Source: Martha Stewart Weddings
For every bride and groom who coo over kids at weddings, there’s another couple that’s nervous kids might disrupt things. Neither group is wrong exactly—asking children to be a part of your celebration (as participants, attendees, or both)—can definitely impact the big day. That’s why, before you finalize your guest list, you should consider whether or not you want to invite them.
Kids make having a flower girl and ring bearer possible. Involving them also means taking the weight off of parents to find a caretaker for their little ones on the day-of. Plus, there may be important children in your life—like nieces and nephews—that you want to share the occasion with. On the other hand, toddlers are known for tantrums, teens may grouch around with their “too-cool” attitudes, or your friends and family members might prefer a break from their younger entourage. As you can see, there’s a lot to mull over!
No matter where you are on the love ’em to leave ’em spectrum, stating and executing your position requires a certain degree of decorum. Thankfully, both traditional etiquette and modern manners offer guidelines on how to stand by your intentions and avoid confusion and hurt feelings. Here, we highlight some of the most common questions we’ve received regarding young celebrants. To answer them, we’ve consulted our plentiful years of wedding experience, plus asked experts to share their advice, too. Aside from responding to Qs, we’ve also added other information that’s relevant to making and carrying out your decision.
Unlike decisions about menus or music, those related to children should be handled quickly to avoid awkward questions from parents who need to make plans.
Is It Appropriate Not to Invite Kids?
Yes—especially if the wedding is in the evening or is very formal. “It may be more of a challenge to restrict children during a daytime or casual wedding without people feeling offended,” says Joyce Scardina Becker, a San Francisco-based wedding designer and planner. The no-kids rule works best when the majority of the families are local, which means that parents can leave their children with familiar babysitters for the entire day or drop them off between the ceremony and reception, adds Karen Kaforey, a wedding planner in Nashville. If you’re hosting a destination wedding, it’s harder to not invite kids.
Address Your Envelopes Explicitly
Address your envelopes properly. Becker says the traditional way to indicate whether a child is invited is to include his or her name on the invitation. If your card will have both an outer and inner envelope, the child’s parents’ names should appear on the outer envelope, but on the inner, the name should be written beneath the parents’ names. (If you’re using just an outer envelope, of course, the child’s name should also be on it.) If the child is over age 18, he or she should receive a separate invitation, even if he or she’s still living at home. Becker feels that it’s “generally not in good taste to address an envelope to ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Family,'” since the wording can be vague. However, Kaforey says that the phrasing’s okay as long as you write the names of those invited on the inside envelope.
Call All Guests with Children
After your invitation is sent (or better yet, before), make a call to your friends and family who have children to explain that your wedding is or isn’t child-friendly. “If you’re willing to invite this person to your wedding, you should be willing to pick up the phone and have a conversation with him or her,” Becker says. This is an especially effective approach if you’re worried about a stubborn friend or flaky relative bringing children against your wishes. Becker adds: “And, if you’re arranging for childcare services, a telephone call is a great way to let the parents know that their children will be well taken care of at the wedding.”
Read the rest here.