How to Respond to an Adults-Only Wedding Invitation

Friends toasting at a party

Should children be invited to a wedding? As innocuous as this question sounds, it has become quite a hot button issue, sparking heated debates among couples and creating rifts between family members. It seems everybody has an opinion – and a strong one at that – when it comes to who should be on the guest list. Ultimately, it is up to the bride and groom to decide whether children are included, as it is their special day, but that doesn’t stop everyone else from expressing their views – especially when they disagree.

Traditionally, children have always participated in weddings. Not only were they in attendance along with the entire town, they played an important symbolic role in the ceremony. The appearance of flower girls and ring bearers dates all the way back to Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt, respectively, with little variation in the centuries following. It was only recently, with couples marrying later in life or having second and even third weddings and the events themselves becoming so extravagant, that the presence of kids came into question at all.

From the bride and groom’s perspective, children are an added expense and a behavior variable they might not be thrilled about or willing to embrace. Sure, kids are cute when they amble down the aisle or dance together in a clumsy embrace, but they can also be unpredictable and unruly. When you spend a year and a small fortune planning for this occasion, the last thing you want is a pint-sized wild-card upstaging you. It is neither the honored couple’s responsibility nor obligation to plan for these what-ifs the way a parent does. While not every bride and groom feels…

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