The Great Debate: Should Children Be Invited to Weddings?

The Great Debate: Should Children Be Invited to Weddings?

When deciding whether to invite children to a wedding, there are a few things to consider. If you want to include children, that's fine, but if you want to make it an adult-only event, that's also acceptable. Here are some things to consider.

One of the main issues couples have when wedding planning is whether they should invite children to the wedding ceremony and wedding reception. It's one of the many wedding guest dilemmas. Can you invite some youngsters, but not others? How do you refrain from offending guests with children and may expect them to be included in the big day?

It's your decision 

Is your wedding going to be 'family-friendly' or 'adults-only?' It's not an easy question for couples to answer, but it's inevitably something you'll have to address. While you don't want to offend any of your guests, having children at your wedding can present a few challenges.

Deciding whether you want children at your wedding day is entirely up to you. It is important to remember that it's your day. If you wish to include children on your guest list or certain children, that's fine. If you want to make it an adult-only affair, that's also up to you. 

Are child-free weddings selfish?

No! It is absolutely OK to have an adults-only wedding, especially if you're having a very formal affair. Be aware that it may ruffle some feathers and limit the adult guests who can attend, but on the other side, weddings are costly and having a toddler tantrum during your ceremony can disrupt the vibe. Could you extend the invite to the evening wedding party?

How to tell someone not to bring their child to a wedding

If you choose to make it an adult-only invite, make this very clear on your invitation. These days, it is part of wedding invitation etiquette. This allows people to start making childcare arrangements straight away. If a guest is upset, explain that it's your decision and you're sorry they are upset, but you hope they'll accept your decision. 

You could say, "We are very sorry, but we cannot accommodate children due to venue restrictions." Blame us, we're OK with it! Or "Due to guest number restrictions, we are unable to extend the invite to children." There's also, "We love your children; however, due to budget restrictions, we are only inviting you to our wedding."

What if you want to invite some kids and not others? 

A grey area can lead to hassles unless you have defined that grey area with the utmost care and attention. For example, you can explain if you have your own young children or children involved in the wedding ceremony but don't want any other children there. 

How do you avoid causing offence?

Set your expectations from the beginning. Set your policy on children before you send out the wedding invitations. If you are including children, allow a place on the RSVP to state the number and ages of the children. If you are not inviting children, note that clearly on the invitation. 

If you think someone will be offended by the decision, talk with them before you send out the invites and explain your reasoning. Remember, it's your wedding, so you can choose who you invite!

How can I include children in my wedding?

One way to fend off a tantrum or boredom is to keep young children occupied, giving them some jobs to do! Flower girl, ring bearer and page boy roles are self-explanatory. Little ones can walk down the aisle before the bridesmaids, scattering flower petals and carrying the rings (if old enough to be trusted). 

But those aren't the only duties kids can do. How about having them hand out the order of service or manage the guest book? They could be 'Chief Fancy Dresser' in charge of giving out props at the photo booth. Some children will even be happy to do a reading or say a prayer. Older teenagers could be directing guests where to park or acting as ushers. 

What are the best ways to keep children entertained at weddings?

Have a children's room with some films playing, board games to play or a craft corner (no pens or paints! You don't want outfits ruined) and healthy snacks. Give out activity packs or goody bags as wedding favours to kids; they can do the puzzles and colouring in while the speeches are happening so they don't get too bored. Or hire an entertainer such as a magician – adults will love this too!

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether to invite children or not, but it's important to consider all the factors before making a decision.

Weddings at Future Inns

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