Decision Made, No Children At The Wedding!- Now What?
The follow through may just be the hardest part.
Helping you get through the tough decisions you did not plan on making is what keeps us going. We are on your side and hope we can walk through this journey of wedding planning and help ease your stress along the way.
So now that you have decided that there will definitely be no children invited to the wedding. Lets look at how you should handle it with as little problems as possible.
When the you request no children at the wedding be prepared to look at it from the perspective of the children’s parents viewpoint. Throughout this post I have used the phrase, “Children not welcome”. I did this with the intent to express how the parents of the children will view the request. It may have made the situation sound a little harsher than it was intended, but it is exactly how it sounds to them.
After careful consideration, if it is determined children simply are not wanted at the wedding, we will continue by finding the best way to ensure there is as little damage to relationships as possible.
There are a few realities that you must be prepared to face when letting your guest know there will be no children:
You must realize there is the potential some guests may NOT attend the wedding simply because their children cannot come. This may be for a variety of reasons; it can be because of sitter issues, separation anxiety, nursing mothers, etc… The famous Golden Rule applies here. You must respect the parent’s decision to not come just as they want their decision to not include children respected.
Be prepared for some guests to be highly offended even after they express their good intentions and sound reasoning. They cannot expect to give their side of the situation and “win” people over. Many people see their children as an extension of themselves and when they are told their children are not welcome it is similar to saying they are not welcome.
There is always the potential that some guests may bring their children even though you have requested no children come to the wedding. There is that certain group of people who will not respect the no children requests and will expect the couple to “get over it”! Be prepared with a plan to deal with this when it does happen.
When you request no children at the wedding be prepared to look at it from the perspective of the children’s parents viewpoint. Throughout this post, I have used the phrase, “Children not welcome”. I did this with the intent to express how the parents of the children will view the request. It may have made the situation sound a little harsher than it was intended, but it is exactly how it sounds to them.
Many couples don’t understand why parents would be upset when they are asked not to bring their children. Not being able to sympathize with them happens especially when the couple getting married doesn't have children. Let me put this in a perspective that may be a little easier to relate to for those who do not have children. What if a close family member or friend invited only one person and said the significant other is not invited? It honestly would be offensive and feelings definitely would be hurt. If you are thinking, it isn't the same things, you are right it is not the same thing. Not inviting a child is much more offensive than not inviting a spouse or significant other.
Some couples think, their guest's children are not their problem and they should just get over it. It is not their wedding. So, how do you tell them how you feel?
As we address how to effectively approach the issue of not inviting children, we also want to ensure we leave as little wreckage behind this whole “catastrophic ordeal” as possible.
Remember clear, concise, and thoughtful communication is the key to every healthy relationship. Hopefully, there has been some light shed on the perspective of the parents of the child. This should help to give an idea of how to deliver a well-intentioned message, remembering it must be approached with a softened heart toward the recipient.
Understanding that people can be extremely sensitive, how can they be made to understand the couple’s viewpoint of no children at the wedding without losing a friend or upsetting family.
You must make it VERY clear that this is an ADULT event only. This should be done by providing a separate insert in the invitation. A simple statement “adult reception only” unfortunately, is not good enough. In today’s world, people just don’t take the time to read the invitation thoroughly. I always suggest this be a colorfully noticeable card that stands out from the invitation and other inserts. When a guest opens an invitation, they typically read some of the highlights like the couple, date, and location. Then they put the invitation aside and decide to read all the details later as the date gets closer. When they miss this important information, they may find out through conversations with other guests who may be attending that children are not invited and it catches them off guard and can easily become offended.
Although a separate card is inserted into the envelope, the best way to lessen the offense the guest may feel when they find out “their precious little angels” are not welcome, it is important to call all the guests with children before they receive their invitation. A simple call from the couple or family member of the couple who is close to the guest can mean a world of difference. When calling, I suggest a simple heartfelt conversation take place. Inform the guest how much their family means to them and how important it is for them to share the day. Expressing concerns and wishes for the couple’s vision of their day and that they hope the guest understands that making concessions for a few would not be fair to other guests is important. This is the time to not only be sensitive, but strong. Some guests will try to get a “special” forbearance. They will ask if they can bring the child just for a little bit, or bring a babysitter. They will ask if they can they pay for their child’s meal or anything that will make the couple change their mind. It is important to stick to the plan or the couple will have to explain the special circumstance to all the other guests why there are some children there when they couldn't bring their children instead of being able to freely enjoy the wedding day and that just isn't fair to the couple.
Even though the phone call and the insert seem like it should be enough, I would also include the information on your wedding website. I would consider adding a special tab just for information about children. It would be a good idea to include some professional childcare options and locations that offer services after normal business hours, national sitter locating sites, or even trusted local sitters.
Keep in mind there is that one person or group of people who just won’t be happy no matter what, but hopefully, this will help keep close relationships intact without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Dealing With The Backlash
This might be a good place to get some advice or assistance from your friends or family. You may not want to have to deal with it on your wedding day and maybe you may find a firm but fair family member to handle the situation on the day of the wedding.