Should You Invite Children to Weddings?

Children at weddings

It's a common experience - the bride and groom gaze lovingly into each other's eyes, waiting for the priest to utter the most important six words they'll ever hear, "you are now husband and wife". And then a baby starts screaming.

There's just no getting around the fact that small children aren't well suited to long days full of speeches, or that they're unlikely to alter their behaviour to suit you - even during the most poignant moments of your life.

As a result, it's become increasingly common for couples to opt for child-free weddings.

However, with over 50% of people still feeling that it's always appropriate for children to be invited (All About Party Bag's Wedding Survey, 15.04-17.04), there's clearly no one-size-fits-all solution. Ultimately, the right decision depends on each individual couple.

A Social Minefield

Whether or not to invite children is one of the biggest wedding dilemmas that brides and grooms will face - and you only need to visit a forum such as Baby's World to be aware that it's a contentious issue.

It isn't unusual for parents to take offence if their children aren't invited, and a child-free wedding can, of course, cause problems if your guests struggle to find childcare.

However, the important thing to remember is that it's your day and if, for whatever reason (be it lack of space, money or patience) you decide not to invite children, you don't have to feel guilty.

Not Inviting Children? It Is Possible to Avoid Offence

If you do decide to have a child-free wedding, there are a number of things you can do to minimise the risk of offence.

  • Make your decision early - parents will need plenty of time to organise childcare, so letting them know early will help them to prepare.
  • Make it clear who's invited - if you don't clearly explain your inviting parameters, parents may make assumptions and RSVP for their children- and this will mean an awkward conversation further down the line. It's often worth giving everyone a quick call before they receive the invitations to explain your reasoning
  • Don't write 'no children' on the invitations - use 'adult only reception' instead, as it's less abrupt
  • Stick to your decision - it's easy to cave if one of your guests kicks up a fuss - but giving into one person will only open the gates for the "if they can bring their kids, why can't we?" question.
  • Don't be offended if some people can't make it - it's important to accept that if you throw a child-free wedding, some of your guests (particularly families who live far away or have young children) may not be able to make it.

Inviting Children? They Can Be a Wonderful Addition to Your Day

If you do decide to invite children, they can be a wonderful addition to your day - but a little forward-planning is necessary to make sure things run smoothly.

  • Consider hiring a children's entertainer - prices vary, but you're probably looking at around £100 per hour, which could be a small price to pay for lots of happy faces!
  • Give children a role to play - roles such as flower girl, ring bearer and junior bridesmaid/groomsman are a great way to involve kids in the wedding and keep them occupied
  • Consider hiring a 'children's room'- this will be an added expense, but a 'children's room' filled with games, activities and places to sleep could be incredibly useful, particularly as it starts to get late
  • Have a morning/afternoon wedding - every parent knows that kids get grumpy when they're tired! Ensuring your wedding finishes earlier in the day can help to avoid temper tantrums
  • Hand out busy bags - our wedding busy bags are filled with activities that encourage quiet individual play, making them the perfect way to keep children occupied during the ceremony and long speeches.

Read our Wedding Magazine for more tips on how to keep kids entertained on the big day.

If there's one topic that inflames debate, it's the "should children be invited to weddings?" dilemma. Whilst many people would never dream of throwing a child-free wedding, an increasing number of couples are opting for adult-only receptions.

The important thing to remember is that it's your day and with a little forward-planning everything can run smoothly - whatever you decide.

What do you think? Should children always be invited to weddings or are child-free weddings perfectly acceptable? Let us know in the comments.

Image from Pixabay

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