Have you been invited to a kid-free wedding? Did you go?

by singlemomseeking on January 16, 2008

wedding.jpgI’m in a tight spot and I need your help.

My best friend from childhood has just invited me to her wedding in southern California. I would love to fly down to San Diego and party with her! (My little sister, who’s single and child-free, is going for sure).

But here’s the catch: her wedding is kid-free. (Well, except for her sister’s kids and her nieces.)

As you know, I’m a single mom — and I’m disappointed. Isn’t a wedding all about family and kids? What’s the deal?

Help me out here. I’m not bringing a baby who will cry. My kid is very well-mannered. Sure, weddings cost A LOT. But we’ll share a meal.

I just wrote to my friend to tell her how happy I am for her.

I said, “I really, really want to come… I would love to be there… but I know the wedding is kid-free, except for family.”

I let her know about my dilemma — that I want to be there but I don’t feel right about leaving my daughter back home for the weekend with childcare (which is challenging to find as a solo mom for a WHOLE weekend).

She said, “I completely understand. We would have loved to invite M., too , but if she came, then so would about 20 plus other kids…Unfortunately, we do not have the means to pay for such a large event so this was a decision we had to make.”

Tell me: What YOU would do in my shoes?

– Would you leave your child at home and fly to another city for an adults-only wedding with your best friend from childhood?
– Do you even agree with kid-free weddings? Did you have a kid-free wedding?

– If you answered “yes” to that last question, if you could do it all over again today (now that you’re a parent) would your wedding still be kid-free?

Help me out here. What should I do?

– Have you left your child at home and flown to another city for an adults-only wedding?
– Do you even agree with kid-free weddings? Did you have a kid-free wedding?

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura October 1, 2015 at 11:45 am

A wedding is NOT all about family and children, just FYI. A wedding is about the couple, watching them show their love for each other. A wedding is what they want, and not what people expect them to do.


sarah September 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I have been married nine years. We chose to have kids at our wedding. My husband and I were both 23 when we got married with no kids of our own. We now have 3 children. I understand the offense taken by the parents who are invited to a no kid wedding. Yes, the bride and groom have that choice, I am not arguing that. I will, however, assert that I think it lacks etiquette to ban kids. There are not many public places that ban children. Majority of establishments leave that judgement call to the parents. So, to get an invite that specifically goes out of the way to TELL me I can not .bring my children leaves me confused and irritated.


Jamie August 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I can honestly say, I would never be offended if someone chose not to attend my wedding because of my choice to keep it child free.
That being said, I have chosen to keep my wedding child free. My wedding is something I want to cherish forever, I do not want to have to worry about children crying, or throwing tantrums. Babies and toddlers often do not do well with a mass of strangers, and are unpredictable. I will of course offer a babysitter who is trusted and very close by, so the parents can still come if they so choose, and be close by so if anything happens, they have the ease of mind of knowing their child is easily accessible to them. I love my friend’s kiddos, and they are special to me, but I also don’t want them at my wedding.


AA May 25, 2011 at 2:25 am

I believe the decision of a child-free wedding is completely up to the bride and groom (if they are paying for the wedding). Remember that the big day matters more to them than it does to you. Weddings are an expression of the couple’s love for each other and combined personality; the couple shouldn’t feel forced into expressing their friends or families’ values if they don’t share them.


It's THEIR wedding October 11, 2010 at 8:13 am

I don’t think anyone will be offended if you can’t come because of your children – that is the responsibility of having children – you will have to miss out on certain things in life.

It was put best this way: this is not a family reunion or a BBQ – it is a wedding. It is a party that 2 people are throwing for THEIR union and to celebrate their marriage.

There will be loud music and guests who will be drinking…some very heavily! What parents would want to bring their kids to such an event where the children will be bored and will be around drunk people who want to party and celebrate their friends marriage?

To think that someone does not love your children because they’re not invited to your wedding is a little absurd – in fact, I think just the opposite…they’re looking out for your children and for their safety!


nat February 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm


If you are having a Catholic wedding MASS, as opposed to just a ceremony, you can’t ban children. The Mass, regardless if it is a Sunday Mass, wedding Mass, etc is a public event. Even the homeless off the street could come if they wanted to.

As for the kid thing, I respect that people may not want kids there. But like another person said, they also need to respect then that *I* won’t be going. Not out of spite, but out of impossibility.


