Should Children Be Included in Your Wedding Festivities? Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

Who to include on your guest list is a conundrum for most couples these days.  The costs associated with weddings make all but the wealthiest of us have to draw a line somewhere and say, “No More”.  And then, there is the issue of offspring.  Many of those on your list could conceivably (no pun intended ) have plus 1’s, or 2’s or even 5’s!  And those little bonuses could range from newborn to 18 years of age. Where on the spectrum do you draw the line, if you draw it at all?

When I was a very young mother, I thought my child was the most amazing and incredible little person that had EVER BEEN BORN!  I was absolutely convinced that all other parents who saw him were secretly looking at their own children with new eyes and wishing they could trade up.  Everything he did, from bodily excretions to crossing his eyes was, I was sure, as captivating to others as it was to me. 

As I grew up, I realized that all parents think that way.  The entire time I thought my child was the boy of their dreams, they were thinking how envious I must be of theirs!  Like I might want to trade up!!!!  We all long for others to adore our offspring and relish opportunities to show them off.

Looking back at a career working with children that spanned more than 30 years, I can say with confidence, all kids have their adorable idiosyncrasies, no two are the same and NONE are perfect.  However, perhaps some (read: mine) are more perfect than others…

The point I’m leading up to is this:  I’m old now and wise.  I know that some events are, by nature, more child-friendly and kids can be a lot of fun and a bonus.  But, others are designed to be sophisticated and well-choreographed.  The spontaneous utterances and hijinks of the “less mature” could well shatter the ambiance and destroy the moment of those whose moment it is, the Bride and Groom.  This is an event to celebrate them in the style of their choosing.  And, presumably, they or a close family member of theirs will be footing the bill for your wonderful evening.  The average cost today of each guest at a wedding is something like $245.  Trust me, it’s unlikely a couple with a young family is going to be able to enjoy an evening with a price tag like that very often.  Being invited at all is a great honor!

I could wax on and on about how through the years our culture has evolved and changed from being a “couple-focused” to a “child-centric” society.  My parents loved me and I knew it.  But they left us with sitters at the drop of a hat to go have fun with their friends.  And, my husband and I looked forward to Fridays and Saturdays when we could have some “we” time.  But, right or wrong, society has changed so I won’t go there.

Over the next couple weeks we will explore the pros and cons of including the offspring of your friends and family in your festivities.  And, how to make your wishes known tactfully.


The author, Prudy Nelson, is the owner of Stonegate Manor, Southwest Michigan’s Premier Estate Wedding Venue, located minutes from St. Joseph, Michigan and beautiful Lake Michigan Beaches. 

Children were her business for 30+ years prior to entering the wedding industry.  She has two grown sons, three beautiful granddaughters and a grandson on the way!