Children: To Invite Them or Not?

Image by ethan hein on FlickrWhen the subject of inviting children to your wedding comes up, there will be many differences of opinion to deal with. Some well-meaning friends and family may say that you simply cannot include them as it is a formal occasion. Others will say that you should definitely include them as a wedding is a big party and not to include them is horrible. So what’s the rule?

It’s really up to you. There are no rules. You have to consider several things, however. First, if your wedding is very formal, are you going to want children running around? It also depends on whose children you are talking about inviting. Are you going to invite your sister’s young children because they are your nieces and nephews? Are you feeling pressured to invite your bridesmaid’s children because she’s in the wedding party?

These are issues that will come up. And again, it’s up to you. While it might feel horrible to you to exclude a two year old nephew—and so you invite him—there’s no reason you have to have every two year old child that’s in any way connected to the wedding.

Any children from past marriages should be given the opportunity to choose to come or not. If they don’t want to come, that’s their choice, but definitely extend the invitation. The last thing you want is to start out your new married life with bruised feelings.

Image by Rob Barrett Photography on FlickrWhen it comes to your bridesmaids or best friends, you may want to have a private talk with them way before the issue even comes up. Tell them that you are planning a more formal evening and children would be out of place. She may be offended, so be prepared. Talk about how much you want her in the wedding and that you’d like her to be free to just enjoy herself too.

If you decide to have children at your wedding, you do have some options to control disruptions. You can hire a nanny for the day. Provide a children’s area complete with crayons and small games to occupy the children. Depending on their ages, some of them can even help entertain the younger ones. The nanny can be a high school girl or a local teen that you know from church. Ask around. Someone may just love the idea of making a few bucks for watching the children during a wedding.

You can have a separate meal for the children that is more to their liking without having to alter the adult menu. Serve mac and cheese and chicken fingers and they’ll all be happy. Have a tent for the kids, and offer wedding favors or kids gifts so they can have their own little play area. Or rent a bounce house that they can play with outside while the guests are dancing and dining.

Many children are perfectly well behaved and can join the regular festivities. If you have a mom who is in the bridal party, she can ask her husband to supervise the child while she’s off taking photos. You may even want to offer her the option to sit with her child instead of at the head table so the child can spend time with mom (and act up less).

Either way you choose to go, children at your wedding are your choice. Don’t let anyone sway you one way or the other. Do what feels right to you and your fiancé.

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