Updated: Mar 9, 2022
There is nothing worse, or better, for that matter, than children. That is a universal fact. Children steal the show, for better or worse, everywhere they go – not only demanding attention from their parents and relatives, but from every human, plant, animal, and inanimate object in their path. Sometimes they get that attention sweetly and photogenically, other times they get it by throwing a tantrum over a fallen cheerio in the middle of the vows.
For the couple without children, planning a childless wedding may seem like a no-brainer. Isn't it true that the we don't want a tiny, muddy shoe stepping on our train? Would we not prefer to keep the crotch-region of our suit free of a frosting run-in with an oblivious little girl? Nonetheless, there are still plenty of reasons to hold off on shunning children from your big day.
First and foremost, there is nothing more sweet, charming, memorable, or photographable than a child in your wedding party We have never seen a child look bad all dressed up. On the other hand, there is nothing more sweet, charming, memorable, or photographable than a child in your wedding party – including you. So, you have to decide how egotistical you are and take it from there. We really can't have a nearlywed being jealous of a flower girl. Based on our experience, it makes things weird. Additionally, your friends and family with children may have a hard time committing to your childless wedding. This decision could end up damning your loved ones with the disaster of figuring out child care during your events. It will be especially difficult for those closest to you because all their go-to babysitters will also be at the wedding. Now you may be thinking - “of course my brother won't be able to find a babysitter for sweet little Sofia! We need to have her there!!” Well, here's the thing....
Sofia, most likely completely over wearing restrictive attire, but also immensely tired, is going to go from adorable little pup to legit werewolf when the clock strikes 8:00pm. You know it, your brother knows it, your parents know it, and we know it. So the question is, what then? Is it your responsibility to find someone to watch the kids? Do you want, or expect, your brother or his partner to call it a night at 7:30? Should they bring a babysitter with them to sit creepily in the hotel room alone? It’s so frustrating to imagine that what guests do with their children has to be your problem, on top of everything else; but, unless you don’t care who comes to the reception and/or who leaves early, you kind of have to be involved.
Then, of course, there is the question of extremes; does it really have to be all or nothing? Is it OK to have some children there, but not others? Personally, we think that seems risky; but it does depend on who your guests are. Naturally, you want to allow the newborn baby to come to the wedding, and not the obnoxious 7 year old; or maybe your niece is part of the wedding party, but you do not want your cousin's screamer son to be there. For some, this concept could work, and for others maybe it couldn't. It really depends on how dramatic your family and friends are.
Regardless of what you decide – kids, no kids, or some rigidly structured combination of the two – someone, sitting at some table, maybe even a table close to you, will be annoyed with your choice. There are people at every wedding who, despite being grown-ass adults, will find something to be annoyed with because, let's face it, they want to. In other words, make the decision that is best for you, just be prepared for some major side-eye either way.
If you do plan to have children at your wedding, here is a list of questions you should answer as soon as possible.
Questions to answer for a pro-kids wedding:
1. Will we be involved with, or care about, any post-bedtime babysitting planning? If not, will we be mad when our loved-one leaves early?
2. Will any of the children have a specific role in the wedding party? If yes, who do we expect to pay for the attire and accessories? Typically, it is the couple to be married or the parent(s) of the child who pay. You should also consider ways to make it easy for the child to participate. They can't, for example, sit through a 2 hour rehearsal. This doesn't mean you can't have a 2 hour rehearsal, but it would be kind of you to consider how you can get the kids in and out as fast as possible - don't be fooled, this would be a kindness to yourself just as much as it would be to the parent(s) and child.
3. Are we really going to let the ring bearer hold on to the rings? If yes, when do we give the rings to them? How are they going to carry them? Are we sure about this? Will they need assistance of any kind? If yes, who will assist them?
4. Can the flower kiddo walk down the aisle by themselves, realistically? If no, who will help? Do we want them to toss the flowers as they walk down the aisle? What basket will they use? Where will the petals come from?
5. How many highchairs do we need?
6. If necessary, do the bathrooms have a changing table?
7. If necessary, are we going to supply diapering materials in the bathrooms?
8. Do we want to make special food accommodations for the kids?
9. Do we want to supply any entertainment options for the kids, be it during cocktail hour, at the tables during dinner, or during the reception?
10. Can any of our venues, vendors, assistants, or wedding planners help us with food or entertainment accommodations for children?
11. Are we worried about age-appropriate music?
12. Are we going to invite all the children of all our guests?
13. What is the age cut-off for a young person to be considered a “kid”? This is important to know when adding up how many kids’ meals you plan to have, for example. It is also important when determining how old a kid needs to be before not getting invited - 15? 12? 2?
14. How do we plan to make our decision on kids clear? On the invitation, on the website, word of mouth? The more clear you are, the fewer awkward conversations you will have. FYI, if the whole family is invited, addressing all mail to "The Smith Family" is the clearest way to make it known. However, it gets trickier with explaining who is NOT invited. Addressing mail to "Mr & Mr. Smith", for example, may not be enough for the Smith's to get the sorry-your-kid-isn't-invited hint.
Hopefully after considering these ideas you can create some type of action plan on whether you want to have children in your wedding party or as guests. Either way, God's speed.
The KE Team
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