(Closed) Kids at Weddings: A Civil Discussion

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
240 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I used to be appalled when people did not allow their guests to bring their kids. However, now that I am planning a wedding with limited space, I now totally get it. The only kids we are inviting are our cousins kids – which totals 32 kids. (Huge Catholic families.) We kicked around the idea of no kids at all, but ultimately, a lot of our family would probably be offended by that. 

My outlook on it is, once I have kids, I will probably welcome an excuse to get a babysitter for an evening. My Fiance and I are lucky though that we live in the same town as both sets of our parents, so babysitters will probably never be an issue for us. 

I can see both sides of the argument, I personally think people should just respect the decision of the couple getting married – it’s their wedding and ultimately whatever type of wedding they want to have is up to them. If you took into consideration every guests feelings before making a decision on everything, you’d never get anywhere. 

Post # 5
1701 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

If I had a more flexible budget, I would have invited kids.  However, most of my friends/relatives would not have brought their children because they wanted a night out.  I only had our nieces/nephews who were also in the bridal party.  They behaved perfectly in the ceremony (seven of them ages 3 through 10, including one with Downs Syndrome).  They were on the dance floor from the first song until we dragged them off. This includes the 10 yr old nephew & god son who were absolutely not going to dance and the socially-inept 6 year old nephew.

If you are expecting younger or less outgoing kids–a babysitter, a projector and some movies could go a long way, if there is an extra, out of the way space.

They had chicken fingers/french fries for dinner.  Our favors were breakfast muffins but they got pumpkin-shaped cookies.  Their dinners came out first.

Someone on here made up a wedding coloring/activity book.  Somebody else who never got to be a flower girl as a child invited all the kids to grap some flowers and join the wedding party.  I LOVED this idea (ummm…I was never a flower girl).

BTW–we also had a newborn–too young to be away from her mom overnight. Our ceremony was also outside, so her parents found a spot where they could remove her if necessary.  She never made a peep.

Post # 6
1555 posts
Bumble bee

I plan on having kids at my wedding. My friends that are married are starting to have kids, so I would want to be able to see the whole family since I live hours away from them. My BF’s brothers both have kids. They are currently 3 and 2. I figure by the wedding they would be 5 and 3, and there’s no way I would leave them out. Their whole family lives across the country, so it would be a way for the whole family to come together. I’m also a big pushover and will change my venue so kids can come. I want to make as many people happy as possible.

As for how to entertain the kids while there, I’m thinking there could be coloring books at each of their seats so they could enjoy themselves not have to worry about sitting still during speeches and dinner if they don’t want to.

Plus, I LOVE little kids when they are all dressed up and they will (hopefully) make for some of the cuter pictures of the evening. I know the bridal party, groom and myself will take incredibly awkward but hilarious photos so I need some cute ones! 😀

Post # 7
32 posts
  • Wedding: July 2010

I honestly believe how to treat kids at your wedding is very different for each family.

I knew from the beginning of planning our wedding that we did not need to make any special preparations for the kids that will be at our wedding. In my family (only kids on my side) the kids are ALWAYS the first one the dance floor. They hardly ever sit at the table. So pails of crayons, coloring books, etc just weren’t necessary.

And I was absolutely right on our wedding day. All the kids were dancing up a storm! My nephews were both on the dance floor breakdancing. Yeah, they’re cool like that. Laughing

We knew without a doubt we had to include kids in our weddings. It’s the way it’s done in my family and we wanted them there. We’d rather cut money elsewhere than not include all the kids and that’s what we did.

It all depends on the wedding and the family! You and your Fiance will know best! Glean insight from past family weddings you have been to.


Post # 8
10218 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

My mom is actually bringing the bubble machine for them to play with. We are having lots of sweets etc but most of all it is pretty laid back. I have children and they will be “performing” a song and have already practiced dance steps etc. Their performance will be a special twist on if you’re happy and you know it”.

Post # 9
7693 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

@cyneswith: We had kids at our wedding and I am so glad we did! It was never even a question whether we would or not because we have nieces and nephews whom we love dearly and were a part of our wedding. They were out on the dance floor and provided great entertainment for our guests!! We did not hire a babysitter and the kids stayed well into the night (like 10:30ish and our reception ended at 11:30ish) People enjoyed watching the kids dance, run around and interact. We had 3 babies age 1-1.5, a 3.5 year old, a 5 year old, a 9 year old, and 2 11 year olds. They all seemed to have a great time at the wedding and I was happy to have them there! We didnt even have a kids table – they just sat with their parents or other close family members.

