What Should I Do If My Children Aren't Named on the Wedding Invitation?

'Bride and groom with guests, smiling, portrait'
Before you bring your children to a wedding, make sure they're welcome. Marc Debnam / Getty Images

When people plan their wedding, some of the most labor-intensive tasks are making the guest list, sending the invitations, and managing the RSVPs. In the process, children of the guests may be overlooked. However, some people have limited space and resources, so they may choose to not have children at the ceremony or reception.

Questions

What Should I Do If My Children Aren't Named on the Wedding Invitation?

Is it considered bad manners to bring them, or should I ask first?

I recently received a wedding invitation from a family friend. I noticed that the envelope only mentions my husband's and my name. Will it be okay to take them along anyway? They are very well behaved.

Answer

Quite often couples are choosing to have more elaborate and therefore costly wedding ceremonies and receptions. Many families find that their children have not been invited to these events and have questions about how to handle the invite.

The outer envelope of a formal envelope will traditionally only name the parents of the family. Check the inner envelope to see if perhaps your children are named there. If they are not then you may still have a few options. This could be an oversight.

If you feel close enough and are comfortable with the bride or groom, you could check with them or their parents to see if perhaps the couple has made the decision to not invite children to the wedding.

If this is the case, you should simply make the decision to either attend or not based on your personal child care arrangements. 

You might not be comfortable asking if your children are included in the invitation. Don't make a big deal of your decision. Simply send the RSVP letting the couple know whether or not you can attend.

In general most brides put a lot of time into their guest list. If your children were not included on the invitation, it is probably best that you not take them to the wedding.

If you are invited to an out-of-town wedding, and you don't want to leave your children home for an extended period of time, let the bride or groom know your reason. They may have a babysitting option or know of someone who can watch your children during the ceremony and reception.

Children's Behavior

One of the main reasons people may not invite children to their wedding is that they don't want to be disrupted during one of the most important days of their lives. If you bring your children, you need to make sure they understand proper etiquette. If you haven't already done this, spend some time in the weeks before the event, teaching and practicing proper behavior.

Here are some basic rules on children attending weddings:

  • When you bring your children to a wedding, you are the one responsible for their behavior. Don't expect anyone in the wedding party to watch them for you.
  • Bring some simple activity that will keep your child entertained. This should be something quiet, like a coloring book, self-contained puzzle, or picture book.
  • Don't allow your children to be involved in the bridal bouquet toss or the garter toss. This is for the adults.
  • Know where your children are at all times. Chances are, there will be quite a few strangers there, and this can make the situation uncomfortable and awkward.
  • If you see that there are some children who are there, but yours weren't invited, the bride and groom may have a policy of only allowing the children in the family to attend. Also the flower girl and ring bearer will be there.
  • Bring a small snack if your child is a picky eater. You don't want your child throwing a temper tantrum because he's hungry but doesn't like what's being served.
  • If there are other families with children, offer to take turns watching the little ones so the adults can dance, have conversations, or just be able to get away for a few minutes.

 

Edited by Debby Mayne