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'It's Really Offensive': The New Take On Child-Free Weddings That's Dividing Guests

Anyone who has ever planned a wedding will know it's no easy feat.

But when it comes to getting down to the nitty gritty of who makes the guest list, that's when things get really tough.

With the average cost of an Australian wedding sitting at $32,940, according to Easy Weddings' 2020 report, there's no doubt couples are also looking for ways to cut the costs associated with getting married, while still not having to compromise on the elements that are most important to them.

I'm no mathematician, but as someone who is engaged and planning a wedding, I know guests equal money, whether they are adult or child.

Weddings are getting more expensive year on year. Image: Getty

It might not sound like a lot, but by the time you rent that extra chair at your wedding ceremony or add another table at the reception which calls for one more super expensive centre piece --  not to mention the exorbitant prices of kids' meals (surely you'd expect to pay less than $60 a head for for chicken nuggets and chips?) --  it all adds up.

Aside from the extra cost, there are a multitude of other reasons why the bride and groom might not want to have kids at their wedding. They might be worried about them crying during their vows or they might not want a child running in front of their smoke machine while they're in the middle of their bridal waltz.

Whatever it may be, each couple has their own reasons and when it's their wedding day, that's fair enough.

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Yet lately, a new take on child-free weddings has been growing in popularity: Drawing a distinct line between kids of family and kids of friends, opting in some circumstance not to invite the latter.

Cropping up in online wedding forums are expectant brides making this differentiation when it comes to their guest lists.

"My fiance and I are on quite a tight budget so we are not planning to include any friends' children at our wedding and just the parents, besides our own family's children," a bride-to-be wrote, seeking help with how to word this request on her wedding invitations without it sounding 'cheap' or 'rude'.

Is it a bad idea to invite some kids but not others? Image: Getty

Many women in the same position responded, noting that they are making the same differentiation when it comes to their own invitations.

"We are doing the same. Only immediate family children will be invited and only two of them are under 10. We are making sure we have names on invites," another added.

"I also am finding it difficult to word as it does sound a bit rude. So we may just inform people if they ask. You can’t really send out a thing saying child free if there is a couple children actually coming. So hard..."

A common form of wording being used on invitations like these is:

We wish we could include all children, but unfortunately we are only able to accommodate immediate family. We hope that you will understand this decision and very much hope you will still be able to join us on our special day.

Yet parents have said when it comes to engaged couples picking and choosing which children they invite to their wedding, they find it more offensive than a blanket 'no kids' rule.

"I find it really offensive when invite says no children but then there are children there under certain circumstances. When I receive invites like this it’s an instant no from us as we have never had our child cared for by anyone else," a parent responded.

"We invited all children to ours but only a few bought them. I find kids make a wedding, in my opinion. I think it would be better to say no children at all than some in some circumstances."

Yet considering the wedding venue is the largest spend in a couple's budget and the first supplier they will book, as well as 36 percent of couples saying their wedding reception is the most important part of their day, according to the 2020 Australian Wedding Industry Report from Easy Weddings, it might not be such a big ask to leave your child at home.

Featured image: Getty