Few decisions about your wedding will affect your family and guests so much as whether, and under what conditions, you invite their children.
Consider the Consequences
Should you choose not to invite children, it may prevent the parents of those children from attending. So you'll first have to decide if effectively dis-inviting those parents is something you want to do. Consider that your guests with children may not have childcare options available to them. This is especially true if they have to travel from out of town to attend. Keep in mind that the parents of children who are not invited may have to go to some trouble to arrange for the care of their children, so it would be kind to announce your intention to have a kid-free wedding as early as possible.
Is it Acceptable Not to Invite Children?Children at Weddings
If your wedding is very formal, or if it takes place in the evening, it would seem natural for children not to attend. Less formal and daytime weddings would pose a challenge in not inviting children and could be taken as an affront to the parents of those children. Similarly, if your wedding is taking place at a resort location, the location itself may not be child-friendly. If you have your heart set on a wedding type that would be best without children, you should address the invitations explicitly. They should state precisely who is invited, and it should be made clear that it is the type of ceremony you're having that makes children inadmissible – and not the children themselves.
Is it Realistic?
It depends on how big your guest list is. If you have a large family and are inviting everyone, chances are you won't be able to realistically restrict children from attending. And honestly, if you're hosting a large event, expecting children to be absent would seem strange and unnatural. If, however, you are having a small, formal, remote, or unusual wedding – it would be surprising to find children on the guest list of such an event.
There are, of course, middle-ground solutions to the question of whether to invite children. Subsequent posts will deal with that in greater detail. For now, keep in mind that the most important thing is to make your plans and announcements as early as possible to make sure your guests know what to expect and to avoid setting up any unnecessary turbulence for your ceremony.