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Should You Have a Kid-Free Wedding? Why I Think Having Kids at Weddings is Awesome

Client Tips

March 6, 2017

It’s getting harder and harder to find a wedding with lots of little children running around. It’s a growing trend in the wedding industry to have a child-free ceremony, reception, or both. The invitations are addressed only to the parents, there’s no flower girl or ring bearer, and no sleeping toddlers slumped over a shoulder on the dance floor. It’s a common question I hear from clients – how can they nicely ask for no children to be invited?

Ya’ll, that is such a bummer.

I don’t know when Kids at Weddings got moved to the Bad Idea category, but I’m here in full support of their tiny awesomeness and why I think it’s worth having little ones at your celebration.

“We want to cut down on our guest list and it’s easiest this way.”

This is a good way to bring down the guest list a bit if it’s bursting at the seams, but if you come from a close family where the children are included in all other events and activities, you run the risk of hurt feelings and family drama. It makes sense on paper to cut anyone under a certain age off the list, but then you’re faced with some tough conversations with people you love. If you’re prepared to tackle that, good for you! If it would be easier to leave off a +1 for a handful of guests so all your cousins can come, that’s an option, too.

“We don’t want parents to feel like they’re babysitting; we want them to let their hair down and enjoy a night out!”

While crossing off young children from your guest list might seem like the easiest way to cut down on costs, keep in mind that you’ll likely be losing an RSVP from their parents as well. Parents with older children (12-18) may be comfortable leaving them at home, but you may have just made it more difficult for parents with smaller children to attend. The majority of guests at most weddings are related which means most potential babysitters have been invited to the wedding as well. Justin and I were invited to a child-free family wedding out of state a few years ago when Everly was only 3 months old. Leaving our new baby and 2-year old for the weekend didn’t make us feel like we were wild and free – we felt anxious and worried! We had to decline the invitation because the No Kids Allowed made it impossible for us to attend. I’d encourage you to take this on a case by case basis with children – especially new Mama’s who won’t want to leave their babies with a sitter.

“I think a bunch of little kids running around at the reception would kill the mood.”

Depending on the vibe of your reception, maybe. But most receptions are just one big party with highlights including tons of dancing and a giant cake. Kids go crazy for this stuff. In my experience (both as a photographer and as a Mama), most parents keeps their children content until they can cut loose on the dance floor. Everyone is dancing, it’s so loud, and a few tiny people underfoot will hardly take away from the fun. Mom and Dad can decide if they want to have a babysitter pick the kids up from the reception so they can enjoy a later evening or if the kids can stay the whole time.

One of my favorite parts of bringing Quinlan to weddings is explaining to her what’s happening. How we fall in love, make big promises, there’s some kissing, we eat cake and dance to celebrate because we are so happy! Weddings are part of life – one of the best parts, I might add – and I think it’s a shame for children to miss out on them. Have you ever seen a little girl stare at a bride? (Clutching my heart.) It’s magical and pure and…c’mon. Look at my Quinnie wringing her hands together with excitement:

And this:

Parents! You can make the entire wedding experience with children a fun one if you prepare. A good nap before the ceremony, comfortable clothes for them to change in to, snacks and sippy cups, and special toys can all keep them happy and enjoying the day. If you have a family member willing to keep the kids in a hotel room or take them home early so you can party on, that’s wonderful! A win for everybody.

Children everywhere! In fancy dresses and bowties and eating Cheerios during the ceremony! I think they are so worth it, they are so darling even when they’re cranky, and I think it’s absolutely worth planning a wedding that welcomes and celebrates them along with everyone else.

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