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Kids Not Included – The Rules on Etiquette


October 3, 2019
Words by Elaine Hilbelink
Photos courtesy of Melissa Jill

Here’s the dilemma…. should we include children in our destination wedding? You may have some family members’ children you would like to be present and other children that are…shall we say, “a bit unruly?” and have the potential to interfere with your wedding. Help! What should you do?

There are several ways this situation might be approached, and it is somewhat dependent 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 your wedding with a family vacation. On the other hand, if they know the destination is a winery, parents may prefer to look upon your wedding as an opportunity for an “adults only” romantic getaway and leave the kiddos at home.

When you are sending your save-the-date card, be sure to 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.

You really can’t “pick and choose.”  If you include some children on the invitations, all children of guests must be included. The exception to this would be children participating in the wedding party.  They can be included without extending the invitation to others. Another suggestion is to set an age limit (say children aged 13 and older), but again then you need to be consistent among all families being invited.

Of course, if children come to your destination and are not invited to the ceremony and reception it is helpful to provide childcare for your guests during those events. There are many organizations that offer this service and your wedding coordinator should be able to make a recommendation or set it up for you.

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