21

Sep

2011

Wedding Wednesday Discussions: Children at weddings, yes or no?

Children at weddings, yes or no?

Today I wanted to discuss the rather contentious issue of children at weddings. I really want to hear from you and what your thoughts are on this subject.
As a planner I have worked at a lot of weddings, some children friendly and some not, each have their own merits, but is a subject that often comes up with my brides, and it really does seem that people are either dead against having children at their upcoming wedding or completely up for it.

children at weddings

So lets look at both sides of the story

Children at weddings – Yes
I hear so many people say ‘Children make a wedding right?’ and so many people do believe this. Weddings are all about family so how can you have a family wedding without children? If you didn’t have children at weddings then how would you have all those cute flowers girls dressed up in their gorgeous outfits, little boys in miniature sized suits dancing to the beat of the lighting system at the disco? Children just being children and bring all their cuteness to a wedding day can keep the guests amused and with smiles on their faces for hours!
And what about the parents? If you’re told you can’t bring your child to the wedding then what? If you have to travel along way for the wedding this may mean that you can’t actually go, or maybe only one of you can go while your other half has to stay at home and look after them?
These days people are getting married later which means that it is quite likely that a lot of people will already have children before they are married, so often now the couple getting married already have children, and their children then become flower girls or page boy……..so not allowing children at weddings could be very tricky, epically when all of your friends already have children!
There are ways round it of course. Hire in a nanny for the day, hire in childcare, a bouncy castle to keep the children entertained, children entertainment. There are so many mobile crèche companies out there these days offering a variety of child care solutions that it is easy enough to still allow children at your wedding while giving the parents a bit of time off while they are supervised by the professionals!
Children make a wedding, a wedding just wouldn’t be a wedding without them

children at weddings

Children at weddings – No
More and more people are asking guests politely not to bring children to their wedding, and it seems there are many reasons why. Children don’t behave, some do but some are just terrors! There is nothing worse than half way through the ceremony than a child crying, talking, wriggling, kicking, just generally ruining the moment when two people get married and say I do! How many wedding have you been to when you have thought to yourself ‘take that child outside before it ruins it all together’ not just during the ceremony but through the reception drinks and the wedding breakfast itself. Weddings are a long day, often to long for any child attention span, which can more often than not result in tired cranky children who run around knock stuff over and generally misbehave.
Children need putting to bed earlier than the wedding ends, this means that quite often your guests with children will have to have to leave the wedding reception early to put their little ones to sleep which is not only annoying for the guest in question but annoying for the bride! Who wants a half empty wedding reception because half of your guests have had to go home to look after their kids? Children can seriously up the numbers of guests at a wedding so bumping up the price. OK so most children will only be classed as half a meal, but you add those halves together and it makes up quite a lot of money when it comes to food and drink, especially when they are more than likely to leave most of it. It can also have a knock on effect on who you invite, if you have limited numbers at your wedding but feel you have to invite certain children then this can have a knock on effect on inviting other guests, quite often there just isn’t room for everyone!
It seems that even though couples think they are obliged to invite their friends children, more often than not the parents are more than happy to leave the children at home, happy to have a ‘night off!!’ Weddings are notoriously long days full of drinking, a place to let your hair down with friends and family that you may not have seen for a while, all the better if you don’t have little ones to look after!

Wedding Wednesday Discussions: Children at weddings, yes or no?

So there are a few Yes and No reasons. Personally I don’t have children so it’s hard to put myself in the shoes for parents who do, all I know is the weddings I’ve been to as a gust RO a planner. Some weddings have been amazing and have had a huge proportion of children, while others have been completely ruined due to children misbehaving and simply being way to noisy!

