Is a child-free wedding a good idea?
Here are 5 things to consider carefully when deciding whether to invite the offspring of your nearest and dearest..
1. Do your friends and family expect a child free wedding?
This is the starting point – if you and your partner do not have children you may decide that a child-free wedding is the best way to go.
If this is the case you will need to set expectations early on with your friends and family. Your guests may automatically be expecting to bring their children along so they need to be told from the outset that this is a child-free wedding celebration, so that they can make alternative arrangements.
Do bear in mind, though, that their usual babysitters may also be attending the wedding, so you may lose some guests due to lack of available childcare.
There are specialist nanny agencies who provide childcare for children of all ages at your wedding venue. This is a great compromise for parents – they get their children supervised and can still keep an eye on them if needs be! Of course there is a cost implication for the couple.
2. Would your venue be better suited to a child-free wedding?
Most venues are very child-friendly and will accommodate families with small children. Many hotels provide family rooms and cotbeds if required. However, if you are getting married on a clifftop, a rocky hillside, or in a location that is patently unsuitable or dangerous for children, you have very good justification for choosing a child-free wedding, and your guests will totally understand.
3. Is it selfish to want a child-free wedding?
This is your wedding so it is absolutely your choice. You do not have to make excuses or justify your decisions, simply let your guests know the type of wedding celebration you are having, and who is invited (or not!).
4. Consider the pro’s and con’s
Have you thought about the advantages of having children at your wedding? Firstly, a marriage is usually a bringing together of two families, as opposed to simply joining a couple in isolation from anyone else. If this is the case for you, and family is important to you, think about the impact of having children at your wedding, and the impact of not having them there.
Of course, it does depend on the age of the children and how well-behaved they are. If you do decide that you will invite your friends’ and family’s offspring, maybe think about accommodating them regarding toys, games, activities. If you are having a magician, for example, let them know that there will be children present so that they can incorporate some child-friendly tricks into their act.
If you decide against a child-free wedding and your wedding is outside you may want to explore opportunities for garden games such as giant jenga, and pop up tents or soft play areas for the little ones.
Children can be involved in your ceremony, they can bring the rings to the front, be included in a sand ceremony or other rituals, even sing a song or read a short poem.
If you are expecting small babies at your wedding let your celebrant know, they can announce at the start that parents should feel free to take babies out of the ceremony room to attend to them if necessary. The last thing you want is the noise and distraction of crying, distressed babies while you are trying to say your vows.
5. Be clear in your communication
Whether or not you decide on a child-free wedding make sure you communicate clearly on your wedding invitations. Any ambiguity may lead to difficult conversations and embarrassment so be sensitive in the way you phrase your invites.
Specify who is invited, by name, and if children are not invited say so.
You may be surprised at how many parents will look forward to a child-free celebration and possibly even a whole night away from their little darlings!
Whatever your wedding looks like I’d love to chat with you about how we can make it sparkle! Just get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.