Is your wedding going to be “adults-only” or “family-friendly?” Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, as your wedding and reception will be as unique and individual as you are. However, this is an important question you should ask yourselves before embarking on the detailed planning of your celebrations. The answer will affect your decisions and, ultimately, your budget.
When considering your options, think about your guest list. Consider how many of your guests have children and whether it would cause hurt feelings among them if you didn’t include their children. You want this day to be memorable, but not for the wrong reasons.
If it’s important for you to have a child-free wedding, we have a few suggestions that may help you accomplish that without alienating your guests:
Make Some Phone Calls
One of the easiest ways to help defuse any situation is to address it before it becomes a “situation.” Before you send out your invitations, consider making a list of your guests with children. Give each of them a call and let them know your plans for a child-free wedding ahead of time.
It’s a lovely touch that will help your guests feel personally considered in planning your special day. Though you’re not allowing children to attend, you’re thoughtful enough to call your guests and let them know personally ahead of time. It will also give them a jump on planning their childcare.
Flower Girl(s)/Ring Bearer
Young children in the family of either the bride or groom typically fill these two roles in most weddings. Is it OK to have them attend the ceremony and not the reception?
If you are close to the parents of the children that fulfill these roles, you may want to ask if they’re OK with having the kids whisked off after the ceremony. In this way, their parents can fully enjoy the celebration without having to be on “parent duty.”
You may also opt to include these few children in the reception as well, and if you do, you may want to consider letting the guests with children know that when you call them. By doing so, they won’t be confused when they see these kids at the wedding after being told your wedding is adults-only.
You may also decide not to have a flower girl or ring bearer, which makes a potentially difficult situation more manageable, making things even across the board. You’ll be able to have the wedding you want without worrying about whether some will feel slighted that you didn’t invite their kids to your wedding, but the ring bearer and flower girl are allowed to attend.
Have Your Wedding in the Evening
Planning an evening event will make it easier for your guests to find a babysitter. Then they will be able to treat your celebration as a “night out,” which most parents appreciate.
Weddings are a time to celebrate with friends and family, and most families have children of various ages. So, if you are on the fence about whether to include the kids or not, here are a few ways you can include the kids without having them take away from the feeling you want at your reception:
- Kid’s table – There are many crafty projects that you can put out on a kid’s table to keep the kids occupied during the reception. You might provide wedding stickers and paper or sticker books, wedding-themed coloring and activity books with lots of crayons, or games for them to play like cards, memory games, and Jenga. Another idea is to have the children decorate picture frames.
If you’re having your wedding outside, you could provide bubbles for blowing and even small squirt guns if it’s hot. If you have older kids in your group (ages 10 and older), you may be able to talk with them to see if they will be willing to help the younger kids with crafts and games.
- Kid-friendly food – When working with your caterer, have them create a kid’s menu so the children at your reception are fed well (and not filled up on sugar!) Plus, you won’t have to pay the higher price of the full meal you plan for adults. If you have an outdoor reception, you can consider having a fire pit or BBQ where the kids (and adults alike!) can make s’ mores.
- Hire childcare – If you are concerned that the older kids in your group will feel like babysitters and not guests at your reception and your budget allows, you can hire a childcare professional to help “run” the kid’s table. The older kids can keep an eye on your tots to be sure they are having a good time and staying supervised. They will also be able to instruct them in fun group games that will keep the children engaged in a really fun way. Hiring childcare gives the attending parents a chance to relax and enjoy your celebration without having to make sure their kids are having a good time and staying out of mischief.
Inviting Kids to Your Wedding
Inviting children to your wedding will involve a bit of planning on your part, but you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.
If you plan well and include elements that will keep your young guests occupied during your celebration, they will have the memory of being a part of your day. And you will have the memory of the wedding you wanted with the focus being on you and your partner and not the supervising of the children.
Deciding to make your wedding and reception kid-free is your right! It’s your day, and it should be exactly how you want it to be, with no regrets. Plan ahead, get creative and communicate your wishes to your guests ahead of time. Your family and friends love you and will want to support you no matter how you choose to celebrate your love with your partner.
Heather, an Event Manager for the Rough & Ready Vineyards, oversees the day-to-day operations. She takes satisfaction in seeing everyone happy and is always grateful for the opportunity to make this happen. Heather enjoys meeting with brides-to-be in order to gather the details needed to ensure their wedding day is perfect! “Every wedding and reception at the Rough & Ready Vineyards is so beautiful,” she says. “I love being able to see people enjoy the amazing venue we have created here!”