For my own wedding I asked people not to bring them….well I suggested, I may not have said it was a flat no. Nik and I had limited numbers, so wanted to keep the guest count to adults only, we did have a couple of friends with very young babies who obviously couldn’t be left at home so we made the exception for them, but our wedding was in Ibiza, it wasn’t a children friendly wedding especially when the whole day was set around a swimming pool, not exactly safe! So we made the decision of no children and our friends were fine with that. Most of my friends do have children and they were happy to leave them at home, some came out on their own for a couple of days and left the children with their dads, while others came out as a couple and had a few days holiday to themselves. No one really made an issue of it…well maybe the family were a little un happy, but at the end of the day it was our wedding, we don’t have children and didn’t want them at our wedding.

The main thing to remember is to do what makes you happy….its your day after all! Someone will always have something to say about it, but it’s you getting married not them! So do what you want!!!

children at weddings

So now it’s open to you! What are your thoughts? Yes or no to children? Are you getting married and faced with this decision? Are you already married and have some experiences of both situations? Have you been to a wedding and had a good or bad experience either way?
I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Big Boho Love
Kelly x

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Comments

    Wedding Sparrow

    What a great point of debate Kelly. We decided that we would not include children in our day mainly because all of your guests will be travelling to us for the weekend. As you mentioned this would involve 75% of guests leaving early to go back to their hotel rooms to put their kids to bed. Not a great party! When we started thinking about the idea I mentioned it to my friend on facebook. Another friend stated she thought this was a horrible idea and that we couldn’t penalise people for having children (she has a 1yr old) and making them feel bad for leaving their kids at home. She was so upset that she de-friended me on facebook and is no longer attending the wedding. A little dramatic I know but it sure showed how much people wanted to see us get married and be happy rather than a day out with their family. We are putting an ‘adults only’ caveat on the invites so there is no confusion but more importantly we are speaking to our close family and friends directly to make sure everyone understands that we are doing it because we want our guests to have a good time without the pressure of feeling bad because they have to leave early. Fingers crossed we lose no more guests! x

    Reply
    Jonathon Watkins

    I love having children at weddings. A marriage is a joining together of two families as well as two individuals. Having the whole family there is just right and usually gives a great atmosphere. However the caveat is that the parents have to control their kids. As a guest I have spend several weddings outside the church during the wedding with on or other of my children as they started to make noise during the ceremony. I have seen too many weddings with kids left to their own devices and getting up to mischief which impacts others.

    As a photographer it’s great to have kids around as you can get the most wonderful images of their wonder, joy & fun.

    Reply
    Nikki @KnotsandKisses

    Great Discussion point! i think this issue more than any other divides people when it comes to weddings. I have plenty of family who would be horrified at the idea of a no child wedding … but I personally can’t think of anything worse than your day being disrupted by screaming babies and children acting up. I have to say though if I was ever to get married I would have to accomodate children to some extent as I would never want to banish my gorgeous niece and nephew! I think the perfect solution is to have a seperate really fun creche area for children … certainly during the more formal parts of the day such as the ceremony and speeches, and then let them run amok at the evening party!

    Reply
    Maria

    We had a very child friendly wedding.

    So many of my friends have children that I couldn’t imagine excluding the kids. Some people chose to come without their families- but that was their choice, and we were happy to have the ones who came. I love my friends’ children- and wanted them there.

    We did do a few things to help the kids- provided party bags and lunchboxes at their tables (meaning they didnt have to wait for food) and had a ‘froggle’ clown entertaining both kids and adults, which meant no fuss during the reception or speeches

    Yes, some people did leave early (the second half of the reception was on a boat, so a couple of people with very small children either didnt do the boat, or left at our earlier 9pm stop off- along with the more elderly guests who didn’t want to stay up too late) But I think they’d rather leave early than not come at all because they couldn’t get childcare.

    The kids that came were brilliantly behaved and started off the dancing in a way that only kids can and I cant imagine having had the day without them.

