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Ask the Expert: Can we go child-free at our wedding?

24 Apr 2017

Where to turn in times of wedding planning need? Marie Haverly of Isabella Weddings Planning and Consultancy - our resident 'expert'

Image: Patryk Stanisz 

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Marie Haverly is our wedding planner-turned-agony-aunt and is back this month to answer another bride's burning question.

Q. My partner and I don't have children and our budget is tight, is it OK to make our wedding adults-only?

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Yes. This is a simple answer, of course, but sadly this decision isn’t usually that easy. As a wedding consultant I would always say to couples that this is your day and you have a right to enjoy exactly the day you wish. However, sharing this wonderful moment with happy, relaxed guests will ensure your day is ultimately memorable so you do have to think long and hard about how they might experience your wedding day with you.

Skydiving while saying your vows isn't for everyone, trekking up a mountain to watch you exchange rings won't suit all your loved ones, and, similarly, not being allowed to bring their children to your wedding day will bring about concern and difficulties for some of your guests. 

Deciding to go children-free at your wedding might be easy for you both to consider, especially if you do not have many children in your immediate family. However, if your best friend has a little one and your sister has a brood she would of course expect to bring along, then this can be really awkward to approach.

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Image: Ikonworks

There are a few questions to ask yourself before sending those adult-only invites:

1. Are you doing this for budget reasons or for personal reasons?

Both of which are completely valid, however the former is easier to use as justification for your decision so clarify exactly why you are deciding to go child-free so that you can answer those probing questions from your guests.

2. Are you able to invite a small number of children?

Say, just close family only? Or older children only? This might help ease guilt and make things a bit easier on you - although remember you will have to explain why your friend's daughter isn't invited when other children are.

3. Can you pay for and organise a crèche?

A good one will take care of all ages of children so that everyone can enjoy the day worry-free.

4. How would having to organise babysitters impact on your family and friends attending your day?

Some parents rely on family for babysitting so it might mean that all of their go-to people are in fact at your wedding. As such, difficulties in finding childcare might result in guests leaving early or not being able to attend.

5. Could you engage them with entertainment?

Children can be the making of any event and it might be one of those rare times that family all meet up. Could you consider inviting them anyway and hiring an entertainer to keep them happy while their parents enjoy seeing them run around with their own friends and family? Here are some more ideas.

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Image: Ikonworks

Remember, some parents will no doubt feel a little hurt at their little ones not being welcome; be sure that you can explain your decisions so that close friends and family can be reassured of your decision. Try to focus on the excitement of the day; the fact that parents can enjoy a night off without worrying about whether children are behaving and aren't over-tired or bored (children can become extremely bored and over-excited with all that sugar and fun at weddings).

As a mum of two, I would be happy to have them safely snuggled up with a relative while my hubby and I danced the night away with a glass of something. Yet when they were very small this might not have been something I would have jumped at, so do be aware that everyone will feel differently about your decision. Tread carefully and chat through any questions with friends and family. This isn't something to stamp your feet about; it's a decision to consider well and one that does deserve justifying, in my opinion.

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