Children at weddings has become a modern dilemma. There is now nothing more controversial than the ‘kids or no kids’ decision. You might want an adult-only celebration but be worried about offending your family and close friends. Here are my pros and cons to help you make up your mind when it comes to whether or not to invite children to your wedding.
Children at weddings: reasons to invite children to your wedding
Many people believe that children make a wedding even more special: think pretty little bridesmaids in ballet shoes, flower girls scattering rose petals and cute pageboys with ring cushions and you’ll get my drift.
The most positive reason for inviting children to your wedding has to be the bringing together of your families – the entire family without exception. Few people without children can understand the nightmare of finding a trusted babysitter for longer than a couple of hours.
For parents with newborn babies, particularly those who are breastfeeding, it can be virtually impossible to be apart from baby for more than a couple of hours. This means that if there’s a ‘no kids’ rule on the invitation, the mother simply won’t be able to go, whether she’s your sister or your best friend. By not inviting children or babies you may miss out on having someone close to you share your celebration and that could be very upsetting for them too, so that’s certainly something to take into consideration. Having children at weddings doesn’t always make the celebration more difficult.
Children at weddings: reasons not to invite children to your wedding
The most common reason couples choose not to invite children to their wedding is because they want it to be an adult celebration.
Another worry for couples is that their venue isn’t baby-friendly, meaning there are no high chairs, baby changing facilities, or access for pushchairs. Most wedding venues are very welcoming to families with babies and children, and if there are no high chairs then parents will be welcome to bring along mobile high chairs or booster seats for toddlers.
The most common misconception about having children at a wedding is that they will be noisy or run riot and end up ruining the whole day. As a mother of two ‘high spirited’ children myself who I have taken to several weddings since they were babies, please feel reassured that there are very few parents who would let their children get away with so much as a peep during the ceremony, and most parents with very children will sit close to the door so as to make a quick getaway if needed.
While it’s true that bored or overtired children can make a bit of a noise, parents of small children will usually ensure they bring enough distractions to keep their little ones quiet during the ceremony and speeches, and entertained during the meal.
Wedding crèches are wonderful and highly recommended if you have a lot of children to invite. If a crèche is out of your budget then providing little activity packs, toys or games for children on your reception tables, and bottles of bubbles or petal confetti at the church for the parents will be all that’s needed.
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.