FAQ Friday; Kids and Weddings

The Question: How do I handle the issue of kids as guests or making sure kids don't show up on our big day?


Oh snap, son! This post was a doozie for me to write (and let me tell you I've been anxiously waiting for let's say oh, months, to finally use the word 'doozie' in the appropriate context and I'm not sure if this occasion is acceptable but whatevs). The whole guest list issue I addressed on Tuesday - with the most fabulous comments ever so go read this if you haven't already, I adore you guys - allowed me to think up the topic for today's post which is all about having kids at your wedding. While I could write far too much about said topic, I split the content down into two sections to make it easier for you; Kids and Weddings for the Bride and Kids and Weddings for the Guest. Yeah! Read on blogettes and take note. Photo above, adorable flower girl not included, by Orchard Grove Photography.

Kids and Weddings for the Bride

{It's Black or White} people. Meaning pick if you want kids at the wedding (or in the wedding) or if you don't want kids at the wedding. For example, perhaps you have an adorable little chicky poo in mind as a suitable flower girl candidate aka your childhood friend's little girl. But when it comes to your sister's kids, your neighbors' teenage son, or your boss's brood of four you really want to avoid having to invite them (or have them show up uninvited) to the wedding. Here's the good news; you can do all that. Have your flower girl, consider giving your sister a free pass to bring her kiddos since she is after all your sister, and make it clear to all others, definitely on the invitation and verbally if necessary, that sorry sir but no kids allowed. Here's the bad news though. You will look like a total hypocrite if you invite select kids but don't allow others. And you're walking a fine line between doing what you want and being rude slash hurting feelings. Tread lightly. No one wants to see a humiliated girl in a pretty white dress. Nobody I tell ya.

{Make It Work} If you do end up having kids as guests, prepare accordingly. Depending on your planner or coordinator (if you have one) and how rad she is, she may bring snacks, games, activities and so forth to keep the kids busy and out of your hair during the reception (and ceremony if said kids are spectators and not part of the wedding party). If it's in the budget, look into hiring some sort of separate entertainment for the kids like a babysitter, a clown, a fairy princess, or some sort of person who can make sure the kids don't get bored, restless, or out of hand on their own. Check with our venue to see if there's a room this can be done in, preferably close to the main event so parents are within a close enough distance should a problemo arise. Ask the caterer for for options kids will eat and get some juice boxes. Lot's of juice boxes. Or sparkling pop for the older kids for the champagne toast. Moving on.

Kids and Weddings for the Guest

{Don't Be Stupid} Grr. You know what fires me up? When peeps, like grown ups, don't follow le directions (yeah, I threw in a petite amount of French there). Just like we can assume that the sky is going to be blue tomorrow morning, if an invitation says to Mr and Mrs Joe Schmoe, that does not mean Mr and Mrs Joe Schmoe and Sally, Suzy and Sam. We should assume (rather, we should know) that kids probably aren't invited to this wedding since their names are not specifically address on the invite. Similarly, If you, your significant other and your son are addressed and invited to attend a wedding as guests, that does not mean your son's girlfriend is granted a free ride to the party. Pour quoi? Well let's see. Weddings aren't a throw together high school bash but instead the result of months and sometimes years of planning and need I point out the obvious, they cost lots of mulla. The bride and groom may have loved having your son and his fling there, and hey maybe would have loved to have your son there too but he wasn't invited. True be told perhaps money was tight, or the guest list was already over capacity and the groom had to invite his step sister's husband. Whatever the reason, respect the bride and groom's wishes and don't try to smuggle in your kids like it's no biggie. Once they get there, they are guests and will need somewhere to sit and something to eat. And people. will. notice. Remember being a guest at a wedding is not a right but instead a privilege. Would it be rude to include that thought on your invites? 

{Be Respectful} Ah ha! There is always another side to my little discussions. Here's the scene; you, as a 20 year old single mother are invited to your college roommates wedding. You have a six year old son who Grandma and Grandpa retiring in Florida, can't possibly babysit and really you don't see any other alternative to the situation. What to do? Call.the.bride. Like pick up the tele and explain your situation and ask her if there are any exceptions she'd be willing to make for you. Some people don't want kids at their wedding because kids can be sticky, and disruptive, and loud and yata yata (I work with kids, I love em but what I just said is true). However, and this is a big however, most brides don't want kids at their wedding simply because they said so. They're the bride, that's what they want, and there doesn't have to be a reason. If I had of had a guest phone me, express the same situation from above and kindly ask me if I'd be willing to change my kids-free wedding dreams for them, then I most likely would have because a phone call to ask instead of just doing, is a form of respect and at the end of the day, I'm a nice person.  Whatever the issue do it with class and dignity and if all else falls, I'm sure Grandpa from Florida would love to spend the weekend with little Bobby.

Alright. Lay it on my friends. I know some of you have to get some things off your chest :)

25 Lovely Comments:

Megan said...

I agree about the assumptions. People tend to think the whole family is invited even though only the parent's names are listed. It is hard when you only have a certain amount of space available.

Brooke said...

haha this was great! I have an entire kid's table. There's a pond at our venue and they can go fishing if they want or bring giant bubble wands they can play with. It's going to be so fun!

Piril Maria said...

Such a wonderful fact. Thanks for sharing. =)
Oh, and thank you for the nice comments.
The kid on the picture is to die for.




♥ Love,
http://thebookness.blogspot.com

Lisa said...

I love my little cousins, but when one of them screamed over the vows at a recent wedding, my mom looked over at me and whispered, "No kids allowed at your wedding!" :P
I would consider hiring a babysitter for the ceremony, and then allowing kids at the reception, but we'll see! Thanks for the incredibly informative post, Rhi!!
Have a lovely weekend!
Lisa

The Bride's Butler said...

