Children at weddings – should they be invited

Children at weddings.  It’s a topic that often crops up on parenting forums and in the media.  But I don’t think I’ve ever read an article that’s riled me as much as this one ‘All weddings should be kid friendly’.

Of course everyone has their own opinions.  But that doesn’t mean they should judge people who have the opposite view to them.  Children at weddings debates probably reach the extreme views in the same way that breastfeeding vs bottle fed debates discussions often do.

kids at weddings - bubbablue and me

My view on children and weddings hasn’t changed over the years.

I’ve been to quite a few weddings, admittedly most before we had N, because we were late in our group of farmer friends to get married, and therefore later in having a baby.  Thinking back, most of the weddings have had some children at them.  Some have just been family children, others celebrated having children along.  Some only had older children (secondary school age).  Children certainly change the dynamic of weddings and can provide comedy moments.

Generally, I’m not a child person.  The ones who’re part of my life, yes of course. And I can talk to them and know where they’re coming from.  But children I don’t know, and parents who don’t care if their children are running wild. That’s a different matter.

In their own home, let them do what they want. But kids should be taught to know when certain behaviour is appropriate. And at weddings it’s not always appropriate.  Why should the bride and groom be worrying all the time about kids wrecking the joint when they want their special day to be the way they want it.

Our wedding

I didn’t want children at our wedding.  It was a big country wedding, church and then marquee back at the farm.  At the time we had 3 nephews, all of them well behaved, and if one had got bored or was playing up, the parents are responsible enough to take them outside for a breather. They also wouldn’tt have been allowed to run around the tables and because we were at the farm, there was a place for them to sleep if needed for the evening reception.  So obviously the nephews were invited.

But other people’s children weren’t.  Admittedly most of my friends didn’t have children at that stage, and friends who did had family living near enough to baby sit.  Friends were happy to leave children at home to have time away as grown-ups at a wedding.

wedding day church exit

 

There was a mistake when we did the invites, not realising 2 sisters were nvited who weren’t adults – my mum and I didn’t know when we wrote the invites (we’d been given a list of names for the OH’s family friends).  Then there was a family member who decided not to rsvp but just turned up, bringing along their 7 year old child for the evening. I defnitely wouldn’t have brought a 7yo to an evening reception.

Only one friend got a bit huffy.  The invites went out to adults only, and the rsvp came back with the daughter’s name on the bottom too. Thankfully they couldn’t come otherwise I would have checked to make sure they knew it was only for the adults.

For me, it was the wedding we wanted. We didn’t have loads of kids running around excited and getting each other worked up.  There wasn’t parents leaving the service because children were fidgeting or noisy. And we didn’t have to worry about people having to leave to take children home to bed for the evening.

The case for children at weddings:

  • Children liven things up
  • Many couples now have children before they get married, so it’s hard to say no kids when you’ll have your own there (but not impossible)
  • You could lose friends
  • They make the photos look cute
  • You might get more people coming along if they don’t have to get babysitters/leave children at home for a weekend

The case against children at weddings:

  • Some guests won’t come (we didn’t make it to one of my good friends’ weddings because it was strictly no children, and not only was there childcare to sort out, but the day didn’t really work with work, nursery etc either)
  • Increased cost – children sometimes get charged at full price, and you could end up either having to invite fewer people you really want there or having a massive wedding to allow for 4 people being invited over 2 (from a family)
  • Children get bored and don’t always behave (and parents aren’t always good at keeping their children behaving suitably).
  • Guests can relax more without having to worry about children in tow/needing to sleep
  • Weddings can be long and boring, and some aren’t suitable for children – late weddings/evening receptions
  • You can have the wedding you want, instead of having to provide entertainment or a creche for children

Even though I have a child, I wouldn’t be bothered if N wasn’t invited.  It’s not my wedding, so it’s not my choice whether he gets invited.

If he’d been invited to a wedding when he was younger, I’m not sure I’d have taken him unless it was nearby and we’d been able to take him home to bed inbetween afternoon and evening.  Now he’s older, I think he’d enjoy one more, and given the choice we would probably take him along to one.

