It’s six months until my wedding day and while I have a few things still on my list to tackle, the large things are now booked and organised. Most of it (despite some of the horror stories I have heard over the years from friends and articles I have read online) has been an exciting experience. However, one thing that I found difficult was the guest list.
Because children are not invited to our wedding, including my own niece.
The Bloke and I don’t have children of our own. I have a very small family – mum, two sisters, one sister’s long-term boyfriend, a brother-in-law and a niece, who will be 10 months old on the day of the wedding. The Bloke’s family is considerably larger, but don’t have young children – the youngest are older teenagers, so it wasn’t a family issue to consider. However, my friends have lots of them.
When I initially started planning, I didn’t have many ideas on themes, preferring to spend time looking on Pinterest and in magazines for inspiration. However, one thing that I was absolutely certain of from the beginning was that this would be a child-free event, for a number of reasons:
1. The cost. My friends have about 35 children between them, ranging from newborns to 10 year-olds. Our budget is small and the cost of potentially having to pay for those extra meals would have meant that we couldn’t have afforded other things that we wanted. We would have also exceeded the maximum seating capacity and therefore would have had to un-invite childless friends to accommodate them. I also wasn’t prepared to pay extra for child-friendly entertainment, which would have been necessary as it is unfair to expect a young child to sit still for hours without anything to do.
2. I wanted to be able to spend the day without distractions. Children, quite rightly, are the priority and their needs should take precedence. I didn’t want anyone having to leave early or miss parts of the day because baby Boris needed feeding or putting down for a nap. That is why my niece is not invited – I want my sister and brother-in-law to be able to relax and enjoy the event without having to worry about anything. She will be staying with my brother-in-law’s family, she will be 10 months old and so won’t remember it anyway.
3. I’m actually really fond of some of my friend’s children in particular, but didn’t think it was fair to invite some and not others. A blanket ban across everyone was the only way to make it equal for everybody.
4. I want an adult only atmosphere. I don’t want to have to watch my language, or be aware of how much I’m drinking (I don’t like drinking when I’m around children). I want to dance on the dance floor without worrying that I’m stepping on someone’s offspring.
5. Quite frankly, young children have ruined almost every wedding I’ve ever been to. They have screamed and ran around during the ceremonies, screamed and ran around during the speeches, screamed and ran around during the meal, screamed and ran around on the dancefloor… There’s a lot of screaming and running around, because that is what children do. While some people find this adorable, I don’t. Neither do many others, and even though my niece is so cute I want to squidge her gorgeous little face when she is having a tantrum, I don’t want her (or any other kids) doing that on my wedding day. I also don’t want any little hands raiding the dessert table or knocking over the cupcakes, nor do I want any of them opening doors and setting off fire alarms, vomiting on the DJ booth or urinating in the corner of the room – all of which I have seen happen at weddings I have attended. At least if the adults do that I can send them the bill!
For my friends weddings, I have done exactly as they asked. I have travelled all over the country and spent a fortune on hotels and hen parties, bought the gifts they asked for, helped with decorations and played at their receptions with my string quartet for free, so this is what I am asking in return. I have also taken the stance that there are very few of my friends (there’s four) who are having to travel – most live in the area that we are getting married in (many within walking distance) so haven’t had to pay for hotels and we are lucky in that most have babysitters available. However, I do understand the predicament that some would have, particularly single parents without family or babysitting support and I wouldn’t be offended if anyone chose not to attend.
Thankfully, I haven’t had a single complaint from any of my friends – they have all been understanding and gracious about it and some have even openly welcomed the break.
Ultimately, each wedding is different and it is up to the bride and groom to decide on the event that they want to have. I may change my mind if I have children myself in the future, but for now I’m looking forward to walking down the aisle, marrying The Bloke and having a child-free day of fun, food and dancing the night away!
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