Let’s get one thing straight: I really do adore children. I like to coo at them on the train, and I’m the first person to offer up an “Oh my God, your baby is so cute!” to parents walking by with their little ones.
But despite being an assistant editor on the Mums team who actually gets paid to write about kids every single day — I’m still not having them at my wedding. And trust me, it’s really nothing personal.
Let me assure you that I’m not a complete bridezilla who insists that the spotlight is on her and on her only for the entire day. I’m fully aware that my wedding day is also about my future husband and the family and friends that celebrate with us. However, I feel pretty strongly that a wedding reception isn’t exactly the best place to have a bunch of little kids running around, and to be quite honest, I’m sure they wouldn’t exactly be looking forward to it, either.
So before you pass judgment, hear out my reasons. Not all brides who don’t want children at their weddings are complete monsters.
1. Money doesn’t grow on trees — and kids usually aren’t free.
Back in the day, there may have been a time where the father of the bride saddled up and paid for his daughter’s wedding in full. But according to my friends and social media, that’s not exactly commonplace anymore. While many couple’s parents happily pitch in to offset the cost of a wedding — which is absolutely astronomical no matter how you slice it — the bride and groom are often left with a hell of a lot of bills.
While some venues let little ones in for free, many still charge. My venue, for example, charges $50 a head for kids over the age of 2 — and that can add up pretty damn quickly — especially when it’s for chicken fingers they may not even eat.
2. Some people have enormous families — I’m one of them – which only adds to the financial burden.
When your mum is the second-youngest of eight kids — hello, Irish families! — there are a lot of people on the guest list to begin with. And while I’m definitely amped to invite all twentysomething of my first cousins on her side alone for the big day, coughing it up for everyone’s kids tacks on a lot more money. Will I invite my cousins’ children who will actually remember the event? Of course! But it’s hard to justify the headcount for guests who can barely walk. And don’t even get me started on the rest of the guest list!
3. Not to be awful, but, yes, the day is mostly about me and my husband.
Although some brides choose not to invite kids out of fear of epic toddler and baby meltdowns, that’s not really the case for me. Truth be told, I’ll have been planning my very expensive five-hour-long party for almost two years once the big deal rolls around — and there’s something to be said for that. When push comes to shove, I really want parents to be present and unencumbered by their kids, even if it’s just for a few hours, so we can all enjoy the time together.
4. This is a party for adults, and I really want everyone to enjoy themselves (aka let loose!).
It would be nice to celebrate with my adult guests by having a few drinks, cutting a rug, and swapping a few stories without little ones underfoot. And what’s more? I’m willing to bet that by the time 9 or 10 p.m. rolls around, any guests under the age of 6 wouldn’t really want to be there, either. The bottom line: I want my guests to enjoy themselves and have as little stress as humanly possible, which means having no small children to look after, change, or whisk away for a snooze.
5. The bride and groom usually understand that sitters are expensive.
As someone who nannied and babysat kids for years, I totally get how much money a good sitter can run you on a Saturday night — especially if you have more than one child. And while I’m very aware that child care isn’t cheap, it’s definitely not affordable for the bride and groom to foot the bill, either. But something many parents may not realise? Most newlyweds aren’t nickel-and-diming their guests. Instead of giving an expensive wedding gift,consider factoring in the amount you’ll pay for child care and give a less expensive gift if it makes attending the wedding possible. More often than not, we just want to see your shining faces!
6. If you really can’t swing coming without your children, I totally understand.
Whether your kids are 8 years old or you just had a newborn, rest assured, no couple is expecting all of the people they invited to attend. If you really can’t find child care, or it’s too much of a hassle — no worries. We can always celebrate another time that’s more convenient for you! After all, a wedding is just a party, but marriage is for the rest of your life, right?