When it came to my big day, I felt completely differently about having children at a wedding than I did in other social situations. Like Olivia Attwood, when I was engaged to my husband Tom, we hadn’t had children yet and so, selfishly I suppose, I didn’t really want other children there. We decided to be honest and tell everyone we were having a child-free wedding, making two exceptions – our nieces and nephews and my boss’s baby, who was still being breastfed. We organised a babysitter to look after the younger ones from 6pm, so they would be free to enjoy the night too.
I was nervous about excluding children, but all our friends with children completely understood and embraced the fact that they’d get a day – and night – off parenting duties. Everyone danced and drank and thoroughly enjoyed themselves until the early hours, and I have absolutely no regrets.
Now, six years on, even though I’m a mum to my two children of my own – Theo, five, and Immy, three – I still feel the same way about having children at weddings. I wouldn’t be offended if my children weren’t invited to a friend’s wedding, and I wouldn’t bring them even if they were. I want to be able to have more than one drink, to be able to chat to other friends, to enjoy the wedding breakfast and catch a few moments with the happy couple. Not to have at least 50% of my time and focus trained on my children and what they are doing or what they need. Weddings are a special occasion and the bride and groom have put a huge amount of effort (not to mention, money) into planning their special day – if they’ve been kind enough to invite me, I want to be present for all of it.
While some people think that children should not be invited to weddings, I believe it is ultimately up to the bride and groom to decide who will be attending their special day. If other people want children at their weddings, that’s great! You do you!