Wedding Etiquette Forum

Children at the wedding?

Okay so honestly, the thought of children attending our wedding didn't really occur to me until I read that insanely long (and hilarious) thread on I&P about wording invites.  On FI's side, there are about 10 children (all kids of his family members, under drinking age) and on my side, I only have one cousin with a baby and one friend with a baby.  FI's brother is also getting married next year and is having no children at their wedding.  FI's dad apparently didn't like the idea that they're not having kids at their wedding since there are so many in their family and he brought the idea up to us.  Initially, I wasn't really bothered with kids being there, but now I'm not so sure.  I asked my mom yesterday and she thinks it's best not to have kids there for a few reasons (which I agree with).  I've tried to search the boards for relative questions, but most that I found were people asking about invite wording or about what to do in a specific case of people wanting to bring babies.  My questions are a little different.

I know not to put adults only on the invites!  We will simply address the invites only to adults if we choose no children.  :)

Here are some of the options we've been weighing out so I'm typing them out to sort of get my mind straight and hear some opinions!
-We are getting an insanely good deal on our alcohol.  My mom is a chef and dad is a bartender and their beer guy is hooking us up!  Our wedding will be like a picnic and we could (very tastefully) have the beer in something like a large cooler (there will be a LOT of beer) and we'll also have wine and a few (probably around 3-4) other drinks, which we COULD just have in those large dispensers.  But the point of this point -_- is that it would be nice to not have to have someone staring at these beers and drinks, making sure kids don't sneak some (there's some teenagers on his side) and there will be no question about anyone being legally able to drink (no ID checking or what have you).
-Oh God I can already see this getting long...I'm sorry ladies!  
-FI's dad (their family is travelling about 4 hours to come) thinks kids should attend and have a babysitter at the hotel for the reception time so parents don't need to leave kids at home so far away.  This could work I guess, but in that case, who babysits?  I'm not going to ask MY friends and family to leave to watch their kids.  I was thinking the older teens in his family could, but then...what do I pay them?  For whoever does it-Would I have to pay them or each parent?  Or not worry about it if a teen in his fam does it since they're his family?
-It just overall seems easier to not have kids there.  I just wanted some suggestions as to what to do about babysitting those kids if we do choose that option.

If that was a confusing mess, I'm sorry!  :/
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Re: Children at the wedding?

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    You need to get a non-guest to do the babysitting-not a teenager who was invited.  It would make them feel used.  Sorry, but that does mean you have to pay for the babysitter, and some parents won't leave their kids with him/her.

    It's also rude to invite kids to the ceremony only and not to the reception.

    It is a perfectly valid option not to invite kids at all.
    doeydoPrettyGirlLost
  • Personally, I think it's easier and less headache to either invite children to the whole shebang or not at all. I think it's gets confusing and complicated to make partial invitations and arrange childcare (which guests may not choose to use). Just make a decision and stick with it.
  • @jen4948 all very good points!  This was all just brought up to us by FI's dad about the babysitting thing, but he was not clear about it at all and I hadn't even thought about it!  
    I think that we just won't invite kids.  Only thing is, we'll run the risk of having almost none of his family there at that point if they choose to not come because of their kids :/  
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I agree with scribe.  I would invite the kids.  

    I have always hated the idea of hiring a babysitter for other people's children.  I do not have kids but if I did I would not feel comfortable leaving my child with a stranger.  I don't care how well you know the person you are hiring but if I don't know them or have never met them then my kid will not be watched by them.

    melbelleupsimplykayla
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I would either invite the kids to the ceremony and the reception or not invite them to either and let their parents figure out who is going to look after them.
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • Oh thanks for the responses everyone!  I would've never even thought about the babysitting stuff if his dad hadn't mentioned it.  The kids were all on our guest list and I just figured they would attend and just play with each other or whatever.  
    I've only been to about 10 weddings...some had kids, some didn't.  I wouldn't want all of his family to have to decline even coming if they couldn't bring their kids.  I mean, they do have a lot of family parties and the kids haven't tried anything as far as I've seen!  
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  • You don't have to find/pay for babysitters for people.
    doeydo
  • Teddy917 said:
    You don't have to find/pay for babysitters for people.
    Not if she doesn't invite them, but if she invites them but wants them to go to babysitters, she does.
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    If you were originally going to invite the kids then why the change of heart? If it's only the alcohol I would let their parents be responsible for them. It's not your job to police the alcohol because someone isn't watching their children. 
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  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    If you were originally going to invite the kids then why the change of heart? If it's only the alcohol I would let their parents be responsible for them. It's not your job to police the alcohol because someone isn't watching their children. 
    Well it depends... In my state this is not true, If you host a party and there is under aged drinking you are liable and can be charged. If the guardian hands their minor the beverage then it is not the host's fault. But if a kid goes up and helps themselves, then the OP would be liable.
    Kids or no kids, I would hire a third party bartender to cover my rear, but that's just me :-)
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • i would invite the kids - it sounds like this is an outdoor picnic-type event, so it should be pretty family-friendly.  I'd hire one bartender to oversee the drinking/make sure everything is stocked properly.  That person can make sure the teenagers aren't sneaking drinks (even though I agree that the parents should be in charge of watching their own children if they choose to bring them).
    KPBM89
  • We hired a couple people to keep and eye on the drinks, Sangria, wine and the beer are what we served other than non alcoholic. We had them pour the wine and keep the sangria dispenser filled. Beer was out in a large metal tub full of ice for people to just walk up and pull out the can or bottle they wanted. We had the non alcoholic drinks approx 20 ft way and they kept the coffee going fresh as well as hot water for the tea drinkers. We paid them each $100 bucks but it was worth it to us to make sure the teenagers didn't get into the alcohol.