NoKidsatMyWedding January 5, 2010 at 11:09 am

I understand perfectly and want a kid-free wedding for my own wedding. Frankly, when the price is close to $200 per plate where kids are not discounted and you are having a full Catholic ceremony where screaming kids could ruin the videography, I think its pretty selfish to assume that you have to bring kids.

I would totally understand if an adult declined my wedding invitation because they were unable to get a babysitter or didn’t want to leave their child at home, but to say that its rude to leave the kids out is quite overboard. Shouldn’t the couple getting married be able to enjoy their special day? If they don’t want kids at their wedding respect it, don’t take it personally since it isn’t about you or your child.


soontb2 August 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Thank you, mom to two! You said it perfectly! I will be getting married next year and our venue only holds 75. We have 75 on our guest list now, but if the parents on the list all brought their children, that would add another 20 guests. SO…our options are to either cut down our guest list to make room for all the kids (which I really don’t want to do – we are only inviting close friends and family as it is), or invite all 75 and make a personal phone call to each of the 7 couples with children to find out if any or all of them even WANT to bring their kids. If we have room (based on the RSVP’s received) for those that want to bring their kids, I would love to have them. If we will not have room, I can ask them how they would feel about being provided childcare for their kids. Unfortunately, until I receive the RSVP’s back, I won’t know if we will have room for all the kids or not. My best hope is that we invite 75 guests, and we end up with no more than 75 – some with their kids (by choice) and some without (by choice). What are the odds of that happening?????????


mom to two August 11, 2009 at 10:29 am

Wow! I am just floored by the mentality of love me love my kids group. Nobody said they didn’t love your kids. Do these parents ever go out on dates without their children? Heck, I’ll bet some of them enjoy the break of just going to the market without kids on occasion. How ridiculous to suggest that hosting an adult event is discrimination on any level. It is perfectly acceptable to want to celebrate a formal affair without children under foot. The hosts are not bad people for requesting their invited guests leave their perfect little angels at home.

I am the mother of well-behaved children, but I do not take them to funerals or weddings even if they are invited. They are not old enough to fully grasp the importance of the event and they get bored. Gosh, I must me some kind of a monster! My kids will probably need years of therapy to work through the trauma of missing out on a few weddings. sheesh!


new wife30 July 9, 2009 at 7:15 pm

And our wedding is the same weekend as he’s family reunion, and I still say no kids!!! As long as we waited, I wanted this to be up close and intimate!! with kids being there-not so much, I understand at the wedding but definitely not at the reception


new wife30 July 9, 2009 at 7:11 pm

I am with Jenni, I have 3- yes count them 3 kids all girls, and we were blessed to not have to drag our kids everywhere with us. The last place I would want my kids are around a bunch of drunks doing the electric slide at 10pm!!! when there is alcohol being served I feel kids DO NOT need to be there. I am getting married-finally to my kids dad, we have a 14, 12, and 8 years old daughters. Our wedding is at 7 at night, i would have never had my kids out the late because they start getting sleepy at bedtime ie 8-9ish, so now you hava a bunch of toddlers, cranky, watching the adults tipsy, doing the electric slide? what!!! thats crazy


Chandra May 7, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Jenni, with no kids, and a Sunday school teacher – you’re crazy. Trust me, you will sing a different tune if you are blessed to have a child of your own.


Jenni March 26, 2009 at 8:27 am

Also, I remeber plenty of times goign to grandmas house while my aprents had a night out. Or even staying with a sitter for that matter. What is the big deal? DOnt you want a night or two out? If you want all the kids arounf throw a family reunion party not a wedding. There is going to be drinking and dancing at a fornmal event. If i had a child i wouldnt take them to a bar for a night out. I dont know why people get so worked up on this topis. There are lots of people on our list that have children. WE WANT EVERYONE THERE!!! If the parents choose not to come and it is becuz of the kids then they are just using that as an excuse. That would hurt my feeling bad to know that people couldnt get a sitter to come and see me on my special day!


