It has been reported that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt will not send wedding invitations to certain Hollywood pals known for rabble-rousing (think Clooney, Tarantino), because they don’t want to see heavy drinking ruin their affair. While it may be difficult to ban a close friend from your wedding for bad behavior, it’s understandable. An even more delicate issue, however, is whether or not to ask guests to leave their children home. After all, you can fault an adult for acting like a child, but you can’t fault a child for it.
Since most weddings include a young flower girl and ring bearer, it would seem ludicrous to suggest to guests who are not in the wedding party that they should hire a sitter for their kids. That said, can a bride and groom really afford to pay for several families of 4 (or more) to eat and drink all night? (Those Shirley Temples do add up after a while!) Things get even more complicated when you compare first weddings to second (or third …) weddings. A young couple, both partners marrying for the first time, is apt to know fewer people with children than an older couple, whether they’re remarrying or just waited to tie the knot for the first time. If only a few kids might be present, why ban them? Then again, if only a few kids might be present, why not ask them to stay home?
According to Wedding Window, it’s perfectly fine to let guests know that a wedding reception is for adults only by not only saying so on the invitation, but also by holding the reception in the evening, “the first signal that it is not the appropriate place for children.” Children love dancing at weddings, though, and what’s a wedding without a couple of cute little ones swimming in adorable dress-up clothes and spazzing out to LMFAO?
I do agree with the advisers at Wedding Window who say that parents are able to enjoy themselves less at a wedding reception if they have to chase kids, and parents should know that bringing kids to the party most likely means leaving early. Even when children are welcome at a wedding, it might be worth it for parents to invest in a sitter just to be able to enjoy the entire party.
If you’re hosting a wedding and you want to make everyone’s day, you could always allow kids to dine and get down on the dance floor for a bit, then provide a babysitter who can take the group to an adjacent area for napping and quiet activities. I’m sure your guests would throw you an extra $50 for the trouble. Not that you could ask.