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I'm a little bit strange when it comes to my beliefs about weddings. I believe that a wedding should be as much of an expression of your identity as a couple as it is a celebration. I also believe that weddings should generally not be places where people bring kids.
A wedding is a celebration that's best for people who understand what's going on here—and I'm sorry, most kids under five don't know what a wedding entails. When I have my wedding, it will be one where children aren't present.
I'm not the only one who wants to host a childfree wedding. As people are growing increasingly tired of having to deal with the financial burden of kids at already-pricey parties, people are starting to bow out of letting children attend.
Throwing a wedding with no kids allowed isn't always easy, but it is always doable. Here's how to make the most of your plans without losing your mind.
Make it clear on the invitations that children will not be allowed.
The hardest part of trying to host a childfree wedding is explaining to people that kids will not be allowed. This is going to cause a little bit of a blowback amongst guests, but it's crucial that you let them know ASAP.
You should have your announcement and childfree status on bolded print in your invitations. Your invitation should also explain that children, even accompanied by parents, will be barred from the venue.
It's a good idea to frame this as a favor to other parents. One good way of doing it is, "For better enjoyment of the parents, no children will be allowed at the wedding whatsoever."
You can also try, "Please respect our wishes not to have children present during the wedding. This is a childfree wedding."
Brace yourselves for a blowback and prepare to stay firm.
Most parents who find out about childfree weddings will balk, especially if they are already tight on wages. It's absolutely imperative that you and your partner stick to your guns about not having children allowed at your party.
You will need to learn how to diffuse an argument here, especially with family members who love guilt trips. For your assistance, I compiled a list of the biggest clapbacks that you can use:
- "Can't you make an exception for little Timmy?"—"I'm sorry, we already discussed this. We cannot. If we make one exception, we will have to let everyone in. I would be happy to refer you to a babysitter if you need one. If you can't make it, I understand."
- "We wouldn't do this if you had kids!"—"I understand, but I would get a babysitter for the event if you did."
- "I can mind Timmy and Sally, don't worry!"—"This venue is not appropriate for kids, and I can't afford for you to bring them."
- "I don't have time or money to hire a sitter."—"I'm sure you can save up until the wedding in order to afford one. Please do not come to wedding with your child; we won't let you in."
- "If children aren't welcome, I'm not welcome."—"I'm sorry you can't make it. I'll mark you down as a no."
- "I'm insulted."—"I'm sorry you feel that way. You don't have to attend."
If a parent keeps debating you, shut it down by telling them that they should not attend. Make it clear that it's your way or the highway. Otherwise, you will have tiny wedding crashers.
If you're particularly worried about a particular guest, approach them directly.
We all have friends or relatives who just don't take well to being childfree—or who just don't understand that they don't run the show. This is an awkward problem with wedding guests that you need to know how to solve, and quickly. Oddly enough, these are often the same people who make having a childfree wedding so difficult.
If you have guests who you feel won't listen to your childfree statement, then by all means, pull them aside and warn them against it.
Hire a "baby bouncer" to deny entry to parents who show up with kids.
The easiest way to host a childfree wedding without having parents who overstep boundaries is to hire a baby bouncer. This is a security person who will deny parents with kids access to the venue.
This ensures that drama doesn't hit the happy couple on the big day and that if drama does hit, it can be contained quickly. Additionally, explaining to parents who might want to ignore manners that bouncers will be there can help dissuade them from making a serious mistake. It might just be the most effective way to cut your guest list in half.
Consider refusing invitation to "problem parents."
If you have some potential guests who you feel will be a problem or won't listen to you, it may be better to just pare down your wedding guest list. Your wedding is supposed to be about you and your wishes—including your desire to have a wedding without kids.
Sometimes, you have to make hard decisions about your wedding guests to avoid drama. Guests who clearly have no problem overstepping bounds or making a scene probably shouldn't be invited anyway.
If you have the money to do so, offer up a babysitting service.
I'm not going to say most people have the money to rent out a kids' zone and get sitters. In fact, it'd be a really rare thing to see. However, if you want to host a childfree wedding that has no excuse for parents to drag their kids into the church, hiring sitters for them can help.
Honestly, this may be a good solution for everyone—assuming that you can somehow manage the costs.
Understand that you may have some serious blowback online, too.
There have been many, many parents who have decided to talk smack about being invited to a childfree wedding on Facebook. It's an ugly thing to do, but sadly, not everyone agrees with childfree couples.
Should you notice this and be made aware of it, I'd suggest politely pointing out that you didn't have to invite them. I'd also suggest telling them that you no longer want their presence at your wedding.
Whether or not you want to keep people who behave this way with you in your life is up to you; however, it will definitely make you rethink their role in life with you. Do you really want people who would behave so rudely around you anyway though?
Have an open bar and other amenities that clearly mark a wedding as more "adults-only."
Personally, I think a large part of the reason why my childfree wedding is going off without a hitch is because my wedding is extremely non-traditional. I already made it clear that there was going to be an open bar and exotic dancers there.
Moreover, my wedding is taking place at a music festival. So, it's not like most parents would want to have little Billy hanging out with a stripper, right next to a pile of empty bottles.
Understand that you can't please everyone.
I'm not going to lie, most people will suffer some kind of hurt feelings when they see how people react to your wedding desires. Some will even give you the silent treatment until you roll over for them, while others may say really nasty things to and about you whenever they have the opportunity.
Unfortunately, kids are one of those things that quickly create knee-jerk reactions in people. Do not let their harsh words hurt you or your spouse-to-be.
If anything, the rude behavior and complaints show that they don't necessarily care about your feelings on the most important day of your life. That alone should make you consider cutting ties.
Be unified in your decision.
Overall, choosing to host a childfree wedding is not that different from a regular wedding. The only main difference is dealing with parents who get huffy about being told to have a sitter—and truthfully, that can be a bit much at times.
To be able to succeed at having a childfree wedding, you and your spouse will both have to be unified. You can't let each other back down, and you absolutely can't let others tiptoe around one partner to get their kids on the guest list. If your guests are able to get one of you roll over behind the other's back, it may be a sign you need to call the wedding off.