The protocols and pitfalls of a child free wedding – Deciding whether or not to invite children to your wedding
Having a child free wedding
Are you struggling with the dilemma of whether or not to invite children to your wedding? It’s your wedding. So yes. If you want it to be child free wedding then that’s your prerogative. But be aware that in taking such a step you’re disturbing a nest chock full of vipers.
Families are tricky entities. It’s not impossible that insisting on a child free wedding could cause a family rift. Careful treading is advised. So, indulge us while we first play devil’s advocate and look at some reasons why children should be invited.
According to this article in the Metro, not having kids at your wedding is just selfish. Among many compelling arguments that the writer puts forth is this:
‘Asking someone you love to be separated from their baby so that they can watch you walk down the aisle? That’s just selfish.’ As she goes on to argue, weddings are a celebration of love and family. So why would you cut out a section of people you love because they’re under eighteen? ‘Weddings aren’t just glorified parties. They’re more than that. I probably wouldn’t invite children to a 21st or a 30th, but birthdays are different. They’re about one person, rather than a family.’ A wedding on the other hand is a different animal. Yes, it’s a party. But it goes much further. A wedding is about cementing your life together in front of family and friends – and their children.
It’s not a Pinterest competition
A wedding, above all, is a celebration of your love for each other – not a competition to out-Pinterest Pinterest. On that theme, this article ‘You don’t have to invite kids to your wedding but you should’ has this to say:
‘For so many couples, a wedding has become, first and foremost, a chance to showcase their highly-refined taste. The results are magazine-worthy events with the emotional warmth of an airport first-class lounge. Sure, the flowers are lovely, and parts of the ceremony are moving, but the overall effect of these elaborately produced nuptials is a sterile one. This is where children can help.’
Put another way: a child free wedding lacks warmth, humility, fun, chaos and unpredictably, joy in imperfection, freedom and abandonment.
And inviting children is a simple way to sidestep the risk of alienating a lot of friends and family members for whom their children’s absence means their absence.
You don’t have to agree but it definitely gives food for thought!
How to tell guests that their children are not invited
After exploring why you should invite children to your wedding , you may still be firm in your resolve – if a child free wedding is what you really, really want we’ll take a look at some tactics for handling the situation. So, let us look at how to go about indicating that children are not invited. Consider these three basic tactics:
Address the wedding invitation to the adults only. Reinforce the names or number of the invitees on the RSVP card.
Risk factor: It could be simply too subtle and you might have guests make the assumption that their offspring are part of a package and turn up with them.
2. Telling your guests you would rather have a child free wedding
Being direct is simple and avoids confusion. On your invitations or your RSVP cards use a straight-to-the-point statement to make your intentions clear. Such as:
- No children
- Adults only
- Strictly no children please
- Adult wedding and reception
- Please respect our wishes for a child free reception
- Adult only affair
- This invitation is extended to adults only
Risk factor: Guests of a sensitive disposition are likely to think this is plain rude
3. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
Another way to approach the situation is with the delicate touch:
- We want all our guests, parents included, to have a relaxing evening. For that reason we’ve chosen for our wedding day to be an occasion for adults only. It’s our hope that this advance notice means you’ll be able to share our big day and enjoy an evening off!
- We’d love to have children present at our ceremony. But the reception is for adults only.
Or words to that effect.
Risk factor: A lot of people you’d like at your wedding may decline – at best. At worst – be mortally offended! Besides which, all that explanation will take up a lot of room on your invitations with potential extra printing costs!
… and as this article from The Knot states, if you’ve taken this decision don’t back down! You can be sure that some close friends and family members will push against you. Be sensitive to the issue but don’t back-pedal and allow some guests to bring their children and others not. That’ll make everything worse. As the article says: ‘As long as you’re thoughtful and helpful to the guests with kids, then that’s the best you can do. If parents are still awkward and upset beyond that, then they probably shouldn’t come to your wedding at all’.
Have you seen anything clever or creative on wedding invitations to tackle this issue? If you have let us know via the usual channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or drop us a line on: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have also published a blog on ways to occupy children at your wedding. Have a read of ‘Ways to keep the little ones happy on your wedding day‘