When can I Bring a Child to a Wedding?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

One can bring a child to a wedding under a few circumstances. The first is if the wedding invitation is directed to the entire family. Especially on the inner envelope of an invitation, there may be the names of all people invited. If the invitation includes one’s children, it is perfectly fine to include them in the celebration.

Before bringing a child to a reception, ask the hosts what the atmosphere is likely to be like.
Before bringing a child to a reception, ask the hosts what the atmosphere is likely to be like.

However, when considering whether to bring a child to a wedding, one should consider the particular child. If a child is not mature enough to sit through a wedding ceremony, or the reception will be too great a temptation to misbehave, it may be better to call a babysitter. If, on the other hand, the child is relatively mature and takes directions easily, then the child can enjoy the ceremony and learn a little bit about what a wedding is like.

Some couples may request that children not attend their ceremony.
Some couples may request that children not attend their ceremony.

Some couples specify that they wish to have no children attending the wedding. This is the preference of the couple, and one really cannot ask for an exception. If one guest brings a child, other guests may feel annoyed that their children were not invited.

The only possible exception may apply to nursing mothers, particularly if they are participating in the wedding as part of the bridal party. A breastfeeding mother, who must travel several hours to get to a wedding, may be given a pass. However, participation in the wedding may be limited if the baby begins to cry. If the wedding requires extensive travel, this request is considered even more acceptable.

The bride and groom may still elect that no children be present. If one is expected to participate in the wedding but meets with this resistance, then it is fine to refuse, as nicely as possibly, to attend. The bride and groom should graciously understand a woman in these circumstances being unable to attend or participate in their wedding.

In a newer trend, some couples now provide an alternate celebration for children. They may provide babysitting, entertainment and a kid friendly meal. This is a lovely gesture that may allow one to fully enjoy a friend or family member’s wedding, and yet still know the children are having fun.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


@irontoenail - A funeral might not be the best comparison though. In a funeral, people are grieving and maybe won't be willing to look on the brighter side of things. If you can't make allowances for kids in a wedding, which is a happy occasion, then you might have a problem.

On the other hand, it probably does depend a lot on the wedding. If you are being asked to travel for it, or if there is some other restriction, I would absolutely ask before taking my kids. Some weddings might only be catering for a very small, set number of people. But that's got more to do with wedding catering and venues than with kids per sec.


@Ana1234 - It might be more the norm to include children, but it doesn't have to happen. Wedding planning should be all about the couple and what they want to include in their big day. It might be that they don't plan on having kids themselves and hardly know anyone who does have children. If you end up being the only person with a kid at the ceremony, it's not going to be fun for you or for the child, believe me.

People like to think their children will be able to understand the gravity of situations like this, but that is not always going to be the case. I have very unhappy memories of having to take my toddler nephew out of the church during my grandfather's funeral because he simply didn't understand what was going on and that he needed to stay quiet and still. He won't remember the occasion anyway since he is too young. If he had been left with a sitter, it would have been better for everyone.


It's never occurred to me that you wouldn't want children at a wedding. Kids always seem to be such a huge part of it and it seems like they are usually included in the planning as well, with a kids table and kids options in the menus.

It seems a little bit strange not to include one of the primary reasons for marriage in the ceremony. Asking people to come and celebrate family but leave their own family behind seems a little bit hypocritical.

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