The vision you have for your ideal wedding may be one that doesn’t involve lots of young children. Whether you desire a quiet, solemn ceremony or a black tie reception, there are definite reasons for seeing your wedding as an adults-only event. We won’t gloss over the fact that child-free weddings are somewhat controversial. There are lots of arguments for and against the idea. If you’re thinking of having one, make sure to give a lot of thought to your guests and their needs. Once you’ve made the decision, the most important thing is to communicate clearly with everyone involved to let them know what it means for them. With that in mind, here are some tips for making a child-free wedding work for you and all of your guests.
1. Make it known early
You’ll want to give your friends with kids plenty of advance notice of your child-free wedding policy. Make clearly communicating that your wedding will be child-free a big part of your guest communication plan. First of all, you’ll want to make it clear on your wedding website. Your Q&A section can be a good place for this. You may also want to mention it in the reminder emails you send to your guests. In all cases, make sure your wording is clear but polite.
2. Accentuate the positive
Of course, the wording you use to communicate that your wedding is kids-free is very important. Being too blunt may seem rude to your loved ones who have children. You don’t want a guest’s first reaction to be “They think my little darlings are a bother!” To avoid this, try to accentuate that your child-free wedding will be a chance for parents to unwind and have a great time.
A Q&A response to “Can we bring our kids?” could be something like:
|“We love your little ones! However, to allow all of our guests, including parents, the chance to have an evening of relaxation, we request that the ceremony and reception be for adults only.”
3. Provide child care options
Offering to pay for child care for out-of-town guests is a great gesture, if you can fit it in your budget. If you have several guests traveling with children, arranging group child care could save them a lot of trouble as well as money. If you’re able to do this, just make sure you make it very clear to your guests and give them all the info they need ahead of time.
4. Consider making exceptions to your child-free wedding policy
Though you may be committed to a child-free wedding, you might find it works better to not be super-strict about it. You may limit children at the ceremony to those of close family members, or you may have your niece be the flower girl. You might also consider allowing guests with newborns, since it would be particularly difficult for them to attend otherwise. It’s possible to allow children of a certain age to attend the ceremony, but not the reception. Whatever your policy is, just make sure you’ve worked out your reasoning and make it clear to all of your guests.
5. Allow children at other events
As mentioned above, you may decide that your wedding ceremony is kid-ok, while reserving the reception for adults only. But if your reception follows directly after your ceremony at the same venue, then you may decide that it’s just too complicated. If you’re having other events during your wedding weekend, however, make an effort to make at least one of them kid-friendly. A wedding brunch, for example, can be a great event for accommodating guests with children.
6. Don’t be surprised if some parents just can’t make it
As you’re probably aware, having kids is a lot of work. You have to be ready for the possibility that some of your loved ones may not be able to make it because of your child-free policy. Take time to think about your network of friends and family and how much it will affect them. If only a few guests will be affected, you can go ahead with your child-free wedding, just be sure to follow the tips above to do as much as you can to make it less inconvenient for them.
And if you think it through and decide you want to go in a totally different direction, there are lots of ways to host a kid-friendly wedding! Either way, you can have the kind of wedding you want. Just remember that if your guests feel happy and taken care of the day will be that much better!