Kids at a Wedding. Yay or Nay?

Your Wedding Day!!!

A day to laugh, cry, dance, sing, eat, drink and be merry. 

A time for family and friends to come together with you and your partner to celebrate the joining of your two families.  For some it’s a time for ritual and solemn vows, for others it’s a time for lavish pomp and ceremony, but for all it’s a time for celebration and wonderfully, happy memories.

Until, of course, the moment you inform all your family and friends that you and your partner have decided to opt for a “no kids” policy for your big day. 


It’s at this point that you’d be well advised to tread carefully, (or run for cover) because it’s right about now that you may find you’ve quite unwittingly opened Pandora’s box - and it could be a wee bit tricky getting it closed again!

Parents are sensitive creatures when it comes to their children!

So, the big debate for many a happy couple is whether or not they would like children to attend their wedding celebrations.   Of course, some couples may not struggle with the decision at all.  They know what they want and it’s not a problem.  And this will be your key to success, because regardless of the decision you make, you are definitely not going to please everyone.  So it’s important to please yourselves.  Make your decision and stick to it.  It is your wedding after all.

Here are some tips that may help …..

Tip No. 1 - Decide early

Your decision may be influenced by many things such as the timing of the ceremony and reception (an evening wedding may not accommodate children as easily); the venue (destination weddings could throw a spanner in the works, its not easy getting a sitter for 5 days); your budget (yes children eat too); or your personal choice (you just don’t want kids at your wedding).

Decide early and stick to your guns.

Tip No. 2 - Address your invitations appropriately

If you decide against having children, this isn’t going to go down well with some so its important that both you and your partner are on the same page and won’t be influenced by cousin Mary or your best friend Charlotte guilting you into submission.  Make it clear on the invitations, in a nice way, that you will not be able to accommodate children and that you hope your guests will understand.  If you think someone may be offended by your decision, a quick phone call to state your case may be helpful too.  Personalise it a little and you may just ease the pain.

If, on the other hand, you would like your family and friends’ children to attend your wedding, ensure that the child’s name appears on the invitation. Addressing the invitation to “Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs and family” is ok for a Christmas card but a wedding invitation, not so much.  You need to be precise.

Tip No. 3 - All for one and one for all

What if you find yourself in the situation where you would like to invite some children but not others?

Your brother’s 3 year old daughter Emilia would make an adorable little flower girl or your cousin’s little Tommy would absolutely rock that cute bow tie as a page boy.  How should you handle this?

While there are no hard and fast rules (as we’ve said, it’s your wedding) etiquette does come into the mix.  Inviting only the children in the wedding party (Emilia and Tommy) would be acceptable but inviting some children and not others definitely isn’t ok.  You risk upsetting members of your family and friends if you go down this road and it is not recommended. 

The Three Musketeers got it right - All for one and one for all. 

And if you go with “all” (and depending on numbers) you may like to consider hiring a sitter for some part of the festivities and a side room where the children could be entertained with colouring packs or lego or a movie or any number of things that won’t break the bank…… all while the adults party on.  

Of course, as a last resort, your guests can always call in the cavalry (i.e. the grandparents) to collect the kids at a specified time and take them home to bed. That could work too!

Tip No. 4 - Enjoy! 

Decisions on whether or not to invite children to your wedding may not always be easy and there is no right or wrong. 

Just remember that your special day is a time for you and your family and friends to celebrate, relax and enjoy.  So don’t stress about it too much.  Whatever you decide, I am sure you, your partner and your guests will make it a memorable and happy occasion.  Just as it should be!!!

Vicki Brown