Most brides and grooms, when inviting a couple to their wedding, will also extend the invitation to their children. It’s seen as the most polite and friendly thing to do.
But let’s face it: not everybody likes kids, or wants them at their wedding. It’s a hassle to deal with rambunctious toddlers running around all over the place. And nobody wants their wedding vows interrupted by a crying baby. A child-free wedding can be a blessing if your intention is to relax, and enjoy a romantic day.
Unfortunately, many people – mostly parents – consider the “adults only” rule to be selfish. Some people will feel insulted if you don’t invite their kids, as if it’s a slight against them. You may find that some parents decline your invitation completely.
Today, we’ll be discussing, in depth, the advantages and disadvantages of having an adults-only wedding. We’ll also discuss how you can avoid being seen as ‘selfish’, and be polite and respectful to the parents on your guest list.
Advantages of Having a Child-Free Wedding
Adult-only weddings are becoming more and more popular in today’s modern world. But why? There are five main reasons why couples choose to say “no” to kids on their special day. Let’s discuss them in detail.
No Ceremony Interruptions
The main reason that most couples choose to have child-free weddings is because – let’s face it – young kids can be annoying. They spend much of their time crying, screaming, or shouting (whether out of frustration or pure excitement). Young children also find it hard to sit still for long periods of time, especially if they’re bored.
By not allowing kids at your wedding, you’ll avoid having your vows, toasts and speeches interrupted by crying babies or shrieking toddlers. Your wedding breakfast will also be a far less hectic affair, with no kids running around and bumping into servers. On the whole, you’ll be able to have a much more romantic day without little ones present.
Guests Can Let Their Hair Down
If your guests attend your wedding without their kids in tow, everyone will be able to relax a lot more, and let their hair down. Having no kids there means that nobody is in ‘Mummy Mode’ or ‘Daddy Mode’.
Nobody has to worry about where their kids are or what they’re doing. Nobody needs to worry about how much they drink, because they don’t have kids to look after. Nobody has to juggle nap-times or comfort their screaming toddlers when they inevitably become bored. In short, every parent will be able to let their hair down and have a night off from being a mum or dad.
Invite More of Your Friends
Let’s say your venue is large enough to host 100 guests. That means you and your spouse-to-be can each invite 50 of your friends and family members – or 25 each, if everyone gets a plus-one. But if everyone brings their kids along, too, you’ll have to cut back your guest list considerably.
Children may be smaller than adults, but they each take up a table place at dinner, and your venue will still count each child as an individual. That means if the capacity is 100 guests, children will be included in that count. By asking your invitees to come without their kids, you’ll be able to invite many more of your loved ones.
Keeping children well-behaved and entertained at weddings can be quite difficult. Many brides and grooms opt to hire a kids’ entertainer to keep the little ones happy. If not, they’ll at least set up a kids’ room with toys, activities and games, or hire a bouncy castle to keep the kids occupied outside. Not to mention, all of your young guests will need to be fed — and all those kids’ meals add up.
If you say no to kids at your wedding, you can avoid these extra expenses. This leaves you free to focus your budget on your true priorities, such as having the wedding dress of your dreams, or being able to buy all of your wedding guests a drink.
Last, but certainly not least, is the issue of safety. Some wedding venues are simply not suitable for children. They may not even allow children on the premises, as they aren’t covered by their insurance.
Many venues have ponds or lakes in their grounds that don’t have any railings or safety measures to stop kids falling in. Some venues have steep steps, loose ground, or other features that would pose a significant safety risk for little ones. Not to mention, adults at weddings like to have a tipple or two. Kids mixing with drunk and disorderly grown-ups is a recipe for disaster.
Downsides to Having a Child-Free Wedding
Unfortunately, there are also some significant downsides when it comes to having an adults-only wedding celebration. Most of these revolve around your guests’ feelings. However, there are also some logistical difficulties to bear in mind, such as arranging childcare.
By far the biggest downside to banning children from your wedding is the risk of offending your guests. Parents may interpret your wish for an adults-only celebration as evidence that you don’t like their children, or you don’t trust their parenting skills. This is especially likely if you’re allowing some kids at your wedding, but not others (such as a flower girl and page boy).
Many parents, of course, will completely understand, and may even appreciate having a night off. But chances are, you’re going to have many awkward conversations as you attempt to justify your decision.
As a general rule, around 10%-20% of people will decline a wedding invitation. But if you don’t allow children at your wedding, you can be sure that this percentage will be much higher.
This is because:
• Some parents may refuse to attend out of principle — they feel insulted that their children aren’t invited.
• Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies won’t be able to spend the whole day away from them.
• Some guests can’t afford a babysitter for the entire day, or aren’t comfortable leaving their children with a babysitter.
Not to mention, consider your guests that live far away, and will have to travel for your wedding. They may not wish to leave their child in the care of someone else for that long.
Just as you’ll have more people refusing your invitation, you’re also likely to have a higher number of no-shows. This means guests who RSVP “Yes”, but don’t turn up on the day.
No-shows are a risk at any wedding, but particularly if you don’t invite children. That’s because if the babysitter doesn’t turn up, parents won’t have a choice but to stay at home with them. Guests may also end up running late if their children become upset at having to leave Mum and Dad.
Being Judged as Selfish
As extreme as it may seem, many people consider those who have child-free weddings to be “selfish”. It's seen as rude to ask your loved ones to either leave their children with relatives, or pay for a babysitter. Many people consider weddings 'family occasions’, and feel that it’s unfair and self-centred to banish a whole generation of your family from joining in the fun.
Of course, it’s your wedding, and entirely your call as to whom you invite. Being judged as selfish will only a problem if you’re the kind of person who cares deeply about others’ opinions of you.
How Can I Avoid Offending Parents?
A wedding day is all about the bride and groom. As the person getting married, it’s completely up to you who to invite. You shouldn’t feel guilty about not inviting children if you’ve weighed the pros and cons, and decided that this will work best for you.
However, offending and upsetting your wedding guests wouldn’t be a great start to your marriage. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help ‘soften the blow’.
Avoid writing “adults only” or “no kids” on your invitations. Instead, invite your guests by name (e.g. “John and Sally Thomas” instead of “The Thomas family”). And on the reply card, indicate how many seats you’ve reserved. This will subtly get the message across.
For close family and close friends with children, telephone them and tell them personally. Be polite, and thank them for understanding. If they ask why, you can always blame it on venue restrictions if you’d prefer not to give the real reason (for example, if you simply don’t like kids).
Finally, to offer an olive branch, you could always hire (and pay for) an on-site babysitter. That way, if your venue has a spare room, someone can look after the children while the adults enjoy the celebration.
No matter what you do, stick to your guns. If guests try to talk you into letting their kids come, stand firm. Inviting some children but not others is guaranteed to cause drama.