Post # 10
2186 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

we actually didnt have kids at our wedding at all (or even young adults it was 21 and over). the only person who gave us grief was my aunt who was pissed she couldnt bring her 13 year old son. she ended up boycotting the wedding and making my mom’s life a living h-e-double hockey sticks.

to the no kids thing though, i had at least 5 friends and family members come up to me and say “THANK YOU” because it gave them an excuse to go out with their husbands and not take care of the kids and have fun.

so each to your own.

the wedding that you are planning seems like it is more conducive to kids though. ours was open bar and a late night reception… and limited number of guests.

Post # 11
1638 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

For budget reasons, we are not having children at our wedding.

Our ceremony starts at 5pm and our reception is from 7pm-11pm. Plus there will be alcohol flowing. Most of my friends who are parents have already told me they were leaving their babies home anyway, so it all works out. The parents wanted a night out for fun.

Post # 12
7300 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

SO doesn’t have small children on his side of the family. I only have a few including my daughter so it won’t be a big deal for us. However, I do not take my daughter to weddings anymore. I went to two “child friendly” events and never again. Your child is bored. They don’t want to sit during the first dance, speeches, games, ect. They want to run around, take favors from tables, dance on the floor when it’s not time, stick fingers in cake, ect. I spent those two events chasing my daughter around because I refused to be one of the parents that just let her run around. We left early because I was tired. Never again. I’m glad we are having an afternoon reception. Hopefully the children that will be there will have tons to do since we have the whole grounds of the park and mansion. The won’t be cranky because it’s 9pm. I’d rather my friends leave their children at home, but if it’s not possible then oh well. They better just keep in eye on them because I will speak up.

Sometimes a wedding is a formal event and sometimes it’s kid friendly. I don’t think that a bride who doesn’t want children at the reception doesn’t love her family. I do believe that receptions starting after 7pm should be automatically be kid free.

Post # 13
1871 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I think it’s really nice of you to be so considerate of the kids’ needs. I suggest that you have extra activities at a separate “kid’s table” for them: you can cover the table in paper and have crayons, give them activity books and I think it’s a nice touch to give them each their own version of a favor bag similar to Out of Town bags at the reception with penny candy and novelty toys. But, in the end, you are not responsible for entertaining the kids and I don’t think your wedding needs to be “kid-centric.” For each individual child, a wedding has different degrees of suitability and it’s really up to their parents to determine whether or not it’s appropriate for their kids to attend. Some might, for example, leave early because their kids can’t stay up that late; others don’t mind if their kid is sleeping under a table!

As to whether to hire a babysitter, that’s up to you and whether you want to spend the expense. It’s a very nice gesture, but I would venture that most parents won’t assume that there’s a babysitter and hey, they’re PARENTS. If you bring a kid to a wedding, you had better be prepared to be responsible for him/her–just as you always are as a parent.

Your friends might also surprise you and NOT bring their kids–a lot of people probably see your wedding as a great opportunity for a night off!

Post # 14
875 posts
Busy bee

I’m a former preschool teacher, so I tend to be pretty kid friendly!  I’ve been to quite a few family oriented weddings, and I think that you don’t really have to do a kid table or kid stuff if you don’t want to…  But a simple paper placemat style activity sheet with colored pencils or crayons would probably be appreciated as well as kid friendly snacks…that are also fancy dress friendly…  My best tip for family friendly groups is that if you have close family with young children travelling to the wedding they will probably appreciate having a “plus one babysitter guest”  who might be a young non related cousin or the child’s grandma…  The babysitter can go to the wedding and eat with the family and then as the night continues they can take the little ones back to the hotel room as the parents continue the celebration.  I do think that hiring a babysitter to watch a nursery room can be a positive choice as well.  The plus one babysitter idea is one that I have seen work for the BM/MB/BIL/SIL.  They were busy with the weddings events and so was the rest of the family so bringing a babysitter who could be onsite and then take the kids back to the room was important.   

Post # 15
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Our reception venue did not have a children’s menu.  We had a very tight budget so we made a decision to have no one under the age of 18 at our wedding.  If there had been a children’s price, we might have considered having more of the youngsters there.  It really came down to money for us. 

However, I do feel that I have invited the parents to share in this moment with my Fiance and I.  I think if you want to have kids there, maybe have the option of a sitter available to keep the kids busy.  I want an elegant event so kids would be distracting to me.  I am a teacher and frequently watch my nieces and nephews, so I absolutly love children, don’t get me wrong. 

It’s a matter up to you and your Fiance.  You need to decide what is best for the two of you and what you want to remember years from now.  🙂 

Post # 16
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

We did not have children at our wedding for a few reasons: space, location (parents farm: kids would have to be watched around eqipment and animals, sometimes parents forget that), and we knew there was going to be a lot of drunkeness. It just wasn’t a wedding for young families (our wedding turned a bit wild)

 I don’t mind weddings with children at all.

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