When planning your wedding, you have to consider whether or not you are okay with allowing children. It's a nice gesture to say yes, but it doesn't make you a bad person to say no. I'll go over the pros and cons of allowing children at your wedding and some logistics and tips to consider.
The biggest positive factor of allowing children at your wedding is you won't have to worry about certain guests not being able to attend because they couldn't secure a babysitter. However, the negative side to that is those guests will likely have to leave early to put the kids to bed. Also, the parents likely and honestly just will not enjoy the night as much. It will be just another day wrestling around with the kids; keeping them from making noises during the ceremony, constantly taking them to the restroom, and repeatedly saying "don't touch that." The only parents who more than likely would be very anxious being away from their children are new parents to infant or toddler aged children, which is understandable but do not use this to pressure you to invite their very young children. I have never seen a wedding where children this young were allowed; when I say "kids" I am referring to five years and older. Otherwise your wedding video will be full of crying babies and the restrooms will smell like diapers. And these parents know and understand that. If you have any friends or family members who just had a new baby, be prepared for them not to attend because they likely won't want to be away from their newborn.
Another positive to allowing children at the wedding is that your flower girl and/or ring bearer will have some other kids to play with. It's often overlooked that your seven year old flower girl will be the only child at the wedding and will therefore get bored and cranky and you or her parents will have to constantly entertain them. The negative side to this however is you could end up having a bunch of kids running around the entire time. An important potential downside to allowing children is the additional cost. Even though they are kids, they still count towards your per person costs. So your venue and caterer costs will increase as the number of attendees do. This may not be a concern if you have only one or two guests with kids but it definitely adds up if you have more than that. You may also have to add a kid's meal option through your caterer which may or may not be an additional cost or even an option depending on the caterer.
I can't tell you whether or not to allow children to your wedding, but I strongly recommend taking the above factors into consideration when deciding. Once you make your decision, follow these tips below:
What's your decision?
"Yes, bring on the kids!"
Ask your venue if they have a separate room or space that could be utilized as a kid's room. You can put a big table in there with games, coloring books, etc. to keep the kids occupied. This comes in especially handy during the ceremony to avoid disturbances or noises during the most important part of the day.
Ask your caterer if they offer a kid's meal option during reception.
Consider having a kid's table during the reception dinner so the parents can enjoy adult conversation. Be sure to ask the parents first if they would be okay with their child be seated separately from them. Some children are very dependent on their parents and get very anxious and upset when away from them.
Consider hiring a babysitter for the wedding to watch over the kids! I especially recommend this if you will have a decent amount of children at the wedding. And it will ensure the parents can actually enjoy the night and not have to stress about watching their child's every move. The babysitter doesn't have to be a pricey "professional," you could hire a younger (16+ yo) distant family member of yours or something of the sort.
"No, keep them away from me!"
Be sure to state on the save-the-date and invitation that the wedding will be adult-only.
When asked about it, say that you wanted to have an adult-only wedding to give the parents a break and ensure everyone lets loose and has fun. This will make it seem less "selfish" and that you were thinking of them too.
Be sure to send invitations well in advance if you have a lot of guests with children so they have plenty of time to secure sitters.