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Kids Not Included - The Rules on Etiquette

Words by Elaine Hilbelink
Photos courtesy of Melissa Jill

 

Q: Shall I include children in my destination wedding? I have some family members' children I would like to be present, and other children that are out of control and would interfere with my wedding. What should I do?

A: There are several ways this situation might be approached, and it is somewhat dependant upon the locale of your destination. If your destination is a family friendly location (e.g. an island resort or theme park area), parents are more likely to want their children included and combine it with a family vacation. On the other hand, if the destination is a winery, parents may prefer to look upon your wedding as an opportunity for a romantic get-away.

Good manners require that if you include some children on the invitations, all children of guests must be included. You can hope that the parents of rude and obnoxious children would like a break!  But would they know? The exception to this would be children participating in the wedding party.  They could be included without extending the invitation to others.

When you are sending your save the date card, you might alert parents to the amenities of your venue and whether it is a child-friendly location. Leave the destination up to them, but be clear from the onset in your communication about whether children are to be included in the main events. If children are invited guests, their names should be listed on the inside envelope of the invitation.

Of course if children come to your destination and are not invited to the ceremony and reception you should provide childcare for your guests during those events. There are many organizations that offer this service. You might want to ask your on-site wedding coordinator if he/she can set it up if need be.

Guidelines for Inviting Children to Your Wedding:

When you send a "save the date" card, alert parents to the amenities of your venue and whether it is a "child-friendly" location.  Leave the decision up to them, but be clear from the onset in your communication about whether children are to be include in the main events.

Be consistent.  If you include the children of one relative or friend, the children of all should be invited; you can't pick and choose.  You might want to set an age limit (say children age 13 and older), but then you need to be consistent among all families being invited.  The exception would be the children in the wedding party.  They may be included without extending invitations to any other children.

If you will be having children traveling to your destination and they are not included in the ceremony and reception, you should provide child-care options for your guests during these events.

If children are invited guests, their names should be listed on the inner envelope of the invitations.

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