When it comes to decisions regarding your guest list, there are varying opinions on inviting children to the wedding. Whether you decide to invite them or not, you must clearly communicate your choice with your guests and be prepared for any children who will attend on the day of your wedding if you do decide to include them.

The choice is completely personal to you as a couple, but just know that there are opportunities to include children into the day and your wedding doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. 

While couples may be on the fence as to whether to allow kids as wedding guests during the ceremony, they might allow them to attend the reception. Many couples usually choose to have their immediate family–nieces, nephews, or siblings–as part of the wedding ceremony as flower girls or ring bearers, whether or not any other children are in attendance. Consider your level of comfort with each scenario.

If you’re still thinking it over, consider these pros and cons:

Pros to Inviting Children

Parents will appreciate it.
Many of your guests will have children and they won’t have to worry about finding childcare to attend your wedding, meaning they will be more likely to attend.

Children can add a sense of fun to the wedding festivities.
Children can find a way to bring even more joy to your wedding day. Dancing with their shoes off on the grass or chatting precociously at the reception tables with adults, kids always find a way to have fun and can increase the entertainment factor at your wedding.

The sweet photo ops.
Just imagine the photo possibilities you’ll have posing with the littlest ones in your wedding party in their adorable formal attire or dresses–is there anything cuter?

Plenty of adorable moments to treasure and remember.
On top of those adorable photos, children also provide moments that you and your guests will likely remember forever. Ever been to a wedding with a small flower girl who took her job very seriously or perhaps forgot to throw a single petal? What about the way kids unashamedly boogie down on the dance floor at the reception? Most likely you have those memories, and it added to the fun!

Cons to Inviting Children:

Early exits.
With kids in tow, your guests that are parents might not be able to stay as long as you or they would like. Young children are susceptible to becoming fussy when it nears their bedtimes, and parents may be wary to keep them out too late. 

Children are not always well behaved.
We all know that children are not always the best behaved, nor do they always have the best timing. They might cause a disruption at the most unfortunate time during your nuptials with your guests straining to hear over crying or whining. Children might also cause a delay in your wedding schedule due to misbehavior or simply just not wanting to do what they’re supposed to. Be prepared to be a little flexible!

Divided attention.
You want your guests to have a great time and enjoy your wedding, but those who are parents of young kids probably won’t be able to let loose if their children are there. It might be difficult for them to be fully present to celebrate with you.

They require extra planning and navigating.
From special reception seating for small bodies to kid-friendly food items and child-friendly entertainment, there are special considerations you must be prepared to make if you plan to invite children to your wedding. Kids count as guests, which also increases the price of your wedding–something to be aware of. Some venues do offer high chairs as needed and those could be in your photos instead of a traditional chair at those specific tables.

Tips for Invitations and Website When Children Are Not Invited

You’ve made the decision to have an adults-only wedding. Now how do you tell your guests without any awkward misunderstandings? Because let’s be honest, that’s why you’re still reading, right?  Address this on both your wedding invitations and your wedding website. Here’s how:

Traditionally, you should only include the name of those who are invited on the envelope–so only the parents’ names in this case, Mr. and Mrs. Tim Johnson. Be careful with wording like, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Family’ since that can be confusing on whether or not younger members are invited.

The best way is to explicitly include the names of each guest invited on the RSVP card and a line on the card that says something like, “We have reserved __ seats for you” to make sure you’re clear about how many people can attend.

You should state on your website that your wedding is for adults only.

A great place to include this information is under the FAQs section with a specific question of, “Are children allowed?” and an answer of something like, “We are unable to accommodate children at our ceremony/reception/or both due to venue limitations” or “We want you to celebrate with us at our adults-only wedding, so we ask that you make arrangements for childcare beforehand.” If you only want children 16 years old and above, make sure you say this! 

Just make sure you are clear. You will still have guests ask, so be prepared. Just let them know if you have chosen to have a child free wedding. You don’t need to give any further explanation about your decision. 

Whatever your decision about inviting children to your wedding, know that it is a personal choice that you make as a couple based on the vision you have for your big day. Make the decision as early on as you can and let guests know if your wedding will be adults-only with ample time for them to prepare so that childcare arrangements can be made. Other options that we see, especially if you have a big family is bringing in a babysitter or multiple to the venue or a nearby hotel to watch everyone’s children. 

Featured photo: Rachel D Photography