One of the big guest list decisions couples have to make is deciding whether your wedding is going to be family friendly or adults only. Is it a kid-full or kid-free event?

Back in the day, you wouldn’t think twice about inviting the kids because the entire wedding would be hosted by the bride’s family, likely at their own home, so of course the children would attend. But in recent years, we’ve seen lots of weddings sans kids that are just as fun and full of love. It all comes down to the type of party you want to throw, the important people in your life and what kind of compromises you want to make.

So is it a yay or nay to kids at your wedding?

Photo & feature by Erica Miller Photography

YAY: It’s easier for parents to bring their kids

For parents, it’s easier for them to bring their kids to the wedding. That way, they don’t have to arrange for sitters or bail on the wedding to stay home with their kids. This is especially true if the family is traveling to make it to your nuptials. Not many parents are able to leave their kids for a week or a weekend just to attend a wedding.

NAY: It’s a date night for the parents

On the other hand, making your wedding adults-only is a great excuse for parents to have a much-needed date night. At adult-only weddings, it’s often the parents who are making the most out of it – hitting the open bar, going nuts in the photo booth and partying on the dance floor. Bonus points if you arrange for babysitters to make it that much easier for parents to say yes.

Photo by Erica Miller Photography

YAY: Your favourite kiddos can be a part of the wedding

If you have important kids in your life, maybe you’re an aunt, uncle or parent yourself, having a kid-friendly wedding means you can incorporate those kiddos in the day. You can invite them to be a part of the wedding party as ring bearers, flower girls, junior bridesmaids/groomsmen, etc. They can be involved in special dances or even giving toasts. What’s sweeter than a little kid giving a toast to the newlyweds?

NAY: You don’t have to deal with kids

One of the biggest pros of not having kids at your wedding is not having to deal with them. You know what we’re talking about! That means you don’t have to deal with crying or temper tantrums (as long as your adult guests behave). You don’t have to watch kids running around the venue. You don’t have to worry about a flower girl eating the petals or a ring bearer losing the ring. You can have some uncensored adult fun without worrying about any young innocent eyes watching.

Photo by Erica Miller Photography

YAY: It creates a family-friendly atmosphere

If your wedding is all about family, it can be really nice to invite the kids. It helps to keep the vibe casual and comfortable. Plus, it means parents and kids don’t have to split up. If you’re going for a cozy and comfortable vibe, keeping kids on the guest list might be the way to go.

NAY: It’s cheaper

The best way to cut down on wedding costs is to cut down on the guest list. So opting to go kids-free can sometimes save you a significant amount of money. That’s less mouths to feed, less drinks to buy, fewer tables to rent and decorate, no kids’ activities to buy to entertain them, etc. It also frees up space if there were other adults you wanted to invite.

Photo by Erica Miller Photography

The Exception: Nursing babies

If you choose to go kids-free at your wedding, we totally support you. But we do think you should make an exception for nursing moms and babies. Yes, these young babies can cry and make noise, which isn’t what you’re after for your adults-only event. But remember, they don’t take up a seat and they won’t count as a number for your caterer. So they won’t cost you anything extra. And it’s hard to ask parents to leave a nursing baby at home, especially if mom is their food source. So make an exception for the littlest humans. You’ll appreciate this ruling if you become a parent one day.

In the end, you should do what works best for you and your partner and the wedding you envision. If you do plan to say nay to kids, make sure this is very clear on your wedding website, invites, save the dates, etc. Parents need lots of time to prepare in advance. If you feel rude saying “no kids” try alternate wording such as “adults-only affair,” “parents’ night off” or “18+ event.” You may also want to go the extra mile and research some local babysitting options or hire a sitter to watch the kids – this is especially nice if it’s a destination wedding and families are traveling to be there.

And lastly, prepare yourself to have some families decline. Some parents won’t be able to or won’t want to leave their kids at home. Respect their decision as they’ve respected yours to keep your wedding adults-only.

Photo by Erica Miller Photography

Are you planning to have kids at your wedding?


written by Riana Ang-Canning