Are Kids Allowed?
Weddings are a great time for family and friends to get together. Whether or not you chose to invite children is up to you but whatever you decide make sure you set clear rules and expectations up-front. Excluding children can be a sensitive subject for parents. Some parents are ready to enjoy a night out alone, however some want nothing more than to enjoy your day as a family. By setting clear rules up-front you will minimize the risk of offending anyone or hurting any feelings.
Rules can get complicated based on the line-up of your guest list. Some couples can look at their guest list and make an easy clear-cut rule that will work for everyone. It becomes difficult when there are one or two children or sets of children that don't fall neatly into the defined rule. Listed are a few rule options regarding children.
1. No Children: This one is easy to define. Simply stated, yours is an adult only event where you have determined no children will be invited.
2. Siblings and First Cousins Only: Often times the Bride and Groom will have first cousins and in many cases siblings that are children. If this is the case, it is acceptable to invite only children that are either the first cousin or sibling of either the bride or groom.
3. Children of Family Members Only: Another option is to invite the children of family members only. This rule can be further narrowed by including only children of siblings or first cousins if family guests have a lot of children amongst them. If you cut the list at sibling or first cousin, just make sure it is consistent on both sides.
4. Every Child Welcome: A free-for-all family and friend affair. This makes for a fun and adventurous day. Just make sure you're up for it. Children are wonderful, but be sure you fully understand how many children will be in attendance. As children love to be the center of attention, they will be dancing and living it up so make sure your dance floor is large enough. Think through the scenarios and if you are up for it, parents can make individual decisions on whether or not they will bring their children.
Make It Clear and Do Not Bend
Once you make the determination on what your "kid rules" will be, start by communicating. Let friends and family spread the word so people know what to expect. Also indicate when you address your invitations whether you are inviting children or not. If children are not listed individually or "and family" is not included on the invitation after the parents' names, it should be clear children are not invited. You do not need to write your rule on any invitations.
Don't be surprised however, if people call you or your parents and ask if the may bring their children. Do not bend. Bending the rules is how feelings get hurt. Once you set your rules, do not give in to any pressure to accommodate. Stand firm to what you've decided.