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Whether to invite children to your wedding is a common question and source of angst for many couples. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the couple has friends/family with many children or just a few – the question always arises and always stirs emotions. In an effort to minimize the drama that may be created by this issue, we are here to give you some pointers.
First, of course, you need to decide as a couple whether you love the idea of having children at your wedding. Does the thought of little Timmy dancing next to you during your first dance send shivers up your spine, or does it add that fun extra touch no one else has in their wedding pictures?

While a lot of couples would love the idea of having children at their wedding, the fact is, they are an extra added expense who quite frankly won’t appreciate the price tag. On the other hand, kids add that young energy to a wedding and everyone loves to see them skipping down the aisle. Ask yourself this are you an easy-going person who has dreamed of her wedding as an easy-going family affair,or a perfectionist who has dreamed of her wedding going exactly as planned? If you like everything to be “just so”, you may want to ‘just say no’ to kids at your wedding.

So once you’ve made the decision, you’ll want to figure out who among your invitees has or will have children. If you’ve decided to invite children, you’ll want to figure them into your budget (who will be eating kid’s meals, adult meals, no meals, etc.).

If you’ve decided to not invite children, you’ll want to make a few phone calls. Yes, you must speak to those with children to let them know in advance that you will be having an adults only wedding (or a wedding with an age limit such as 12 years of age & up). Don’t believe that just because you don’t add the children to the invitation people will know that the children aren’t invited – wedding etiquette isn’t on the top of everyone’s minds. Additionally, if you wait until the last minute to let someone know your wedding is kid free you may cause some unwanted drama. Be as polite and understanding to their situation so they can choose to either decline your wedding invitation in a timely manner or find a babysitter. This helps you have a better understanding of your final guest list as well.

Because a wedding is often a gathering of family members who don’t frequently see each other, many will expect to see everyone’s little ones at this type of event. If you have family that is spread out across the country, but you don’t want kids at your wedding, you may want to consider alternative options – hiring a babysitter for example, in a separate room, but at the same location as your reception, or even at a family members home, so everyone may visit with each other and no one feels left out.

In a perfect world, everyone would be understanding of your decision and acquiesce politely. Too bad we don’t live in that perfect world. If you do get people who insist that you are being unreasonable and that their little Timmy will be an angel, be sure to have the closest relative/friend talk to this person. For example, if your husband’s sister is insisting upon bringing her kids, it should be your fiancé who has a heart to heart with her and explains the reasons why you’ve decided not to invite children. Furthermore, if the person is a close relative or friend of your parents, you should ask your Mom or Dad to explain the situation to their relative/friend. In both instances, as a follow up, an invitation to have them all over for dinner (or something like this) would be a nice gesture.

In the end, compassionate communication is always key. If you communicate to your potential guests and you are compassionate about their situation, more often than not, they will return the favor. In order to minimize miffed feelings and help yourself, parents, and fiancé, you may want to come up with a pre-determined ‘script’ for spreading the word. Something to the effect of, “After reviewing our budget and the style of our wedding, we came to the very difficult decision that an adults-only wedding was the most reasonable way to go.” This should help minimize any hurt feelings and communicate that your decision isn’t based on whether you like their children or not.

There is a lot to think about and a lot to do. It is a fun experience, but can be a lot of hard work. If you find that you just don’t have the time and want more time to enjoy the journey, please contact a coordinator to discuss how they can help you.  Most wedding coordinators would be happy to meet with you for a free consultation to see how they can meet your needs.

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