Etiquette for Bringing a Baby to a Wedding Reception

baby image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

Preparing to attend a wedding may fill you with questions—what to bring, how to dress and where to stay. Having a baby only makes matters more complicated for you, as you will need to determine whether or not your child should attend the event at all. Looking for the right clues and prioritizing your values, however, can make this decision much easier.

Reading the Signs

In some cases, the bride and groom may request or imply that children are unwelcome at the wedding and/or reception. This is not a rude request—young children often find weddings boring, and they act disruptively. It is rude, however, to specifically write on the invitation that children are not invited, so it is up to the guest to understand the clues.

The most obvious sign is an invitation that says “Adult Reception.” This indicates the event is for older, more mature attendees. Alternatively, the bride and groom may send invitations for specific people—for example, “Mr. and Mrs. Petersen” instead of “Petersen Family.” You may infer from this that only those people specifically named are invited.

Asking Someone

Any guest unsure of whether or not her child is welcome may ask a member of the bridal party or the bride or groom's family. The bride or groom may be inclined to be gracious when asked, and they may say that your child is welcome, but their friends and family will not hesitate to give you the right advice.

Being Attentive

If a parent is determined to take her child to the wedding and reception, she must assume the responsibility that comes with the decision. Babies require a significant amount of attention and may put a damper on your good time—and everyone else's. A guest with a crying child, for example, should take her outside so that she does not disrupt the festivities. She must stay with her child at all times, also, to ensure that she does not cause any trouble.

Leaving Her in Good Hands

A parent may find that the best etiquette is simply to leave her child at home with a babysitter, even if the baby is welcome at the wedding. The stress that comes with attending to a child can easily ruin a parent's good time, and if the parent is inattentive, it can have disastrous results. Alternatively, it may be proper etiquette to bring a caregiver to the reception—be sure to work out the details with the bride or groom in advance, however.

When to Leave

Leaving early is good etiquette for a guest who brings a baby to the reception. With sporadic sleeping and feeding schedules, this is a good way to prevent problems before they arise—it also allows the guest to put in an appearance for the sake of the bride and groom's special day.