Will there be children at your wedding?
How old will they be? From 18 months to 18 years, the needs of younger guests can have an impact on the festivities.
Some couples may opt for a 19+ wedding, others may be open to all—but there are a series of critical factors you need to consider before making the call.
Managing the Guest List
When it comes to keeping your guest list on the smaller side, opting for a child-free wedding could be the solution you need. While it may be disappointing to some, instating a 12+, 16+, or 19+ rule will certainly have one basic impact: there will be fewer mouths to feed.
This means fewer catered meals and possibly even a smaller bill if your venue charges by headcount.
The fact is that children—especially the younger ones—will not be particularly impacted by attending your wedding and are also the least likely to be offended.
Remember how you and your friends would get up to no good as young adults? Indulge on fizzy beverages, stay out until the wee hours, and sing until your throats become hoarse?
It’s really hard to do that with kids around.
This isn’t the fault of the kids, of course, but they need supervision, care, and attention. If they aren’t present, your adult guests will really be able to kick back and relax. No parents fretting over their youngest refusing to eat his meal, no concerns about the music hurting little ears, and no early bedtimes!
Worry-Free Open Bar
Then there’s the matter of the older kids. The ones that aren’t quite 19 and are liable to sneak a sip of Mum’s gin and tonic if given the chance. Or worse, the little ones that tend to get into everything they can reach.
Minors and open bars don’t mix. If you’ve hired a professional bartending staff, they will be responsible for checking the ID of all guests attempting to procure an alcoholic beverage. But if an underage person does procure and consume an alcoholic beverage, by one means or another, both you and your venue could face fines and legal consequences.
If you’re planning on an open bar, consider opting for a child-free wedding—or an early curfew for the kids. This way, the adults can spend time enjoying your signature cocktails without worry.
Childcare for Child-Free Weddings
While there are many reasons to opt for a child-free wedding (and you should feel just in your decision if you so choose), this imposition will have consequences for your guests.
Namely, parents will need to arrange childcare and this isn’t always feasible.
If guests are traveling from outside of the region to attend the wedding, for example, finding longer term childcare at home—or even care at their hotel during the event—may be challenging.
And whether your guests need an entire week or only one evening of childcare, hiring a babysitter can be cost prohibitive.
While it is your big day, the kind thing to do is give your guests lots of notice that children will not be invited to the wedding so they have adequate time to prepare.
Children May Feel Left Out
It’s also possible that older children and teenagers may feel left out by your policy. Again, this is your big day and, ultimately, your rule goes. But if you know that younger family members are looking forward to celebrating with you, think hard about inviting them.
Yes, they may not remember. Yes, they may need extra attention or special meals. Yes, their parents may have to retire at 8:30 in the evening (and not 8:30 in the morning, like they did when you were younger!).
But your wedding is a very special occasion; if it means a lot to you and your family that they’re present, then by all means include them.
Parents May Feel Offended
Weddings can quickly come to feel like a pressure cooker. Everyone has opinions and expectations. When it comes to children, this can be especially true.
If you decide to opt for a child-free wedding, be prepared to explain yourself to a few offended parents and respond graciously if they decide not to attend.
Their reaction is often tied in with the hassle of needing to procure childcare. If you’re worried that parents may feel offended and tempted to back out of the wedding altogether, be sure to do three important things. First, allow them lots of time to schedule childcare. Second, tell them how much you want them to attend—don’t guilt trip them, just express your genuine care. And lastly, assure them that if they can’t attend, you’ll understand and make arrangements for another way to celebrate with them.
A Family Friendly Affair
Allowing children to attend your wedding can be a fantastic experience. After all, weddings are a rare family event where everyone has an excuse to be together, to catch up, and have fun. You may even get to meet young children for the first time at an event like a wedding.
Ultimately, a decision to set an age limit for guests at your wedding deserves thought and consideration.