Kids at Your Wedding – Yay or Nay?

Last month, Kimberly wrote about the pros and cons of having kids in your wedding, but what if you’re still trying to decide whether or not to have kids AT your wedding? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when making this decision:

  • Do you enjoy being around kids or have kids of your own?
  • Do a lot of your guests have children?
  • Do you envision an adults-only event? Or do you want your wedding to be a fun affair for the entire family?

Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong answer here — it’s your day, your decision!

Perfect Day

Let’s start with looking at some of the pros and cons of inviting and not inviting kids to your wedding…

Inviting kids to your wedding

  • Pro: Adults with kids could attend — this is especially true for out-of-town guests
  • Con: Can be lots of rowdy kids on the dance floor or running around
  • Pro: Kids are adorable and can be quite entertaining, especially on the dance floor!
  • Con: Kids get tired easily and parents may have to leave early to put them to bed
  • Pro: Kids make for great pictures… actually some of the best!
  • Con: Parents may be chasing kids around all night, unless you have a designated kids area (MAJOR Pro!)

Not inviting kids to your wedding

  • Pro: Parents may have more fun because they can really let loose
  • Con: Parents might choose not to attend your event because they would have to make other arrangements for their kids
  • Pro: Not inviting kids can help keep your guest list numbers low
  • Con: Parents may have to leave earlier to relieve their babysitter

So have you made your decision yet?  Here are some things to keep in mind, no matter what you decide!

Corbin Gurkin Photography

Address your invitations properly and make sure it is clearly stated who is invited

If you’re using inner and outer envelopes, the parents’ names should be on the outer envelope and the child’s name should be written under the parents’ names on the inner envelope. Every Last Detail gave a great example on how to address an invitation to a family. As you can see, the outer envelope is addressed to the parents while the inner envelope details each guest that is invited. In this case the children, Lily and James, are also invited, so they are included on the inner envelope. This technique makes it clear who is invited from that particular family.

Just using an outer envelope? Include both the parents’ and child’s name on the outer envelope, or address it the parents, adding “and family” to indicate that their children are also invited. Remember, if the child is over 18, he or she should receive their own invitation.

A child-free wedding

If you choose not to have kids at your wedding, make sure to make this clear to your guests well in advance so they can make arrangements to have a babysitter that night. This is also important for out-of-town guests who will need to make additional arrangements for their children. It is not proper etiquette to put “adults only” on your invitation. Taking a more subtle approach by addressing your invitations properly is best. Still afraid your guests will bring their children? Let the fact that your nuptials will be adults only leak through your family and friends’ by word of mouth.

The more the merrier!

If you choose to invite kids, consider designating a kid’s table or having kids in a separate room and hiring a babysitter! This may seem like an unnecessary additional cost, but this was a HUGE success for a Hitched Events wedding in 2012. At Monica and Shaun’s wedding, kids attended the ceremony with their parents and once they arrived to the reception, they were whisked away into a nearby room where they had their own kids buffet, video games and movies and a darling babysitter to make sure they were on their best behavior all night. Parents were able to pop in whenever they wanted to and make sure their kids were doing alright, but were still able enjoy the party. It worked out perfectly!

It’s also a good idea to provide some kid-friendly food options for your little guests. Chicken fingers, pizza, mac and cheese and fruit cups are all great options for kids and certainly less expensive than the filet mignon your guests will be feasting on!

Keep kids entertained during the reception by having some arts and crafts and (quiet!) games readily available. Giving them a little fun goody bag, like the one I found at One Lovely Day, will not only keep them entertained, but will make them feel super special.

While you may be tempted to hand pick the kids that are invited to your wedding (say, only the most well-behaved ones!), it’s a good idea to have clear parameters for your decision so you can avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Inviting all kids, no kids at all, or only inviting the kids of your immediate family or bridal party is easy to explain if someone asks, whereas hand selecting the kids you want there and the ones you don’t will certainly be confusing to guests and may cause unwanted conflict. You should be able to easily come up with a straight-forward response when a parent asks why their kid wasn’t invited. It’s so much easier to say, “We are only having our nieces and nephews at the wedding” than it is to explain why their notoriously fussy toddler didn’t make the cut.

What do you think about having kids at your wedding — is this a must-do or a must-not?  Let us know what you think!

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