    Reply
    Laura C

    As you know, we aren’t planning to have any children at our wedding. That isn’t through a strict ‘no children’ caveat but down to a number of reasons really: 1) We don’t have children, and neither do many of our friends. 2) The guest list is small, and children, as you rightly say, ramp up the guestlist dramatically. 3) Neither of us particularly like children, and do not intend on having them for a while yet. The last thing we want on our wedding day is to be bothered/interrupted by children or to feel we have to accomodate them.
    However, if my best friend or similar were to suddenly have a child, there is no way I would not let children come. If it came down to it then yes, by all means bring the kids if absolutely necessary, otherwise we really would like them to not attend. I think in many cases circumstances dictate whether children should be there or not.

    Reply
    Laura

    I think it very much depends on whether the couple themselves have children- if they do then of course they are more than likely going to welcome other children there, if for nothing else than to give their kids someone to play with! If not, then I can understand why they would say ‘no’ to other people bringing theirs. Depends on the kids too of course! My children are very well behaved and sweet, but I know that others may not be! If I had someone elses kids at my wedding and they were screaming and tearing around causing trouble I would be really gutted…

    Reply
    Amma // Beyond Beyond

    It is a contentious issue, but I am seeing quite a few services spring up that actually get someone in to look after the kids for the duration of the service and I think it seems like a good compromise to have qualified childcare professionals on site who can entertain the kids whilst the adults can enjoy the wedding guilt free.

    I personally like a wedding with kids, although it is great to have adult only company it just seems a bit surreal and ‘children of men’ not to have any little people around. I can understand not wanting them in the service, as by the time the tiny tears start, or as at one wedding I went to – the little one’s decide the Aisle is the perfect location to stage a relay race. It can be a bit much.

    My personal preference would be having a play area to keep them amused, but everyone has to be true to themselves and their day and do what works for them.

    Reply
    Laura P

    This is something I feel very strongly about. I’m totally for each to their own, especially when it comes to someone’s wedding day – after all it’s your day so you do as you wish but personally I believe that birthdays and Christmas are for children, weddings are for adults.

    My wedding is in just under 7 weeks and we decided to go with no children from the start. Not only would it have bumped up numbers in our strict 55 person only venue, children do not fully understand what marriage is all about. I would have find it hard to get through our service with children running about and making lots of noise. Don’t get me wrong, I love children (I don’t want to come across as a miserable child hater!! Ha), it’s just that I don’t think wedding ceremonies are something which should be spoilt.

    Children are more than welcome at our evening reception, however, and a lot of our guests are ringing their kids especially on the night to have a dance and celebrate with us regardless of the time. Bedtime rules are going out the window just for one night! :)

    We

    Reply
    boho

    Good pints raised, it certainly does depend if the couple themselves have children, also the addition of good childcare that will look after the children during teh service and keep them entertained during other parts is often a good compramise.
    So far though the issue really does split peoples opnions.

    Reply
    Claire @ Doubleyouweddings

    Hey Kelly,

    If theres one sensitive topic that comes up all too often, it’s definitely this one! It really does divide the population…Well done for addressing it in your blog.
    I personally had problems with this at my wedding:
    We had a very intimate gathering, so had little room (and budget) for Kids. We don’t have many children in our family, but we decided that nieces and nephews were able to come to the day, if they were able to be collected and babysat by another party before the evening band started. The family members (my Hubby’s siblings) struggled to find sitters but were happy with the plan, and it worked pretty well for them in the end.
    That is, until my cousins (who were invited to the evening only) brought their children with them. I had a feeling they were going to so I asked another family member to reiterate it was Adults only before the day, and then has contingency grandparents ready to babysit at the venue. However, the problem seemed to be the communication between various family members – and in the end the kids were present for the whole eve do with their parents. Needless to say, it ruined my night, it made my family fall out with me (on the actual day, too!) because I ‘was being selfish’ and they couldn’t see the problem, but mostly for my brother and sister in laws that we told to get rid of the kids for the night.
    It just goes to show that if something is important to you – and it is your wedding! – you need to make it absolutely clear on invitations etc. And although it’s your day and you shouldn’t have to explain yourself, it’s worth a conversation in person before your plans are spoilt.

