If squealing children running through your perfectly placed table plan and little bodies sliding along the dance floor on their knees is your idea of a nightmare, then you might want to consider a child-free wedding. As with everything related to your big day, your guest list is entirely up to you and you shouldn’t feel pressured in the slightest to invite children to your wedding, especially if it is going to increase your numbers by a significant amount. There are a few ways to go about uninviting these small people to your nuptials however, so try to follow our advice to avoid offending any of your friends and family who were hoping to bring the whole brood along.
Firstly, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to lots of your guests that children aren’t invited- it is actually a common occurrence nowadays and a lot of parents relish the opportunity of child-free night so will be relieved to learn that they need to find a babysitter! However, finding childcare can be a bit of a task for some, so that’s why it is important to let your guests know as early as possible that children aren’t welcome. Make sure that your address invitations to guests specifically and write everybody’s name who you are wanting to attend. This will prevent any awkward assumptions that the invite is addressed to the whole family. A small line on the invitation can also help clear any confusion up- something such as ‘unfortunately, we cannot accommodate children at the wedding and hope you will understand’ should do the trick. On the other hand, you probably don’t want to print ‘ADULTS ONLY’ in capital letters on your invites, as you don’t want to risk looking harsh and just downright mean!
If a completely child-free zone isn’t your preference, but you are wanting to invite a specified selection, then don’t feel bad about this. You are entitled to make exceptions in a fair and logical way. You might decide to invite children of siblings, so nieces and nephews of the married couple, but then draw the line at other children such as children of cousins or extended family members. Again, people completely understand this and know that it can go on forever if you involve every child of every individual guest. Be careful with this rule though: you don’t want to make it look like you have unfairly selected some children to be there and left some children out. If people realise the relationship between guests and the reason for some children being there then most will be completely understanding and supportive of your decision, so let people know if you think they need to appreciate why some parents have their little ones in tow.
You shouldn’t feel obliged to cater for children in terms of activities, but it is definitely worth considering if you are going to be including a few children on your special day. Hiring a children’s entertainer such as a magician or balloon artist could keep them occupied for a few hours and make sure that parents can relax for a while and not have to worry about bringing along lots of toys for their children to play with during more informal times such as a drinks reception. It could be a good idea to ask your venue if they have a smaller, separate room for children to play in and be supervised which can alleviate any issues on the day.
Something that couples often decide to do is opt for a few children in attendance during the day, but then ensure that the evening reception is an adults-only occasion. This is fine, as long as your guests with children are aware that their kids need to be removed at a particular time, as it usually relies on willing childcare to come and collect them, and this can be tricky if the wedding is far away from home. Be mindful of these factors and think about whether this is a realistic expectation for your guests. You wouldn’t want to be the reason that a couple must leave early due to having to take their children home. Kids are often most entertained when it comes to the evening part anyway and will be the first up on the dancefloor, meaning they quite often get the party started!
Speak to your venue about children at your wedding and how you can best cater for them. Venues will have an age limit they consider as a child and might require you to purchase a child or adult meal depending on that age. Some venues even cater for children under a particular age for free. If you are going to be inviting very small babies to the wedding, check to see if your venue offers facilities for feeding, or a quiet space for a baby to be rocked to sleep if the need arises. You may also want to talk to the venue about the logistics of prams and pushchairs at the wedding. Your seating plan might need adjusting depending on children and where they need to be seated, taking into consideration highchairs, prams and other baby-related factors.
Regardless of your decision, be prepared for some opinions to be shared and take it all in your stride. There might be some pushy parents claiming that the exclusion of their children means that they can’t attend and unfortunately, this is sometimes part of being a parent. Don’t feel pressured by other people’s expectations or views and certainly don’t end up giving in and letting children attend your wedding if you really don’t want this. Hopefully, everyone attending will want you to have the day of your dreams and will be understanding and supportive of your decisions, even if they might have done things differently. Just be sure to think it through thoroughly before committing to your invites and check all of the implications of inviting children to your wedding.
At BWR-London, we believe your wedding should be tailored to you, which is why we work closely with our clients to create the perfect wedding rings. We specialise in crafting bespoke wedding rings that you’ll love forever. We can make almost any ring so have a look at our portfolio for inspiration and get in touch for more information.