There is an age old debate on children at weddings and it’s not clearing up any time soon. As a mom and a wedding planner, I have some opinions on both sides of this playing field.
I mean is there anything cuter than a toddler with terrible dance moves taking on some Michael Jackson? A little boy twirling his momma or a little sweetheart spinning in her dress? Yeah, it’s pretty dang cute.
But mainly, my opinion is that a wedding is no place for children.
Know what’s NOT cute? Little kids, unsupervised, and running onto the dance floor during your first dance. And yes, I’ve seen it happen. Oh my lawd!!!! My assistant ended up telling them the floor was hot lava and well, you can guess the rest of it. We are probably responsible for some lingering nightmares those kids are having. Where were these joker’s parents???? Another favorite is the tiny handprint I found on the side of a wedding cake once upon a time.
Confession: my experience, as a mom, is that when I’m in a large group – it’s really easy to lose track of my kid no matter how hard I try. I think grandma has them and grandma thinks grandpa has them and grandpa thinks dad has them and all the sudden, they are found outside running around in the street. That being said, it is not the job of any vendor to monitor or manage children. And many venues in this area pose hazards for children- fountains, ponds, small cliffs… poisonous snakes. I would be devastated if something happened to any child, but especially on someone’s wedding day. It ruins the whole thing.
We were invited to a wedding recently, and our kids were included on the invite. I envisioned lots of those super cute dance moves and was hooked on the idea of them coming. Fail. Total fail. The two year old wanted to talk during the ceremony. Don’t worry, we were considerate and sat on the back row so we could easily slip out. But bummer… we missed the ceremony for a really important friend.
On to dinner. Cue fussy baby…. Ya’ll. It was miserable. We finally left. At least I got this cute shot from the photo booth props. But this would deceptively tell you it was a good night. Cool. Our friend spent however much money to include us and we bailed. So not okay.
Parent lesson learned.
Okay, so what about offering childcare? I still think this is a bust. In April, we had childcare at one wedding for 11 children. This meant 22 parents + 11 kids at 33 people total. Of an 88 person guest list. When the evening witching hour hit and the kids got grumpy, 1/3 of her guests left. When that many people start leaving, others leave too. We ended the wedding 1 hour early and it was super awkward.
Overall, I think children at weddings should be limited to flower girls and ring bearers. Weddings are for food, booze and dancing. Not kiddos, their hyperactivity or grumpiness and early bed time needs.
Have your family bring kids to the ceremony with the commitment of hanging out in the cry room if need be…. But giving you the opportunity to take a full family photo. Humor grandma and have everyone in the same room. It’s really special and rarely happens. Then, boot ‘em out. Have them leave with a babysitter back to their hotel. And don’t worry what other guests think. Who cares if they see a child is there but theirs wasn’t invited. One, it’s none of their business and two, they will figure out that the kids are family.
So how do you steer clear of kids?
-Do not include their names or the words 'and family' on invitations.
-Make it clear on your wedding website by stating that your wedding is an adult only event.
-If offering childcare, spread the word.
While this is not about 'being nice', it can be done softly. Remain confident and keep in mind that as parents, we chose to have children and we know that with them comes a lifestyle change. Sometimes we can swing things and other times we can't. That's not your problem as a bride.