Should We Allow Children At Our Wedding/Civil Partnership?

File:Robert Vonnoh - The Baby's Bottle.jpg
It's a question that is well broached by both opposite and same-sex couples. For some, putting a restriction on children would be unthinkable. For other couples however, it is the only workable option for having a ceremony that isn't interrupted by shouts, cries or giggles. The chances are that if you choose the latter option, you might alienate a few of your guests.

As someone without children, I think the request is entirely reasonable. I've sat through ceremonies where screaming babies have distracted from the atmosphere and some like to cry in chorus.

Ceremonies are not very child friendly anyway. In fact (dare I say it as a wedding blogger?) they're a bit dull in parts. Naturally, children will get bored. For them, the best part of the day is the evening reception where they can run around and play. Children will often help to create a lively, party atmosphere so utilise their energy later on.

Perhaps, you might not want to blanket ban the under-18s. Maybe you're fine with them over the age of 5 years old. Maybe you're cool with the over-8s. Older kids will have more social control than babies or toddlers and are most likely to sit still with adult supervision. Whatever you decide on however, make sure you're consistent. Don't set an age limit for some but not for others. Don't tell one set of parents that they can't bring their child only to allow another couple to bring theirs.

The bottom line however, is that it's your day. If you don't want children there, then don't invite them. Parents who can't accept this can always choose to come to the reception. Be aware however, that some might not have the option of child care. If you do ban children, then you'll also need to accept that some guests might be unable to attend.

Before the invitations go out, it might be worth calling the parents of young children  to explain about your no-child rule. Sometimes when you engage another person in conversation and explain your reasoning they feel less defensive, less singled out. Remember though, you're not asking their permission; this is you paying them a courtesy.

If you decide that you are going to allow children, then there are things you can do to keep the young ones occupied.

  1. Offer a goody bag with some crayons and a colouring book to the children that are able to use them.
  2. Request that babies have been fed before the ceremony.
  3. Ask parents to take their children out if they become unsettled
  4. Bring a couple of soft toys to give to the younger children. Ask the usher to hand them out when people walk in.
  5. Put a request on the invite that couples only bring children if they absolutely have to. 

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