    Reply
    louise {bijouxbride}

    I really think this depends on you and the type of day and atmosphere you want to create. I love the idea of a children’s creche during the ceremony as it’s hard for little ones to sit still for more than a few minutes without getting bored! You don’t want them screaming as you say that all important ‘I Do’. But I do love the atmosphere children bring to the party, is that a very British thing?! Luckily for me I think this was the only thing our families didn’t argue about at our wedding, we only had our flower girl and ring bearer, who were both over 10 and showered with gifts (from us) to keep them entertained all day! A great topic for discussion

    Reply
    Lucy Lea

    Having been to a few weddings recently where children were invited I have still not made up my mind as to what I believe is best – one of the weddings the children cried/talked/sung through the whole ceremony which really spoilt the moment but at another they were just cute and really added to the day.

    I think you have to work on the basis that children will be children. You may be lucky and the little ones sit there like darlings throughout the day however you have to accept that at some point they may make some noise, get bored and tear around no matter how much entertainment you put on for them. If that is going to ruin your day, then politely say no to children. If you see that as all part of a proper family wedding then invite away!

    Reply
    Sarah

    An interesting debate, and one I’ve already started thinking about even though we’ve not yet set the date. My partner and I are not child friendly. We have no intention of having children of our own, whenever we holiday we look to go to ‘child-free’ environments so we both feel to have children at our wedding would be hypocritical.

    But are we alienating those friends and family who do have children? While it’s not a problem on my side of the family, he has 2 young nieces and I know it may cause ructions if we say no kids at the wedding. Friends will probably be more understanding but his family are not particularly close as it is and I worry that something like this could just make things worse!

    Gah, it’s so difficult!! Why are weddings such a political matter?!

    Reply
    bridal girl

    I think this all depends on the wedding couple and the location. I’ve attended several weddings and I didn’t see any problems with children there.

    Reply
    Nicola

    I had kids at my wedding and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Kids were an integral part of the wedding day as we had the most gorgeous flowergirl and pageboy. There were only 2 babies at the wedding and about 10 kids put of 120 people, luckily they were really well behaved throughout the whole day. On the advice of our wedding coordinators we had colouring in books to entertain them during the speeches and lots of fruit shoots and mini packets of fruit to keep them going. I think this definitely helped. Although I’ve been to weddings with no children and had a fantastic time, for us children were part of the package!

    Reply
    Georgina @Rubyweddings

    I think it is all down to personal choice but from experience the main reason children act up at a wedding is because they are bored! Keep them entertained with activities or even better an entertainer/nanny then everyone is happy.

    Reply
    Wedding Prints

    Well I think it really depends on the couple. Some couples probably enjoy having children.. depending on the age at the wedding. Some couples have their wedding at venues that do not allow children. At the end of the day the wedding is all about the couple, love, and happiness.

    Reply
    Deb Bradley

    Personally I don’t really understand why people wouldn’t want to invite children to their wedding. A wedding is a major ritual that brings two families together and children are part of those families, and shouldn’t be excluded. The kids at our wedding added a sense of fun and amusement (mainly offspring of friends as it goes); we got married locally so everyone was able to arrange sitters to pick up children early evening and carry on enjoying a truly fantastic reception. Also, attending weddings is the only way that children will gain a sense of what weddings and marriage is about, and begin to understand family histories and bonds. I come from a big family and there were plenty of weddings as I was growing up. I remember each one well and with very fond memories. There are a few adults who were at our wedding who were badly behaved but none of the children were.

    Reply
    Madison

    We are saying no to children but its really not been a hard decision. In both our families we have no young children, i am actually the youngest in my family aside from a cousin who is 11 (and will be attending the wedding). When we put together our guest list there were 8 possible young children, all below the age of 5, and i didnt want them at the wedding for the exact reasons you’ve mentioned. 1. I don’t even know any of the children, just their parents. 2. Children misbehave, especially toddlers! 3. Our wedding has limited numbers. I dont know how this will be recieved yet but our family members are fine with it.

