Navigating wedding etiquette is difficult enough as it is, but when you throw technology and social media...
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By Maria Yeonhee Ji
Whether or not you should include children on your wedding guest list is a controversial topic. Some ardently advocate for including the smaller members of your and your guests’ families; others would really rather forgo all the child-related chaos for a day and enable your adult guests to fully experience the celebrations. If you’re still unsure as to what decision you’ll make re. the little people in your lives, here are some pros and cons of having children at your wedding to consider.
Image by Hollow & Co.
Children can add a really magical, festive element to your wedding - especially if you’ve thoughtfully given them roles to make them feel included in the day. There are plenty of roles, official and unofficial, that could be perfect for children such as being the flower girl, ring bearer, page boy, the person in charge of giving out confetti etc. Not only does including the kids in little ways throughout your day make for adorable moments like the one in the image above, it also means that they’re less likely to get bored.
Image by Grace & Jaden Photography
Unfortunately, permitting guests to bring their children to the wedding does mean that extra heads on the guest list. This means that if your venue has a limited capacity or you’re wanting an intimate wedding, you just won’t be able to invite all the potential guests you could have included in a kid-free ceremony. Even if your venue is larger and can accommodate all your adult guests as well as their children, the more-the-merrier approach will mean that the costs of many aspects of your wedding will increase.
Image by Lynn Lewis Photography and Design
Weddings are about the coming together of two people and their families, so why not make it an inclusive event? Many people want to infuse their ceremony with the values of love and unity that they uphold on all the other days of their lives. Including children is seen not as a logistic difficulty but rather an important decision to demonstrate that children are cherished members of the family.
Image by Hollow & Co.
Having said all that about inclusivity, it’s definitely true that the decision to include children comes with a lot of extra planning requirements. A separate reception table without any elaborate centrepieces, kid-friendly food options, games and activities to keep them occupied, maybe a kid’s area or room… If you have a number of children attending, hiring a professional childminder can be a good idea so that their parents can relax and not worry about where their kids are. And if you have plans for your reception to extend late into the night, you’ll have to organise for a time when children need to be taken to bed on or off the premises.
Image by Grace & Jaden Photography
Though there may be extra considerations for you in the planning, letting your guests bring their children to the wedding will save all of them the considerable difficulty of organising the hours of childcare needed while they are away. For parents of babies and younger children, this can be particularly difficult, especially if they’ve travelled some distance with kids in tow to make it to your wedding.
Image by Lionel Tan Photography
When young children have needs they need to be addressed pretty quickly, and there is limited scope for negotiation. Unfortunately, this does mean the parents amongst your attendees will get distracted throughout the ceremony and reception. Whether it’s dashing to the bathrooms with their child, breastfeeding time, trying to control kids on a sugar high, or answering a never-ending stream of questions, you’ll have to accept that your guests won’t necessarily be able to give your wedding their full attention or experience the fun as completely.
Image by Diana V Photography
The presence of children can be a great way of making sure the rowdier attendees at your wedding stay on their best behaviour. The alcohol at many weddings can bring out the raucous and inappropriate sides of some guests. But with kids in the room, this kind of behaviour is more likely to be held in check so that you can maintain a more refined atmosphere for your wedding day.
Image by Perry Trotter Photography
One of the arguments people give for not inviting children to weddings is that they are very unpredictable. It’s a potential source of disorder (but hopefully not disaster): children might start crying or screaming during the ceremony; they’re often unable to sit still and could run all over the place causing a mess; they might need to go to the bathroom at inconvenient times; if they have roles like being the flower girl or ring bearer, they could very well be overcome with shyness at the last minute and freeze on the spot. The counterargument to this, of course, is that kids add some spontaneity to the day and that a bit of chaos can be conducive to making your wedding lively and eventful.