There’s no two ways about it. Children can be a divisive issue when it comes to weddings. Look on any parenting forum and there are regularly questions from people asking if it’s appropriate to leave the kids off their wedding invitations. For some people, it’s like Christmas – just not the same without kids around. For others, children are a no-no. It’s entirely a matter of personal choice, but if you’re planning a wedding and you have young family members or friends who’ve got little ones, you’ll need to decide what your policy is on kids and if you’re not having a child-friendly wedding, be prepared because it may cause controversy.
These days there are many couples who will have children first and get married later. And many people tend to assume that a wedding invitation for adults automatically means that their kids can come too. With their natural effervescence for life in general, children make a great addition to any celebration. Having said that, children are – well, children – and they sometimes can’t be relied upon to be quiet when you want them to be and the pressures of a big day like a wedding can easily become too much for them to cope with, and the resulting stress can lead to tears and tantrums.
Whether or not to invite children is, as we’ve said, entirely your choice. If your celebrations are going to be very formal then you may want to omit the potential chaos that toddlers and even older children can be. You might not want your sacred vows to be interrupted by wailing of newborns. Or you might think that your friends deserve a day off from their little ones and come and celebrate without the kids in tow. Whatever your reasons, that’s fine – it’s your wedding after all – but your parent-friends will appreciate knowing as far in advance as possible so they can make arrangements to have the kids looked after for the day.
Whatever you decide, it might be fairer all round if you have a blanket policy but be prepared to stick to it. There may be some disgruntlement among your guests if some kids are allowed, say your own nieces and nephews but not the children of friends. Remember, there’s no right or wrong with this, but clear communication to your guests is very important and could avoid arguments or bad feeling if so-and-so’s kids were allowed to come, but someone-else’s kids weren’t. Be very clear when you write the invitations and clearly state who is invited and be prepared to follow up with an explanatory phone call if you’re expecting a friend who has children to make arrangements for them to be looked after for the day so they can come celebrate with you.
At the end of the day, it’s your wedding and ultimately your choice who comes and who doesn’t. but you’d be wise to choose your words carefully if you don’t want little ones there. Once people become parents, they see the world very differently from non-parents and may have a hard time understanding why their little darling can’t come. Be kind, be tactful and stick to your guns.