06 May Kid-free weddings
The pros & cons of having a child-free wedding
“Come on, be honest, have you ever seen a parent with a child at a wedding having a good time?” was a question posed to me whilst performing at a wedding recently.
I was stumped! I searched my memory backlog of hundreds of wedding ceremonies and receptions I had attended to try and remember a genuine moment where parents were having fun whilst in the possession of their young children.
I couldn’t recall a single moment!
Let’s take a look at some of the (many) advantages and the (not so many) disadvantages of having children at your wedding!
Less stress for parents – who wants to worry about their child ruining the wedding day? Making sure the 5-year-old stays clear of the 3-tier wedding cake, the champagne tower or the bride’s wedding dress is a task in itself!
More freedom and flexibility for guests – no having to worry about small children running around and getting in the way.
More enjoyable wedding celebration for all – without the added stress of little ones, everyone can relax and have a good time.
Distraction-free Ceremony – when you have a kid-free wedding, you don’t have to worry about little ones interrupting the ceremony! That’s right, no more crying babies, fidgety toddlers, or unruly children running around. Instead, you can relax and enjoy the wedding without having to worry about keeping little ones entertained.
Invite extra guests – with no children knocking around, it affords you the chance to invite more guests to your wedding!
More money to spend on other things – with one less expense (i.e. childcare), you can use that money to splurge on other aspects of the wedding or put it towards your honeymoon fund!
Safety issues – some wedding venues often have expensive and valuable furniture and decorations that may need paying for should young Charlie stick his boot in! A child-free wedding ensures no such dramas come to fruition!
Cheaper! Of course, fewer heads mean you can reduce your costs when it comes to booking the venue and caterers.
And now the cons!
Parents may feel left out – some parents may feel as though they are missing out on a key moment of their child’s life by not having them at the wedding.
Kids can provide a sense of entertainment and chaos for guests – little ones can often be quite the distraction for guests, providing amusement and mayhem!
Offended guests – There’s nothing quite like a wedding to bring out the judgmental side of even the most well-meaning relatives and friends. So, if you’re thinking of having a kid-free wedding, be prepared for some pushback. After all, there’s always the chance that someone will feel offended by your decision. Of course, you could always try to explain your reasons for wanting a kid-free celebration. But, at the end of the day, it’s your wedding and you should do whatever makes you happy. Just be prepared for some hurt feelings (and maybe a few scathing Facebook posts) from those who didn’t make the cut.
No shows! A real possibility if their babysitter bails at the last minute – or they can’t find a trusted babysitter.
They’re a charming addition Whether the flower girl is dropping rose petals down the aisle with glee or a tiny ring bearer carrying the precious wedding band, there’s something about kids that is sure to win over the hearts of all those in attendance. And that’s not even counting little girls dressed up in their finest formal gowns and boys decked out in tidy suits, both looking almost regal as they wait to make their big entrance. Indeed, nothing is more heartwarming than seeing little ones dressed up for such a special day. Photographers enjoy snapping these moments such as kids running across the lawn or on the dance floor.
How to soften the blow?
Some ways you can soften the blow to your guests when asking that their children do not attend are by:
Offering a babysitting service – this will ensure that parents can still enjoy the wedding without having to worry about their children. Arranging childcare can be expensive though!
Let the venue take the hit! You heard me! Just blame it on the venue 🙂 Something along the lines of:
“We are unable to invite children to the wedding since our venue does not allow under-18s.”
Venue restrictions are a great way to enforce an adult-only affair such as venue capacity or insurance issues so double-check with your venue to see if they have any advice or conditions on child-free weddings.
Meet them halfway!
If you’re struggling to have a complete ban on children attending your wedding, consider allowing them at the ceremony but not the reception.
Consider this line for your wedding invitation:
“Children are welcome to attend the ceremony however, the reception will be an adult-only event.”
It’s natural to feel guilty when delivering such invitations but weddings are (hopefully!) and once in a lifetime celebration so you should certainly stick to your guns and have an adult-only reception.
Many parents will completely understand and accept your wishes and will do their best to accommodate a child-free event.
Blame it on budget restrictions
These are expensive days we live in – gas and electric prices continue to soar, filling up your car literally doubles the value of your car and don’t get me started on the price of a cup of coffee! With this in mind, you can pull on the heartstrings of your guests by letting them know that children are not on the guest list due to budget constraints!
“As much as we would like for the children to attend, our budget only accommodates adult guests”
Weddings cost tens of thousands of dollars, so this excuse is actually quite legitimate and your guests will completely understand.
Honesty is the best policy
Some couples simply don’t want children at their wedding and that’s okay too. If you fall into this category, then it’s best to just be honest with your guests from the get-go.
“We would prefer if children were not in attendance”
Keep it short and sweet
If all else fails, keep your explanation short, sweet, and to the point. For example: “We hope you understand that we have decided not to invite children to our wedding reception.”
If you decide to have children at the wedding, consider having a designated area for children – this will allow parents to keep an eye on their children while still being able to enjoy the wedding. This spare room can also be used for crying babies, fussy toddlers, and energetic kids who need to burn off some energy! Kid-friendly activities such as colouring books, puzzles, and board games can also help to keep children occupied during the wedding.
Overall, there are a number of pros and cons associated with having a child-free wedding. Whether you are considering allowing children at your venue or not, it is important to consider your guests’ feelings and take their needs into account when making this decision.
At a wedding I attended in Italy, the bride and groom hired a children’s entertainment company for the entire day to ensure they were well entertained throughout the day and family members were able to enjoy the benefits of an adult-only occasion.
Parents with a newborn baby should be given the option to have their baby at the wedding. If you go this route, make sure you provide a comfortable place for the baby to sleep and plenty of food and drink for the invited parents. Hopefully, they’re comfortable leaving their baby with close family on the day giving them a well deserved day off and a chance to celebrate in an adults-only celebration.
Another tricky one – teenagers who are old enough to be left home alone can often feel left out when their parents go off to a wedding without them. Using the “over 18’s only” line can ensure they stay home on the occasion if you prefer them not to attend your wedding.
There are many reasons why some couples choose to have a child-free wedding, from budgetary restrictions to concerns about attention being divided between kids and adults. But for many, the biggest con of a child-free wedding is the awkwardness of having to tell your guests that their darling little kiddos can’t come. After all, you want your friends and family to be able to celebrate alongside you on your big day, and the thought of awkwardly excluding children from the festivities can be cringe-inducing.
Ultimately, though, most couples know that it’s important to set these boundaries so that they can truly enjoy their special day without being pulled away by unruly toddlers or bored preteens. And while it might be uncomfortable at first, most guests will understand and support your decision as they realise how important this event is for you. So if you’re planning a child-free wedding, just take a deep breath, put on a brave face, and start spreading the word! In the end, you’ll find that celebrating with only your close friends is well worth some initial awkwardness.
A wedding party without children is certainly more relaxed and allows close family to enjoy the day to its fullest.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to include children at your wedding, weigh the pros and cons carefully and make the decision that’s best for you as a couple.
About Close-Up Chris
Chris has been a professional magician for over 20 years, providing wedding entertainment that leaves guests enthralled and with unforgettable memories. His quick wit, humour and sneaky tricks have entertained audiences all over the world, making him one of the most in-demand magicians around.
To check availability and see how much a wedding magician costs, get in touch.
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