Photo by Erin Gilmore

Are you welcoming kids to your wedding? The decision of whether or not to enforce the “No Children” rule at a wedding is a hot topic. Often a couple will settle on an Adults Only affair to the “horror” of their family and friends with kids.

Personally, I think children have a place at daytime ceremonies and afternoon receptions (as long as the couple are in agreement). But I don’t feel they belong at an evening affair with drinking adults and dancing until midnight. Yet not all parents feel the same way. The only time I have a hard time enforcing the rule is when a mom is having difficulty leaving behind her little one (I’ve been there myself) and issues an ultimatum — either it’s baby comes or mom doesn’t come to the wedding at all, which is not very fair to the bride and groom. Here’s my suggestion for laying the groundwork around this sensitive issue.


Hold Your Ground

From the get-go, both bride and groom need to be on the same page with the decision to have a kid-free wedding. You must be willing to hold your ground as this decision is often met with turmoil. It will become even more stressful if either of you is forced to cave to family pressure. This creates a whole other set of problems behind the scenes, as no one wants to be deemed “the bad guy.”

Find a Babysitter

Include contact information for a reputable local babysitting service in your invitation. (Or list it on your wedding website, or even email it directly to those invited guests with kids.) This not only reinforces the no-kids rule, but also offers a little help to parents without a regular babysitter or who are visiting from out of town. DreamGroup regularly refers Nannies on Call. The company will send babysitters to private residences, to a hotel to manage children in a designated kids’ room (if that’s the plan), or directly to a couple’s hotel room if they’re visiting from out of town.

The Kids’ Room

If you didn’t set the rule from the beginning that children aren’t expected, be warned that some parents will sometimes naturally assume their children are also welcome. The rule of thumb is if your name is not on the invitation, you’re not invited to the wedding, but not everyone knows or abides by this rule. Be prepared by arranging a kids’ room equipped with a TV and movie, hire babysitters to manage and entertain any kids who show up, and provide games, toys, fun packs and snacks to keep them content. So, if parents do bring along their kids, they’ll have a place to hang out and play without being too much of a distraction.

You will never make everyone happy, but in the end, you need to do what best works for you and your situation. Just be polite and clear about your wishes. Beyond that, all you can do is handle each situation with as much grace and patience as possible.


Genève McNally, principal planner at DreamGroup Productions Inc. Wedding & Event Planners, began her career as catering manager for one of Vancouver’s most sought-after wedding venues. In 2004 she joined forces with good friend Sarah Shore to found one of Vancouver’s longest-running and most-trusted wedding planning companies, DreamGroup Productions. With her in-depth knowledge of the industry and candid communication style, Genève enjoys giving back to the industry with several ongoing blog features and through the professional wedding planning classes offered through DreamGroup’s dg Academy.