The Kiddie Conundrum

Bees, I feel like this is another one of those super polarizing topics where everyone has an opinion. Myself included, of course.

To kid or not to kid? That is the question.

There isn’t one right answer for everybody here. But for Stallion and me, the right answer is that we will be having an adults-only wedding. We’re holding firm at an 18-year age minimum—we’d do 21, but BM K will only be 20 when the wedding rolls around. Way to mess up my rules, K.

When deciding whether or not to include kids, one of the biggest concerns is financial—even with special (read: less expensive) kids’ meals, it adds up quickly! If we were to invite the kids of all our guests, we’d be looking at another 25–30 mouths to feed. And we’re not even close with any of these kids, to boot. I mean, we’re not even having kids in our wedding party.

And then there are the potential behavior issues, which Mrs. Zebra can attest to. Even the best behaved kid can have a bad day, you know?

And then there’s the fact that we’re having a late night, open bar, party-your-face-off type of wedding. There won’t be much, if any, entertainment that’s kid friendly (see above: financial concerns).

And then, of course, I am pulling the “that’s how things are done in my family” card. In my family, weddings/parties have generally been adult affairs as far back as I can remember. There were tons of events growing up that my sisters, cousins, and I weren’t invited to, not because our aunts and uncles and grandparents didn’t love us or because we were ill behaved demon spawn, but because the parties were for grownups. That was just how things were; we never felt hurt or left out of anything. There was even a wedding or two while I was in college that I wasn’t invited to because I was still considered “one of the kids.” The concept of having children at my wedding at all was actually pretty foreign to me until I started the planning process and realized that not inviting the whole family is kind of controversial. Whoops.


Utterly chic BM B and me, back when we weren’t invited to weddings (personal photo)

Anyway, the matter was never really a question for me. Stallion’s family is more of a mixed bag—he went to some weddings as a kid, but more recent family weddings have been adults only. He took up my view on the subject pretty quickly.

So how are we handling it with our guests?

  • Consistency. No kids in the wedding party, no kids just for Guest X or Guest Y, no kids—period. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can still be consistent by inviting in circles—for example, only kids in the wedding party, or only nieces/nephews. Just stick to your guns—once you make an exception for Guest A, it’s a lot harder to say no to Guest B.
  • Word of mouth. Our parents know our stance, and if it comes up in conversation, we/they will mention that the wedding is for adults only.
  • Stating the obvious. The invitations will be addressed only to the invited guests, i.e., “Mr. and Mrs. David Beckham,” not “The Beckham Family.” If we are feeling especially motivated when it’s time to send invitations, we may include a line on the RSVP card that states the number of seats allocated for a given guest, but that’s not too high on my priority list.
  • Speaking up. If anyone does RSVP with their kids included, we’ll call them up and explain that the invitation was only for those people to which it was addressed. If they absolutely will not attend without the kids, we’ll get together with them another time in a more family-friendly setting.
  • Providing alternatives. Given the travel involved for most of our guests, if anyone want to bring their kids to Cape May, just not to the actual wedding events, we’ll happily recommend local babysitters.

What we are not doing: putting “NO KIDS ALLOWED!” or “ADULTS ONLY!” on our wedding website or on the invitations. We’re confident most of our guests will understand who’s actually invited without us having to bash them over the head with it, and anyone who misunderstands probably isn’t doing so out of malice”¦

”¦just like we’re not excluding children out of malice. We’re not child haters; we may even have a few of our own someday. And when that day comes, we’ll remember that there are certain events where they will be welcome and certain events that are just for the grownups. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Did you include children at your wedding? How did it work out either way?


Mrs. Filly

Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
April 2014
Loose Ends
Bamboo for Two: Bridal Party Shots
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Mrs.W, Guest @ 1:41 pm

    My (newly minted) husband & I decided very early on in the planning process that we didn’t want kids at the wedding. We were set on a 21yr age limit, but lowered it to 20 for my cousin.

    We had been to a family wedding a few months prior to getting engaged where there was a baby, and we decided that we didn’t want to worry about or experience an infant or bored child during the ceremony or reception.

    We LOVE kids, and we plan on having some of our own in the future. We just wanted our wedding to be adult-only. NONE of our family members understood our decision, and my mother even went so far as to invite the (young) teenage son & teenage daughter of two family friends (not even relatives!!) There was a lot of arguing and quite a few blowups, but my mother went back and explained to both sets of friends that while my fiancee and I love them both, they weren’t able to attend the wedding. Eventually my aunt ended up bringing my 16 yr old cousin, and he barely moved from his seat.

    If your family is supportive (and not undermining), then go for it. Good luck! 🙂

  2. Member
    vineyardbride105 73 posts, Worker bee @ 2:50 pm

    Amen and Thank You! We had a mixed response to our kid free wedding. We didn’t have kids because:

    1) Money. Our guest list of 130 would have gone up to 170 if we included kids. This also wouldn’t have been conducive to our more intimate feel.
    2) We like to party. We had a open bar and ran out of wine by 6 (so we had an emergency delivery of more!). The dance floor was not empty once the entire night. It was not a kid friendly affair.
    3) My DH is 30, five years older than me. Some cousins and Aunt didn’t realize most of his friends have new-borns or toddlers. We would have been overrun with the little ones. I think most parent (at least our friends we asked about it) really appreciated the night out!

