Deciding to have children at your wedding is a very personal choice.  Some people feel like children are completely welcome and see weddings as a full family event and others feel like there is no place for children at a wedding.

I don’t feel there really is a right answer to this question.  I really think that it’s up to the couple to decide what they want for the wedding.

With that said there is a few things I would like to discuss both to brides AND guests.

To a bride:

Over time talking to other brides and reading articles it’s apparently many have not yet had a child.  So sometimes it’s hard for you to relate to parents that do.  Many assume that it should be no big deal for their guests to get babysitters.  They assume because this day is important to them that their guests should do everything in their power to be there because otherwise it would mean that they didn’t care enough.

I wanted to really address this.  As a mother and someone who is trying to have my reception a kid free one as much as possible.  I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions people may have.

1. This is not your child.  You didn’t birth it, raise it and therefore have no say what a parent should do with the child.  Assuming that all parents would be all for getting a sitter isn’t always the case.  Remember if the child is in the immediate family those who normally would have cared for that child might be going to the wedding as well.  Not all parents are okay with strangers caring for their children.  Or like non family/friends to watch their children.  I think brides need to respect this choice.

2.  People will ask if their kids can come.  I think most of us have heard the term it doesn’t hurt to ask.  Parents will because someone people do allow immediate family.  I know in my case my future mother in law fosters kids.  I also know she is coming out-of-town.  Therefore, It just didn’t seem right to tell her she couldn’t come if she couldn’t find a sitter.  So yes, people will ask try not to take this personally.   You as the bride/groom still have the right to say no.

3.  Expect declines…. Especially if you have out-of-town guests.  Fact is, you really can’t expect someone to pay for flights, clothing, hotels, and then also be away from their kids for X amount of days.  If they can that’s great.  But don’t expect it unless you can help provide some sort of solution if they must be there for the children.  I see this very similar to a destination wedding.  Those who can make it will, but it’s not always feasible.   Also consider a nursing mother may need to decline as well.  Not all babies take bottles and nursing babies eat more frequently than most bottle fed babies.  Please don’t assume how one should feed their baby for your wedding.  If they can’t come accept it and move on.

To the guests:

1.  Please read your invitation.  While yes, we are raised to hear it doesn’t hurt to ask and I know this kind of contradicts what I said to the Bride IF an invitation says “Adult Reception” it is polite to respect that.  It is rude to then ask the bride if you can bring your children after it was nicely printed on paper for you to read that they requested no children.  Please respect their choice.

2.  Children are NOT free…. In most cases children are not free in fact, many caterers still charge the full price for a child others it’s half price.  When people are paying a 100 a head even at 50% that adds up.  Most couples are on a budget.  Please respect that.

3.  If you do have a sitter you trust, USE THEM.  Have a night out.  It’s GREAT for you let loose and enjoy a night once in a while.  We as parents don’t allow ourselves enough free time without feeling guilty.  Don’t feel guilty.  If you know your child is taken care of. Go, have fun!  Dance the night away!

4.  Respectfully decline if you can’t go.  If you honestly don’t have a sitter or have someone you trust to watch your children respectfully decline but don’t give the bride a guilt trip for her choice.  Having children sometimes mean we sacrifice at times.  If you feel that you can’t/won’t leave your children please don’t hassle the bride to change her mind.

I think weddings are wonderful.  I think that both sides need to try to understand and respect each side for whatever they decide to do.  For us, we know there will be some heavy drinking during our reception so the few kids that will be at our wedding we ask to have them gone by 9pm.  Besides by then most kids are ready for bed and it gives mom and dad some much-needed me time.  If you have to go send the bride and groom your best and do so.  If you can’t come the same.  Try not to take it personally.  For a lot of kids weddings are not very fun some can be very boring and who wants to do that to their kid?  Other weddings can be very entertaining and kid friendly.  So just make sure what type of wedding you are going to and always read your invitation to see if kids are welcome.