Join Bridalwave on Facebook for exclusive competitions and gossip

Children at Weddings: What Do You Think?

By admin on October 19th, 2006 13 comments

Childrenatweddings My best friend’s wedding was the perfect day: great weather, great food, great venue – the works. They’d spent a lot of time and money on getting things just the way they wanted it, and right up until the moment the bride made her entrance, it was all going to plan. Just one problem, though: as the Wedding March struck up, so did a baby in the congregation. A baby who proceeded to scream so loudly, and for so long, that no one could hear a word that was said.

Of course, it wasn’t the baby’s fault – he was just doing what babies do – but I would at least have expected the parents to have had the courtesy to take him outside when it became clear that he wasn’t going to stop. Instead, the mother marched up and down one of the aisles of the church, with the howling baby on her shoulder. The acoustics in the church were marvellous: unfortunately that meant that the baby’s screams were amplified to such a degree that when the happy couple received their much-anticipated wedding video, and sat down to watch it, they were treated to thirty minutes of screaming baby and not much else.

We will be inviting family children to our wedding (Well, two of them are flower girl and page boy, so it would be pretty hard to exclude them!) but it’s episodes like this one that makes me wonder if we’re doing the right thing. Our venue isn’t particularly child-friendly: there’s no spare room to serve as a creche, and no budget for children’s entertainers. We’ll be supplying goodie bags with toys and colouring books, but I still suspect it’s going to be a long and boring day for the little people, and who could blame them if they choose to make their feelings known?

These days, of course, more and more people seem to be implementing a "no children" rule, and I can understand why (in fact, I’d probably have counted myself among them had we not met with a huge amount of family pressure to invite children). They either don’t want their day to be disrupted by noise, they don’t have enough room in their budget for children too, or they don’t want to use up guest-list space on children they don’t really know. Sometimes, they’d just rather have an all-adult day. Sounds fair enough to me, although I know from experience that it doesn’t often go down well with those who have children.

What about you? Are you inviting children to your wedding? And if not, what kind of reaction did you get?

(Picture from

  • Amanda

    I don’t think people should bring young babies to weddings – hire a babysitter for one night. If they really need to bring the baby, they should have the decency to walk out of the ceremony. As for the older kids, they feel left out if they’re not invited and I think most parents are aware of the fact that this is a special day for you and that they should take them out of the room if they get too unruly.

  • melissa

    god no babies. Kids 5 and up- sure, whatever, but only CLOSE family’s kids and each parent will know full well that if their kids get out of line, it’s their job to kill them- not mine.

  • Kathryn

    Our Best Man’s wife is giving birth just three weeks before the wedding, and she will need to breast feed. It’s not possible to ask her not to bring the baby or her three year old son, as there is no one willing to take both children for the duration of the day – I just hope if the baby or the 3yr old start up she and her/our friends will be able to step out of the ceromony for a while and not have to miss to much if it does happen.

    I think it’s just one of those things that you have to put up with, and as long as your friends understand they will have to step out, no harm is really done.

  • We are having 3 flower girls and a ring-bearer. They are the only kids in either of our immediate families but one of them has a nanny that we are obligated to invite too. I guess it’s a fair exchange because she will be occupying all of the kids if need be.

    Other people with kids have said they are looking forward to a night out, but we haven’t sent out our invitations yet, and I’ve heard that’s when things can get hairy.

  • I certainly had children at my wedding, there was never a question that they wouldn’t be invited. I do agree know that more and more brides are asking for advice on how they can have a child free wedding.

    I recently wrote:

    “This is a topic which is often the subject of fierce debate amongst couples who are planning their weddings. With today’s escalating wedding costs many brides and grooms feel that inviting children to a wedding reception is an unnecessary expense. At an average cost of $60 – 80 a head for catering having children at the reception not only increases your wedding expenses but it also increases your guest list to vast proportions. For most couples if they have to make a choice between asking 4 special friends to their wedding reception or the 4 children of their friends, the adults will win hands down. Sometimes children just cannot be included …”



  • I won’t have a choice as we already have two kids ourselves! However, I think it’s only fair for the couple to let people know in plenty of advance that children are not invited so that arrangements can be made. I mentioned a while back about friends who flew to Vegas for a friend’s wedding only to be told on the morning of the wedding that their son wasn’t welcome – such a waste of money!

