Diary of a Boho Bride and Groom – Jo and Nick, Entry 3: Children at Weddings

diary of a boho bride and groom

Today we are back with Jo and Nick on Diary of a Boho Bride and Groom. Last time they talked about the Church and offered some good advice for couples in the beginning stages of planning their church service. Today they discuss the contentious issue of children at weddings and how they have decided on a ‘no children’ option for their big day. This is such a big issue with guests and can be the basis of a lot of stress for both couples and parents. Jo and Nick put up some very interesting points, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

diary of a boho bride and groom

JO: Afternoon all! By the time this reaches the blog we will be into the 100 day countdown to our wedding. I honestly cannot believe how quickly the time is flying and it feels like extra things are being added to the to-do list every week! Today we are in the midst of invitation envelope stuffing but have had to take a break as ‘someone’ didn’t order enough ribbon to put them together (obviously it wasn’t me who had that responsibility!).

Our blog topic this time is possibly a controversial one and something that everyone seems to have an opinion on; children at weddings. We decided very early on that we will only be inviting three children to our wedding; my two nephews Harvey and Joshua, aged 5 and 4, and Nick’s goddaughter Meisha, aged 3. The tradition of having pageboys and flowergirls is something I love and these three little ones are perfect for the roles.

Diary of  a Boho Bride and Groom Diary of  a Boho Bride and Groom

NICK: We know there is a chance a few of our friends and family will be disappointed that their child is not invited. We just hope that no-one is offended as this is not personal. There were a lot of factors we considered when deciding on only inviting the three kids. We both have been to weddings where children were welcomed and also to ‘adult-only’ affairs. One thing we both felt was that children can take the attention away from the couple. Little girls hover around the bride dreaming of one day dressing up in a big princess dress, little boys are constantly being shouted at by their parents for running too close to the cake table and for getting their Sunday bests filthy by sliding on their knees. We also felt that children could be a distraction to the photographer and videographer as it is very easy for kids to look cute and command attention.

JO: And whilst this may sound totally selfish, this is the one day when we are allowed to have things exactly as we want them. We are paying a lot of money to ensure the day is documented well and something we can treasure forever and a screaming toddler in the middle of the ceremony just doesn’t fit into this vision! Whilst I am under no illusions that our three little darlings may get stage fright and refuse to walk down the aisle, or decide they don’t want to pose for that cute photograph all holding hands, the difference is they are ‘our’ children. They are the ones that we know, know us and spend time with and this is why we want them to be part of our day.

NICK: Another concern of ours was the cost of inviting all the children. There would have been a total of 17 children at the wedding, the majority of which are under 5. To some this might not seem that many but it would mean 17 more meals, 17 more favours, possibly some sort of child entertainment, and in our case we would have had to find a bigger venue or invite fewer adults that we would rather have there.

We have spoken to a couple of our friends with children to see how they felt on the matter. We talked about our fears of crying kids spoiling the ceremony and the speeches, and how we want a real party night atmosphere for the evening reception. They understood our views and even expressed how it will be a nice opportunity for them to have a grown up night out and a stay over in a hotel where they can treat themselves to a much needed lie in.

JO: The invitation wording brought up some discussions between Nick and I. Should we go all out and write “no children invited” to avoid any awkward discussions? In the end we decided against this and have simply written the names of those invited on the invitations in the hope that people will realise what this means; we’ll be able to update you on how this has gone in a couple of weeks once the RSVP’s start hitting the doormat! And hopefully any declines will not be due to the no children policy, but even if they are, this is something we are going to have to acknowledge and accept it is a decision we have made and something we want to stick by.

Diary of a Boho Bride and Groom

And besides, wedding days are long events and sometimes it just all gets too much for the little people!


Happy Planning

Jo and Nick xx


So what are your thoughts? the issue of children at weddings will run and run, no one will ever come to a clear decision or agreement on it. Are you having children at your wedding? Or have you decided on a ‘no children’ policy? If so how has it gone down with your guests? I’d love to hear all of your experiences, good or bad, feel free to comment in the box below. 


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    The style of our wedding lends itself rather well to children being there – if nothing else, they can enjoy the bouncy castle! But I do see both sides on this one – especially on the expense front!

    On a silly note, I misread the title of this and thought you’d blogged about Chicken at Weddings…

    Sian Pelleschi

    We had to take into consideration a number of factors when deciding whether children would be at our wedding. Firstly was the location – as we were getting married quite a distance from our home, people would be travelling and staying with us for two plus days and we couldn’t expect them to arrange care or to be away from their kids for that long. Secondly was our ceremony. As we knew we had to allow for children to be with us at some point throughout the day, we decided very early on that they wouldn’t be allowed at the ceremony itself as that is when we want no distractions. So we’ve arranged for the children to be placed in a creche for the ceremony (onsite) and photos and they will then rejoin us for the wedding breakfast where we’ve organised for each child to have their own set of play things to keep them distracted. We love children but we were very consious that they can be very unpredictable and wanted to limit the possability of distractions. Likewise with our dog who’s going into kennels for the ceremony and wedding breakfast and will then join us later in the day! As it happens almost all of our friends have been grateful of the creche and some have even managed to arrange to leave their child at home with other family members so they can really enjoy themselves!

