Some weddings are great with kids, some weddings are great without kids. It is up to the couple to decide which they want.
It totally depends on their personality and the tone of the wedding.
Kids do add a certain amount of fun and whimsy to weddings. They also add a certain amount of stress. If the couple is laid back and can't wait to see what interesting thing their flower girl is going to do because she's definitely not going to walk down the aisle and toss the flowers properly, it's great. But if you're really expecting that things are going to be perfect? Uh, it's not going to be. The flower girl or the ring bearer is going to cry and refuse to go down the aisle, or decide that the flowers are messy and pick them up, or want to keep all of the pink flowers and people are going to be stressed out and that never ends well.
So, how do you handle the kids vs. no kids thing?
My answer is to go with your gut.
If your gut is telling you not to have kids at the wedding, don’t. People will be upset. Expect this.
If you’re having a destination wedding offer information on a babysitting agency that has babysitters who have criminal background checks and CPR certification, or if the wedding is local, get referrals from family and friends you can recommend to out of towners.
Another option is to throw a kids party. Hire a number of sitters, and throw a party for the kids, in a separate area from the reception. Their parents can go see them, but the kids are off doing something that’s more fun.
But what if you’re offended that kids aren’t invited?
Now, it may not be convenient to not bring the kids to the wedding. Perhaps a sitter cannot be found, or the wedding is out of town and you can’t justify a trip when the entirely family can’t go. Unfortunately, it happens. I've recently missed the weddings of two good friends because of a family emergency and a business trip. It sucks, but it's life. Do not be angry with the couple. It's like being angry about the date of their wedding. It is okay to be bummed that it doesn’t work out for you, though.
Why if you simply cannot comprehend that the couple doesn’t want children there? Your children are a part of you and you travel as a whole and you don’t understand how someone could not see this.
Well, there are many reasons for not inviting children.
It is completely impossible to invite only some children unless they're the children of the couple or children in the bridal party. You cannot pick and choose.
Inviting children is a very slippery slope because everyone has one relative with obnoxious children who should never, ever, ever be in public. Ever. I can say this because I have actually witnessed, on multiple occasions, children literally causing physical property damage or being extremely disruptive to a wedding, like setting something on fire, completely clearing a head table, break dancing on the dance floor during toasts, etc.
The bridal couples in all instances (and some are so specific and awful I can't list them here) were mortified. That's not what they need on their wedding day.
There are other factors. Kids can dramatically inflate a guest count. For example, the couple has to invite their cousins, Kathy and Dan, but Kathy and Dan have seven children. Seven. That's seven more mouths to feed, plus one additional table and one additional centerpiece. If you invite Kathy's siblings, Diane and Martha, and their combined four children, you have to invite Kathy's seven. Yes, technically Kathy's children are your family too, but you've never met them. You grew up with Kathy and were close then and you went to her wedding. The cost of inviting all of the children is daunting.
Some people assume (even if they are doing so wrongly) that they want to see their friends and family for a night out on the town without the kids so they can enjoy themselves and have fun and party the night away.
Some venues have restrictions on children. Now, I'm not saying your children are any thing but lovely, but other people? Their kids are bad.
Some people feel very strongly that kids should not be at formal evening weddings that go late into the night.
Some people don't want it to be about kids. It’s the difference between the people who laugh when the baby shrieks in happiness during a silent time and the people who glare. It’s not that they don’t love children in general, but there are moments when they really don’t like them.
There are some people who like their own kids, but don’t like others.
Some people realize that pre-teens and teenagers are dreadfully bored at family weddings. (They are. They hate it. They hate all of their old aunts and uncles, they’re slouched in their chairs trying to txt without being totally obvious and hoping they can sneak some booze.)
Some people feel that there are places that just aren’t for children: a university library, an operating room, exquisite French restaurants and weddings, and that in these situations children are loud, underfoot and totally out of place
Some people just make a decision that they feel is right for them and their situation.
At the end of the day it is the couple's choice. I'm endlessly amazed at the reaction of family and friends to these decisions. The lack of tact and carelessness involved is truly astounding. I've seen people show up with their kids anyway thinking that if they were there, the kids wouldn’t be refused. I've seen people issue the bride an ultimatum at the rehearsal dinner that the kids must come, have bridesmaid drop out, have a letter written to the couple explicitly stating why it will be an awful marriage if they don’t love children, and other things.
It's funny that people are so offended by not having their kids invited, by the atrocity of it, and yet, it's acceptable that they behave atrociously themselves.
Please respect the decision of the bride and groom. Simply check that you are unable to attend. Only tell them why if you are asked.