Jenni March 26, 2009 at 8:21 am

I am having a kid free wedding in September. I lve children. I teach them every Sunday at church as well. This is my first and only wedding I am going to have. With that said here are the reasons we chose to have a kid free wedding.
The Cost. I read above, how much is it to throw out some fries and chicken nuggests at ONE kid table. WOW. I wish I coud only have one kid table. Our guest list has 440 people on it without any kids. There would be another 100 if we invited them. The facility would not hold that many. Second, i dont wawnt little kids running around and making a mess and knocking things over at the reception or the ceremony for that matter. I know you all are great parents but not everyone is!!! Your kids might be good but what about your friends who just have little trouble makers? You cant discrimnate!! It is an all or nothing choice. We are having the flower girl and ring bearer and that is it for kids for the evening. We decided the age would be 15. By that time they are old enough to know what is going on and old enough to behave themselves with out theier parents being right there instead of up at the bar. A 3 year old doesnt understand what is going on anyway. Suer they are cute but i feel there are more reasons tonot have kids than to have them.


boomerzhx55 January 20, 2008 at 11:33 pm

I can understand kid-free wedding. And I think you can request your parents to childmind


jeanie January 20, 2008 at 1:13 pm

I went to 3 child-free weddings when my daughter was young – but the only reason that I did was there were other family members there with children so we could share babysitting costs (had to travel for each of them).

When we get married later in the year, it will definitely be with children, as my daughter will be very much a part of the occasion.

Each to their own, I suppose.


Single Ma January 18, 2008 at 1:44 pm

I think it depends on how close I was to the person. My best friend from childhood? Absolutely! If I can find a sitter whenever I want to hang out with my local friends or go on a date, surely I can find a sitter to share my best friend’s special day. Even if I had to bring the sitter with me to watch my child during the ceremony/reception, we could turn it into a mini vacation for all of us.


Michelle January 17, 2008 at 9:52 pm

OK, I’m going to go on a different track here. I have a young child too. I would go sans child if the friend was a very close friend and I REALLY wanted to be there. If it was just an acquaitance (sp?)or not so close friend, I would be happy to skip it. The point is, it’s your friend’s wedding and she/he is entitled to have the wedding however they want, be it adults only in this case. It would be rather selfish of me to expect them to make exceptions otherwise. I echo what others have said though that I hope they wouldn’t get too bent out of shape if I decided to pass on attending.


avigail74 January 17, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I think whether or not a wedding is kid free is a personal choice. Everyone has different expectations for a wedding—I had kids on my wedding only because he had a kid. WE did have a room with pizza, juice and dessers—and games—that did cost extra on top of already expsnsive wedding–I chose to have a separate meal for the kids because it would have cost $35 per plate for something they wouldn’t like (jamaican jerked chicken, mahi mahi and the like).

But, I did go to a wedding all by myself last summer. I dropped my child off in Jacksonville, FL to her favorite aunt and uncle’s house–and took off to Key West for the weekend! Boy, was it wonderful for me to dance all night long with all sorts of people–and eat without any interruptions—and drink pina coladas without a worry. Heck, I even met a man there! None of this would have happened if I brought my child a long. I think it’s healthy to have good dose of adult fun once in awhile.


Legal Editor Mom January 17, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Well, depending on how many guests you’re inviting overall and the actual venue, one (or more) additional table and additional food CAN cost a lot more, particularly if the place or caterer has a limited children’s menu or offerings. As well, not many places “toss out” food. It’s usually a per person charge.

Those of you who’ve read my past comments know that you can’t get much more “loyal” to your kid than me, and again, I am in the group that would more than likely opt to take a pass.

However, my wedding, despite being to the wrong man, was truly elegant kid-free, and I’m glad we did it that way.


singlemomseeking January 17, 2008 at 11:34 am

Oh, yes, I should have clarified that my friend’s No Kids decision was based on finances. (Although between you and me, how much does it really cost to set up one additional kids’ table and toss out some chicken nuggets and fries?)

Thank you all SO much for your advice. I still have the “response card” sitting here, on my desk, without any boxes marked. “Accept?” vs. “Regret?”

The verdict is out… but all of you getting me to think for sure. Like Robert, I’m feeling kind of old and grumpy right now, too.

As Rhiannon and Jessica said, I’m also on the “love me, love my kid” track right now.


eyeswideshut May 19, 2010 at 2:25 am

I realize this is 2 years old, but I felt compelled to reply. Whether it is finances or plain — they did not want kids there, it’s THEIR wedding. Not yours. Whilst you have a right to your feelings, you seriously need to get a grip and stop being so overly sensitive.

Weddings aren’t necessarily about family – its about the couple. It’s not about your day, it’s about theirs and maybe they do not want little kids who get bored easily to be at the wedding. You should know this, kids get bored, their attention span doesn’t last long, so why are you selfishly dragging your kid out to a party that will be full of alcohol and lots of adults and will last several hours?

