One of the most stressful decisions to make regarding a wedding can be whether or not to invite children. For some, it is only natural to include them, believing that a wedding is a time to celebrate families. Others feel the event should be an adults-only affair.
There is no right or wrong.
Your wedding is about you and you should be able to celebrate it however you please.
The style of your wedding may influence the decision. If you are having an afternoon garden party or a casual backyard wedding, children have an opportunity to run around and are less likely to be irritable. However, it is unfair to expect young children to sit through hours of a formal evening affair. Depending on the style of wedding, you could decide to allow parents to bring their children to the ceremony, but not the reception – or vice versa
Obviously, if you have children of your own you will probably want to include them in the day’s excitement. (Better the wedding than the honeymoon, right?) There are lots of many lovely ways to involve children in both the ceremony and at the reception, and my advice is to get into their mindset and think about what they would enjoy.
A little girl may be thrilled at the idea of becoming a “princess” flower girl for the day, and be happy to toss rose petals down the aisle. (I know my niece still talks about how pretty we were at “our” wedding). Or a shy little boy may be happy to sit quietly until it is time to hand over the wedding rings, or walk the family dog down the aisle. Older children might like to write a poem to be included in the ceremony, whether read by them or someone else. As for the reception, the birdy dance and the hokey pokey are always popular with little ones!
If there will be several children at the reception, you may choose to have a kid’s table. Depending on the ages of the children present, it can be well worth the money to arrange for a babysitter or two, who are purely there to look after and entertain the children. You can supply each child with a gift bag containing activities to keep them happy for the evening, such as colouring books, puzzles and simple crafts. And if you provide the babysitters with the table numbers of each child’s parents, the mums and dads can relax and enjoy the festivities, knowing that they will be told if there is a problem.
If you decide to have a child-free wedding, make sure your wishes are clear or people may just assume that the children are included in the invitation. Whether you put a note on the invitations of those family and friends that have children, or speak to them personally can depend on your relationships with those involved.
But don’t feel pressured into inviting children just because you think it is expected. In my experience, many parents are happy to have a child-free night out. Let’s face it – wedding ceremonies can be long and boring for a child. And unless there are other children present, the parents spend most of the evening entertaining (and reprimanding) their kids. Not exactly a fun time for anyone!