When kiddy-meals, crayons and early departures aren't part of your wedding vibes.
"It's all about the flow." This was my wedding mantra as I carefully curated the best day of my life. Starting out with nothing but class, an effortlessly sleek ceremony, dainty canapés, a prosecco van to get everyone in the mood, fairy lights to trump any Pinterest board. Every seamless detail planned to perfection right up to when those cool and tasty fish-and-chip cones would roll around at 10:30pm and my guests would let their guard's down as the band starts belting out You’re the Voice. There we would be, just married, surrounded by our favourite people... our favourite 'grown-up' people.
I envisaged recounts from friends; “Best wedding ever” and "Epic dance floor" etc. I did not envisage people leaving early with a “Sorry guys, Felix ate too much ice-cream and Tilly needs to be in bed by 9, it’s been great though.”
So, I guess that leaves you with a big decision when planning your own guest list...
To invite the kids or NOT to invite the kids to your wedding.
We made a decision to exclude little darlings from our big day. But this was before I actually had kids so you know, i didn't really get it. Now that I’m on the other side and I have children, there was definitely a time when I would have liked to have had my baby at a wedding with me. I was a bridesmaid just 10 days after giving birth. There were a lot of tears in the toilet cubicle that day because my baby needed me, and I left him… Oh the guilt! I had to drive home twice to breastfeed, my perennial stitches had not yet dissolved (if you don't know what that means, then don't google it) and my boobs were leaking.
But, If a wedding invite came along now, I'd immediately book a baby sitter, start warming up my vocal-chords for my Johnny Farnham karaoke moment and feel excited about a night of freedom. I'm not offended that my kids aren't invited (and neither are my kids.)
You see, us parents need to remember that freedom is a luxury that many young couples still have so, instead of bursting their bubble, shouldn’t wedding guests with uninvited kids just lighten up? Because let's face it, it likely won't be long before the newlyweds will also be faced with a pumping and dumping dilemma at someone else's wedding. (Yes go on, Google that one.)
If you’re a total people pleaser and don’t want to offend then here are some thoughts….
1: Write the individual names of the guests on the RSVP cards, so there can be no confusion.
2: Pull the budget card:
"We hope you understand how tricky it is to plan, budget and please everyone.
We don't want to exclude any of the adults who are near and dear to us. Therefore we unfortunately won't be able to include children as well to the guest list."
3: Invite the kids to the ceremony only.
4: Include it in your invite:
"Unfortunately our wedding venue is not suitable for children."
5: Consider making an exception for infants or have a conversation with those parents and ask them how best to navigate it.
6: If you think there’s no way around it, outsource! Hire a jumping castle, a ball pit, organise goodie bags or hire an onsite child minder.
Remember it is your day, so do what feels right for you.