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CHild friendly weddings? Are they even possible? - Page 2

post #21 of 38

ElderSon got married last summer, and his kids were the ring bearer and flower girl. TheBoy (ring bearer), 2 YO, curled up on new wife's elegant train, and fell asleep during the ceremony! Must have been 10 or 15 other kids there. To me, weddings are family/community events, and I wouldn't exclude kids, although I have high expectations of their behavior (parents' responsibility to take them out if needed).


Slightly OT, but timely question: I received a wedding invitation today, that said "Children by invitation only". YoungSon is 16, certainly not a behavior issue, and would very much like to attend. Should I specifically ask my friend if he is welcome, or just show up with him? Mark 2 on the RSVP card, trusting that she meant little ones?

post #22 of 38

I would just ask to be sure.

post #23 of 38
Originally Posted by LLQ1011 View Post

Thats weird. Are you sure he was not invited. It is usually customary to not put childrens names on invites for sake of space. What jerks if he wasnt invited.


No, it wasn't a mistake.  A month or two after the wedding, we were talking about the wedding and I mentioned to the groom's mother (my close friend) that I was a little surprised DS was invited.    She verified that it was not a mistake and she felt badly about it but there was nothing she could do.  (I did not expect anyone to intervene.)  

post #24 of 38
Originally Posted by LLQ1011 View Post

Thats weird. Are you sure he was not invited. It is usually customary to not put childrens names on invites for sake of space. What jerks if he wasnt invited.

Actually, the proper etiquette is to name who is invited including kids or "Mr. and Mrs. and family."


I see nothing wrong with it either way. Sure it's about family but really, there are budget, space, behavior issues some people don't want to have to worry about on such a big day.  We had a "no kids" and I don't regret it at all. I wouldn't change it. I am also not offended if my kids aren't invited. They wouldn't want to go anyway so it's really a win win. I like MY kids but I know I don't like most other peoples kids ;) 

post #25 of 38
I will not be attending my cousin's wedding in a few weeks because children are not invited (except for the toddler in the wedding, and anyone coming from out of town - apparently I'm not coming from far enough out of town). My issue is that my childcare (my parents) are going to the wedding and I'm not leaving my daughter with someone she doesn't know well for the evening. It's a bummer, and it hurts my feelings a little, but we've all gotta do what we've gotta do.
post #26 of 38

Our wedding was mostly child-free and I don't regret it. The one child was my niece, my flower girl. 


I have a very large, extended family. We had well over 100 guests. In order to include just aunts and uncles and close family friends, as well as our own circle of friends, I had already slashed the guest list. I left off some friends whom I really wanted to invite. Even if I could have afforded several more guests at the dinner (and we couldn't), I just didn't need the extra task of figuring out how to keep a bunch of kids entertained during a long ceremony and a long reception. We were planning for a wedding in my hometown but living a couple of hours away. It was a late afternoon wedding and evening dinner/dance reception. There was a lot to organize from a distance. 


If I was organizing a wedding today, I think I would probably chose a different kind of event. I'd probably go less formal with an earlier ceremony and a wedding brunch. In that case, it might be a more child-friendly but I would still be looking at a guest list of about 200 or more people, since if I was going to include children I would first have to expand the list to include all of the adults who were left off of the list.


We've attended weddings with children present. It's been fun. There have been meltdowns or over-excited reactions from worn out kiddies, not to mention a few meltdowns and over-excited reactions from worn out parents too. Personally, I'm not fazed by it, I just feel sympathy in that situation. 


We've also attended child-free weddings while we left our children in good, caring hands for an afternoon/evening. It's been fine for us. 


Ed. for typo. I'm sure there's more that I missed, lol! 

Edited by ollyoxenfree - 4/24/13 at 7:48am
post #27 of 38
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

Slightly OT, but timely question: I received a wedding invitation today, that said "Children by invitation only". YoungSon is 16, certainly not a behavior issue, and would very much like to attend. Should I specifically ask my friend if he is welcome, or just show up with him? Mark 2 on the RSVP card, trusting that she meant little ones?



I would not just show up with him. "Children by invitation only" sounds like some specific children have been invited but their names were identified on the invitations sent to their families. If your DS is not listed on the invitation, I would think he hasn't been included. IME, invitations are addressed to indicate who is invited eg. "Mr and Mrs Smith and Family" or "Ms Smith and Guest" or "Mrs Smith and Mr/Master/Miss/Ms Smith"  

post #28 of 38
I don't think its a new phenomenom to invite couples to a wedding without including their children. I've heard my parents talk about extended family who when invited as Mr & Mrs sent back the RSVP for 5, that was in the 70s. My older sister got married almost 20 years ago & I remember several of my aunts & uncles being surprised that all of the elementary-aged (and younger) cousins were included on the guest list.

