Whether you’re the bride, groom or parents of either, you know wedding invitations can create a lot of stress, especially when you have a budget, a deadline, and you have to limit the number of guests. What’s the best thing to do? Do you want your dance floor overrun by toddlers? Do you want your relatives mad because you eliminated kids at your wedding? Or do you really not care one way or another about kids at your wedding?
A columnist at Salon wrote an essay encouraging absolutely all brides and grooms to open their events to his little ones. Here’s a closer look at his reasoning:
You’ll Have Kids One Day, Too
“Five years from now, when this union of yours has borne fruit, you’ll thank me,” writes David Andrew Stoler. But let’s look at that: First of all, not all marriages bear fruit, nor do all brides and grooms want to have children. Even if they do, it’s not really up to one of their wedding guests to assume that they don’t want to enjoy every last minute of their child-free existence before then.
“As with anything, I think most weddings are still up to the bride and the groom to decide what type of party they want to throw,” etiquette expert Elaine Swann told Yahoo Style. “The bride and groom have total and complete license to host the type of affair they want to make memorable for themselves, and they should exercise that right.”
If You Love Me, You Love My Kids
“Not inviting my kid is like not inviting my nose just because I have a nasty head cold and might sneeze right as you say ‘I do,’” Stoler argues. This, again, is assuming a lot about a couple’s motivation for not inviting children. But even if it’s because they don’t want their ceremony interrupted by a crying baby, that’s their right, and that is actually something they can control ahead of time in their invitations, unlike your sneeze.
People Think It’s Cute When Kids Act Up (It’s Not)
“When the meltdown occurs — which it won’t! But it might. But it won’t! — when that meltdown, or mistimed exclamation, or loud question during a quiet moment occurs, guess what: everybody’s going to laugh,” Stoler argues. “The wedding will not be ruined. The only person who will mind is you — and me.”
If the bride and groom mind, no, the wedding isn’t ruined, but they will be taken out of the moment that is actually supposed to be all about them, not about your kid making everyone laugh.
“They’re creating their history, but this is just one day out of your life,” Swann says.
Drunken Guests Are Worse Than Kids
“Also, let’s be honest: other guests are going to be way bigger gluten-free pains–in–the–ass,” Stoler writes. This is sometimes very true, but it makes no sense as an argument in favor of children, since the bride and groom could end up with drunken guests plus a kid having a meltdown.
Kids Are Cute
“My kid can, like, light it up,” Stoler brags. “We’re talking total free abandon, and the infectious kind that’ll get the party started — they will literally pull people onto the floor with their hands.”
This is also often true, and most wedding photographers will capture some of this magic. But sometimes it’s the parents in attendance who would like to be partying with such abandon, and they can’t because their child is throwing a tantrum at the table.
Swann has some advice to appease both sides in this debate: “Hire someone that’s not related to the family, but maybe they are a schoolteacher or a babysitter or what have you,” she said. “Have an arts-and-crafts table for the kids, and make sure that there’s a childcare provider onsite. … I certainly encourage families to have something for the children, because kids do get a little tired, a little whiny. If you have something for them to do, it will give the adults and the parents the opportunity to enjoy the affair.”
You can read more here.
I can say from experience, there is a BIG difference between attending a wedding with and without kids present. I certainly prefer attending weddings without kids. The ultimate decision should be left up to the bride and groom. It’s THEIR wedding. It’s about how they feel about kids attending one of the most important days in their lives. It’s also their budget.