Weddings

Should You Have a Kid-Friendly Wedding?

A night wedding that's not a very kid-friendly wedding

One of the first decisions that couples need to make when deciding on their guest list is whether to invite kids. Some people know right away they want a kid-friendly wedding or an adults-only wedding. For others, the decision is more complicated. Taking the following things into consideration may help.

Size of the Wedding

Those holding large weddings in venues that have a large capacity for guests often find it easier to include children. Couples holding a small wedding in a venue that doesn’t hold very many guests may have to eliminate other adult guests to allow children.

Budget for the Wedding

Couples with a tight budget should decide which adults they really want to have at their wedding and then see how adding children would affect their budget. You can cut costs in other areas of the budget to make room for the kids as additional guests.

Type of Wedding

Formal weddings and evening weddings are more likely to be kid-free. A casual daytime wedding is more appropriate for kid-friendly weddings. If you’re having a carnival-themed wedding or something that would be fun for kids, it’ll be hard to explain why you aren’t inviting kids. And should the event be at night, parents may decide not to bring the kids even if they’re invited. Attending a night-time wedding would keep the kids up past their bedtime and might interfere with the parents’ enjoyment of the event.

Number of Children Involved

Look at the guest lists and figure out how many children might attend if you had a kid-friendly wedding. If only a few of the people you want to invite have children, the decision has a smaller potential effect on the budget. However, if inviting kids significantly increases the guest total, it may not be an affordable option without excluding other guests on the list.

Relationship with the Children

If the children are close family or close enough to the couple for them to include the children in the wedding party, couples often invite them to both the wedding and reception. Some couples limit children to those of the people in the wedding party or close family members.

Ages of the Children

Allowing only older children (who may be more likely to behave) or allowing only nursing babies (who don’t eat and thus don’t increase the cost of the wedding) is another potential solution.

Availability of Childcare

If most of the guests live locally, they probably already have some childcare arrangement in place. Here, not inviting children may not be as problematic. However, if guests are coming to the wedding from far away, a lack of childcare could keep some people from attending. Some couples offer childcare at the venue to keep the children entertained and allow parents to enjoy the party. Others offer a list of reliable childcare providers in the area on their wedding website.

Parents of the Children

Consider the parents involved when deciding whether to have a kid-friendly wedding. Would you be okay if they decide not to attend because you didn’t invite their children? Inviting their kids makes it easier for them to attend. If you’ve been to other weddings where these people have been guests, have they had their kids with them? If not, they may be more willing to attend a kid-free wedding.

Inviting Some Children

If including some children, make sure it’s done in a clear and fair way. Don’t just choose certain kids without rhyme or reason other guests can see. Otherwise, it may offend parents whose children don’t receive an invitation. Couples sometimes invite only children in the immediate family, those taking part in the ceremony, or those of a certain age. Children can hand out programs, act as ushers, take charge of the guest book, or, for slightly older children, do a reading at the wedding. These duties give them a reason to be at the wedding and reception. Don’t invite children only to the ceremony but not to the reception.

Invitation Considerations for a Kid-Friendly Wedding

Whether or not you have a kid-friendly wedding, make it clear on the invitation. Adding “and family” to the names on the invitation or listing all of their names on the invitation makes it clear kids are welcome. Include a spot on the RSVP where people can note how many children are coming. Otherwise, note it’s an “adults-only” event or list the parameters for which kids you are including in the invitation. Even better, call or email any guests with children and make the situation clear so they can plan appropriately. Place info regarding whether your wedding is kid-friendly and what plans are being made for them on the wedding website.

Meal Considerations for a Kid-Friendly Wedding

If having a kid-friendly wedding, talk with the caterer about offering a kids’ meal at a lower rate. Children are pickier eaters and also eat less than adults. Seat children with their parents (who will then keep an eye on them) or at a nearby table with activities to help keep them busy and a designated chaperone to help keep them in line and entertained. Children under 5 may behave better when seated with their parents. Older children may be fine at a separate children’s table. Ask the parents before completing arrangements.