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Most of the guests for your wedding will be adults. However, many of them probably have kids. You have to decide early in the planning process if you should have a child-friendly or a child-free wedding.

Whichever you decide, there are specific things about your wedding that you have to set up to help families manage their situations. Here is a deeper look at the differences between child-friendly and child-free weddings and how you have to plan them differently.

The Decision is Up to You

Ultimately, deciding who to invite to your wedding is up to you and your partner, especially if you are footing the bill. Either way, you will get a lot of feedback from family members and friends about this decision. It’s wise to consider their opinions, but the wedding couple must have the final say.

Consider Your Location

Not all wedding locations are safe or ideal for children to attend. If you want a late-night party atmosphere with loud music and lots of drinks, it may not make sense for children to attend. A non-traditional wedding on a mountain top or other destination also wouldn’t be safe for children. However, many wedding venues can easily accommodate children if you want them there. Kids have attended weddings for centuries, so if you opt to have them at your wedding, it will be a family affair they’ll remember.

Be Realistic About Costs

It costs money to pay for children to go to your wedding. You may even opt to pay for on-site childcare. This is an expense you’ll have to think about. Also, remember that many parents do not have access to childcare or may be unable to afford it. They may need to make alternative arrangements or decide not to go to your wedding as a result.

Let Your Bridal Party and Guests Know Early

Let your bridal party and guests know early if you decide to have a child-free wedding. You wouldn’t want to let your friend know that she cannot bring her children to your wedding after she has already spent money on a bridesmaid dress, for instance. If you give her all of the information at the beginning, she can give you a more honest answer if she can attend. Avoid phrasing like “enjoy the night off,” as this can be offensive.

Some Guests Will Be Hurt

Some guests may be hurt if you don’t invite their kids. It may seem that you aren’t invested in their relationship or want a gift. If they had kids at their wedding, they may not understand why you wouldn’t want children at yours. To minimize this hurt, keep the policy consistent. Allow all kids or no kids. Don’t let them find out after the fact by photos on social media that some kids were allowed to attend your wedding afterward.

Don’t Be Mad if Guests With Kids RSVP “No”

If you’re having a child-free wedding, don’t be angry with guests that RSVP “no.” It’s difficult and expensive to arrange childcare. They may not want to go to an event without their kids. For guests with breastfeeding infants, they may not be able to leave them. You can’t simply stop breastfeeding for a night, or they would have to use a breast pump during your wedding. In addition, guests with kids that RSVP “yes” may not be able to attend last minute if their childcare doesn’t show up.

Contact a Wedding Venue That Can Accommodate Both Types of Weddings

It is okay to have a child-free wedding just as much as a child-friendly wedding. However, you do have to take steps to prepare differently to accommodate families with children. Making this decision early in the planning process means you have time to set up any special accommodations.

Most venues can accommodate child-free and child-friendly weddings. Work with your venue to plan your wedding accordingly. If you still can’t decide, call Windows on the Water at (732) 842-8463 for a consultation about your wedding.