Children sure are cute–but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want them at your wedding. From tantrums on the dance floor to speaking out of turn during the vows or toasts, kids can bring lots of laughs or make you cringe. Before you choose whether or not to invite them to a part of your big day, consider these eight questions.
Are you doing this to make others happy? If you’re worried you’ll offend your family and friends with kids if you don’t invite their little ones, that’s not a good enough reason to do it. You should genuinely want these children at the event.
Do you need to invite everyone’s children? Some etiquette experts will say if you invite one person’s child, you need to invite everyone’s kids. We disagree: Whether it’s nieces or nephews or your BFF’s child who you’re very close to, it’s okay to invite little ones you truly want at the wedding. That doesn’t mean you have to invite every guest’s child.
Will they be in the wedding? Do you want the kids to simply be guests–or are you looking for them to play a specific role in the ceremony? Talk to your fiancé about that before you ask the parents.
Do you have to invite the flower girl and ring bearer to the reception? In a word, yes. But this is something you can talk to their parents about, who might be fine having a grandparent or babysitter pick them up after photos so mom and dad can have a good time at the party.
Do their parents really want them there? Many moms and dads will look at your wedding as a night out–away from the kids. So before you extend the invite, why ask them if they truly want their children to be there.
Is this a family-friendly wedding? You know what kind of party you want, so be honest. If you envision lots of drinking and dancing (like a mini Mardi Gras), then it might be best to keep the kiddies at home. If this is more of a relaxed vibe, then children should feel right at home.
Can you afford childcare? Many couples that invite kids to their wedding also hire an on-site babysitter who can occupy the children with games and activities during the reception. Ask one of the guests if they have a regular babysitter who can come along (but you should pay for her services), or see if there is a teenage relative willing to take on the duties (you need to pay her, of course). You might also think about hiring a children’s entertainer, such a magician or face painter who can keep the kids happy in a separate area of the venue.
Are you prepared to go with the flow? Expect the unexpected when it comes to kids. They can be perfect angels or little devils, so you need to be able to roll with the punches and not let any bad behavior ruin your day.