I have a confession to make: My husband and I crossed kids off the guest list completely when we were getting married. There were a lot of reasons we did it and there were varying reactions to the decision, but I still don’t regret the choice. Here’s what I would tell someone trying to make the decision now that I’ve been through it.
- Take some time to really think about pros and cons of having children take part in your big day. For us the fun of them being around (and the excitement a few of them might have about the whole affair) didn’t outweigh our desire for their parents to have a really good time. Every parent we know loves their children to the ends of the earth, but every parent we know would also jump at the chance to have a night to themselves. Knowing that our wedding was going to have the feel of a party, including a later start and end time, we wanted to do everything to ensure that our guests could drink, dance and relax without worrying about how their kiddos were coping. In the same vein, our outdoor venue wasn’t exactly kid friendly (it would have taken only a few minutes for a wee one to wander off into the woods). So, even though we both are crazy about all the kids we know and hang out with them a ton, we passed on seeing them that day.
- If you decide that you’d rather not include kids, don’t feel bad. I mean, you’re going to, at moments, and some people will try to really get the guilt going, but remind yourself that at the end of the (big) day, your wedding is about you. The regrets I hear most often about weddings are that the couple didn’t focus on what they wanted but were swayed by other people. Also know that most parents will be over any disapproval about the decision by the time the wedding comes around, and that most kids are not saddened by missing what feels like an endless evening of boring grown up stuff.
- Give you guests plenty of advance notice. You can’t call a week before the wedding and say “by the way, hope you can find a babysitter” because, trust me, it’s not the easiest thing for them to do. Instead of printing a harsh-sounding statement on your invitations, however, utilize your wedding website for your no-kid policy or even consider calling those guests who are parents to personally give them a head’s up (it will take more time but they’ll be more understanding when you explain it yourself). Give you reasoning behind the choice so that nobody takes it the wrong way.
- Don’t feel bad about making exceptions, but do it cautiously. There may be little family members that you’re simply not going to say no to having around (and who you’ll actually want to witness the wedding) and you shouldn’t feel like you can’t give them the go ahead. Just know that this will confuse other guests who didn’t get to bring their kids (meaning you’ll have some ‘splaining to do) and that one exception usually leads to many more exceptions. So be prepared, questions (and extra exceptions) will be headed your way.
Now let me push all that aside for a minute—before you start to wonder why I’m such a child-hating ice queen—and say that it can be a lot of fun to having little ones at a wedding. And there are a lot of ways to make weddings fun for little ones (which we’ll cover another day). I’m definitely not saying there should be an across-the-board ban on kids at weddings. I’m just letting you know what we chose and how it worked out. Maybe you’ll want a dance floor full of little feet or to forego even a flower girl. There are no wrong choices when it comes to doing what you want for your wedding.