My mother and father had no qualms about leaving us at home if we weren’t invited “you’ll be bored” she would say and we’d agree because we found adult parties boring, being dragged out for hours on end when we’d much rather stay at home.


Jessica January 17, 2008 at 10:50 am

I hope they didn’t actually indicate on the invitation that it was “kid-free” That would be awfully rude.
If you have the means to go on your own…I say do it…we all need a break and this may just be yours..
Personally…if I received an invitation for a kid free wedding, heard from others that that was the request of the host, or I knew for a fact their would be no other kids there…I wouldn’t go.
I am of the same school of thought as Rhiannon “love me love my kid”
But my situation is different…My closest family is 3000 miles away, I don’t have anyone that I trust to watch my child for a few days.


Tami January 17, 2008 at 10:47 am

Sounds like a sticky situation. I understand both sides, the ‘kids free’, and the ‘what do I do with my child during’…I betcha your not the only one that has been invited to this wedding in the same delima.
It seems to me that their would be some local people attending the wedding that maybe had teenage kids that could possibly watch some other attenders children. Kinda like a wedding daycare deal.
Then the kids have something fun to do during, and you can enjoy the ceremony.
Best of luck to you.


Rhiannon January 17, 2008 at 8:28 am

I don’t know. I’m a kind of Love me, love my kid person. If the wedding I took my daughter to last Sept. had been no-kids, I wouldn’t have gone. And that wedding wasn’t at all far from where I live.

I guess the important point is WHY their wedding is kids free. They can’t afford the 20-plus extra guests. Parents can come without kids, but kids can’t come without parents, so I guess it makes sense.

The problem is… it feels very close to discrimination. It’s very easy to get upset and frustrated and feel like someone’s insulting your kid. I mean, if you think about it, would it be acceptable to have a Parents-free wedding?


Susan January 17, 2008 at 7:43 am

We had kid-free wedding, but I guess we took a “soft sell” approach. That is, we only addressed the invitation to the adults and didn’t explicitly say “don’t bring those kids of yours!” It wasn’t really a problem, though, because most of my extended family lived out of state and only 1 or 2 cousins even had children then. Our friends in the area left their kids at home. Like Legal Editor Mom, we wanted an “elegant” reception and didn’t want to have to worry about providing entertainment or babysitting for young children.

That said, now being a single mom I’d certainly understand if someone couldn’t attend because of no babysitting options…and I’d probably see if I could find a way to help with babysitting arrangements if need be.

It might be nice for you to have some away/adult time and for M to get to spend time with your parents or a friend who would sit. Go for it if you can!


Amy Nathan January 17, 2008 at 4:40 am

I totally understand events in general being “kid free.” Just like sometimes it’s nice to go to a restaurant without a kids menu, its nice to go to an event where there are no children. And I love kids!!!! Except for my own (who are not young)…if I’d ever marry again I know I would not want any children at the reception.


Robert R-H January 16, 2008 at 6:22 pm

I’m sort of a pill about this sort of thing, I guess. I’ve worked so hard to teach my daughter how to behave, and fought so much and so long to have her included in mainstream classes and whatnot, and I don’t think I’d really want to then turn around and then exclude her from an event that is theoretically meant for families. I’m not sure exactly how I’d explain that to her without looking like a hypocrite, or like I don’t trust her.

I don’t know. I can see the reasons for some people to opt for a kid-free wedding. But I think I’d probably pass. That’s just me, however. I’m also old and grumpy.


Leslie January 16, 2008 at 6:13 pm

I can see it as a nice getaway but no, I’ve never been invited where it’s been stated “no kids”.

I guess with going to events of friends that don’t have kids (or any in the famiy that will be there) I don’t bring mine, I feel bad having the kid sit there bored when he’d rather be playing at grandmas.

That said, I’d never have a kids free wedding, it’s a family affair so it just doesn’t seem right.


Crazy Computer Dad January 16, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Never heard of a kid free wedding. :-)

You could look at it as some YOU time.

A couple of times through the years I have left my son with his grandparents to take some time out for me, but not specifically for a wedding. Not much help am I?


Jenn January 16, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I understand why people want child-free weddings, I really do.

And in the same breath, I would hope they would understand why parents would choose not to attend….


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