On the fence about whether you should invite children to your wedding or make it an “adults only” affair? You are not alone! This decision can be a tricky one and should not be taken lightly! You and your fiancé will need to discuss this important matter well in advance and plan ahead on how you are going to proceed. You may decide you want a family friendly wedding, or only certain children to attend, or none at all. Either way, you will want to be clear with your decision and plan accordingly. Read on below for our tips on how to best handle this situation and when deciding to invite children, what to consider and have in place to make sure your wedding celebration goes off without a hitch! 

1. Communicate clearly. 

If you and your fiancé have decided you only want certain children in attendance (perhaps for budget reasons, space limitations, or just not wanting your wedding overrun with little ones), be sure to address your invitations accordingly/specifically with the names of adults and children you are inviting.  If you want more of a grown-up affair, be sure to include “Adults Only Affair” on the Details card of your wedding invitations, and on your wedding website. This can be worded in different ways, but it must be clear to avoid confusion. Even if your invitation is only addressed to adults, there is always that guest out there who assumes their children are automatically invited, so make sure to have a conversation with all invited parents of young children to be safe. Don’t feel the need to over explain either, and if asked for more details, keep it simple (i.e. space limitations). 

2. Provide all the necessary entertainment.

When inviting children to your wedding, make sure to have age-appropriate activities for them at the reception. At cocktail hour, consider having an area for lawn games (which the adults will enjoy too!). At the dinner reception, individually wrapped goodie bags at each child’s place setting will help keep them engaged and less disruptive during special moments like toasts and the first dance/parent dances. Goodie bags can include crayons, coloring books, stickers, snacks, mini puzzles, glow sticks, etc. A photo booth is also often a hit with guests of all ages, and something the children are sure to enjoy too. You may choose to have a “kids table” but keep in mind that the younger ones will need to sit with their parents.

3. Consider childcare.

If your concern is little ones sitting quietly through the ceremony, and their parents not being able to fully be present/enjoy the ceremony as a result, consider arranging for childcare during that time (if your venue has a special room or area for this). Or consider childcare for just the reception, if that is more your concern. There are some great agencies out there that specialize in providing professional, quality childcare for special events. You will, however, want to have a conversation with these parents in advance to see if they would be interested in utilizing these services. Some parents may not be comfortable leaving their children with someone they don’t know, and that may be something you will have to accept.

4. Be understanding if certain guests are unable to make it. 

For Adult Only affairs, some guests may not be able or willing to leave their children with someone to attend your wedding. They also may not like the idea of leaving them with someone they don’t know, if you have arranged for childcare at some point during the wedding celebration. If you are firm in your decision, you will need to be okay that some guests are going to RSVP “no” to your wedding.

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At the end of the day, it is your wedding and you are allowed to invite whomever you’d like, but it is delicate situation and must be handled with etiquette and care. Despite all of your best efforts, some guests may still not like your decision and it will rub them the wrong way. We recommend doing everything you can to communicate clearly and provide your guests with options and ultimately decide what is right for you!

Photo Credit:
Honey Plum Photography