This is a question that comes up for all engaged couples when putting together their guest list: Should we invite children? For some couples the answer is obvious and doesn’t require much thought. Others need to think about it for a bit longer and weigh all the pros and cons.
No Kids – If you don’t invite children you won’t have to worry about kids getting antsy (or worse, noisy!) during the ceremony or underfoot during the reception. You can quickly cut down on the number of guests and you don’t have to make sure everything, from the music to the drink choices, is kid-friendly.
Pro Kids – Keep everyone happy! Some people get offended when their children aren’t invited to weddings and more parents will be able to come if the wedding is long distance or babysitting is hard to find. Most caterers and venues also have cheaper prices for children’s meals so it won’t add as much to the cost as filling those seats with adults.
Once you’ve made your decision, how do you let people know?
The best way to let your choice be known are through your invitations. Instead of listing Adults Only on the invitations or on your website, the etiquette-approved way is to only list the names of those invited on their envelope. If you aren’t familiar with inner and outer envelope system Emily Post has a great explanation and guide for all situations. But to sum it up, when you’re addressing your invitations to parents it goes like this:
This way you can get your point across quickly and efficiently without having to tell anyone they aren’t invited. In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to say who is invited, rather than who isn’t.
What if you only want to invite some children but not others?
As the bride and groom, it is your prerogative to include whomever you would like to on your guest list (with some exceptions, for example people in relationships must always be invited with their significant other). But if you would like to avoid hurt feelings, the best way is to invite in circles. People will understand if the only children invited are your nieces and nephews but if half of your cousin’s children are invited but half are not, you are definitely going to offend some people.
What age should the cut-off be?
Well the obvious answer is 18, but sometimes that can raise issues as well. For instance, what if some of your younger cousins are hovering around that age, maybe one is 19 with a 17 year-old sister? Before you decide your cut-off age you should evaluate your guest list and try to find a clear gap that avoids splitting up siblings as much as possible.
What if I want to avoid having a lot of kids, except for just a few I am close to?
A good way to invite only a few specific children you happen to be close with is to include them in your wedding party. If you are very close to your sister’s daughters and your best friend’s son, but otherwise you would prefer the wedding to remain childless you can include them in your wedding party as flower girls and a ring bearer.