March 21, 2019
When it comes time to begin working on your guest list, one of the first questions you are likely to get, from anyone who has or is related to children is, “Are you inviting children to your wedding?” Some find this topic touchy. And, they’re not wrong. It is a really difficult decision to make. There are many things to be concerned with when you ARE having children in attendance. And there are many things to be concerned with when you decide NOT to have children at your wedding. Today’s blog is going to tackle two of the biggest questions I get. First, how do you make it clear you are, or are not, inviting the children of your guests to your wedding? And, how do you respond to those who have strong opinions about children and weddings when their opinion is not the one you and your betrothed share?
Remember, this doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing invitation. What do I mean by that? You do not have to invite children to all parts of your wedding! You can (and absolutely should) discuss the child’s needs with their parents. Some children are simply too young to enjoy a long day of getting ready, in addition to photos, ceremony, cocktail hour and a reception. There are things like naps to consider, and feeding schedules. If either of those two get skipped (rest and food) an epic meltdown or just simple crankiness may result. Either way, the child and thier parents may be unable to enjoy themselves. They may need to work around a nap (or even two). In fact, children have been know to be down-right miserable by the end of a long day of celebrating (or passed out cold by the end of cocktail hour, laying on a row of chairs). And neither they, nor their parents, are too happy. Some parents (and some children) will take this in stride, and if that’s ok with them, and you don’t mind, then it’s ok. But talk to their parents and ask them. They may very well be relieved when you give them the option of attending with or without their children, for all or part of the celebration. They may make plans for their children to leave at a certain point during the festivities. They may decide to skip a lot of the getting ready, and just show up for photos and the ceremony. Whatever happens, know that happy children make for happy weddings. A miserable child can make a lot of people uncomfortable, especially their parents. And no one wants that on their wedding day.
This is the first step in answering “the question” before it’s even asked. When sending out your invitation, you will want to be very specific when addressing the envelopes. Traditional wedding etiquette calls for the use of two envelopes to house your invite. The details card included in your invitation can also include a short line about children to let guests know that you are having an “adults only” reception.
The outter envelope has the name and mailing address of the household. The inner envelope names all those living in that household who are invited. For example, if Richie and I were getting invited to a wedding without our 14-year-old daughter, our outter envelope would read, “Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Jeanne Bogath” and our inner envelope would read, “Richie and Jeanne.” Obviously you can be more or less formal with the names. But you get the idea. If we were being invited with our daughter, the outter envelope would remain the same, with an inner envelope that said “Richie, Jeanne and Caryn.” (On a side note, we also have a 23-year-old but she would get her own invitation because she’s an adult.)
Using a second envelope can get expensive, so if you are not using one, then the envelope should be addressed to “Mr. & Mrs. Richard and Jeanne Bogath” even if you are are inviting a child. In this case, you will want to pre-write the names of those invited on the RSVP card, so that they simply have to write in their choice of meal, or mark those attending.
No matter what you do, some of your guests may still have questions. That’s ok and completely normal. It is perfectly acceptable to let questioning guests know that you are not having children. Don’t feel guilty; don’t feel bad; and do not (under any circumstances) apologize for your decision. This is your wedding and you get to choose who is invited. It’s that simple. And it does not have to be an “all or none” situation either! Perhaps you are only having ring bears and flower girls. This is perfectly fine and acceptable. Don’t feel bad saying no to children who are not filling a formal role, or children with whom you are not close, or who are too young. Trust me, some parents will be more than happy to have a night out that is kid-free. This goes for new and old parents alike. I enjoy a night away from my teenager. And many new parents will be able to look at the chance to attend your wedding as a much needed night of adulting! Others, may push back. You can offer to hire a nanny or baby sitting service. But this is totally up to you and not a requirement. It is simply something that you might consider, if it is in your budget to do so.
If you are certain that you are inviting children to your wedding, you will defiantly want to read this blog post on how to have kids in your wedding. Just like there is a right and a wrong way to invite children, there is also a bunch of things to consider once you have decided to include them in your celebration!
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