Whether or not you should invite children to your wedding is always a controversial topic, but what about babies at weddings? Should they be treated differently to older children? Should exceptions be made for newborns at adult-only celebrations? What about breastfeeding mothers? Today, we’re tackling this popular wedding guest dilemma, head-on. We’ve got pretty strong opinions on the subject of babies at weddings, so let’s hop to it!
But first, a note on wedding guest lists and Covid-19:
The question of whether or not to invite a guest’s baby to your wedding becomes all the more complicated when we factor in Covid-19 restrictions, which, unfortunately don’t state whether babies are to be included in guest numbers. We stand over the advice given below, but appreciate that couples are having to make more difficult calls on guest lists than ever before, and it’s worth bearing in mind that your friends and family members with children will understand this too.
Do I Have To Invite Guests’ Babies to my Wedding?
Frankly, yes! If you’re inviting parents of young babies (under a year old), and/or mothers who are breastfeeding to your wedding, you should definitely invite their babies, too, regardless of whether you’re inviting children in general. Otherwise, you’re putting these guests in a really difficult position, in many cases, forcing them to decline the invitation to your wedding when they would really love to attend. You should make it clear to parents of young babies that their babies are welcome, and offer to facilitate them bringing their baby as best you can (see below for ideas). And, if they still decide to decline the invitation, you should be gracious about it.
It may sound like we’re showing new parents an awful lot of consideration here, but with good reason! Attending a wedding when you’ve got a young baby is complicated. There are so many factors at play, including the age of the baby, the location of the wedding, the accommodation available, whether the mother is breastfeeding, whether the mother is pumping, whether there is a suitable spot for breastfeeding and/or pumping at the venue, whether the parents have left the baby with relatives or babysitters in the past, and whether they’re able to do this for an entire day.
You also have to consider that every baby, and indeed every parent, is different. One couple might be in a position to leave their baby with a relative at six months old, and for another, this might be physically impossible. There’s little point in trying to work out what will or won’t suit your friends with babies. The only logical thing to do is to give them the option of bringing their baby, and let them decide what to do.
How Do I Let Guests Know that Babies are Invited to the Wedding?
The easiest way to get the word out about your children-and-babies policy, is to explain that you’re having an adult-only wedding on the invitation, and then get in touch with parents of young babies directly to let them know that their little ones are welcome. Parents of older children won’t be upset on the day when they see young babies in attendance – they’ve been there!
Won’t Babies Ruin the Vibe of My Wedding?
Nope! Young babies don’t do much beyond feed and sleep, so they slot in pretty seamlessly at a party. And their parents will have an escape route planned in case they cry during the ceremony or the speeches – in fact, they may already be planning on skipping these parts of the day to ensure that their little ones don’t disturb you or the other guests. If it’ll help them put your mind at ease, you can always ask parents what their plans for the day are, but make sure it’s accompanied by an offer to assist them.
How Can I Make Things Easier for Guests with Babies at Weddings?
If you’ve got guests attending your wedding with young babies in tow, there are a few extra things you can do to ensure that the day runs smoothly for them.
- Offer to arrange for them to have accommodation on site, if possible, or suggest suitable accommodation near the venue.
- Ask your venue about their baby-changing facilities and let parents know where these are located ahead of time.
- Ask your venue if they can make a private room or quiet space available where breastfeeding mothers can go to nurse or pump, and, if so, pass this information on to the parents. Just be careful how you phrase it – many mothers will really appreciate having this option, but you don’t want to imply that it’s not appropriate for them to breastfeed in public if that’s what they’d prefer!
- Let parents know that you’re really excited to have them and their baby there on the day, and grateful that they’re making the effort to attend. It’s also worth mentioning that you’ll understand if they have to pop off early or miss certain parts of the day.