Recently, a Church of England vicar made worldwide headlines for tossing a two-year-old out of a wedding. The major problem, of course, was that the noisy toddler who got the gate was the son of the bride and groom. The couple has complained to the Church of England, but the good vicar has fired a “shot heard ’round the world” in the debate over inviting children to a wedding.
Wedding planners are reporting an increasing number of “no children” weddings, estimating that as many as half of their clients are asking guests to leave the children at home. On the other side, many couples say that they are refusing to attend weddings that don’t include their children.
So, “adults only” or “no-child-left-behind”? The decision is truly one that belongs to the bride and groom, and depends solely upon their views of what their wedding should be. For some brides, the question is elementary; many of their friends have no children to bring, so a few relatives bring children of assorted sizes and the wedding goes on with kids in tow. After all, a wedding is a celebration of family and isn’t it the presence of children that creates “family”?
For other brides who marry later in life, many friends have children. The added expense of children’s meals and managing many children in a small space may detract from the solemnity of what may be the most important occasion in a couple’s shared life.
There’s no right answer here, but many brides who choose to allow children are also providing child-friendly entertainment and distractions to help children pass the time and enjoy the celebration in their own special way.