This is a controversial topic for many, but it’s an important one to discuss. Should you or should you not allow kids at your wedding?

Everyone is going to have an opinion about what you should do, so it’s really important to put your blinders on and really focus on what your vision is for your special day! The good news is that we have some great tips for ways to keep kids entertained at your wedding as well as some tactful ways you can politely ask guests for an adult-only event.

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What is traditional for your family?

Lots of families out there don’t even question whether or not kids should be included because weddings have always been considered a family event.

In the end, the decision is up to you and your fiance, but if the decision is, “of course, kids are coming, it’s a family event!” then there are a few things you can do to help it be a more relaxing and pleasant experience for kids and adults alike!

What is your venue like?

Some venues are much more kid-friendly than others. Weddings are long, and require kids to sit still for long periods of time. Understandably, they get antsy, and it can be really helpful if there is a space they can run around during appropriate times. After all, weddings are a fun new space for kids, and they can find the dance floor, decorations, and cake table extra tempting! Having a separate space away from the main areas helps keep unexpected incidents at bay.

Consider Providing kid-friendly activities

To help keep the kids occupied during the wedding and reception, you could provide little activity bags for them. Here are a few things you could include:

  • Coloring pages and a small package of crayons
  • A small personalized coloring book (you can get them on Etsy!)
  • Word find or other puzzles

We’ve also seen couples have specific kid’s tables with parchment paper as the tablecloth so they can draw freely.

And a few things to avoid:

  • Paper airplanes or anything else that can be launched
  • Jacks or lego
  • Bouncy balls

Consider hiring a babysitting service to be there at the event

In addition to providing activities for the kids during the wedding, hiring a day of babysitter or two can help give guests peace of mind so they can enjoy the reception while their kids are being entertained nearby. 

Some couples hire one or more babysitters to come to the venue and keep an eye on the guests’ kids. If you’re going to do that, figure out how many children you expect and make a realistic plan for who’s going to watch them. For example, you don’t want to have 1 sitter for 30 kids!

Another option is to hire a service. There are babysitting services available in some cities, and they will bring movies and activities to keep the kids busy. They can either watch them at an extra room of the venue or if you have out-of-town guests with hotel rooms, the sitter service will watch them there.

Invite children of immediate family only

There is always the option to invite some kids, but not all of them. For example, you can have your children, your nieces and nephews, and any other children of the immediate family. Or you can just keep it to the kids who are in the wedding party, like the flower girl and ring bearer. 

If you think they are just too little to handle much more than the ceremony, another great option is to make arrangements with someone to care for your child after the ceremony. Many times grandparents will want to go home early anyways and are happy to take the kids home and put them to bed.

Integrating your and your partner’s children into the wedding

If you and your partner have children of your own, you will most likely want them to be at the wedding, even if you decide to not have other kids there. The challenge then comes that you are the caregivers, but you don’t want to spend your wedding day always being on the lookout for them!

You may have them included as part of the processional, or you may be blending two families together, and including a special moment during the ceremony to do so. But what do you do afterward, especially if your kids are young and are just done long before the wedding is over?

You could also make arrangements with a grandparent or close friend, who maybe intend on leaving early anyways, to look after your kiddo. If you don’t have that option, you can hire a sitter to do the same thing or even watch the kids at the wedding for you if you want them to stay!

Reasons people decide to have a kid-free wedding

Kid-friendly and kid-free weddings are both beautiful and lots of fun, but here are some of the reasons couples may opt for an adult-only event:

  • There is less possible chaos: when kids get bored or overtired, things can start to get wild!
  • It lessens the chance of interruptions during the ceremony
  • There are fewer people on the guest list to plan for
  • It lowers the expense of the meals (often if children are present, couples will offer a separate menu, like mac and cheese or chicken fingers)
  • It gives guests who are parents the chance to relax, have a drink, and enjoy a night away from their kids
  • It allows parents to stay later because they don’t have to worry about bringing their tired children home to bed

If you choose not to have children at your wedding, let guests know early

If you decide to have a kid-free wedding, it’s a good idea to let the guests know as early as possible. (This is especially important if you are having guests fly in from out of town.)

Well before your invitations are sent out, you usually sign up for a wedding website where you can put an announcement that lets guests know whether or not kids are able to attend, as well as other information. Then you just put a link to the site on your save-the-date cards!

Knowing whether kids are invited or not is useful for guests to know early, especially those that are traveling from out of town. That way if they book their flights well in advance, they don’t book one for their kids, only to find out on the invitation shortly before the wedding, that it’s a kid-free event. They may still decide to bring their children with them, but it gives them the option to do so and find childcare for the wedding day.

What’s the best way to let guests know you would like the wedding to be kid-free?

We have found that it’s best to frame it in a positive way rather than a negative way. Try something like, “we love your little ones, but we would ask that you come and join us for a night of fun without them for the wedding.” This lets people know that you would like an adult-only event, and it also gets them excited about a fun night out away from their kids!

If you have a vision for an adult-only wedding, please don’t feel guilty about that. There is a good chance you will get some pushback from somebody, but this is one of those areas where you and your partner need to put your blinders on and stick to your vision. After all, it’s only one day, and you want to enjoy it as much as you can, whatever that looks like!

Need some extra help planning your wedding? Check out the library of resources on our website, including our virtual planning service!

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Or anywhere you listen to podcasts

Connect with us on:

The Wedding Duo: A Wedding Planning Podcast. Your go-to resource for wedding planning tools and ideas
Having Kids at Your Wedding vs Having an Adult Only Event

Having Kids at Your Wedding vs Having an Adult-Only Event



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