“Children should be seen and not heard.” That’s how the saying goes anyway. A very common discussion couples have when they’re planning their wedding is whether they want children to attend, or stay well away. If the thought of a child crying or being disruptive when you’re trying to say your vows fills you with dread then you aren’t alone. If you come to the decision that you want your day to be an adults only affair you might be left wondering, how on earth do I tell friends or family that their little darlings aren’t welcome?
If children are an absolute no-no my advice would be to be clear and polite with your wishes, simply leaving the children’s name off the invitation might be too subtle and you could end up with a few unexpected guests on the day. Saying “no children” or “don’t bring kids” on the invitation is just plain rude, there are much better ways of approaching this taboo subject and coming out of it with relationships still intact.
A couple of examples of how to word this request politely on your invitation are;
* while we love your little ones, our day will be an adults only affair
* please join us for an adults only reception after the ceremony
Most people will understand that it’s your choice whether you want children there or not and be respectful of that decision. Yep, there’s always a BUT… be prepared for a few people to take offence. Your friend with the very energetic toddler and a grizzly baby might be quite upset that her brood can’t attend. Please remember that she is very much blinded by love and just won’t see the potential for disaster like you do. Give any parents plenty of notice about your decision so they can find adequate childcare and you never know they might just enjoy the break from being Mum and Dad for the day! If you’re super organised then you could let people know via the save-the-date, it might lessen the surprise when the invitation arrives and give anyone who has an issue with it time to talk to you. A rather regrettable side to saying no to the kids is that their parents might decline your invitation on principle. Ask yourself, is it really worth not having close friends or even family members there to celebrate with you just because you want a quiet ceremony?
If you’re ok with kids being there but you are working within a tight budget then I would be honest with your guests. I know it’s terribly British not to talk about money but let’s face it, children cost nearly as much as adults when it comes down to catering and that soon adds up. A simple, “we’re really sorry but only we can only accommodate the children of close family on our wedding day” might be the solution for you.
If you really really can’t stand the guilt of the no children policy coming directly from you then blame the venue. You could say, “we apologise but unfortunately (the venue) doesn’t allow under 12’s.” While this leaves you out of the firing line you have to remember that churches and registry offices are mostly family friendly places. Guests might innocently bring their little ones along for the ceremony blissfully unaware they aren’t welcome. You might want to consider the first few points of this article before using a scapegoat!
Whatever you and your fiancé decide about having children at your wedding it really is your day and your friends and family will love and support you.
Are you a parent who has been invited to a child free do, how did you feel about it? Are you planning on having a kids free wedding, how did you tell your guests? I’d love to hear from you!