Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ask a Planner... "Adults Only"

Hello DreamGroup,

My fiancé and I decided long ago that our wedding would be child-free and made note of this directly in the invitation.  Our wedding is coming up in a few weeks and my cousin just called to ask if she can bring her 6 month old baby to the reception as she doesn’t feel comfortable leaving the baby with a babysitter just yet.  I’m sympathetic (sort of) to her situation, but am worried about two things… 1) we didn’t want kids at our wedding!! and 2) if I let her bring him, I will receive tons of grief from the handful of ”angry mommies” that had issue with our decision from the start.  What should we do?  We don’t want to cause a scene or make people mad, but it’s our wedding and I’ve been to enough weddings in the past that were ruined by crying babies either during the ceremony, dinner, or speeches and we swore that wouldn’t happen to us! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for this!


Hello D.R.

Ah kid vs. no kid drama!!!  This comes up all the time!  In fact, I have been dealing with this very issue just this week.  Typically the scenario is similar to yours in that the couple has decided to make the wedding an Adults Only affair to the “horror” of their family and friends with kids!!  Personally, I think children have a place at daytime ceremonies and afternoon receptions (as long as the couple are in agreement), but do not feel they belong at an evening affair with drinking adults and dancing until midnight (kids should be in bed by 9:00pm shouldn't they?), but not all parents feel the same way. The only time I have a hard time enforcing the rule is when a mom is having difficulty leaving behind her little one (as I've been there myself) and has voiced an ultimatum in that it’s either baby comes or mom doesn’t come to the wedding at all, which is not very fair to the bride and groom.  Here’s what I suggest…

From the get go make sure both the bride and groom are on the same page with the decision to have a kids free wedding and willing to hold their ground as the decision is often met with turmoil of sorts and it’s only made more stressful when either the bride or groom are forced to “cave in” under family pressure creating a whole other set of problems behind the scenes as no one wants to be deemed "the bad guy”.

The other thing to do is to include contact information for a reputable local Babysitting service in the invitation (or listed on the wedding website if applicable or even emailed directly to those invited guests with kids) to reinforce the rule and offer a little help to parents who may not have yet established a regular babysitter or perhaps are visiting from out of town.  DreamGroup regularly refers Nannies on Call – -  a terrific resource!  They will send babysitters to private residences, to the hotel to manage children in a designated Kids Room (if that is the plan), or can babysit en suite in a couple’s hotel room if they are visiting from out of town.

If you did not set the rule from the beginning that children would not be expected, you need to be ready that parents invited will sometimes naturally assume their children are welcome.  The rule of thumb is if your name is not on the invitation you are not invited to the wedding, but not everyone knows or abides by this rule.  Be prepared for kids by arranging a Kids Room equipped with a TV and Movie, hire babysitters to manage and entertain the kids, provide games, toys, fun packs, and snacks to keep them content.  At least if parents do bring their kids they can have a place to hang out and play without being too much of a distraction. 

You will never make everyone happy, but in the end you need to do what you feel best works for you and your situation and just be polite and clear about your wishes.  Beyond that, all you can do is handle each situation with as much grace and patience as possible.  Best of luck!

Wedding Planner signing off!  Until next week… keep those questions coming in!  Submit your questions by emailing us at


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Genève McNally, Principal Planner, DreamGroup Productions

Genève first began her wedding career in 1999 as the Catering Manager for one of Vancouver’s most sought after wedding venues, Brock House Restaurant.  In 2004 Genève and college friend Sarah Shore ambitiously started up what is now one of Vancouver's longest running and most trusted wedding planning companies, DreamGroup Productions Inc.

These days, in addition to working with her clients in a full planning capacity, Genève focuses her attention on the sales and marketing aspects of the company and is most often the friendly voice you will chat with when first inquiring with DreamGroup.  Genève is known to inspire and excite both clients and industry associates alike with her exuberant personality and joie de vivre!  Her ability to be refreshingly candid and her in depth knowledge of the wedding industry have earned her the friendly moniker “Two-Cents McNally”.  Genève also teaches the Wedding Planning classes offered through the dg Academy and is the chief correspondent behind DreamGroup's weekly Blog feature Ask a Planner.

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