Some brides love the idea of an energetic, raucous wedding filled with guests of all ages. And others would prefer an adult-only celebration, with no interruptions from adorable toddlers and their antics, or from crying infants during the vows.

If you’re not sure where you fall within this absolutely-yes-to-no-way range for your wedding, stay tuned. This week, we’re exploring opinions, options, ideas and about the topic of inviting children to your wedding, how to or NOT to do it, how to keep them entertained if you do, and tips for having them in your wedding party.

Today’s post focuses on the big question: will you invite children to your wedding? We canvassed the recent brides and brides-to-be in our office for advice. It’s good stuff. Read on…

KID QUESTION #1

Did you invite kids to your wedding? Did you struggle with this decision or was it easy? Why?

Sarah: I didn’t specify if children were invited or not. We don’t have many children in the family so we left it to the parents to decide if they would bring the kids to the wedding or not.

April: We only invited our immediate families’ children due to space and lack of a young-child-friendly area. I did struggle with having an exception for the few who were there, but our kid count would have increased immensely if we invited the next tier of kids.

Mindy: Yes, I invited kids to my wedding. I didn’t think for a minute about not inviting kids since I knew my niece and nephews were all going to be there.

Sara: Yes!! We had about 30 kids in attendance. No struggle to decide. I grew up attending weddings that weren’t super fancy and always included kids. We have so many kids that are important to us that it wasn’t even a consideration to not invite them!

Courtney: We are only inviting kids that are relatives. I somewhat struggled with making this decision because I really don’t want any kids invited, but two of my cousin’s kids are in the wedding and I am worried about other cousins being upset if their kids aren’t invited when others are there.  So, I figured the easiest way to handle that will be to invite kids that are relatives but not any kids of other guests.

KID QUESTION #2

Were there any eventful memories during your ceremony or reception because of the children in attendance? Tell us about it!

Sarah: My youngest cousin (12) stole another relative’s beer and chugged it before the relative could stop her, classy I know, but I think my cousin felt left out…he got pretty drunk that night…poor kid.

April: We had several charming moments with the kiddies. During the ceremony, our officiant told the story how we meet which was a hoot, and our niece vocalized her thoughts, which added to the hilarity of the moment.
During our reception, our youngest niece was caught licking the frosting off MANY cupcakes and throwing them away when the frosting was gone.
The best moment was when we noticed all the kids disappeared, they went to our lower level, found an iPod and were having their own dance party!

Mindy: Yes, my two nieces were my flower girls and my two nephews were my ring bearers. One of my nieces was very shy and would not walk down the aisle with the ring bearer like she was supposed to so my dad had to walk her down and then come back and get me, it was cute and made for a memorable moment. Some of my best wedding photos are with my flower girls and ring bearers. I’ll also never forget the dollar dance and having the cute little girls and boys line up to dance with you. To them, you were the prince and princess of the evening and it made you feel special!

Sara: During our first dance and father/daughter dance, all the kids all sat in a row lining the dance floor watching…totally random, without prompting. It made for some really sweet photos and was special to see the children of all the cousins and friends we’d grown up with together in one spot. I also found out months after the wedding that one of the little girls got sick all over one of the tables at the reception, but the parents did a great job of keeping it discreet!

KID QUESTION #3:

What’s your advice to brides – invite the kids or ask them to stay home?

Sara: It all depends on your tolerance for children. If you love them, invite them. If not, ask the parents to get a baby sitter, or if they do attend, hold their parents accountable. Top help keep kids entertained, offer a kid station at the reception (consider small toys over candy, to save their parents some headaches later that night).

April: I would advise brides to look at all scenarios and then make the decision with your soon-to-be mister. If you do not invite the kids remember to address your envelope properly (see more on this below), and be prepared with an answer, if anyone does ask if their child can come.

Mindy: I say invite them but I guess I could see where if it were an older couple getting married you might want it to be more intimate without kids running around.

Sara: I would say invite them! I think that having them there can help get the party started, especially if dancing is involved at the reception. Kids help adults let their guards down and get them on the dance floor from the start and help to keep them there for the rest of the night.
Courtney: My advice to other brides would be to invite kids if they want, and if they don’t want kids there don’t be afraid to not include them. It is your day after all, and if worrying about having kids there running around and destroying everything isn’t something you want to deal with, then avoid it if you can.  Although I haven’t had my own wedding experience with kids yet, I’ve been to plenty of weddings where the kids seems to be bored, rowdy and a little on the crabby side sometimes making not an enjoyable experience for other guests.

Our advice for being clear on whether children are invited to your wedding? Like April said, address your wedding invitation envelopes properly. If children are invited, write their names on the inner envelope. If they’re not, only write the names of the parents.

Invitation Wording Options

And if there’s confusion, be sure to have a kind, honest answer prepared should parents ask if they can bring their children (“We’d love to have them, but our reception site isn’t large enough / we simply couldn’t accommodate that many children on our guest list.” etc.)

~Dawn

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