Maybe a family member asked if they’re going to be able to bring their toddler to the wedding. Or, maybe the idea of a child howling while you try to say your vows stresses you out. Whatever the case, you’re starting to consider whether it’s worth including kids on your invite list.
According to Zola's First Look Report, a survey of more than 3,300 couples, most nearlyweds are approaching wedding planning with both themselves and their guests in mind. Approximately 68 percent of couples are planning to invite more than 100 people, and 47 percent are including kids in that number.
With a year of big celebrations ahead, there’s a lot to look forward to; however, that also means that there are a lot of decisions to make. For many, whether or not to make their wedding family-friendly is high on that list. So, let’s start with the pros:
No one likes to ask “Can I bring my kids?” By including them in your nuptials, many families will immediately feel more at ease. When it comes to larger families, they’re more likely to attend the wedding if they know that bringing their kids is an option. You’re also less likely to run the risk of any confusion or awkwardness with families who have older kids who might feel left out.
While a child crying in the middle of your ceremony aisle might not sound like your idea of a good time, it does make for one-of-a-kind photos. The same goes for the cake-adorned clothes that they’re likely to parade after dessert, or the quirky dance moves that they’re showing off at the reception. If you’re the type of couple who loves all the little nuances of life—flaws and all—then letting kids be part of your celebration might be the way to go.
Just like with weddings, kids require careful planning. This rings particularly true when parents are forced to find alternative arrangements for their children while they’re out on the town. By allowing them to bring their kids to your wedding, you’re likely relieving them of the time, stress, and money involved in finding a babysitter while they’re gone. This fact is especially important to consider if your wedding is somewhere remote or difficult to get to. However, even with the pros in mind, there are a few cons to consider.
While having a kid-friendly celebration might make life easier for your guests, it’s definitely going to complicate things for you. Juice boxes, high chairs, and family-friendly entertainment are now all things that you’ll need to incorporate in your wedding-day plans. It also makes details such as long ceremonies, plated dinners, and even open bars a little bit trickier to manage. You don’t know what you don’t know, so make sure that you do some research (or talk to a planner) to have a better idea of what you’re getting into.
While inviting kids makes everyone feel welcome, holding an “adults only” event encourages many couples to get out and enjoy themselves without their kids—something they might not take the time to do without a little nudge. While some couples might feel the need to stay at home with their kids, others might embrace the opportunity to get away. This fact is especially true for destination affairs or venues that aren’t particularly conducive to family-friendly gatherings.
That’s probably an understatement… but you get the gist. If you’re someone who’s very particular about how things are done, or you’re already nervous about all the things that could go wrong, inviting kids may not be the best decision for you. However, if you don’t mind a little bit of crying during the ceremony, or you find the idea of a fingerprint in your wedding cake more endearing than irksome, you’ll be just fine—kids and all.
Two things can be true at once: While kids are a lot of fun, they’re also a lot of work. So, if you want to keep things classy and exclusive, hosting an event for adults only might be the way to go. However, if you feel that your wedding will be missing some charm without children running around, that’s okay too. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so what’s most important is to make the decision that resonates the most with you.