If there’s any one thing that we can agree on when it comes to having children at weddings, it’s that people tend to be starkly divided on the issue. A case we covered last week. Now, we want to stress, we’re not here to convince you one way of another if it’s right or a good choice or whatever. That’s up to you. Instead this series is about helping people avoid any of the pitfalls and social fallout that comes with deciding what’s right for their wedding. If you’re worried about what to consider for making your wedding adult-only, Here’s some basic tips.
1. The Social Fallout
Perhaps, you’ll decide to not have kids at your wedding and there won’t be any murmurs of discontent. If so, wonderful. We truly hope that. However we also know that life isn’t always that simple and clean, and emotions can flare up with those closest to us. In situations like this, it helps to follow in the footsteps of the greats. In this case, we’re going with Britain’s Prime Minister during the second World War, Winston Churchill (if you’ll pardon the language):
“Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell is such a way that they ask for directions.”
For Churchill, calm, politeness and assertiveness were crucial to any disagreement. Stand your ground, explain politely and clearly why you don’t think kids is good for your wedding, and respect other people’s decision to feel as they will on the matter. Will it be easy? No –discontent from those that are closest to us never is. But tempers will generally have a much shorter lifespan if you’re polite and acknowledge they have a right to not agree with you.
2. Notify As Early As Possible
If you’re not going to allow kids to be at your wedding, then your guests need to be notified ASAP. State it in the invitations or add it to the description of your wedding page on social media. Your guests will need to plan for this early and efficiently. This is not a matter in which you can afford misinformation or confusion.
3. Make Peace With The Possibility That Less People Might Show Up
On top of not approving, the simple fact is that for many, the logistics of making sure their children will be looked after during your wedding will mean they will not be able to show. This is especially true for your out-of-town guests. Destinations weddings tend to be tough on people’s planning and wallets, and having their children cared for can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Not that they don’t want to be there, mind you. They can be fine with your decision, but simply not have the resources to arrive.
Now you may wonder, “We’ll if I did allow kids at the wedding, wouldn’t they have to look after their travel costs, anyways?” And the answer is –not really. Kids generally travel to cheap, for one, and resources aren’t always financial. It can be distressing (and expensive) to find a caretaker that a parent can trust. It’s eminently fair that they may not want to risk either.
Make peace with that. Be understanding with your guests that say they can’t make it. You’ve made this decision. You told yourself you’d pay this price. Accept it.
4. Don’t Pick and Choose
If you’re going not allow kids are your wedding –making exemptions is generally a recipe for social disaster. People will feel slighted when they had to make plans for their children to be looked after and then arrive and see Tom and Linda’s Timmy running down the aisles. It may be tough. You’ll probably have to deal with Point III to keep this into effect, but trust us. This is not a battle you can play favorites with and keep your life drama-free.
What about exemptions for the Ring Bearer and Flower Girl?
Okay, if there’s to be any possible exception to this rule, it’s this. You’ll probably be able to get away with it, but consider that the kids playing these roles won’t have much in the way of kids their age to play with. That’s not great for them, and it actually increases the odds that they’ll get bored and do something…um…memorable. If you’re not going to have kids at your wedding, it’s generally safer to keep the decision across the board. People tend to assign the role of Ring Bearer and Flower Girl to members of the wedding party (if you even decide to keep these roles at all) and that works fine.
So remember, stand your ground, be polite and understanding to your guests, notify ASAP and don’t play favorites and your decision to have a no-kids wedding should go off without drama (or minimal drama, at least). Next week, we’ll conclude this series with some advice for people who decide to allow children at their weddings. At first, it might seem like the ‘simple choice’, but it comes with a host of social pitfalls and logistics all its own.