When planning your guest list, one of the important decisions to make up front is whether or not you and your future spouse plan to invite children to your wedding. Perhaps you want them there all day or not at all. Or, some of my couples opt for a combo of the two — they are invited to the ceremony, but the reception will be kid free so that adults can have a night off to celebrate (I’ve even had some offer babysitting services at their reception for this exact purpose!). I 100% believe there is no “right” answer to this question and it’s purely a matter of personal opinion! As with any choice, there are always pros and cons, so let me dive in to help you make the decision of what is best for you!
Special Memories || Flower Girls, Ring bearers, and other children are often special parts of your extended family, so including them in the big day could be a treasured memory for years to come.
Adorable || Let’s be honest, little kids in formal attire is just downright adorable!
Life of the Party || At most weddings I photograph with children in attendance, they are usually the first to hit the dance floor, which gets other people out on the dance floor! They are also a great ice breaker at tables where couples may not know one another.
Meltdown || Kids are kids, and that’s not a bad thing! But, in the middle of an intimate ceremony, it may be a bit distraction should they decide they are ready to not sit still — or, worse, get angry and yell/cry about it! If you’re set on having children at your wedding except for this one concern, I’ve seen some couples compromise where children are after the ceremony ends!
Additional Costs || If your guest list is already bigger than expecting, allowing children to attend can often times double that number for some! For venues with space limitations or those looking to have a small guest list, leaving kids off the list could be a big help.
Early Goodbyes || As I mentioned above, kids are often the first to the dance floor which makes for a really fun evening! But all that partying has to come to an end, and for kids, it’s usually much earlier than adults would like. Many of your guests may have to call it a night before you’re done celebrating, so if you’d like to have a late reception, it may be best to keep the kiddos at home.
My biggest suggestion is that no matter what you decide, make it clear to your guests upfront. Proper etiquette is to list the name of every individual invited on the outside of their card so they know expressly who may attend. However, some are unfamiliar with this policy or choose to ignore it, so putting a small line on your invite is the best way to avoid any awkward situations down the road!
Again, only you and your significant other can decide whether having children in attendance does or doesn’t fit with your vision for the big day! And remember, this is YOUR day, so have it as you envisioned it!