It’s weird but sometimes the one thing a couple forget on their wedding day isn’t the rings or booking the transport.
It’s forgetting that the day is all about them.
You want to have a wedding and invite your family and friends, that’s great. But the pair of you could go off and get married quietly somewhere, with just a few witnesses to make it legal. You don’t have to invite all and sundry. Just the people you really want to be there.
So what’s that got to do with having no children at your wedding? Well, as soon as you announce your engagement you’re going to get a lot of pressure from certain people asking questions like:
- Can I come?
- Can my little girl be a bridesmaid?
- I hope you’re going to invite great auntie Norah (who you haven’t seen for 20 years or heard from either)
If you don’t do things the way people should, you might be made to feel very guilty. This brings us around to the subject of children.
Your choice and yours alone
You absolutely don’t have to have children at your wedding if you don’t want to. It’s your decision, your invitation and you invite who you want to be there.
First off, if you’re having a chic city wedding, maybe getting married in a smart hotel and then having a very elegant cocktail party and a sit down lunch, then it’s probably not the best venue for kids to come along to anyway.
The same applies if you’re planning on getting married abroad, maybe in a palazzo in Venice or on a beach in the Caribbean.
Some people just assume that when they’re invited to your wedding their kids are invited too, but bringing along teenagers who will add to the party is rather different from two-year-olds who could well be noisy during the most emotional parts of the ceremony.
If people ask why children aren’t invited you could say that your budget won’t allow it, the venue won’t allow it, or just say that you’d prefer the day to be adults-only.
How to make your invitations clear
First off, you just put the adults’ names on the invitations. If you want to make it doubly clear, include the names of those invited on the RSVP card.
If you’re worried that this might be a bit too subtle and that people will turn up with their children anyway, you could add a line somewhere on the invitation (or on a separate piece or paper or card included with the invitation).
Put something like: “After giving it much thought, we have decided not to invite any children to our wedding. The structure of our day and the location is not suitable for children. We hope you will understand.”
Or you could put something briefer like “Regrettably we are unable to invite children. We hope you will understand.”
This has the advantage of making it sound as though it is the venue’s decision and not yours.
By including a note like this you’ll avoid any potential dramas of people turning up with their kids only to discover that it’s an adults-only wedding.
Things to consider when having no children at your wedding
- Some of your friends may be unable to attend as they have nobody to leave their children with.
- If you’re having flower girls and pageboys, it might seem a bit odd if you ban other children from your wedding (plus which, your young attendants will have nobody much to play with).
- Children can actually be a lot of fun at a wedding and add a wonderful atmosphere, just make sure you have a kids’ zone with toys, some decent DVDs and maybe an entertainer.
- If a friend has recently had a baby, the mother may be breast-feeding, so not bringing the baby is going to be problematical.
- Be prepared for some strong criticism, being told that you’re being too ‘precious’, that weddings are all about children (in fact, the wedding is really about you two), that you’ll regret it, that your photographs won’t look as good etc…
- If some of your friends are coming from out of town, you could have a lunch the day after the wedding and invite the children to that. Nothing really formal, just a way of all getting together. Maybe a barbecue if the weather is good?
- Research some really good local babysitters and child minders who could help out with childcare during the wedding.
- If you let some families bring their kids and others not, it could be awkward. Think this one through beforehand.
- Some parents might actually be relieved it’s a child-free event. It will give them the opportunity to have some time together and a romantic, child-free night away!