Oooh it’s a toughie this one, isn’t it? The old kids-welcome-at-weddings-or-not question?
And while if we’re honest, few of us appreciate a toddler screaming through the actual marriage ceremony, or a hungry newborn crying its little heart out because its desp for its feed as the bride ambles up the aisle, there are elements of a wedding where kids just make it, right?
What wedding reception is complete without little ones making shapes on the dance floor, or a cute little tot fast asleep under a table, still clutching a sausage roll from the buffet?
And of course they are a family event – and what’s nicer than to look back at old photos of great-granny with a baby on her knee, or the bride and groom surrounded by tiny, suited and booted pageboys?
It makes us quite misty-eyed just thinking about it…
It is a dilemma though, and one that’s been shared over on the Popsugar website in an insightful article by mum Laurel Ellis who argues that not only should kids be invited to weddings, they should attend even if it’s against the bride’s wishes.
“By telling parents that their children are not welcome at a celebration, in essence brides are telling parents that they themselves are not welcome.
“Well-functioning families operate as a team, and if one person is banished, why should the others pretend like that’s acceptable?”
“At this point in my life, most of my friends have at least one kid. If someone were planning a wedding and told us that we’re invited but our children are not, it would be exceptionally rude.
“I believe that all of my friends would feel rightfully slighted.”
(Again, a good point – it can leave you feeling like your kids are considered badly behaved, right?)
“I’m not saying that children should go to all weddings, but instead that the decision as to whether or not they attend should be on that child’s parents, not the bride and groom.
“Plus, most parents I know would prefer to party hard and celebrate love away from their children.”
(Hmmm. This is the sticking point. It’s their wedding. Shouldn’t they have the final say, really?)
Laurel goes on to relay how, at two weddings last year she made the decision NOT to take her son, because, she says:
‘I wanted to have fun and be drunk me, not parent me’ – but says that ‘having a child at a wedding only impedes the fun of the parents, not the rest of the guests’.
(We totally get that).
She also says that she believes that people are generally ‘kind and thoughtful’ and that if a child were to start fussing during the ceremony, or playing up at the reception, that the parents would handle it, because, she says:
“‘If a wedding guest would be so thoughtless and selfish as to decide to ignore their children’s behaviour entirely, why are they the type of people getting invited in the first place?”
And, she points out that it can be really tricky to organise childcare when you go to a wedding, particularly if you usually rely on grandparents and other family members – because often, they too are at the event.
And if you do go the babysitter route, can you truly relax if you’ve left your little one with someone who doesn’t know them that well?
“When I go to a wedding, I want to have fun, honour the love being celebrated, and dance my ass off. I do not want to have to worry about whether or not my son is in danger because he’s with a stranger,” Laurel explains.
Laurel concludes by saying that: “I like to know that if I’m willing to drive hundreds of miles to, and spend hundreds of dollars on, someone’s wedding, that all of my family would be welcome.”
And we can’t really argue with that sentiment. It really is about respect and good manners on both sides, right? But what do you think?
Did you ban children from your big day, or welcome them with open arms? Have you declined a wedding invitation because of a ‘no kids’ rule? Let us know in comments or over on Facebook.
(You can read Laurel’s entire piece here).