To Kid or Not to Kid

Wow, that’s probably going to go down in history as one of my worst titles ever. Meh.

One of the first things that Army Boy and my parents decided after we booked the reception venue for the wedding was that we wanted to make it a “no children” event. All four of us agreed that it would be a much better time for all involved if we weren’t having to take into account the myriad ways having little ones at the event can complicate things. We talked things over with Army Boy’s parents back at our first meeting to talk about the guest list, and they agreed that it was a good idea, and would keep the evening classy and romantic.

Let me start by saying this: I think that you CAN have children at a wedding and it CAN still be a classy and romantic time. I don’t think that children ruin every event, nor do I think they should be sequestered away in a designated “children’s area.” This is just so that we are clear, and nobody thinks I’m a terrible monster for not wanting the wee ones involved in my day. I am solely talking about this in the context of my own wedding, a small wedding that just happens to be Army Boy’s second.

At a second meeting to discuss our “Save the Dates” (Oh yes, Mother, Future Mother-in-Law and I are doing swimmingly as a team), we discussed when the best time would be to bring up the fact that we weren’t inviting children.

According to etiquette, you should simply make out any wedding correspondence only to those who are invited to the event. You should NOT come out and say “We don’t want kids here, yo.” Any questions as to whether people (re: Kiddos) are invited should be addressed by the bride, MOB, or word of mouth.

Unfortunately, we have all agreed that we feel that family might not get that subtle hint. They would simply assume that said children, as part of the family unit of “Mr and Mrs” are invited ANYWAY. And would then bring their children anyway, only to cause a huge explosion of drama that would end up falling squarely on ME. The Bride.


We decided to do something wild and crazy- we are BREAKING etiquette. In an attempt to save ourselves from meltdowns, arguments and questions closer to the day, we’re addressing the situation immediately, starting with Save-the-Dates. Each invite going out to a couple with children, will have noted on it “Adult Only Event.” Is it proper? NO. Is Emily Post rolling in her grave? Possibly.

When the invitations go out 6 months from now, there will be an enclosure card reading as follows (wording very tentative):

“In an attempt to make this event a romantic evening for all involved, only adults are invited. Childcare will not be provided for the wedding or the rehearsal dinner.”

Is it slightly harsh? Possibly. Does it leave NO QUESTIONS as to our expectation? Absolutely. It also clears us from the recent expectation that those hosting the wedding will provide childcare. Because really??? You really can’t find a babysitter? Uh uh. We’re hosting you for two evenings, providing dinner, drinks and entertainment… We’ve also got some other nice treats planned for the guests travelling from out of town. Basically, we want this wedding to be a TREAT for all involved.

Shockingly, we are already feeling some ripples as the word is getting spread, and the cards haven’t gone out yet.  The thought of dealing with these questions on a case by case basis is certainly exhausting, but there’s not much choice if we all want to be on the same page, and not allow any “grey” areas.

There may be some hurt feelings among the family, and some may choose not to attend because of our decision. I understand and respect that. While the day is not entirely about us (if it were, we’d elope), it is not about those who take exception with any of the decisions that we’ve made so far. (That also applies to all other aspects that people may choose to get in a snit about- the fact that we’re living together before marriage, the fact that Army Boy was married before, etc.)(No really, it’s a problem for some here in uber-conservative Central PA.) If they can’t come for one reason or another, they’ll be missed. But we understand.

Also: More cake for me.

Did you choose to break etiquette or make any unpopular decisions before your “big day”? And what was the fallout?


3 thoughts on “To Kid or Not to Kid

  1. Hey, if you do not have a kid before you get married to Army Boy, you made it one step ahead of me. 😉

    I think this is a situation where ettiquette MUST be broken to escape the inevitible mishap where people will show up, kids in tow and others will be offended because they made other arrangements. Frankly, I would make it clear, as you have here, that this is in an effort to keep the event a romantic affair for all involved and everyone can make their own personal choice, but they would certainly be missed if they were to choose not to attend.

    I have seen several Save The Dates expressing adults only, never struck me as odd at all.

  2. Children were not invited to our wedding. The invites were mailed to Mr & Mrs John & Jane Doe. Not just Mr & Mrs John Doe. Other than the flower girl and ring-bearer there were no kids and no one ever asked if they were allowed. It didn’t seem to be an issue at all. I don’t know if going out of your way to pointedly remark that there are no kids allowed is necessary. But it definitely does remove any and all questions. But like I said, neither my mom nor I were even asked if kids could come. Either way seems fine. Although, if I got one that said the whole no kids thing and then saw the invitation laying on my friend’s table (who didn’t have kids) and theirs didn’t say it… I’m not sure how I would feel about that. Maybe you should just have it on everyone’s. Then the people without kids can look forward to a nice other people’s kids free night. You know?

  3. Just a note: I had some technical difficulties with this post, so to all those who left comments and don’t see them, it’s not because I didn’t care for your opinions. They were awesome.

    I am just… technologically slow.

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