    KPBM89
  • We had a ton of kids at our wedding because my husband is a beloved uncle. It was awesome. The kids were quiet during the ceremony and had fun dancing at the reception. And we really loved having our whole family there. So I'm in favor of being inclusive, especially if you're not having a super-formal wedding.
    KPBM89
  • Thanks so much everyone!  FI and I will be inviting children to the ceremony and reception.  I don't think his dad was thinking about the casual feel of the wedding when he thought kids wouldn't want to be there.  It should be a nice treat for them to be able to come to our wedding since they won't be able to attend his brother's wedding.  And as far as the drinks go, we'll just make sure a bartender is looking out for the teenagers!  :)
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    emmyg65grumbledore
  • Truthfully I don't even understand why people don't want kids at their weddings.  It's perfectly fine but I don't get it.  I want to celebrate with our friends and family - our friends and family include children.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    simplykaylaemmyg65
  • Not to mention, kids are great at getting people dancing.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Teddy917 said:
    You don't have to find/pay for babysitters for people.
    Not if she doesn't invite them, but if she invites them but wants them to go to babysitters, she does.
    No one is required to provide childcare for other people's children.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Truthfully I don't even understand why people don't want kids at their weddings.  It's perfectly fine but I don't get it.  I want to celebrate with our friends and family - our friends and family include children.

    In box again.  I don't ever want kids and am not a "Omg look at that cute little baby" person.  If it was a cat or a dog or something then I would.  I don't want kids at my wedding because they might cry, have temper tantrums,  be bored, tired from missing naps, be self-centered, have no real social/etiquette ques for what's going on, run wildly, scream for no reason, make messes, et cetera.  Also, someone in my family got married and chose to have kids at their wedding.  Fine.  All through the ceremony, one of the flower girls was being extremely distracting.  She was pulling at the bride (her mom), asking the officiant why he had a gold tooth, "adjusting" her tights in front of everyone, et cetera.  Another thing I don't understand is why you want to incorporate and have pictures with these kids just because they're you're cousins or whatever.  You don't know what they are going to be like when they grow up.  You could just not be close in general, or they could grow up to be the next Paul Bernardo.  But, if you want to have kids at your wedding you go ahead.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited September 2013
    Truthfully I don't even understand why people don't want kids at their weddings.  It's perfectly fine but I don't get it.  I want to celebrate with our friends and family - our friends and family include children.
    I just went on vacation with my family, and my 5 year old nephew kept shouting "I want your attention" and my parents kept interrupting whatever they were talking about with anyone else, me included, to give him their attention.  Nobody ever told him no.  It was also my birthday, there was supposed to be a birthday cake for me, and he took over blowing out the candle on it.  Everything was about him.

    There are lots of kids in my family and among their friends, and many of the other adults indulge them to the point that everything else gets ignored.  I would like some time with my relatives where the kids are not behaving like this and the adults are not enabling it.  I don't think that's too much to ask for my wedding, which is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and is not going to happen again in my lifetime, unlike my birthday which will recur again every year.
  • So it looks like you decided not to do the baby-sitting route, but for other people's reference.

    No matter what, don't ask the teens to do it.  I baby sat as a young teen, and I really didn't enjoy it.  I quit once I got a job as a lifeguard.at 16.  So if someone had asked me to as to do this, I would have said no or said yes out of obligation, and hated it and would have wondered why everyone else got to enjoy the reception, but I had to baby sit these little kids.

    If you do ask them and they say yes, you definitely should pay them.  Also, don't ask their parents who could say "Oh of course they will." without even asking the person in question.

  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Truthfully I don't even understand why people don't want kids at their weddings.  It's perfectly fine but I don't get it.  I want to celebrate with our friends and family - our friends and family include children.
    Same.



  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Truthfully I don't even understand why people don't want kids at their weddings.  It's perfectly fine but I don't get it.  I want to celebrate with our friends and family - our friends and family include children.
    Because not everyone likes kids.  Hell, some people don't like members of their family!

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    Maggie0829doeydo
  • Ditto PPs. 

    1. If you invite them to the ceremony, they have to be invited to the reception.
    2. If you want them to be baby-sat at the reception, you have to (a) find a babysitter and (b) pay that person.
    3. You can invite adults-only, but that does mean people might decline.
    4. You can invite in circles -- some babies/children but not others -- based on whatever criteria you choose (babies whose meals you won't have to pay for, for example, but no one over the age of 2).
    5. It's worth considering your parents' and FILs' feelings -- your mom seems not to want kids there and your FFIL seems to want kids there. You're going to have to strike a balance, and that might mean offending someone.
    6. He who pays get a say, ultimately, so if your mother is paying and your FIL isn't, what she wants trumps what he wants.
    7. What do you and your FI want? Especially your FI, since it seems like there are more kids on his side of the list. 
    Anniversary

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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • Most of these kid problems sound more like parenting problems. I support people inviting who they want, I just happen to think kids are fun at weddings. :)

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    emmyg65SKPM
  • Consider hiring a local bartender to serve the beverages to prevent under age kids from getting into booze. Or if you are doing it all diy family cooking/catering here is an idea. I don't know if you have any in your area, but I work part time for a company that just provides servers. I come into a person's event, help them with set up, then during the event go around and clean up plates, empty trash, etc, basically what a party hostess would need to do for clean up during the party. This then allows the party hostess/host to enjoy their event with their guests. When the event is over there is a fraction if any work for the hostess to do to clean up. If you know anyone that is a waiter/waitress, that won't be  a guest at your event, consider offering to hire them to do this. I wear black pants & white shirt so i look professional.

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