What do you do when your vision of the wedding doesn’t include little ones crying, fussying, breaking things and generally throwing fits at your Perfect Day?
The problem can be biggest on either extreme – those who only have a small handful of children (you are young, your friends aren’t having babies yet or your family is small and there aren’t currently pint-size kids yet) or those with massive children in the family or among friends. My brother got married this past summer at age 34 so there were lots of kids from their friends (and me!) I joked that he should have gotten married a lot earlier because it was a total pain to fly with a two year old and 3 month old cross country!
I am of several minds about this topic and ultimately there is no flat answer for what you should do. But as a parent now I have a new take on the matter which I will discuss later. These are my quick impressions of the discussions people have on whether to invite children or not. I invite YOU to share your thoughts by registering at www.thefirstdance.com and “talk with us/share your story” which will help keep your answers organized.
Here are some of the top stressors around kids, in no particular order:
Time of the wedding
Let’s be realistic. If most kids are in bed no later than 8:30 (mine go to bed at 7pm) it can be challenging to have an evening wedding where a percentage of your guests will be staying up well past their bedtime. Then again, should you really alter your entire wedding to accomodate little ones who may not even remember they were at your wedding and certaintly wouldn’t care if they weren’t there?
Money, money, money
While most kids under 5 eat free with most caterers, you are still having to fill seats which are on tables which are decorated, plated, “wedding favored”, in a reception space that costs a lot per square foot to rent. If you’re nice you may actually provide more goodies just for the kids which cost money. And if money is tight it can be very hard to justify inviting toddlers who don’t know they exist over, say, your really good friends from college.
Distruption or attention – detracting
Even the least bridezilla among us certaintly want to be the focus of attention on the big day. There is nothing worse than imaging “You may kiss the bride” being said as baby cousin Charlie screams like a wild hyena! It not only detracts from the moment you’re in, the feeling your guests are experiencing in that moment, the video you’re capturing of this moment, but it also can be very embarassing for the parents of the kid who will forever remember being “the ones who ruined your day.”
Location of the reception
Even if you love kids, some of us get married in really unusual places – along cliffs, in art museums, in small historic mansions. Basically we get married or have wedding receptions in places that are about as unkid friendly as you can get! Again it can be really hard to forgo that perfect spot just because you have a few rugrats who “should” be part of the day.
So before I share my thoughts I invite you to share what your decision process was, or what your current dilemas are around this topic. All answers will be held in confidence and no identifying information will be shared.