I have been invited to weddings that are not necessarily child-free but did not include an invite for my daughter. Neices, nephews & young cousins of the bride & groom attended but friends of the bride & groom we're invited as couples only. I think this practice is completely understandable & acceptable.

I am in a wedding next month that will be child-free. The Save-the-Date came months ago for Mr & Mrs, I confirmed with the bride (my best freind) and she asked if I could leave my daughter with a sitter knowing that I have family nearby. I just received a Mr & Mrs invitation to the welcome/rehersal dinner, I RSVP'd for myself & meantioned that hubby would stay behind with my daughter. The bride responded that my daughter is welcome to this dinner which will be at a casual, family friendly restaurant. I greatly apreciate her including my daughter here & I understand that she would like to spend her wedding dancing with her friends instead of watching us chase toddlers around to keep them from pulling cocktail glasses off table edges.

In general, I think my husband has a harder time with the concept of child-free events than I do. He'd like to bring our toddler along for things like dinner or wine tastings at a colleuges home and holiday dinner parties, but in my mind these are babysitter nights...unless we'd like the invitations to stop coming. Barbeques & picnics are more family friendly & we've brought our daughter to 'open house' parties where its appropriate to leave after 45-minutes if my child is getting antsy. Its easier to give your hoast & fellow guests the attention & quality company they've requested when my daughter is home with a sitter. If I can't get a sitter, my husband or I can attend solo while one of is stays home.
Edited by cali2tx - 4/24/13 at 7:46am
post #29 of 38

I went to one wedding where the kids were not invited to the wedding, but could come to the reception.  The couple hired a baby-sitter to hang with the kids in a Sunday school room.  Well done, I think. 



When we arrived, I was shocked to see not only a lot of our friends with their kids but that other guests brought grandkids and random children along as well.


Sad they chose to punish your son along with you.  I'm sorry, that was a stinky thing to do. 

post #30 of 38

I have been to both events.  I think it depends a lot on the bride & groom, and where they are in their lives.  We won't bring DD to a wedding, because she can not handle the crowds and it would be disruptive.  We will bring DS if he is invited, if not, one of us will stay home with both kids.  My sis had an evening no kids wedding, my son (ring bearer) and the flower girl were the only 2 children. Her decision was based on expense.  She had people she wanted to invite, but the list would have to be very short if it included kids.  She chose to have a no kids policy instead of picking and choosing who could bring kids which would have invariably hut people's feelings.

post #31 of 38

I have been to both kinds, all were lovely.  Most weddings I have been to included kids, including my own.  

It is the bride and grooms event, it has nothing to do with what I want.  It is their big day, their party and celebration.  I don't mind them choosing to invite or not invite children.  That is up to them as a couple.  

post #32 of 38
The reception was at a restaurant with an aquarium underneath it which I think the kids enjoyed. We had a fairy entertain them for an hour down there during the speeches which I think they enjoyed and we also had activity bags for each of them on their chairs. The venue was really good for kids actually. Their parents were able to order the kids meals at any time so they didn't have to wait for food and the owners made their office available for the two breastfeeding mums to use if they wanted somewhere quiet to feed easily distractable babies.

Wow. That is brilliant. I've never heard of anyone hiring an entertainer for kids and I have to say, that is really brilliant.

post #33 of 38

We just went to a wedding with kids and it was a great time. It was awesome because it was on a ranch so the kids had so much space to have fun. 


I will say that I have been to weddings where the kids aren't really watched by parents (can't blame them) and that can be a bit of an issue. 


We had a child-free wedding, except for babes-in-arms, and honestly I am always surprised when the discussion comes up and people just can't understand why people do so. I have a child now, I don't have one moment of feeling bad that I had a child-free wedding shrug.gif  It's what the situation called for. 

post #34 of 38

We have an awesome child friendly wedding! While people tried (mainly my mom) to persuede us the other way I dug my heels in. I was having children and it was just the way it was ;)


Then again we had already had our oldest DD and she was 18 months at the time. So if she was coming why would I tell others that they couldn't bring their kids. Especially since some were still small nurselings and other's were travelling family. 

I kept our ceremony short and it was in a sunken garden where kids could run/play if they wanted and sound wasn't really an issue. My parents hired one of my friends to basically "baby wrangle" our DD all day so she spent the day with us chasing after DD and no one had to worry about her care.

We had enough time between ceremony and reception for naps for little ones if they needed it. And then our reception had lots of space a separate room to run and another room with lots of comfy cozy chairs to lounge in (or breastfeed if they wanted some quiet/space, but they were more than welcome in the main room too ;) ) and have some quiet time. And we also had a hotel room upstairs that they could use as well. It was also the room that our babysitter could take our DD if she was tired.

