Bees, I feel like this is another one of those super-polarizing topics where everyone has an opinion. Myself included, of course.
To kid or not to kid? That is the question.
There isn’t one right answer for everybody here. But for Stallion and I, the right answer is that we will be having an adults only wedding. We’re holding firm at an 18+ age limit – we’d do 21+, but BM K will only be 20 when the wedding rolls around. Way to mess up my rules, K.
When deciding whether or not to include kids, one of the biggest concerns is financial – even with special (read: less expensive) kids’ meals, it adds up quickly! If we were to invite the kids of all our guests, we’d be looking at another 25-30 mouths to feed. And we’re not even close with any of these kids, to boot. I mean, we’re not even having kids in our wedding party.
And then there are the potential behavior issues, which Mrs. Zebra can attest to. Even the best behaved kid can have a bad day, you know?
And then there’s the fact that we’re having a late night, open bar, party-your-face-off type of wedding. There won’t be much, if any, entertainment that’s kid-friendly (see above: financial concerns).
And then, of course, I am pulling the “that’s how things are done in my family” card. In my family, weddings/parties have generally been adult affairs as far back as I can remember. There were tons of events growing up that my sisters, cousins, and I weren’t invited to, not because our aunts and uncles and grandparents didn’t love us or because we were ill-behaved demon spawn, but because the parties were for grown-ups. That was just how things were; we never felt hurt or left out of anything. There was even a wedding or two while I was in college that I wasn’t invited to because I was still considered “one of the kids”. The concept of having children at my wedding at all was actually pretty foreign to me until I started the planning process and realized that not inviting the whole family is kind of controversial. Whoops.
Utterly chic BM B and I, back when we weren’t invited to weddings. (personal photo)
Anyway, the matter was never really a question for me. Stallion’s family is more of a mixed bag – he went to some weddings as a kid, but more recent family weddings have been adults only. He took up my view on the subject pretty quickly.
So how are we handling it with our guests?
- Consistency. No kids in the wedding party, no kids just for Guest X or Guest Y, no kids – period. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can still be consistent by inviting in circles – for example, only kids in the wedding party, or only nieces/nephews. Just stick to your guns – once you make an exception for Guest A, it’s a lot harder to say no to Guest B.
- Word of mouth. Our parents know our stance, and if it comes up in conversation, we/they will mention that the wedding is for adults only.
- Stating the obvious. The invitations will be addressed only to the invited guests, i.e. “Mr. and Mrs. David Beckham”, not “The Beckham Family”. If we are feeling especially motivated when it’s time to send invitations, we may include a line on the RSVP card that states the number of seats allocated for a given guest, but that’s not too high on my priority list.
- Speaking up. If anyone does RSVP with their kids included, we’ll call them up and explain that the invitation was only for those people to which it was addressed. If they absolutely will not attend without the kids, we’ll get together with them another time in a more family-friendly setting.
- Providing alternatives. Given the travel involved for most of our guests, if anyone want to bring their kids to Cape May, just not to the actual wedding events, we’ll happily recommend local babysitters.
What we are not doing: putting “NO KIDS ALLOWED!” or “ADULTS ONLY!” on our wedding website or on the invitations. We’re confident most of our guests will understand who’s actually invited without us having to bash them over the head with it, and anyone who misunderstands probably isn’t doing so out of malice …
… Just like we’re not excluding children out of malice. We’re not child-haters; we may even have a few of our own someday. And when that day comes, we’ll remember that there are certain events where they will be welcome and certain events that are just for the grown-ups. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Did you include children at your wedding? How did it work out either way?