In my opinion is that guests shouldn’t have a say whether their children are invited.  Bride and grooms shouldn’t be judged or criticised for making a decision either way over inviting children or not.  It’s their day, let them have the day they’ve planned.  If you’re put out about your child not being invited then don’t go.

What are your thoughts about children and weddings?  Did you have them at yours?

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11 thoughts on “Children at weddings – should they be invited

  1. I love to see children at weddings, but then I would expect parents to keep them under control and take them out if needed. I’ve not been to one where it’s been a problem. Since becoming parents we’ve only taken the girls to 1 wedding and that is because Alice was a flower girl and Holly was 10 days old. Other weddings we were invited to and Alice was invited, we decided not to take her. Because I don’t think weddings are that much fun for toddlers. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. That’s true. I’m not sure weddings are fun for children unless there’s lots of kids there or they know lots of people they can talk to and get to look after them

  2. Wow, I clicked over and read that article and I’m fuming.

    It absolutely should be up to the bride and groom whether they want children present. At my own wedding, we deliberately chose a small venue with a limit of fifty people. I had parents show up with uninvited children. It wasn’t a disaster, but it put us over the occupancy limit.

    I’ve taking a baby to a wedding with the bride’s encouragement and jumped through hoops to get to a wedding without that same baby. And skipped my sister’s second wedding because they weren’t allowing any children at all and I had an exclusively breastfed baby who I couldn’t be away from for that many hours.

    In the real world, you can’t take your children absolutely everywhere.

    1. I totally agree. I think babes in arms if breastfed are a bit different. But people can’t really complain if the bride and groom have specified one way or the other.

  3. This is such an interesting one – people have such strong views! Personally, I think that it’s completely up to the bride and groom, but that equally, if guests then decide they don’t want to come because their children aren’t invited, then the bride and groom need to accept that gracefully, which in my experience isn’t always the case!
    At my own wedding, we didn’t really have to make the choice – none of my friends had children at that stage, and there was only one child (aged 2) in our family at that time, so we invited him. He’s reasonably close to me as family and we were sure that his parents and grandparents would remove him if there was any problem with his behaviour. It was surprising the way his parents allowed him to behave though – he shouted “me!” when the vicar asked if there were any objections (which was actually really funny and one of the highlights of the wedding), but I was very upset that they allowed him to run around shouting during the speeches, only taking him out after my Dad’s speech (they are my family, and wanted to hear the speech). In hindsight, I think I would have opted for a child free wedding! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. That was just my worry. Thankfully our nephews were on the farm where they could get the toys out for them, so I don’t really recall seeing them at the church or reception, other than when we walked in or out. It’s a hard decision either way for bride and groom and parents.

  4. It is such a differing topic for many people isn’t it? I love children at weddings and to me symbolises the family that I wanted my wedding to be the start of but I would say I am very much of teaching children to behave well in certain situations and that a wedding is the time for respect and not for running around! #Sharingthebloglove

  5. Completely agree with this. We had quite a few children at our wedding and I loved having them there. Ultimately though it is down to the bride and groom whether they have children there and equally up to the invited guest to decide whether they want to attend if their children aren’t invited. I have only been invited to one wedding without my children and it was a long distance away plus hubby would also be away. I didn’t want to be away overnight from the girls so I declined the invite. I did however go to one wedding where my children had been invited and were made to feel most unwelcome by the master of ceremonies (who clearly hated children at weddings) despite the fact they were very well behaved throughout. If we’d brought our children when they hadn’t actually be invited I might have understood it but to be made to feel like they were a nuisance when they’d been invited and were actually being very good made for quite a miserable experience. If I could have been quite sure that it would never have got back to our friends whose wedding it was, I would have complained about him to the venue. It’s a shame as it was a lovely wedding otherwise. #sharingthebloglove

    1. That’s a real shame. Some of the weddings we’ve been to with kids there have been a nightmare, but another one was amazing. The kids had their own tent and childcare, plus their own picnics. So it was good for their parents to be a break and for the kids to be entertained.

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