Older kids got a ceramic mug with pens to draw on that didn't need to be baked before use. Toddlers got a colouring book and crayons and the smallest got cloth teething veggies made by one of my friends. 

As for the regular buffet food (which was amazing!), I also had the hotel add chicken fingers and fries as an option and precooked pasta and then two sauce choices, cheese and a red/marinara sauce. We had some picky eaters that were not kids as well that also loved that option. And of course with the amazing dessert options we had cut fruit. (*side note: my mom always said growing up that I would serve Kraft Dinner at my wedding I loved it so much... So the pasta with cheese sauce was also meant as a little "dig"/play towards her. When we were at the meeting with the hotel she actually started crying when I asked if we could add it!) 

I don't think most of the guests even noticed the kids, and really they just added a level of entertainment to the party :)

Our kids have been invited to other weddings. Some which we elected not to take them, some which we did and other which we didn't realize they would have been invited to until later. There was one that was just addressed to myself and my (future) husband and our oldest was only 9ish months. I wanted to take her as her main source of nutrition was still breastmilk. But my mom (her friend's daughter getting married) said no but paid another one of my friends to watch her upstairs in the hotel for me so that she would be close and I could run up to nurse as needed :) Of course once we got there everyone started to ask why we didn't bring her... but it was a good date night out and we'd had so few nights out with just Dh and I at that point.

post #35 of 38
We specified that children were definitely invited to our wedding! To us, wedding is about FAMILIES. Families include children. Period. We had a great time at our wedding. Our 2-year-old ring bearer walked down the aisle with his mom (my matron of honor), ring pillow in one hand, bottle in the other. When he offered the bottle to the rabbi instead of the ring pillow, the rabbi accepted it, thanked him for the drink, pretended to drink from it, and then said, "here, you take this, and let me have what's in the other hand." Everyone laughed. It was a warm fuzzy moment, not an aggravating moment. I can't imagine not allowing children at one's wedding, but I know that a lot of people do that.
post #36 of 38
Aww that's so cute,Taxi! Our little flower girl ended up carried by Mom because she was trying to give each guest one petal and with 300 people we were running out of time. wink1.gif She babysits my kids now....I feel old!
post #37 of 38

Our wedding was filled with kids.  and a lot of people i didn't know, who were important to my in-laws.  almost 12 years later, those people feel so tied to our family b/c they were at our wedding when we were just kids and were crazy enough to invite them!  i don't remember any issues w/ kids!


I danced in a wedding last summer and my other 4 kids were in the aisle, and it wasn't easy b/c my husband was one of the musicians.  but my kids were great (not perfect!) and it was a lovely and lively ceremony with a fun and outgoing reception (we were the kids table w/ another family and their dad was the MC)


I was recently invited to a wedding 2 hours away, no kids.  i had a newborn.  honestly, what was I supposed to do there?  i'm sure breastfeeding in a semi-formal gown would be perfectly acceptable (NOT!) but to leave my 3 and 2 year old for that long is something I don't think I'd ever do!  It felt like a political move to be invited.  You don't have to invite me if you don't want me and my 5 little leeches there.  At this stage in my life, I am still one with all of them.  I had never heard of a child-free wedding before.  I think weddings and funerals are for families, and children need to be included.


i have loved that during my marriage, people who were at my wedding felt INVESTED in my marriage, not b/c they knew me, not b/c we talked all the time, but simply b/c they were witnesses and that meant a lot to them even though they didn't mean anything to me at the time.  many of them have invested in our life going forward, and have celebrated w/ each child.  I have been present at weddings for people that weren't dear friends, but in that ceremony dedicated myself to helping them uphold their marriage and being there for them in this journey.  that is what marriage is to me- not a romantic or pure thing, but a real and growing thing that we do with everyone in our lives.  I'm so honored that my sister also had my very young children in her wedding- they don't see her often, but being a part of that is something they speak of with deep awe and love.  and every wedding they've been to has been purely magical to them.  I love that!

post #38 of 38
Originally Posted by HouseofPeace View Post

I was recently invited to a wedding 2 hours away, no kids.  i had a newborn.  honestly, what was I supposed to do there?

Politely send your regrets and move on. Lots of times babes-in-arms are exempt from the no-kids rule, and plenty of people totally would leave their 2 and 3 year olds to attend a wedding, so I wouldn't assume the invitation was insincere.

We had kids at our wedding and I wouldn't have had it any other way, but we planned our wedding to suit OUR preferences. It just doesn't bother me at all that other people have different preferences. We've had to say no to a couple of weddings because kids weren't allowed and our kids were either too young for a sitter or we couldn't find a sitter, and I didn't perceive it as a slap in the face or anything -- we just said we couldn't make it and wished the couple the best.
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