    Reply
    Natasha Thompson

    I usually go to weddings because I photograph them, but this summer my husband and I were invited to one as guests. It was our luck that my mum was staying with us at the time and we went to the wedding without our 2 y.o. daughter. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN without her there!!! No need to worry about her misbehaving, whether she’s eaten or not, whether she’s tired or not, etc, etc. Just us two, looking good, feeling great and staying late! One of the best nights together since our little darling was born :)

    Having said that I LOVE children at weddings which I go to as a photographer – they make them more lively :)

    Reply
    Liz

    I think it entirely depends on the couple and what they feel is appropriate for their day. We had no children under the age of 13 at our wedding. We’re both childfree and wanted our wedding to reflect who we were as people (which is also why the majority of our guests came in costume!).
    My family didn’t mind at all, they know exactly what my husband and I are like and I think would have been shocked if we did invite kids. My husbands family however kicked up a hell of a fuss, blaming me and my mum for the decision. In the end his entire extended family boycotted our wedding including the ones without children which is fine by us!
    We got the whole “children make the wedding” comments and honestly it might for some couples but our friends certainly made the wedding for us and we got some hilarious photos thanks to them not a bunch of kids!

    Reply
    Alexandria

    The main dilemma with my partner and I is that he has two cousins who are completely out of control. They can’t even be taken to the shopping centre without biting, punching and screaming. Then there’s the other problem – I’ve got a younger cousin notorious for poking his fingers into every bit of food he sees. I’d be horrified to turn around and see our wedding cake with holes and slobber all over it!

    There are many kids that I’d love to have at our wedding, but it would be completely unfair to invite some children and not others that may ruin the day. So I think we’d go with no-children wedding just to make sure everything goes smoothly.

    Reply
      Beverly

      I completely agree with not inviting children. I am getting married in less than a year, and we specified that it was an “adults-only” event. It’s primarily because I don’t want the ceremony and reception to be ruined by (understandably) bored children, who will scream, race around, throw tantrums, and get into mischief to relieve their tedium. It’s no use to depend on parents to control them; they often ignore the misbehavior so they don’t have to deal with it, or consider anything their little angels do to be adorable, no matter how outrageous it is.

      We are making exceptions for a few family members, who are ages 7-16, except for 3-year-old twins (my fiancé’s niece and nephew) with a bridesmaid mother and a very conscientious father.

      There is no reason to invite children who don’t even know the bride and groom. When I was child, my siblings and I were babysat by grandparents or family friends when my parents went to weddings. Some of the weddings were out-of-town ones, in which case we were babysat for the whole weekend. It never even occurred to me that I would be invited to a wedding, since I didn’t know the couple. The first wedding I went to was my first cousin’s, when I was 15 years old.

      Reply
    Melanie

    When I got married it didn’t even cross my mind to not invite kids. Weddings are a family tradition, not a gala or a prom. I didn’t have bridesmaids, I had flower girls instead and many of our cousins have kids and brought them, none of which ruined the ceremony. I made sure we had a room in the venue with 2 or 3 baby sitters with kid friendly meals served, crafts, mattresses or anything else the kids might want during the dinner but they were free to wander in the room where the parents were. For most of the day they were free to run around and play outside. During dinner I kept getting a line up of kids who made drawings and crafts for us, it was very sweet. Just because most couples who are getting married are still living the nice kids free life doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have compassion for those who do and make them feel like they are an inconvenience. I was invited to one of my friend’s weddings recently and they are not allowing kids. That means that I have to leave my husband at home with my son and go by myself. I’ll be rushing there by plane and leaving as soon as I can after the wedding because I’m still breastfeeding. I understand it’s their day but it’s still inconvenient and selfish to me.

    Reply

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