Wedding

Should Kids Be on Your Wedding Guest List?

For some couples, making the guest list is one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding. There are always a few people you have to invite to make your family happy, but when it comes to the rest, who makes the list says a lot about the people who matter to you.

It’s not just a question of costs limiting how many people you can invite. Your guests do as much for tone of your wedding as the decor and venue itself. Who you invite is just as important as how many people you invite.

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether children are welcome at the event. Unless the soon-to-be spouses have children themselves, the presence of kids at the wedding is an open question – one you need to answer sooner than later.

Should Kids Be Welcome at the Wedding?

You don’t have to have your own kids to understand why some would object to bringing children to a wedding. Weddings are usually formal affairs, carefully choreographed to produce the vision the couple and their families have in mind.

But most kids under 12 don’t do the whole ‘formal’ thing all that well. And who can blame them? For a child, a wedding is a long, drawn-out ordeal that demands patience and quiet. Most of the guests are boring adults in stuffy There’s just not a lot to do there. Even the best-behaved kids can get antsy when they’re made to sit still and shut up for hours on end.

If you’ve ever been to a wedding in the company of children, you’ve probably seen firsthand how things usually go. They can usually keep quiet during the ceremony, since it’s still early in the day, but they get restless as the reception drags on. By the time dinner rolls around, it’s not surprising to see children running rampant around the hall, indifferent to your carefully-laid plans for an intimate and magical affair.

On the other hand, leaving children off the wedding list can create conflicts. Chances are, at least some of your guests have kids of their own. They’ll either have to find a babysitter or decline your invitation. That can be a problem, especially if they’ll have to travel some distance to attend. They may also feel slighted that their family isn’t welcome at your special day, especially if you’re close to their kids as well.

If you do plan to implement a “no kids” policy, you should follow a few basic rules to minimize the potential for conflict:

  1. Decide early. Give parents plenty of time to find a babysitter for the day.
  2. Let everyone know. Be honest and upfront about your wishes. Don’t wait for people to have to ask you about it. That doesn’t mean you need a big “no kids allowed” sticker on your invitation; just call your friends and family with children and explain your wishes.
  3. Be cautious inviting some kids but not others. This is a controversial subject. For some, it’s perfectly fine to invite close relatives, like nieces and nephews, while leaving other children off the guest list. Others consider it unfair. If you go this route, it’s best to explain your reasoning when you tackle the second point.