    Like I said, most people we talked to appreciated the opportunity to get a baby sitter and party. However, I was VERY upset to learn that one of DH’s aunts, let’s call her Vicki, did not attend because she was watching her sons (that attended the wedding) children. I’m sorry –what?! Even more ridiculous, the kids other grandmother lives in the same city!! Vicki’s husband even told DH’s grandmother that she HAD to stay home and watch the kids because it’s SO ridiculous that we didn’t invite them. I just find it all so silly. Guess what, for all the reason’s listed above, we didn’t want to have kids at the wedding. Don’t take is so personal. Geez!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Mrs. Lotus, Guest @ 4:06 pm

    I just got married last month and we had a no kid wedding, well sort of! I allowed the wedding party’s children to come which happened to be all of my nieces and nephews and one of my DH nieces ( a whopping 11 children which is enough). The children left with a babysitter at 7:30 :). I would say about 1/5 of my guest list did not make it because of this fact. One of DH cousins wife was furious that we were not allowing her girls there. I should add that we don’t really know her children. I did offer babysitting and info for babysitters but no one took me up on it. One of my cousins ended up brining her children to the ceremony anyway, thinking that I wouldn’t see. Nope not this bride I noticed! In the end I really don’t care who offended, it was our wedding and this is how we wanted it.

  4. msfilly Bee
    Mrs. Filly 85 posts, Worker bee @ 2:06 am

    @Asichka: OMG, you’re having bouncers? So badass – I love it.

    @MissJules: Full price for kids over 10? You’re kidding me! Our venue has some sort of discounted kids’ price, but I honestly didn’t look too much into it because I knew we wouldn’t be including them anyway. $80 for a plate of chicken nuggets and fries? HAHAHAHAHA.

    @Mrs.W: THANK YOU – not wanting kids at your wedding doesn’t make you an evil child hater, you know? Glad you stuck to your guns and it all worked out.

    @VineyardBride105: Um, #2 makes me think you guys had the greatest wedding of all time 🙂 People get so up in arms about this stuff – come or don’t come, who cares, but don’t get all bent out of shape over whether or not your special snowflakes are invited, you know?

    @Mrs. Lotus: I agree – as long as your day was how you wanted it, nothing else really matters. That was really kind of you to offer babysitter info! I’m planning on doing the same, not sure if anyone will take me up on it either.

  5. mswaterfall Bee
    Mrs. Waterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:37 am

    I just want to chime in to strongly recommend doing the “we have reserved _ seats for you” thing. We didn’t, because we figured it was clear enough who was or wasn’t invited… and we had about 10 different people try to add guests and such and it gave me so much extra stress having to call them all back and have to tell them no, you can’t bring a plus-one… Just save yourself the trouble of having to follow up with people and be preemptive! Also, I’m guessing that most parents will probably assume that their children ARE invited!

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    MissJules, Guest @ 8:44 am

    @Miss Filly: Yes full price over the age of 10 which after taxes and the administration fee is like $160ish per person- not to mention the fact that our venue is a minimum of 175 people so we already have a big wedding. Most of our friends have children and our extended families have children and grandchildren (quite a few which are in the preteen age and thus over the age of 10) We kept it at immediate family children and wedding party (which happens to be immediate family anyway). Once you start making exceptions, its pretty hard to stop at 1. We are only having 3 children under the age of 10 (but pretty close to it) and the other “children” will be 19 and 20. You have to put your foot down somewhere.

  7. Member
    Miss_Mimosa 190 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:54 pm

    I completely understand the no kids rule at weddings! I have a 2 nieces and a nephew that will be the exceptions to that rule and if anyone says anything about it, it is on! ha! I think most people understand though.

  8. Member
    nerdybird 1443 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:53 am

    I majorly lucked out! we only had a couple of babies and a couple of teens to worry about.

    the way I figured, any kid over 13 and under 1 year are no biggie to me. they’re not going to walk around and get underfoot. I knew my friends would take their baby out of the room if it started crying. but it was moot – the one baby that wound up attending stayed quiet.

    my 13 year old niece was so bored though! fortunately, she had a laptop and wifi so all was good.

    but if there were a bunch of kids that could run around and be annoying? no way. uninvited for sure.

  9. Member
    lastgirlstanding 376 posts, Helper bee @ 7:16 am

    I am the last of my friends to get married (hence my screen name!) and they ALL have children. I thought this would be an issue come invite time.

    To my surprise, my friends with kids all said the same thing: “Why would we want our kids at a wedding? There’s an open bar and we want a night out!”

    So it was a non-issue. They didn’t want to bring their kids. lol


    I will have three friends with newborns (less than 3 months) at the wedding. I have no issues with them bringing the new babies, as a) I don’t have to pay for a meal and b) I understand they have to feed them every few hours.

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