You hear and read it all the time, couples who don’t want kids at their wedding. You might be one of them. But I really think you should reconsider. 

I know all the reason why you don’t want them there: you think they will misbehave, you don’t want to spend the extra money on kid’s meals, you just want to have fun (and get a little drunk) and not worry about what impression you are making on the little ones. 

But, I am going to make the case for why you should include them and some ideas on how to keep them happy while you celebrate.

First, if you are already having a flower girl and/or ring bearer, not allowing other guests to bring their kids is going to look petty. Also, don’t even think about allowing some kids to come and not others. For eternity, people will talk about “why did they get to bring their kids and I couldn’t bring mine.” Unless you want to make some enemies, you have to let all the kids come.

Think about how many of your guests have kids. If it is a significant amount, would you be okay if none of them could come because they couldn’t find a babysitter? What about your wedding party or other significant friends and family? Wouldn’t you rather have them there with you on your big day? Even if they could find a sitter, they might be too worried or preoccupied to have fun and celebrate with you.

Who doesn’t adore little kids when they are getting down on the dance floor. Everyone will be amused as they boogie to “Uptown Funk” or try to join in on the Cha Cha Slide? Seeing a little kid having fun among adults can be pretty entertaining and might even be one of the highlights of your wedding video.

Finally, I know food is a big part of your wedding budget, but the addition of a few kids meals shouldn’t break the bank. Mini hotdogs and mac and cheese balls are always a favorite, and inexpensive. While I am totally against home-cooked meals, in this instance, I don’t see the harm in having a friend or relative bring something in or swinging by Chick-fil-A to supplement your meal service.

So now that you are convinced that having kids at your wedding is not going to be as terrible as you thought (just humor me!) there are a few things you can do to help ensure that your day goes smoothly.

  • Hire a babysitter for the night so the parents will feel free to have some fun knowing that their little ones are being looked after. If you have pre-teens coming too, give them a few bucks to look after the younger ones. It will give them something to do and make them feel important.
  • Create a “daycare center” at the wedding by renting some kid size tables and chairs and providing some crayons, coloring books, Legos and other noiseless toys. Arrange them in a corner of the room or in a separate room, if available. 
  • Know that most parents are very aware of what their kids are capable of. If I know my kid hates to sit still, I would either leave them home or skip the ceremony. If they started to misbehave, I would remove them from the room. No one wants to be the one to ruin your day.

There is nothing wrong with having a no-kid wedding, most people do. But I know that a lot of couples are on the fence because they are afraid they will upset some friends and family who might not have babysitting resources. You have to decide what is best for your situation, but know that having a few kids around isn’t going to be as terrible as you think.