Whether or not allowing children at a wedding is always a difficult decision. Maybe more people will come if they are able to bring their children, however, maybe those children will not be able to behave and thus will put an upset in your reception. So, do you a put a limit on children? Or make the tough decision of "all or nothing."
No Children Allowed
Many brides in grooms today decide to nix allowing children all together. They respectfully and politely request no children at the reception. This is not a bad way to communicate your preferene of having an adult-only reception. However, we all have those family members and friends who say "well if I can't bring my children I cannot go." Which is unfortunate. However, at the end of the day, it is YOUR wedding and if you would prefer to avoid the drama and headaches of children running around everywhere that is your decision.
When you get the unevitable phone calls, however, asking why they cannot bring their children or asking for an exception, it is good to have a strong back bone to be able to stick to your guns. You can try some of these statements
-We are trying to keep the reception small.
-There will not be any other children there and would not like your child(ren) to be left out or bored.
-We are being very strict on this rule and not allowing anyone else to bring their children
-Our apologies, however, we do not want to worry about children running around.
Maybe you will allow children to your reception. There is nothing wrong with that either, but it does require some more planning. You could allow children and deal with it in one of two different ways: provide a babysitter or let everyone know that they are in charge of their own children.
Ok, this IS a viable option, however, you would need to plan a lot for it. You would have to talk to the reception venue to see if this would be a viable option. If they have a spare room that will allow for a babysitting service they may let you use that. If the reception venue does not have a room for this, you may have to speak with some people who are close to the venue and ask to set up a babysitting room there (a hotel, friends house, family member's home, etc). Extra money for this babysitter will also have to be taken into consideration when talking about the budget because it will probably cost a bit. You will also need to know a head count prior to the reception to tell the babysitter so that she can give you an exact amount of what she'll charge for the night. The babysitter's credentials will need to be knows so that parents can talk with that person about their experience, trainings, and other credentials.
Explaining Parent's Role for Children
So you've decided to allow children to come to the reception, however, you are not going to take the time or money to hire a babysitter. This would be the time to make sure it is understood by all those attending the wedding that their children are their responsibility. This can be done by word of mouth, e-mail or on a wedding website. The parents with children need to be aware if they bring their children it is their responsibility to watch them and that the happy couple is asking children not be allowed to run around the venue.
Whether you decide to allow children at your reception or ask them not to be there, there is a lot to think about. Just know you have options and regardless of what option you choose, there is always a sophisticated and polite way of getting your point across.