    As for babies, well, the mother was horribly selfish to ruin the ceremony! Babies and children should be seated in a place with a quick escape route and removed at the first signs of fuss.

  • Camilla, that’s awful! I’d be furious if I’d travelled all that way only to be turned away at the door!

  • I prefer weddings without, and find that it’s usually on the invite.. apparently in France they often have a spearate room for kids, with supervision, toys- and mattresses! x

  • I went to a Hindu wedding recently and having the kids there, dancing and running about, really made the wedding. To be honest, I think it’s a bit of a shame that western weddings tend to be child free, but I think it has something to do with the more staid attitude at traditional white weddings. However, if someone has a baby that’s crying during the service, it goes without saying that they should nip outside. I’d be right peed off if they stuck around creating merry hell!

  • Kent

    If you want a kid-free wedding ceremony and you have family/friends with kids then don’t whine about it but help them out. Especially if they are coming from out of town. It’s one thing to get a sitter for the evening in your own town. Another thing entirely to get a sitter for the weekend when you are out of town.

    Most churches have nurseries in the basement or some other out-of-the-way place. Hire a PROFESSIONAL baby sitter for the duration to look after all the small children and babies and make sure all the parents with small kids know that nursery/daycare facilities are provided. Not some teenager, but someone from a local daycare or something who knows who do deal with diapers, feeding babies, and managing multiple kids. It will be one of your smaller wedding costs and well worth it. As a father of 3 young girls, trust me, they’ll be immensely relieved and grateful to be able to dump the toddler on someone else for a few hours.

    Same thing for an evening reception/party. If you have out-of-town guests coming with kids, make arrangements to have a sitter or sitters hired at someone’s house to take care of all the kids. Get a bunch of disney movies and pizza and sleeping bags for the living room floor if the party is going to go late. The kids will love it and so will all the parents.

  • Rebecca

    I’m yet to be married and we both decided that in order to keep cost down and rule out any mishaps we would have a child free wedding. My brother has three young kids and my fiancĂ©’s side has about 12. That is 15 extra guests at $90 a head and the reception only caters to 110 people. We have told every one that that we are not having children and everyone has welcomed the chance to have a night out child free except my brother. He also demanded the be apart of the bridal party. Due to our decision he is threatening not to come and causing unrest in the family by bad mouthing me. Aside from his childish behaviour no one else has a problem with the choice. But I am left with the question, should I make an exception? I mean you cant please everyone.

  • Lou

    I’m not having small children at my ceremony, and–naturally–mommies are miffed that baby isn’t invited everywhere she is. That’s life: kids can’t be everywhere you are. Consequently, some of the mothers have chosen not to come. And I’m fine with that.

    I’m having a semi-formal, outdoor wedding near a lake (alligator included), with many outdoor staircases and ponds. Our reception includes alcohol and food not catered to the picky eater. This is not a place for kids. Moreover, we don’t want someone’s baby screaming his or her lungs out during the vows, or tripping and knocking a tooth out on the stairs, and we don’t want anyone involuntarily elected as a babysitter while the parents run off to party.

    Sorry moms. Sometimes this comes with the territory of having kids: they’re not always invited everywhere and you can chose to either miss out too, or hire a babysitter.

  • sophie’s mom

    when i married a few years ago we had kids at the ceremony – as a teacher i can’t imagine a wedding without kids, or let me say, i couldn’t imagine my wedding without having kids there. and people made very different choices with even letting kids be at the wedding – one of my bridesmaid’s had a 9 month old and her husband was on hand, an other bridesmaid left her son at home with her husband. one couple who had traveled from overseas with their two young daughters had them at the ceremony (and they were great and positively silly)and some of my cousins decided to leave their kids at home and get one person to watch the whole brood. i am now the mother of an 18 month old and invited to a wedding next year with no kids. i understand not having kids there it the bride’s and groom’s choice, and i am not going to be one to push the bride to change her mind, that is rude. while i do hope she will provide a babysitter for any of the guest with children – and i know that would be fun for my daughter, but since she has numerous allergies i wouldn’t want a babysitter responsible for 5 or more children to miss seeing my daughter put a food that she is allergic to into her mouth. i found that a nice hotel near where the wedding will be helps with finding babysitters so we’ll just have to do that, or i may have to stay with my daughter myself and have my husband go (it’s his friend anyway) and then we all go to the brunch the next morning where i can wish the happy couple congrats then.

©2010 Shiny Digital Privacy Policy