– Ask a Real Bride – Your Most Frequently Asked Questions About Kids + Weddings

The @askarealbride Instagram page is growing into a fun community for brides, mothers of the bride, bridesmaids, and wedding guests to interact, ask questions, and weigh in on wedding etiquette hot topics. If you haven’t joined us there–what are you waiting for?

kids during wedding
Image source: Etsy

One of the most frequent topics? Kids and weddings! I’ve written extensively about the decision to invite kids or not, and ways to include them if they’re coming. But how can you handle everyone else’s questions and requests surrounding your kids policy? I’m sharing some of the most frequently asked questions below, along with my answers and insights!

Is there a gracious way to communicate “no kids?”

When you send your wedding invitations, simply address the invitation to the adults in the household (i.e., “Mr. and Mrs. Robert Crawford). Most guests will understand that the absence of the children’s names means the invitation is only being extended to the adults.

If you feel it necessary, you could include a phrase like “Adults Only Reception” on your wedding website.

But shouldn’t I say, “no kids,” to prevent people from asking?

Even a statement like, “no kids” won’t prevent some people from asking. So the phrase can come across as harsh to those who wouldn’t dream of bringing an uninvited child, and ineffective to those who are bent on trying to be the exception! I recommend couples do the “right” thing by addressing the envelope to adults, and be prepared with a kind yet clear answer if guests do the “wrong” thing by trying to squeeze their kids onto the guest list.

wedding RSVP card
RSVP card from Etsy Seller PrettyMomentsDesign

What should I do if someone RSVP’s for their child (who I didn’t invite!)

Assume the best, while kindly and firmly reiterating that the invitation is for adults only. Try this script: “I think there’s been a miscommunication. The invitation is just for you and your husband! I hope you both can join us and enjoy a kid-free evening out!”

Help! Someone just told me that they’ll have to bring their little ones if they can’t find a sitter. What should I do?

The answer depends on a few factors:

  1. How close are you to this person? Is it someone you can’t imagine celebrating without?
  2. Is this person/couple traveling to the wedding?
  3. How old is the child they’re talking about bringing?

If this is someone you’re very close to, they’re coming in from out of town, and the child is a baby (under a year), you could give some leeway here, and allow them to bring their child. Another option: help them find local childcare, or provide onsite childcare for the ceremony to minimize any disruptions.

I suggest those responses and accommodations only if this is a couple you really want to be there. It’s also perfectly ok to kindly and clearly reiterate the “adults only” policy. Say, “I think there’s been a miscommunication. The wedding is adults only. Crossing my fingers you’re able to find a sitter so you can join us!”

Is it ok to invite some people’s kids, but not others? I’m worried about hurting people’s feelings.

Let’s get something out of the way: you can’t make everyone happy. There’s bound to be a guest or two that’s not pleased with the date, venue, guest list, etc. As a bride, the best you can do is make your choices with your inner circle (fiance, parents, siblings, etc.) and accept the fact that more distant relatives or friends might not attend if those choices don’t suit them!

Back to the kids question. Inviting some, but not all, can definitely be tougher to enforce or explain than an across the board “no kids” policy, but rest assured: most parents I know actually enjoy a night out without their children!

If you anticipate some pushback from specific families, share with mutual friends and family members the reasoning behind why some children were invited and not others. For example: nieces and nephews, only children whose parents are traveling, etc. That way, if they hear chatter, they can share insight.

I hope no one would approach you directly and ask why their children aren’t invited, or if they can come. But if they do, be ready with a kind and clear answer: “Oh, we wish we could have all the little ones! But unfortunately we are maxed out. I hope you can find a sitter so you can enjoy a fun night out!”

Our best man and his wife just had a baby. Should I tell them they can bring their newborn to the wedding?

Newborns are often the exception to a “no kids” rule. I would allow this for sure, as newborns are nearly impossible to leave with a sitter and spend all their time either sleeping or eating. Their presence won’t be disruptive in the least! If you’re open to the idea, call and let her know that she is welcome to bring the baby. Accept that she might not attend if she can’t bring the baby.

Have a Question for our Real Brides?

Let me know what topic you’d like us to tackle next! And if you’re interested in learning more about etiquette, gift-giving, and celebrating in style, be sure to subscribe to the RegistryFinder GiveIt blog for weekly posts on wedding etiquette, bridal showers, wedding trends, and of course, wedding registry guidelines and tips! Questions in this post are received from followers of @askarealbride. Questions may be edited for spelling, length, and grammar or to remove sensitive information. However, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

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2 thoughts on “Ask a Real Bride: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions About Kids + Weddings

  1. My mother practically forced my hand in inviting my 11 year old cousin (her half sisters only child) when we specifically told her that we are not having children (besides my own step daughters 9yo & 7yo). My mother is helping with costs of the wedding as a gift. I am 100% regretting telling her yes before we sent out the save the dates. Is there any chance, without hurting too many feelings, that we can uninvite my cousin? UGH!

  2. Hi Nicole,

    I think most brides can relate to feeling some sense of regret regarding the guest list.

    If you really do want to try “walking back” the invitation, you could speak to your mom about the dilemma in terms of “tiers:” explain that after further thought, you’re now realizing how tricky it is to invite one cousin, but not the others. You could explain that it’s making waves on the other side of the family. To soften the blow and not totally exclude the 11 year old (since she did receive a save the date with her name on it), you could suggest that the 11 year old join her mother for the bridal shower, if you are having one.

    But this is risky. Rescinding an invitation is likely to be hurtful and cause some relational damage. Thankfully, the 11 year old is old enough that she won’t be a distraction in the same way a baby or toddler might, and she won’t be the only child there. Seat her with the other children and I’m sure they’ll entertain each other and have a good time.

    I hope you find a solution that works for you and your fiancé! I’d love an update– email me at [email protected] and let me know how it goes!

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