Some people think that children at a wedding adds to the joyfulness of the occasion and makes it a real family orientated celebration, whilst others think that weddings can be ruined by loud wailing during the exchanging of vows, baby vomit on dresses and noisy, bored kids running through peoples legs.
Let’s face it, having to stand there for almost an hour listening to words you don’t understand and then having to sit still and quietly through a grown up meal that is interrupted by yet more talking is hardly a child’s idea of fun, so if asked they would probably prefer a trip to the park than a wedding.
Yet for some parents, the idea of attending such a celebration without their offspring is unthinkable. However more and more couples are beginning to consider the unthinkable themselves – no children at the wedding.
Back in 2008 the BBC news magazine reported on how wedding planners were experiencing more and more weddings that stipulated no children. Growing numbers of couples are paying for the big day themselves and so are setting the rules for their own weddings and these rules often include a child ban. So if you want a child-free wedding, how do you go about it without upsetting your nearest and dearest?
Well I’m afraid the simple answer is that you can’t. Parents are understandably besotted with their children and think everyone else should be too. Ban the children and you run the risk of alienating their parents too. Plus there is the fact that you are then asking them to provide and pay for a babysitter, which is no easy task for a whole day believe me! So some understanding and sympathy on your part is required. However some parents would love the chance to spend an entire day (and even night) without their charges running around them and this is the key to selling your child-free wedding.
Make a decision about children before you do the guest list. Some couples are happy for immediate family to bring children, but want to limit the numbers of children there so will ask friends to leave their kiddies at home. Other couples simply don’t want children there at all. Decide between you what you want to do and then approach those guests who you know have children individually. Don’t write on the invitation “ABSOLUTELY NO CHILDREN” as this is impolite. By contacting those guests with children directly you can explain why you came to the decision and they will appreciate the fact that you have informed them personally.
You could say that you want people to be able to enjoy your wedding day without the pressures of looking after children. Many parents will be grateful for the opportunity to let their hair down and you could bill it to them as a romantic day for all involved, especially if they are staying overnight in a hotel!
You Can’t Please Everyone…
Some guests will inevitably be offended no matter what you say and all you can do is to apologise and stand your ground. Don’t offer to pay for babysitting as you’ll then be expected to pay for all the guests’ child care arrangements. If you are offering compromises you need to do so for all the guests and not just those who have put up objections. Don’t forget that some couples may use the no child ban as an excuse not to come anyway, so don’t be too put out by any refusals. Give them a day or two to simmer down and then re-contact them to see if they have changed their mind.
Most guests however will respect your decision and make the most of a night away from the kids – so let the party begin!