“No KIDS allowed!”

Hubby and I were recently invited to a wedding and the invitation clearly stated that no children were allowed.

I must admit that upon first finding out that I would have to leave my girls at home on the day and have to find a babysitter, I was a bit annoyed.  I’ve never been to a wedding where children were not allowed and since the wedding started at 3pm, I didn’t think it was necessary to exclude children.

My experience of weddings growing up in an Indian community are joyous occasions with a plethora of friends, relatives, neighbours and their extended families turning up to enjoy the day together. ‘Wedding breyani’ cooked in huge pots over outdoor wood fires were in abundance and children ran around uninhibited shrieking and playing as their mothers, aunts and grannies exchanged the latest family gossip.

Since granny and grandad who help babysit were also attending the wedding and we don’t have any other close relatives who live nearby, we had to ask our little one’s nanny, a mother of four, to stay over that day.

A few days before the wedding, our nanny informed us that she may not be able to babysit since her brother was undergoing surgery and she wanted to travel to see him that weekend. We planned on either not going to the wedding or just one of us attending as a courtesy but the more I thought about it the more frustrated I got thinking of the impracticality of not allowing children to family functions. Even more annoying was that there were other children at the wedding!

Admittedly, we had our very first grown-up aka child-free party this year for my birthday where we politely told guests that it was an adult only party that would go on late into the night. My lovely MIL took the girls to Witbank for the weekend and other parents who had handed over parenting duties to a babysitter that night confessed that it was a wonderful and rare opportunity for them to have a night to themselves to just let down their hair.

All turned out well with the wedding when our very amazing nanny insisted that she would postpone her trip to see her brother (who was recovering well after his op) and look after the girls. However, I know that other mums have strong views on this issue… someone said to me recently, “If my kids are not welcome, then I’m not welcome so I just don’t bother going.”

I think that it does depend on the type of event and the time of the event. Weddings are often shrouded in very delicate family politics and to not attend a wedding might often be viewed as a slight on the families involved. So what would you/do you do when you get a “No kids allowed” invite?

This article was originally written for Jozikids by Sholain Govender- Bateman in 2013.

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Sholain Govender-Bateman

Sholain Govender-Bateman

Sholain Govender-Bateman – New Media journalism lecturer and editor who worked for newspapers & edited magazines. She is mum to two gorgeous girls, Isobel and Aishwari, wife to Barry Bateman. Visit her on Twitter @sholain

24 Responses

  1. Weddings cost money. To pay R250 for a 6 year old child who is going to run around and spill red juice on the white table clothes? NO! Kids are not supposed to be at adult events/functions. Kids should be ASLEEP by 8pm. Every night.

  2. EEEEEyyyy if you don't want my child please don't expect to see me there, this is where dreams of becoming a bride start as a young girl; how on earth is my little one going to familiarize her self with weddings if she is not going to attend weddings………

    1. Your little girl should be in bed by 8pm or earlier. Your little girl should only learn about weddings and other social events when she is old enough to be a proper guest. I have 2 kids and they Do NOT attend adult events.

  3. This is such a seriously stupid question! Respect the wishes of the couple. U have a choice: stay at home with ur kids or go without them. This is common in indian families where ppl sulk for days cos their kids are not invited. Happened at my wedding! Really didnt give a toss cos it was MY wedding!

  4. I went to a wedding a few years ago..where they didn't say NO KIDS, so I took my 2 kids, got on a flight to Cape Town and wished I left them home with their granny. The venue was no place for kids and I did not get to enjoy myself the entire evening. I've learned that there are normally reasons for the "NO KIDS" and mommy and daddy is also allowed some fun time every now and then ; ).

  5. I agree, it is the choice of the host, I defn would not ask anyone to change their plans…but not every family has a trustworthy babysitter who they can arrange to stay over when all the potential babysitters are at tht very wedding. It was a perfect opportunity for a child-free day out and we really enjoyed it, once we knew our children's nanny was available. 🙂

  6. We all have moments as parents where we cannot take kids along. For those of us working every day, it's aftercare or nannies or grannies or whoever can help us. Weddings, private functions, meetings etc, if no kids are allowed then we just make a plan. And it is a wonderful opportunity for a parent to have a bit of grown-up time and breathing space.

  7. I think it all depends on the occassion. I attended my brother and sister-in-laws wedding which was in Cape Town. I was living in Jhb. And it was a non children event. How do you get arond that one? Do I leave my child at home in another city. Or do I not attend my brother's wedding….?

  8. I see nothing wrong with that, as the kids also go to all the tables knock off decor items parents don't say a thing and run around tables and on the dace floor… its the bride and groom day so when I get married one day it will also be no kids ALLOWED, SORRY IF GUEST GET OFFENDED…..BOOK A BABY SITTER IN ADVANCE…..DEAR GUEST….

  9. "No kids allowed" would be a welcome time-out if I could get a baby-sitter. I would have to respect the wishes of the Bridal couple request, after all it is their day which I am invited to witness not let my explorative toddler draw the attention with his antics especially if it is a formal 'do'. However the invitee must be mindful that without baby-sitters I am unable to attend unless babysitters are provided.

  10. I have no problem with a wedding invitation stating no children allowed and I think it is quite rude of guests to make an issue of it or "be funny" about it. It is after all just a few hours and it is the one day in the lives of the bride and the groom where they can have whatever they want. Children have the ability to demand to be the centre of attention (as we all know). I have been at a wedding where a toddler screamed all the way as the bride walked down the while. If that had been my wedding I would have called a halt on the proceedings and possibly cancelled the whole wedding (the mother refused to get up and go outside!)

  11. I have no problem with "No Kids Allowed"….ESPECIALLY when it is a catered event like a wedding. Our parents were not in a position to help us pay for our wedding so we paid for the whole thing ourselves and we found the catering to be one of the most expensive parts which limited our guest list as it is, so having to pay for all the kids as well just got a bit much.

    1. I agree. It is so expensive and kids hardly eat anything. I didn't have kids at my wedding either – only those who were especially invited

  12. I'm not offended that some people don't want kids at their wedding. For me, it really boils down to how important the people are to me. If it's a close friend, it will be worth it for me to arrange a babysitter. Less close, and I'll politely decline and save my babysat days for when it really matters to me.

  13. Wedding is planned long in advance so there shouldn't be a problem getting someone to look after them. And it's not the guest's wedding and should someone refuse to go because children are not allowed I doubt the wedding will be cancelled 🙂

  14. It's not often that we are invited to functions or events where children are not allowed but when it does happen, and if I know about it early enough, I don't mind arranging a babysitter for the evening. We have 4 children and it's not often that we get to go out and enjoy ourselves in adult company.

  15. I am a widow with an 8 year old son and no extended family. I fully respect friends applying "no children" invitations where they wish to for any function, but I do decline these invites – not that I feel unwelcome personally, I just don't have any other option.

  16. No problem with no kids allowed. I am the guest, and I respect the wishes of my host. If, like your friend, it is taken as an insult, then you are being way to sensitive, lighten up.

  17. I also had an incident like that with my husbands cousin last year decemmber! Bt I confronted her about her selfishness that her kids will be there and they are same age as mine, toddlers, and hw ca she be blessed in her marriage when she clearly states that? Marriege without children will not be blessed. Children are angels fromm god.

  18. We were at a "no kids allowed"wedding this wkd and it was wonderful I didnt have to worry about my 3 year old every 5 seconds and hubby and I let our hair down and had a wonderful evening.

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