    Beth swift

    I completely understand people not inviting children. We only had our family’s children at ours. We were on a budget, which was the main reason as it all adds up after all. I think it’s the couple’s special day and I am never offended if my children are not invited. It’s great to have a day off! I know some people who have had guests get upset an refuse to come, and I think… Let them stay home, they should understand!! Hope the plans go well and you don’t have any problems with this decision :) xx

    Laura Stevens

    I think you guys have got it spot on. It’s your day, so you invite who you want to invite. We decided really early on that we were only having close family kids at our wedding – a grand total of five. Luckily, the friends we’ve already sounded out about the no kids issue have been really supportive and are looking forward to a night off and being able to let their hair down.


    We’ve decided no children full stop-not even my nephews. Most people have accepted this and were even grateful and admitted they can truly enjoy themselves better if its a child free zone. My nephews, who I do adore and would love to have in photos, are just too young and would get nothing from the day so why drag them along and try to make them be quiet, just for a few photos. The venue isn’t really child friendly and is an overnight stay for most guests so it seemed logical to just have a grown up day. Only one person has said, with a years notice, that they cannot find anymore to look after their child, which I would say speaks volumes about them as much as our decision. Ultimately, as selfish as it may seem to some, it’s about my fiancé and I having the day as we want it!


    It’s good to know that people understand our point of view and are having the same dilemmas as us. And wow Lesley, a years notice and you got that response? You’re right, that does speak volumes.
    Thanks for the feedback! Xx


    I totally understand your reasons for not having children at your wedding, my fiancée and I have made the same decision for much the same reasons.
    We have both been to enough weddings which have been interrupted by somebody having to carry an upset child out of the church to know that this isn’t what we imagined for our big day.
    Also I imagine a full day surrounded by adults talking ‘grown up’ talk is most children’s worst nightmare!
    We haven’t yet sent out our full invitations but we plan to add a little poem politely asking guests to attend without their children – many can be found on the Internet similar to the ‘we would like money instead of gifts’ poems. Friends we have spoken to have said they would be happy to be able to relax and have a day to themselves without worrying about keeping the children entertained.
    The only concern we have is that someone unintentionally or deliberately ignores this and brings their child. We wouldn’t like anyone to think we had made allowances for one family! We shall have to wait and see I guess! :-)


    To be honest as a mother I find banning children quite distasteful. I think its taking wedding planning far too far. Perhaps when you have kids you’ll appreciate what a blessing children are. I think banning them is really egotistical to be honest


      Yes yes, children are lovely. But I think it’s more egotistical to not even consider the fact that others may not find your child to be quite the delight that you do, and even more so to expect that plans should automatically accommodate your little (screaming) angel.


    We had children at our wedding, but where lucky that there was only 10 children to invite we keep them entertained with a photo booth challenge, but my cousin decided to only have two children at her wedding. While friends were happy about this they saw it as a chance to have a day out without their young ones family members got quite upset about this, some decided not to come because their children where not invited, and I know this had happen before at other weddings, it does seem that its family who get more upset about their children not being invited then friends. I attend over 100 weddings in the past six years and I would say when a baby start crying during the ceremony and no-one takes the child out it can be quite off putting for the couple at the front saying their vows and listening to a baby scream, and in some cases on that all important video your having done all you can hear is the baby crying, I like what Sian has said about about a creche during the ceremony, maybe this is something venues should offer as a service, they only have to entertain the children for say an hour and this part of the day is enjoyed by all without a baby crying. I would say if you do have children it is important to give them something to do to keep them entertained, because it is a long day and children do get restless and don’t want to sit there for a long period of time, as I said we had a photo booth set up in our reception room, gave all the children a list of things to photograph a disposal camera, and the first to finish got a price, it worked a treat.


    Adele, I’m sorry that you find our choice distasteful. It certainly is egotistical i quite agree with you, but I personally think that this is ok to some extent on our wedding day.

    We adore children but we also can’t wait for the opportunity to spend time with family and friends who we don’t get the chance to see as much as we would like. If we were to include all children, we would have to reduce the numbers of these adults on the guest list.

    I love the ideas of crèches and different activities to keep children occupied and we plan on having some things like this to keep our 3 busy and avoid them getting bored. The photo list idea is brilliant. However our budget does not lend itself to big gestures such as hiring childcare.

    It’s really interesting reading everyone’s responses and how others are handling this issue! Thank you Xx


    Excellent post. My other half and I both knew very early on that we didn’t want children at our wedding apart from his two nieces (aged 5 and 13). I wasn’t sure how well this would be received by our friends with children so I spoke to some of them and was so pleased when they all said the same thing: “Thank you! A night off would be lovely!!” The only problem I then had was with the wording on our invites but I managed to find a nice little sentence that expressed our views perfectly and most people have commented on it in a very positive way.


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