a kid-free wedding. To help make the decision a little easier, we put together a guide about what to expect when you do or don’t invite kids to your wedding.
If you choose NOT to invite kids, you should…
Decide on specifics
Deciding not to invite children can mean a few different things: no kids at all, no kids under a certain age, or no kids except the few specific children who are playing an important role in your wedding, like the ring bearer and flower girl. Although it may seem strict, it’s perfectly fine to only invite children who are part of your families, or those of close family friends. When you’re making your decision, get specific and decide on an age range and any exceptions you might have in mind.
Avoid the guilty feelings
If you’ve made your choice, don’t let yourself get caught up in the drama of people who are upset over the no kids policy. You’ll find yourself having to invite everyone’s children, causingunnecessary stress (and expenses!). Stand your ground as a couple, and tell people you’re trying to limit the guest count and simply can’t include everyone.
Mention it on your wedding website
Your wedding website is a great place to share important wedding info. That makes it the perfect place to note that your wedding is an adult-only affair. Again, be specific. Give an age limit; if there will be a flower girl or ring bearer, make sure to note that exception so people aren’t surprised. As a thoughtful gesture, consider listing babysitting options in the area.
Be prepared for parents to leave early, or not attend at all
Some parents of young kids will see an adult-only wedding as a rare date night and will book a babysitter without a second thought. Other parents may make an early exit after the ceremony or reception dinner, feeling anxious to get back to their little ones—espeically if they have a baby at home. For some parents, it may be too complicated or impractical to attend the wedding without their children, and that’s okay.
If you choose TO invite kids, prepare to….
Consider your seating chart
If it works with your space, seat all the parents and their children together at one table or at tables, close to each other. While it might seem like a good idea to set-up a kid’s table, things could get a little chaotic with a table full of unsupervised children. Plus, you don’t want single adult guests to be stuck at a table full of kids!
Hire a chaperone
If you know a teenager or young adult who is willing to spare a night of their weekend, hire him or her as a chaperone for the kiddie crew. This way you have a responsible party ready to help with bathroom breaks and to remind kids when to sit down and keep mum. This will also give moms and dads an opportunity to truly enjoy the events of your reception.
Provide a kids meal menu option
Most young kids won’t want salmon or seared steak—and that’s an expensive plate to let go to waste! When building your menu, make sure you have a kid-friendly option or two: chicken tenders, personal pizzas, macaroni and cheese, etc. Also, be sure to request that the kids can get their food early and quickly, since kids eat on a schedule.
Find ways to keep kids entertained
Children are antsy and don’t sit still for long, so you’ll want to keep them busy and entertained for the night. Designate an area with coloring books, a few easy board games, maybe even a movie playing on a computer in a nearby room. If you have older children as guests, assign them a few special tasks. They can act as ushers, hand out programs, or manage the guest book and favors.
Once you decide, you must make it clear who is invited
Parents tend to make assumptions about their kids making the list—whether they are or aren’t invited. So you need to make it clear who is included. If you are inviting kids, indicate that by adding the words “and family” to the invitation. After your invitation is sent (or better yet, before), call your friends and family who have children to explain that your wedding is or isn’t child-friendly. You can also include a line declaring the reception to be “Adults Only” or “Family Friendly” on your invitations, so that there is no confusion.
At the end of the day, your wedding is going to be great with or without young guests—go with what feels right to you as a couple. If you need more wedding planning resources, read more of our blogs. Or contact us today to start putting together your dream wedding! You can reach our event coordinators by email or phone at 877-545-1002.