Whether to invite children and babies to your wedding day is a question many brides and grooms trouble themselves with during the wedding planning process. If you have children of your own, it's pretty likely you'll be happy to have your children to join in your wedding day and be part of the main events. Similarly if you have close nephews/nieces or family friends/god-children, they'd be completely delighted to be invited to your special day, see the bride in her beautiful dress, and join in the big party, and will contribute with bucketloads of infectious enthusasim, natural ice-breaking skills, and gorgeous photo opportunities, and you're likely to love them to be there with you too.
But if children aren't on your own radar, and you don't have any close relationships with families with children, the thought of children running around or babies crying during your wedding vows would keep many a bride and groom-to-be awake at night! For some, the decision is simple, and there's nothing wrong or impolite about making your wishes for your own special day known. However, the issue can cause controversy amongst friends and family that don't share your situation or outlook, so here are a few tips to consider:
Do any of your guests have babies under 1 yr old?
Babies under 1 year old are the most likely to make noise during the wedding ceremony so are often the most-feared version of mini-wedding-guest. But, particularly if they're breastfed, it's often quite difficult to force the mother to be separated from her baby for a whole day (and likely night), so you may want to think about ways to accomodate rather than eleminate young babies, or run the fair risk that your friend/family member may not feel they can come. Think about what's really most important to you. Careful seating at the ceremony to allow for a quick exit if noise errupts will circumnavigate any disruptions, and once the quietest part of the day is done, a baby wedding guest will cause very little hassle! Although if you want your parent-wedding-guests to party late into the night, you might want to investigate a babysitting service...
Are any of your wedding guests with children travelling from abroad?
If you're hoping friends or family will travel abroad to your wedding, it might be logistically (and emotionally) difficult for them to leave their offspring behind. Especially if they don't have any family nearby that could babysit for an extended stay. Conversly, for some the cost of bringing the whole family might be prohibitive. So if it's really important to you to have certain guests at your wedding day, test the water and find out how they might be best be able to make it to your special day without being too restrictive, and discuss how you might be able to make it possible.
If you have friends/family that wouldn't come if their children aren't invited?
Some guests will have strong opinons that weddings are family-affairs and that children should naturally be invited. Others may not have babysitting options. These are the tricky ones, and it'll come down to how strongly you want them to be there (happily) and enjoy your day, whilst not ruining your own vision for your wedding day. A polite but firm note in invitations should normally do the trick, and any reasonable friend will try their best to accomodate your wishes, and only contact you if they really can't make it work.
Every wedding day is different and unique, and children can make it or break it depending on your style and tone. If children become part of your day, there are several ways you can make it enjoyable for them which, in turn, make it more enjoyable for everyone! Our Children's Wedding Activity and Keepsake Books are a cute way to engage and entertain mini-wedding-guests throughout the day, and to take home as a wedding keepsake too. Check out our other blog post of how to avoid the wedding crunch points where children are concerned for more ideas....