Do we invite children to the wedding?

If you're currently pondering this question or debating the dilemma, you're not alone! With many couples getting married later, and sometimes after starting a family of their own, this is a consideration most Brides & Grooms will have to take into account at some point in the planning process. You may be concerned about logistics of the venue, the wedding budget or even about getting a somewhat passionate response from your family! Perhaps your big day wouldn't be the same without the little people in your life being there to celebrate, or on the other hand, maybe you'd prefer to host a black-tie, adult only affair. Whatever you're wavering towards, we're on hand to help, with some top tips to bear in mind while making the decision.

{Image of Kate Moss and the Bridal Party children by Mario Testino}

Already decided?

You may already have a strong feeling either way on the issue, if you already know you'll want lots of children present, perhaps keep this in mind when choosing a venue, with particular consideration to the number of guests it can accommodate. If you're pretty sure you'd rather not invite kids, be sure to make this clear on the invitation. If you anticipate this being a sensitive issue for any parents on the guest list, it may be a good idea to call or speak to them in person beforehand to explain. We'll be running a separate post on this in the near future so watch this space.

How many would there be?

If there are very few, or small army of children, the decision may be made for you. If there is only a handful of kids, it may be okay to just let the parents decide whether or not they want to bring them. Remember, you don't have to invite all of them, if you're really tight on venue or guest numbers then you can choose to invite children of the Bridal party only.

What's the age range?

The presence of children at your wedding could vary significantly depending on their ages. Children over the age of 4 or 5 may enjoy themselves, be more independent during the meal and be able to stay up later, while younger children may be more difficult to keep happy.

Where are you tying the knot?

The no-kids rule is generally considered more appropriate for local weddings, where guests would be able to get a babysitter and return to their children after the reception. If you're having a destination wedding or expecting guests to travel from further afield, it's probably not realistic to ask parents to leave their children behind.

How accommodating is your venue?

There are a few considerations here - firstly, how many guests can your reception venue accommodate? If numbers are very limiting, does inviting kids mean you won't be able to extend the invitation to family and friends you'd like to be there? It's also a good idea to think about how child-friendly the venue is - for example, extremely formal reception spaces may be harder to manage with the pitter patter of a lot of little hands and feet. If you plan on inviting lots of children, could your venue provide an extra room for kids entertainment & a babysitter? Will they cater for kids through a special menu? Get a handle on these things early on if you can, so you can start planning accordingly...

Will your budget stretch?

The cost of accommodating little ones at your wedding will vary hugely; some venues don't charge for under 5's, some offer a vastly reduced price, and some may ask you pay full price for children. If you're catering by buffet, this may lower the cost as usually little children don't eat a large amount.

Are you happy to go the extra mile?

All those times you dreamed about walking down the aisle, we'll bet screaming children weren't in the picture! But rest assured, it needn't be that way - going the extra mile to keep the little ones happy will be well worth it - there are many things you can do from providing activity packs, setting out some games and even hiring an entertainer or child minder.

But what about the party?

One of the best bits about any wedding has to be the party! The kind of day you're hosting will have an impact on your decision whether or not to invite children - it's worth considering that little ones' constant for supervision can make it tough for parents to let loose, and you may also find them heading home earlier than those only in charge of looking after themselves.

Remember, it's your day...

Sometimes you can draw up a list of pros and cons until you're blue in the face, but at the end of the day if your gut is telling you something, 9 times out of 10, you'll listen. Try and be honest with yourself about this decision, and discuss your feelings openly with your husband/wife to be. Go with your instinct, and if you end up choosing not to invite children, be sure to handle the matter sensitively.