Why I've Never Regretted Having A Child Free Wedding - The M Word

Why I’ve Never Regretted Having A Child Free Wedding

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Our wedding was an adult only affair, with the exception of my four nephews who were part of the bridal party.

It caused some consternation.

Although it was not explicitly written on our invitations that children were to remain at home (or some other more PC version of it,) I do know that some couples chose not to come to our wedding as their children were not invited. To be fair to those it concerned, a few contacted to see what the situation was and respected our decision on the matter.

I did run into some difficulty when a close friend informed me that she needed to take her baby to the ceremony but that he would be leaving once the church part of the day was complete. I did not really have any issue with this suggestion.

However, when other guests, (who had made childcare arrangements for the younger members of their families), heard her baby crying at the back of the church they were quite put out that it appeared there was one rule for some guests and another rule for others. With hindsight I may have suggested alternative arrangements for the baby but my desire to keep as many people content as possible won that mental debate.

Why did I opt for no children?
I am quite family orientated but did not want the fuss and hassle of young children at our wedding. For the four nephews who were in attendance I had no hesitation in inviting them, or in having them central to our bridal party. We’re very close and I knew what arrangements my sisters had made for them later in the day when the younger ones might become tired and restless.

To get to brass tacks the ‘aw’ and ‘adorable’ factor wear thin when a baby is screeching at your table or a toddler is running rings around your feet. I understand these are stereotypical and cliched difficulties that couples consider, but in reality they often occur.

So we chose not to have any other children at our wedding. I am glad we made this decision, I never regretted it and it was of no significance for the majority of our guests.

As a parent being invited to a no kids wedding it has not caused my major hassle to date. The most recent wedding my husband and I were invited to was a distance away and an adults only event; I checked with the grannies and they were free so the hubby and I made a weekend out of the celebration. I was not disappointed, cross or annoyed that the couple had decided not to invite children.

It meant we had the opportunity to unwind and totally relax at his work colleague’s big day.

I understand that some readers may not be in the lucky position of having grandparents close by and available to mind little ones. We encountered a similar scenario when we were invited to a wedding during the Christmas season. The first challenge was that my parents were both invited to the wedding, so obviously they would be unavailable to mind our son. The second difficulty was that the reception around 95km from home. And the third concern was that my husband had a family member in hospital which meant it would be difficult for his mother to look after our boy.

As the bride’s family are friends of my folks they heard of the challenge we faced (although it was never my intention for this to happen). Very kindly the bride extended an invitation to our then two-year-old.

My response? Thanks very much for offering, but it’s not necessary and it won’t be happening. I was now the guest and a parent and although in an uncertain situation about what I’d do with my toddler, I was resolute that I was not going to add him on to the guest list.

Why? Well, firstly it is the bride and groom’s day, not my day and most certainly not a toddler’s day. Even had our son initially been invited I would have had major reservations. At the time he was just shy of his third birthday and was (and still is) a very energetic bundle of fun! I didn’t want to have to tell him to be quiet in the church, worry about how many possible changes of clothes he would require or how to ensure he’d get his nap during the afternoon. Stress overload.

How could I, or my husband, relax and enjoy the day when our primary focus would be our boy and not the bride and groom or the wedding in general? We love our boy but sometimes parents just need to do weddings solo in order to genuinely relax at an event you’d otherwise be hyper sensitive about.

You might be wondering what we did next? Well as the wedding date approached we discussed alternative options. As the bride was only an acquaintance of my husband’s we decided that if needs be I’d go to the wedding by myself after all, my parents were also guests so it wouldn’t be as if I knew no one there. Ultimately my mother-in-law was available to mind thetoddler, while the hubby and I attended the local ceremony together and then my husband returned home. I continued on with my parents to the hotel reception where we all had a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing evening.

When I read an online article where a bride had an adults-only wedding and asked a guest who brought her children to leave I understood the bride’s frustration. If you’re invited to a couple’s wedding you’re clearly an important person in their life/lives of their families. This bride had explicitly stated that no children were invited to their big day but one of her guests disrespected that guideline and decided their two little ones were also attending.

Had I encountered a similar situation I would have been disappointed with the couple in question. Would I have requested that the family leave the event? Under no circumstances. Who wants the main talking point of their wedding to be that guests were evicted?! Not the wonderful couple, the hilarious speeches or the fantastic food? Sure I understand that it was in a moment of conflict the bride asked the family to leave but is it really worth it?

Róisín Burke
Róisín Burke
Married Mama of a terrifically imaginative and energetic toddler. A secondary school teacher with a love of family. I’m permanently peckish and love live music and the escapism of a great book. A believer in empathy, understanding and lifelong learning. Never underestimate the power of determination, mixed with a little stubbornness of course!