Kids & Weddings: It's a family affair or ID, please!

Change is inevitable and so is a baby cry during the exchange of wedding vows. Kids looking cute and running amok at weddings is a common scene, but at least half of my clients want to card at the door. But how do you do it without offending your guests? Here's the VOWS take on this touchy subject: PROS of having kids at your wedding

1) It's tradition! Weddings have always been a family affair. Flower Girls and Ring Bearers are a staple in the official procession line-up.

2) They are darn cute! Precious dresses, little man suits, great photo opps and good laughs.

3) Makes the parents and grandparents happy to have them around and in the wedding photos.  

4) More of the parents on your guest list will attend if they don't have to find a sitter.

CONS of having kids at your wedding

1) Interruptions. They may cry, scream, or throw food at the most inappropriate times. During the vows, during toasts, on your get the picture.   

2) They may take their parents home early. If you're hoping to party into the wee hours with friends that are parents, not gonna happen. They will have the car pulled up immediately after cake cutting or when their child has a melt-down. Whichever comes first.

3) Trendy venues in urban areas can actually be dangerous for kids. Large staircases, exposed wood and brick, and sketchy neighborhoods aren't a good recipe for little ones. Also, places to feed or change diapers at these venues are almost non-existent.

4) Parents often don't watch their kids and they can get into trouble. I've seen many guest books/photo mats ruined by a mad scribbler, cakes knocked over or licked, and centerpieces on fire!

5) AND the reason no one wants to say out loud:  Kids get a lot of attention. Friends, it's ok to want to be the center of attention on your wedding day! Newborns in the family, and especially cute or charming kids, definitely distract from the focus on the bride & groom. 

How to tactfully communicate that you'd like your wedding to be "Kid-Free" 

1) Say it directly on an insert card within your invitation and reinforce it on your website. Good phrases to use:

  • "No kids please" (a no brainer)
  • "Formal affair, not for little ones."
  • "Adults only, sweet dreams to those under 21 please" (just saw this on a fellow wedding planner's personal invitation - humor goes a long way!)

2) Subtle, but also effective options:

  • Arrange babysitting in a separate room at the venue or at a nearby hotel. Put the details on your website, on an insert card within your invitation, and send a group email to the parents on your guest list. You taking a specific interest in this subject will give parents the hint. 
  • Make your invitations and wedding reception more formal. Tuxedos and sequins are natural kid-repellers.
  • Start the ceremony late; at or after 7:00pm should do it (kiddos go to bed early!)
  • Have a cocktail reception vs. sit down or buffet meal (with no assigned place to plop the diaper bag and carrier, parents will think twice about bringing them).

Happy planning!