Kids at a Wedding: Nay Nay Nay (But Sometimes Yea)

In Depth

On Tuesday, we asked you for your opinion on children attending and participating in wedding ceremonies and receptions. The results are in and holy cow, you heartless monsters hate children.

According to our poll, 51.65 percent of you (3,070 votes) fall into the Absolutely no children allowed camp. 26.15 percent of you (1,555 votes) said Yes, bring on the tykes! Both in and at the wedding. A mere 13.79 percent (820 votes) said Invite the kids, but don’t have them in the wedding. Bringing up the rear, 8.43 percent of you (501 votes) chose Other (whatever that means).

And now for your best stories and lines of reasoning for including, or not including, children in a wedding ceremony or reception.


Quick story that, I guess, shows why I love having kids at weddings and why it’s probably a bad idea. A fraternity brother’s wedding where it was very heavy on your readings and vows and in the middle of it all this kid, who at most was five years old, says very loudly “THIS IS SO FREAKING BORING” and then gets shushed by a mortified parent saying something or other I couldn’t and then follows it up with “LOVE LOVE LOVE BLAH BLAH BLAH” before being yanked out of the room.
Honestly, I almost died. Among my fraternity members at the reception that kid’s hands must have gotten bruised with all of the high fives. Just a total superstar. To this day “LOVE LOVE LOVE BLAH BLAH BLAH” remains our version of Dave Chapelle’s “Wrap it Up”.
But I can see how, if that was your wedding and you were doing the whole thing that might be less than desirable.


One of the only things I remember from my wedding and reception (other than the day was a huge mess), was one kid who ran through the screen door at the reception without opening it. I was standing at the top of my parents stairs, numb at the horror of the entire situation because it was not anything that I wanted for my wedding or reception, and I saw the whole thing happen in slow motion. Kid-meet-door-meet-floor.
No children. And if a child or two *must* be included because YOU want them to be, it is perfectly acceptable to invite them and no other children. It is YOUR day. Just keep repeating that – it is YOUR day.


I had kids at my wedding, at my own insistence, and after my experience I will never ever begrudge the bride or groom who wants a kidfree wedding
The ceremony went well. About 10 minutes into the reception, a 2 year old pulled a fire alarm. It was the kind of ear-piercing sound that made you stop what you were doing, mainly because you couldn’t hear the person next to you talk. For 15 minutes, my new husband’s father and brother-in-law (both firefighters) tried in vain to turn off the alarm. It took the fire department 20 minutes to get there, and another 10 to figure out how to shut it off (turns out they needed a key that was back at the station). So approximately 30 minutes of my 2 hour reception was spent with all the guests cowering outside and in corners, shielding their ears from the deafening alarm, while a crowd of my new relatives and then San Francisco’s bravest tried to remedy it. At last the alarm stopped, the music went back on. The asshole parents of the fire-alarm puller, instead of begging for forgiveness and slinking off guiltily, took their tot out to the fire truck to pose for pictures with the fire fighters. When my wedding planner suggested that they find me and apologize, or make a “joke” toast apologizing, the parents laughed it off and continued taking pictures on the fire truck. Then they went inside and stayed for the rest of the wedding, never once coming up to me or my husband.
That was in 2002. My marriage lasted 7 years, then we divorced. When people ask if I knew from the start that it wouldn’t work out, I can’t help but acknowledge that maybe God or whomever was indeed sending me a signal that day. A really really loud signal.


This is the sweetest kid-in-wedding thing I’ve ever seen: At my friends’ wedding (her second, his first), they included her 6-year-old in the vows. After the bride and groom exchanged rings, he got down on one knee, and asked little Courtney if she would take him as her Daddy, then gave her a ring and told her he would take her as his little girl. It was so sincere and lovely.


I’m an officiant, and my favorite scene (one that also colors my opinion of whether to involve children in weddings) was one where one of the “flower boys” (whom I had been told to lure to the altar with m and ms. I refused) got the altar, realized he hadn’t dropped his flowers yet, and proceeded to dump them on the altar. His older brother (only about 4) stepped into intervene and one of them clocked the other (I forget which one). I laughed hysterically (which interfered with singing the couple down the aisle) and the bride and groom loved it, but I would be nervous about being that unpredictable.


No kids.
No vegans.
No fedora wearers.
No snake handler preacher officiating.


I’ve been married twice and had the same requests at both weddings: No kids and no chicken dance.


Naw, son. A bitch is trying to get her drink on with her homies. Not worry about if little Ariel or Monroe is drowning in the koi pond of the fancy schmancy venue as we speak.

And the two best write-in answers:

strongly discourage it by warning of sharp objects strewn throughout the wedding
Before the main course, with EVOO and a root vegetable.

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