Great post! I've got a similar one lined up in a few weeks. I agree with you and your thoughts, especially about if you invite some, you should invite all - picking favourites ultimately will make you less of a 'fan' (aka guest) favourite. :)
Another great post Rhiannon!
TGIF!

Leah said...

So here's the dilemna:
I have A LOT of cousins. They range in age from 28-0. I want to invite the older cousins that I am close with, but not the younger ones. How do I go about inviting a family that has some older and some younger kids? If I start inviting one 10 year old, I have to invite the other etc. I am stuck. Help me.

xo L.

Shawna said...

I could not be happier that my venue is 19+ (Canada obv). I didn't want a play ground!!

Laura *You Stir Me* said...

I completely agree with everything - I decided to have kids at our wedding because it was a fun backyard farm wedding. Tons of space for them to run around and we also had babysitters in the house for those who wanted to watch movies and get away from the silly adults. I completely understand that for budget and space reasons, brides don't want kids. All in all, be respectful and try to make things work, like you said:)

Kirby said...

oh girl, you said it all! MY FMIL gets all in a tizzy when I even mention that we don't want to invite children (and I mean anyone 12 and under) mainly because my fiance was invited to many of their family weddings as a child. not my problem, right? our venue is not child friendly and I've never been through a catholic mass with out hearing a child start moving around and making noise so I don't really thing that will happen at our ceremony.
And I don't know if this is selfish of me, but I feel like I am giving all parents an excuse to have a night out by themselves sans kids!
plus I've already compromised with her to let her invite all 11 of her cousins and their spouses... and some of their grown children. goodness

Krystal said...

oh gosh...this is a doozie (totally appropriate by the way) - but you answered well I think!

jacin {lovely little details} said...

my sister-in-law invited her daughters to be flower girls without even asking us, in front of us, so we couldn't crush little kids hearts saying we didnt want them. but we did make it clear that they could be in the wedding but were not coming to the reception, and that worked out fine.

Koru Kate said...

Kids & weddings is such a touchy topic so this is a great post. We invited some kids but not others &, honestly, I'm fine with that decision. Our two flower girls (also our goddaughters), their siblings & good friends' kids for a total of 8 kids that are a big part of our lives. My hubs co-workers' kids that we had never met? Nope, not invited. We didn't hear any complaints but who knows!

postcards and pretties said...

A friend of mine addressed in her wedding invitations to a family Mr & Mrs & family {2 kids under 12}. Guess who showed up Mr, Mrs, 2 kids, 2 sets of Grandparents! Yikes!!

tami {at FabulouslyWed} said...

OMG! I had so much fun reading this post. Keep it up!

christine, just bella said...

It is one of my biggest pet peeves when people don't understand the etiquette - if your name is NOT on the invite, sorry, but you're NOT invited. I know there are always circumstances, but if I were a parent with kiddos, I'd love to get out for a wedding sans kids??

Great post, Rhiannon, you're covering some really useful topics.

Alisha said...

There is definitely a fine line, and you have to be careful not to be hypocritical when inviting some children and not others. Loved this post!

Our venue was out of town, and well, I liked the fact that people said they weren't bringing their kids along for the ride :)

Michaela said...

Such great advice! And I think you used "doozie" in a very appropriate way (: I say that word out loud all the time hehe
xoxox

Nikki said...

They can totally be sticky little jam hands. I love them at weddings, the little girls think the bride is a princess. But they are another chair at a table...tough choice. But I agree it's all or nothing and people shouldn't get their petticoats in a bunch because sally sue wasn't invited.

Jessi said...

i love the dresses in that pic!

Aubrey {All Things Bright and Beautiful} said...

Doozie. Hehe, that *is* a fun one...but back to the subject (sorry I have comment ADD), I'm pretty sure that the best advice is the "don't be stupid"! Honestly, if you don't know if the kids are allowed to come (and obviously, they are *not* always just included peeps) then just ask and make arrangements or DON'T ATTEND! It will not be the first nor the last thing you give up for the midgets! (c: Great post...nothing like one of these to start off the weekend, eh? (c:

Jennifer Rose said...

didn't want kids at our wedding or reception, and didn't make it a secret that if someone showed up with a kid that they would be asked to leave. I have been to too many weddings were you could not enjoy yourself or hear what was being said to have the same happen at ours.
no one said anything to me about not having kids there, then again most of the people that were at our wedding were older and their kids were grown up. the ones that were our age, knew better :p

Megan said...

I wasn't sure if I was going to let kids come or not, but we ended up inviting all the kids and it went perfectly! We had a kids basket with toys and colors. They also got to dance and play with bubbles. I think they actually added to the wedding fun!!

Ashlie said...

If the invite says NO KIDS please...then I say do not bring your !@#%*#* kids! ;) My wedding was very elegant and @ the Bellagio in Vegas no less, so why someone would want to bring their kid there I have no clue?! BUT you know people did! I am an advocate for direction following. Especially when they find themselves short of a baby sitter because they want to have a good time now. ANNOYING! For those of you that wanted 'everyone' at your wedding that is cool too, but not in Vegas. lol

Sylvie said...

My friend had a kids table at her wedding with activity pads and crayons at every place-setting, and the middle of the table was lined with bins of juice boxes and bagged snacks. They had their own menu of kid-friendly foods, and then they all (I think 12 in all) spent the entire night working off their energy on the dance floor! They were adorable and looked like they had a blast!

lisa said...

hmmm...we're debating this now. we want the 2 junior bridesmaid and 2 ring bearers at the wedding, but no other children. all the ones in the wedding are our nieces and nephews, but we do not want to invite all the kids of all our cousins...we're talking close to 20 kids!!! hoping this goes over well :/