I do not believe in children at weddings, neither as part of the wedding party, nor at the reception. Controversial though it may be, I think they should be left at home. (The sole exception is if they are your own children. No way around inviting them if you begat them.)
Listen, I love weddings. Admiring/judging the gown, the dancing, the open bar – all of it. And unless I am actively giving birth on your big day, you will never receive a no response card from me.
That said, I also love leaving my children behind to attend them. If I have dumped my own children on a babysitter, I definitely don’t want to hang out with anyone else’s. (I’m kidding. Sort of.) Look, I love kids and yes, a little girl and boy in a frilly dress and tuxedo are undeniably adorable. But the photo opportunity is not worth all the variables that children bring. Weddings are just too expensive to risk it.
I’m not just being a crank. I have a time-tested list of reasons created from experience. It may come in handy should your older sister ever insist you include her hellions in your big day.
Kids do not understand that they are not the center of attention. It’s not their fault. The whole point of being a small child is that you believe the world revolves around you. Most of the time that’s fine. But a wedding should focus on the bride and the groom, not the supporting players. I have attended two weddings where the kids barged in on the cutting of the cake. Boo. Which brings me to my next point …
Parents cannot be relied upon to recognize that their child’s cuteness should not overshadow the wedding couple. It’s OK. You made a human, you think it’s cute, you think everyone else likes him/her as much as you do. I’ve got bad news – they don’t. (This goes double for the videos of your dog, by the way. Stop showing me those.) Parents may not realize that their flower girl daughter jumping into your first dance is not so charming. Don’t risk it.
A lot of kids hate it. How many weddings have you been to where one of the wedding party tots either refuses to go down the aisle or just has a complete meltdown? Plenty. (I was in a wedding when I was four, completely freaked out, and made my mom walk down the aisle with me, much to her chagrin.) It’s too much pressure. And once you get to the reception, they are bored out of their skulls. Receptions are for grown ups – toasts, booze, fancy food. Children hate all of these things. So either they whine that they want to go home or they get restless and begin sprinting around the reception hall. Equally annoying.
It’s not a lot of fun for the parents of said children. I know a few parents who have sighed when a bride asks their kids to be in her wedding. Because it means the parents lose a night of freedom to trying to keep their kids in check. (It’s fine to say no, by the way. I find that saying “OK, but I can’t guarantee that they won’t swordfight down the aisle,” works quite well to discourage a well-meaning bride.)
Kids can have fun anywhere, anytime. The world is their playground. Adults only get to dance at weddings. Get off my playground, half pint. I dance wide, and I make no apologies.