October 25, 2019

We want a child-free wedding, help!

We didn’t allow children at our wedding. Was this a popular move? No. Did we care? A little. However, we also meant it.

I photograph around 20 weddings every year between my own and helping other people. I love children, but that means I’ve also seen all the ways they can impact a wedding from both sides. Do I ever mind if my couples have children at their weddings? Hell no. I love meeting your children, nieces, nephews and I love that you want these kiddos to be such a special and important part of your day. I absolutely love it. It’s just not for me and it wasn’t for my husband either.

How did you approach your child-free wedding?

Hi Friends! We are choosing to have an adults only wedding! We are keeping our guest list fairly small and would love for you to have a stress free wedding experience. There will be plenty of alcohol and a lengthy open dance, so bring your dancing shoes and call the sitter!

Thank you so much for understanding and we can’t wait to party with y’all!

We put it on the website and our RSVPs were very specific about who was invited. I made a Facebook post explaining our decision as well. We didn’t owe anyone an explanation, but we gave one. Also “adults only” sounds and feels more polite than “child free”.

Our invites also had a message on them. (They were electronic) I made an inside card with “reminders” on it.

We love your kiddos, but this is an adults only celebration. Grab a sitter and hit the dance floor!”

If you like this verbiage, use it. Tweak it to fit your personality if you need to!

No one will come if you don’t invite kids.

We still had more show up than actually RSVPed, but we were prepared for that and we completely understood. Some people can’t get sitters. Some people didn’t want sitters. Some people will be offended and I get it. Your children are your life and I love their presence in yours and mine, but we still wanted a kid free night.


I’m a nervous human being. Getting up and saying my vows in front of our 115 guests was difficult for me. The thought of having to extend it or have people strain to hear due to a little one throwing a fit or having their parents miss out because they’re comforting their kid wasn’t something I wanted to have happen.

I didn’t want people leaving right after the ceremony because their kid wanted a nap and couldn’t hang anymore. There was a huge chance that I would step on a kid on the dance floor. We also paid for our wedding ourselves. With 115 guests if we invited every child, our food bill would have gone up and if you’re doing plated meals? I’m sure that gets even pricier. We also had an open bar with NSFW music playing where f-bombs were dropped pretty continuously.

There were a lot of things to consider.

kid free wedding celebration

Alternative ideas:

  • Invite the kiddos for the reception and not the ceremony
  • Hire a sitter if your friend group/family members have kids and it’s in the budget. Maybe even in a room at the venue so your guests know they’re within reach and well taken care of.
  • Throw in some kid activities. I’ve seen coloring books, movie screenings, etc.
  • “No children” causing tension in your family? Try reaching out to your family to let them know they’re the exception. Make those kids flower people or ring carriers. Give them jobs so their presence makes sense and to make your day even more adorable.

Remember that it’s “your day, your way.” If you want all the kids at your wedding, do it. I’m excited to meet them. If you want no kids that’s your right, stick to your guns. We had someone who was a secret enforcer who would have politely asked our guests to leave. We had the request everywhere and weren’t going to let people cross the boundaries set. Only want family’s kids? That’s fine too.

Looking for your wedding photographer to tell you more of what to do? Check out these articles:

Should we have a first look?
5 Traditions I’m ditching for my wedding day
6 Wedding Day Tips for a Big Impact

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kind words

jenny & zach

Choosing Tay to photograph our wedding was one of the easiest and best decisions we made. Both my husband and I are awkward and uncomfortable with being the center of attention and photographed, obviously a bad position to be in on your wedding day. However, Tay made something typically uncomfortable for us into something fun and easy! The photographs are beautiful and captured a lot of special moments as well as the energy of our dance floor at our reception!!

Tay is simply the best! Her work is STUNNING, and we're so lucky to have found her. We had a blast during our engagement shoot -- Tay instantly makes you feel so comfortable, as if you've known her for years. Our family and friends loved the photos as much as we did. It was important to us that we find an experienced photographer who knows how to photograph people of color and is LGBTQ-friendly. Tay absolutely fits the bill. We're so excited to work with her again at our wedding in April. Also, brides-and-grooms-to-be: Check out her blog for some amazing tips! It has become a touchstone guiding us through this crazy process.

wes & jerome

I’m so glad I trusted Tayanna with my wedding day! She not only exceeded my expectations for what I thought our wedding photos could look like, but she had a beautiful sneak peek for me that night! The sneak peek was enough to make me sob. Then the rest of the photos came only 9 days later! I could go on forever. If you need a photographer that’s fun, energetic and on her game sooooo hard, you need Tayanna Harris. She’s killer!!!

katy & tim