Should I Bring My Baby to a Wedding?

Mother Holding Baby at Wedding
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If you've been invited to a wedding and are wondering if you should bring your baby, here are a few tips to help you make the decision.

Check the Invitation First

Before you put the cart before the horse, check the invitation. If the wedding invitation does not specifically include children on the invite, then you should understand that your baby (or child) is not invited to the wedding. Wedding etiquette maintains that only the people listed on the inside envelope of the invitation are those who are welcome to attend. 

Wedding invitations that list you, your significant other, and "family" or list your child by name mean that the bride and groom are OK with you bringing your baby to the wedding. But an invitation that simply lists you or you and a guest typically means it's an adult-only wedding. (And no, your baby does not count as a guest!) And as a precaution, many truly adult-only weddings will list that on the invitation as well. 

Is It Okay To Ask the Bride Anyway?

Some parents are often tempted to ask the bride, groom, or parents of the bride or groom if it is okay to bring baby even though she was not included in the invitation. Before you do this, please stop to consider that this will put pressure on the couple. The decision of whom they would invite was made when the invitation was written and asking for special permission for you baby/children can make things uncomfortable. The focus of the wedding should be on making the bride and groom happy, and it is considerate to respect their wishes.

However, the one exception is if you are a breastfeeding mother with a very young baby -- sometimes it's simply too hard to deal with the logistics of pumping at a wedding and it may be more acceptable to bring a nursing newborn instead of excusing yourself every two hours and schlepping a pump and cooler around with you. 

RSVP With Regrets

If you realize your baby is not invited and you are not able or not willing to attend without your baby, the couple should be understanding of your situation. When you RSVP with regrets, it might be nice to jot a note of congratulations to the happy couple and then note that regrettably, you can not attend. Do not include the reason behind your absence in your response. If you are asked personally, certainly it is acceptable, to be honest, and state that childcare is an issue. However, I wouldn't suggest making a big deal about it.

To Bring or Not To Bring Baby To a Wedding

If your baby is included in the invitation, now you have the decision to make. The first question you have to answer is if you want to bring your baby. To help you make that decision, you might want to consider:

  • How formal is the wedding?
  • What is your baby's relationship with the bride and groom? Close relatives or dear friends may truly want your baby to attend.
  • What time of day is the service and how does that align with your baby's schedule?
  • Will you enjoy the wedding if your baby is present?
  • Are you overly anxious about leaving your baby with a sitter?
  • What is your baby's temperament? A fussy baby can be distracting to you and to other guests.
  • Are you more in the mood to go and relax and focus on the bride and groom or are you looking forward to introducing your baby to friends and family you might see at the wedding?

Taking Baby to a Wedding

If you do decide to take your baby to the wedding, here are a few tips to make the occasion memorable and enjoyable.

  • Pack your diaper bag with all essentials.
  • Ask the usher to seat you on the end of an aisle so that you can slip easily if needed. To that end, you may want to request sitting towards the back as well.
  • Be sure to dress your baby with both cuteness and comfort in mind.
  • Consider making sure your baby is well-fed prior to the ceremony.
  • Bring any supplies for feeding your baby along with you that will make you both the most comfortable; for instance, you may want a shawl that could double as a nursing cover or blanket for the baby. 
  • Consider bringing along another adult to help you. If you're flying solo at the wedding or reception, it might be helpful to bring along another family member to assist. 
  • Note if you need a high chair on the RSVP.