When it comes to your wedding guest list, you'll need to decide if you're making it a family affair, or keeping things child-free. We look at both sides of the argument and share our own thoughts

It’s a polarising topic – some people couldn’t imagine the day without children, while others think weddings are adult-only occasions. We consider both sides, as well as weighing in with our own opinions.

If you have kids of your own, or nieces and nephews you’re close to, the question won’t even cross your mind and you’ll be opting for a family-friendly wedding. But if that’s not the case you might be considering inviting little ones just to keep your guests happy.

There are of course pros and cons to having children at your big day, and a lot of it depends on your individual wedding circumstances. Here are some things to consider…

Is it rude to not have kids at your wedding?

At the end of the day, it’s your wedding so it has to be the way you want it.

Toddlers are known to throw tantrums – often at the worst times – and the last thing you want after all the planning and money you’ve put into your wedding is for someone to ruin a special moment! Whether it’s interrupting your vows or crashing your first dance, kids are unpredictable and you need to be able to go with the flow and find these unexpected moments funny in order to enjoy having children at your w-day,

If that’s not your scene it’s ok to keep your wedding a child-free zone! Just keep in mind that some of your guests might be unable to attend if children aren’t included in your day, especially if there’s a bit of commuting involved to get to the venue or an overnight stay.

Kids steal the spotlight

It’s your big day, so it’s understandable if you want the spotlight on you. Most of your guests will be on board with this, but kids are almost guaranteed to take away at least some of the spotlight.

While having a flower girl looks cute, you don’t need to have children in your wedding party for it to feel complete!

What will the parents think if you have a child-free wedding?

Whatever your opinion on kids at weddings is, everyone else is going to have their own thoughts too. Your friends and relatives who have kids might enjoy a night off from the little ones, or they could be offended if their child isn’t included.

If you’re not sure what to do, have a chat with some of your guests to see how they feel and whether a child-free wedding would be a deal-breaker (or an ideal scenario) for them.

Should you have kids at a wedding?

Do kids fit on your guest list? If you’re working to a limited guest list, kids and plus ones might be an easy area to cut down on. Some of your guests might not like it but others might be happy to get a babysitter and enjoy a grown-ups-only event.

Also, if you plan on partying on into the wee hours, keep in mind that the kids won’t be able to keep up and parents might have to cut the night short.

Childcare at weddings

If you do choose to have kids at your wedding, you might need to make some adjustments. Understandably, they won’t sit still for very long, so make sure it’s easy for parents to get in and out of the ceremony/reception area in case things kick off!

To go a step further, you can even hire a crèche or day-care facilities for your big day, as well as having game areas to keep the kids (and adults) entertained. Check out these tips from wedding childcare professionals for creating a child-friendly setup.

Do kids fit your wedding vibe?

Let’s be honest, ‘toddler’ and ‘sophistication’ aren’t two words that go together. So, if you’re opting for opulence on your w-day, you may want to keep things adults-only.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a fun, relaxed vibe and you don’t mind the occasional impromptu comment or behaviour from your little guests, kids can be a great addition to your special day.

Kids in wedding photos

It’s hard enough to coordinate professional group photos to get a shot where everyone’s looking the right way and smiling, and kids will only make that harder. But they are also effortlessly cute and funny, if you’re going for a less formal vibe.

The right photographer is sure to capture some special memories and candid moments for you to look back on! See how couples Ashley and Ben, and Jenna and James involved their sons in their wedding days.

How to tell your wedding guests that kids aren’t invited

If you’ve reached the decision not to have children at your wedding, you might be met with backlash and offended looks, but it’s important to stick with what’s right for you.

The best way to make sure all your guests are on the same page is to mention in your wedding invitations exactly who you’re inviting and the fact that it will be a child-free event.

You can choose to work a little bit of humour into the wording of this, or opt for words like ‘politely request’ or ‘respectfully ask’ to help soften the message. You can even spin it to be for the parents’ benefit, for example, ‘to allow all of our guests, including parents, to fully enjoy the occasion, we’re keeping it adults only’.

How do you include children in a wedding?

Alternatively, if you’re going down the kids-inclusive route, there are lots of ways to make the most of the youngsters’ presence.

Cris and Yngvar (pictured below) fully embraced having kids at their wedding and made the whole thing fun and family-focused! Their day included a magician, a face painter and a bouncy castle, as well as sports day style games. The couple (and their guests) had the best time!

If you think they’re up to the challenge, you can also include kids in your day in a more meaningful way. Invite them to be the flower girl or ring bearer, pass them the mic during the speeches for their thoughts. or take them for a spin on the dance floor.

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