The question of whether a baby should be invited to a wedding is a very personal one and should reflect the bride and groom’s ideas.
Even in weddings where children are not invited (or only those over a certain age), brides frequently find themselves grappling with the question of whether to include newborn babies or not. This question may be posed by the wedding couple themselves while they are planning the wedding, but more often it may come from a family member or guest who is currently expecting a child.
There is no specific correct etiquette as to whether or not you should invite a newborn baby to your wedding. One way to start is to think about the other children on the guest list (if any). Obviously, in a wedding where children of all ages are represented then there would be no reason not to invite a newborn. If your wedding is to be otherwise child-free (or only children above a certain age are invited), then it boils down to whether you want to make an exception for newborns, or not. Some brides do, some don’t.
If you invite newborns:
- It will be easier for the mother to attend the wedding.
- It makes it easier on nursing during the first crucial 4-6 weeks of breastfeeding than if the mother was to get a sitter
- Hey, you’ll get to see the little newborn (briefly – you’ll be busy focusing on other things!)
... on the other hand ...
- There’s no guarantees baby won’t fuss or cry
- At the wedding, some guests may notice that their toddler-relative wasn’t invited but the newborn was (however, most mothers would understand your decision because they’ve been through the stage of caring for a newborn).
If you choose not to invite newborns:
- You won’t have to compete with the baby for attention (although as bride, all eyes will be on you anyway!)
- You won’t get baby noises at the ceremony and/or on your videography
... on the other hand ...
- realize this may mean that the mother may choose not to attend your wedding rather than leave her child with a sitter. This is especially likely to happen if she lives in a different town to the wedding venue.
What brides might not know about newborns
- They make less noise and disruption than the six-month old sitting-up baby, the nine-month old crawling-around baby or the demanding toddler.
- They don’t require a separate chair so therefore won’t affect reception seating, food, etc.
- A newborn cry is much quieter than you think it would be
- But they are very unpredictable and give little to no warning when they start fussing. If you include one, you won’t be able to have a total no-noise guarantee at the ceremony.
Words of warning….!
Regardless of which way your decision goes, you may get criticism. Sad but true. On a positive note, no-one would voice criticism to you on your wedding day! Difficulties arranging for a sitter or making travel plans when attending an adults-only wedding is not really your problem, although if this is an issue for some guests be aware it may mean they decide not to attend at all.
You shouldn’t invite one newborn but not another. Aside from the fact that this would be poor etiquette, a new mother would be absolutely crushed to find out someone else’s newborn baby was invited when hers wasn’t (more so if she found this out while attending the wedding!)
If you invite newborns, instruct your ushers ahead of time to seat mother and baby near an outer aisle during the ceremony, not too far from an exit. Not only will you heave a sigh of relief at this idea, the new mother will too!
Keep things as clear as possible using invitation etiquette. The correct etiquette in the US is that those whose names are on the invitation envelope are those who are invited. So if baby is to be invited, be sure to include baby’s name there (or Baby [Last Name] if the first name isn’t yet known). Conversely, if baby isn’t invited, the names on the envelope would be ‘Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith’, for example. However, not everyone is aware of this rule so expect to get some queries from guests.