You’ll get every reason under the sun from venue capacity, budget, alcohol, etc. For me it simply boiled down to the fact that I don’t enjoy kids at weddings.
I’ve been a full-time wedding photographer for over 10+ years. I get that I might be using a different yardstick to measure with, but on average I attend more weddings in one year than the average person attends in a lifetime. I can’t even remember the last time I had a wedding where children were included that they weren’t a disruption or somehow in the way of the other guests. Of course I’m always patient and gracious with the kids, but for my own wedding I knew 100% that it would be kid-free.
I love kids. I’m a mom. But here’s the thing, when kids are being disruptive at a wedding 90% of the time it’s not that they’re being bad – it’s that they’re being kids. Unfortunately that kind of behavior just isn’t appropriate for a wedding. A casusal backyard BBQ? Sure? Someone’s reception in a nice venue they’re spent a lot of money on? Absolutely not.
The biggest problem I see is that there are two kinds of parents at weddings.
1.) The parents who don’t enjoy a single moment because the spend the ENTIRE wedding chasing their kids around, trying to keep them entertained/quiet, or having to leave the room over a tantrum.
2.) The parents who use the opportunity to ignore their kids while they run around like wild animals.
I’d love to say it doesn’t happen but it does at every single wedding. Kids running through the dance floor while the couple is trying to have their first dance. Kids sticking their finger in the cake or all up in the way while the couple is trying to cut it. Parents chasing their kids around or screaming during the ceremony/key moments (like toasts).
Older kids are usually fine, but the problem with putting an age cutoff means that you’re never going to find the sweet spot. Telling a family of 4 their 12 year old can come, but their 11 year old can’t? It’s just easier to go “no kids” across the board.
Being a parent is a choice and sometimes that choice means there are things in life you have to miss out on if you choose not to leave your kids behind. I understand the argument that some people don’t have anyone they trust to watch their kids, but that isn’t the wedding couple’s problem. That’s the parents problem. They are well within their right to choose not to ever leave their kids with a sitter but that’s the choice they made when they became parents. I was a nursing mom, I still don’t find that as a reason to be an exception to the no kids rule. Again, it was MY choice to nurse. I knew very early on that for both work and just wanting my husband to be able to feed our child that I would need to pump and introduce bottles early enough that he would them. I know plenty of people personally (including some of my very best friends) who opted not to pump at all or use bottles but rather exclusively nurse. That was a choice they made and it worked for them. Down the road when they decided they did in fact want to be able to leave their baby they wouldn’t take a bottle but that was the choice they made and they dealt with it.
To me people getting upset over kid-free weddings because they see weddings as a “family” event is no different than telling a CFBC couple they aren’t a real family simply because it looks different than their own version.