When creating your guest list, many factors have to be taken into consideration. You’ll face many questions as you go through your first draft: should we really invite the second cousins? Doesn’t Aunt Polly’s boyfriend drink an awful lot at big events? Should I allow everyone a plus one?
One inquiry that may surface during your planning process: should we invite children? For clarification, this doesn’t include your niece and nephew, or even your own children, but rather making it an option for other guests to bring their kids along. For some brides, the answer is easy – you may have a penchant for little ones and a gaggle of friends and family with kids, or you may want your affair to be adults-only because planning kids’ entertainment isn’t something you’d like to spend your time doing.
However, there are more than likely a number of brides who sit somewhere in the middle: friends with darling children, but a desire to center around grown-up activities. For those ladies, we’ve put together a list of the various pros and cons of inviting little ones to your wedding.
- Guests find it gracious and warm. If you make your event open to children, parents will most likely appreciate the gesture. While it’s true that many moms and dads will hire a babysitter that night anyway, the ones that cannot will be grateful. An extra bonus: some of children’s fondest memories come from attending weddings at a very young age. Unknowingly, you could be making a positive impression on them about love and commitment. Plus, we’re sure they’ll love the fairy-tale aspect of the day!
- It’s another chance to be a visionary. If you’re looking for another outlet to let your creativity shine, this is one perfect way to do it. We’ve heard of brides creating scavenger hunts and kids’ table board games to entertain the little ones during the various parts of the wedding. There are tons of cute, even elegant, ideas out there to inspire you! We can even give you some suggestions to keep kids happy and entertained during the celebration.
- They can add a playfulness that no one else can. Whether it be for the aesthetic of your reception photographs or just the general atmosphere of the day, children add a little whimsy. You can probably count on them to get guests up and dancing after they’ve finished their meals, and their free-spirited nature might remind you to relax and have fun!
- They’re differing definition of the word “entertainment.” If you believe your reception to be “kid friendly,” we’d recommend running your list of activities by a child or a parent. What works for adults – and what you might assume works for children – may be off, and that could leave you with some unsatisfied little ones. If you haven’t been around kids much, you’ll need to consult someone who has been on your menu, song choices, and games – a good amount of extra effort. With young children coming to the wedding, you’re sure to hear from them exactly what they did not like.
- You’re losing parents at varying times during the event. If attendees bring very little kiddos – younger than eight or so – they may have to leave at random intervals to settle their children, let them run around outside, or take them to the bathroom. If there are toddlers and babies present, they may also have to step away to change diapers; this means you’ll have to break up time with your college friend or your cousin that you haven’t seen in years. Parents are often on their kids’ schedule – if they need to get some energy out, the adult will need to accompany them, and you must accept that. This is even more difficult when the parent in question is a member of the bridal party.
- They don’t always cooperate. Typically, this is the main reason people elect not to be open to having kids at the wedding. Depending on how old each child is – and their general countenance – they pose a risk for interrupting your nuptials with screams, cries, or even laughter. They don’t always understand the concept of being disruptive, of course, but that doesn’t mean they can’t ruin a moment. Some brides and grooms welcome children at their reception, but ask that they not attend the ceremony – some pairs even set up another room with a babysitter and toys for guests’ little ones during the vows. Though, even the most prepared couples have had to deal with unexpected behavior if they choose to let guests bring their kids.
We recommend you make the decision that is most sensible for you, your sweetheart, your families, and guests. Children can be an absolute joy – but during a wedding, you may need to feel that joy in small doses.
Opening photo by Dalal Photography