Guidelines about inviting children


What are the guidelines about inviting children to weddings? I realize it's a choice thing, but I'm having trouble getting comfortable with this. Can babies and toddlers be excluded from the invitations, but say children over 12 included? Trying to come up with a plan that makes sense.

It seems mean to exclude people's young children knowing that childcare is difficult, yet we have limited seating and also don't want noisy children during the ceremony.

I've learned a lot reading the other posts, so thanks to everyone for participating.

Comments (4)
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This is really your call depending on the circumstances. Is there a possibility that you can provide childcare in a nearby room for young children?

Before deciding to exclude children younger than 12 or another age, you might want to check your guest list and see if there are families that have older and younger children for whom it might be a problem to leave some home and bring others. Another thing to consider is whether out of town relatives who are coming to the wedding have children. If they do and you exclude them, that might cause the parents to choose not to attend.

Once you think through all of the possible scenarios, you will have a better idea of whether to exclude children and if so, which ones.

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Honestly, I think if you're going to exclude some children, you really should exclude all of them.

It would be difficult for most guests to grasp your "cutoff" age, wherever it is. If I had to find a babysitter for my 10-year-old, but came to the wedding and found that my cousin's 12-year-old had been invited and welcomed, I'd be quite frustrated! Likewise, as the PP said, if I had two kids on either side of the cutoff age, it would make things complicated to the point that I'd probably just stay home.

These days, it's not uncommon to have a "no children" wedding. But a "some children" rule is just asking for hurt feelings.

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I like Sweet Pea's advice. Rather than try to figure out a workable system in the abstract, look at YOUR guest list and figure out what would work in YOUR situation.

Time of day and setting of the wedding make a big difference, too. A picnic reception in your yard at 2 pm and a black tie cocktails and dinner reception at Chez Ritzy at 8 pm are two very different parties. Even the most doting parents may well be very RELIEVED not to have their children with them at the latter event! (It's hard to feel glamorous with Legos and a rice cake in your evening bag.)

If you do feel you need some sort of cut off, age isn't the only one. Consider relationship, too: relatives' children invited (because they -- the children, I mean -- are your relatives, too), but not unrelated children. I would feel bad (disappointed, even if not upset) if some other cousins' kids, but not mine, were invited to my cousin's wedding, even if mine were a bit younger. But I wouldn't think a thing of it if my children were not invited to a friend's wedding even though their own young relatives were there -- in fact, it's exactly what I'd expect. A wedding is a family event, after all. Would that work for you?

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My experience is that some people willl ignore what you want and bring their little darlings anyway. (And those are always the kids that cry or shout out things during the ceremony.) So make Plan B. Maybe some hosted babysitting nearby...

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