I recently got asked to give some advice in relation to this subject by Wedding Venues & Services Magazine, and thought that I wanted to share with all of you as well as this is a subject that affects a lot of my brides.
Let’s just start by saying, your wedding, your rules!
If this is what you want, then make it clear from the start and never make an exception. Exceptions can be made occasionally for flower girls or page boys, especially if they are your nephews or cousins. But if you just want them there for the ceremony and photos, it’s up to you to plan how to get them back home, or have a baby-sitter there in order to not disrupt their parents’ enjoyment of the day and evening.
In regards to small children that aren’t playing a role in your big day, just explain to any friends or family that may be trying to guilt you into making them the exception, that you want them to attend your day as carefree adults who can have a drink too many and dance the night away without worrying about their kids. A good idea is to offer a list of recommended babysitters for those who might have to travel with smaller kids to the event.
Always remember, that if you are imposing rules and that these may be tricky to abide by for some guests, offer a solution at the same time. That way you will be confronted with less resistance to the idea. If you present this well and early on, often your friends and family will be thrilled at the idea of having a night away, or even a weekend away, just as a couple!
So don’t be scared of standing up for your decision and make sure that you communicate it early on so that everyone can organise themselves accordingly.