It’s YOUR big day. That means it’s all about you, and of course your soon-to-be-betrothed. The date is set, and your guest list is growing, growing, growing. Mom and Dad. Check. Aunt Ethel. Check. Your boss (begrudgingly, check). Your BFF. Check. Her kids. Um, maybe? The decision whether to invite kids to your wedding isn’t always as easy as a simple yes or no. There are feelings to consider. That means both yours and your guests’. Before broods begin dominating your guest list, check out these simple strategies for making a to-invite or not to-invite decision.

Adorable girl on wedding party

1. Age Eval:. There’s a world of difference between inviting your friend’s toddler and her teen to your wedding. Even the best-behaved babies (and younger children) can have their moments. Consider whether you want to risk an all-out wail when baby’s sensitive ears meet Pachelbel’s Canon or if you’d rather nix the risk entirely. Typically, by the middle elementary years, kids are mature enough to sit through a ceremony and at least some of the reception without incident.

2. Temperament vs. Temper-Tantrum: Okay, so age isn’t always the 100% predictor of how a child may or may not act at your wedding. Some toddlers have the temperament of an angel, while some 10-year-olds can’t sit still through your “I do’s.” That said, you may not be the best judge of any given kid’s temperament. Just because your cousin’s five-year-old freaked out last Christmas and threw a kicking and screaming fit when mom said no to the 15th sprinkle cookie in a row doesn’t mean that the child is a wild animal. He may have been having a bad day, been on a gingerbread-infused sugar high or just plain off his game. Ask Mom and Dad what their overall take is on said child’s temperament before making any snap decisions.

3. Time-Tested: The ceremony is set to start at dusk. That means the reception won’t get under way until well after 9:30pm. Inviting kiddos to your event may work out if it’s an afternoon affair. But, not so much when it doesn’t start until it’s dark outside. Keep bedtime in mind when you’re deciding whether to invite your guests’ kids.

4. V.I.K.’s (Very Important Kids): Not all relationships are created equal. It’s true when it comes to your soon-to-be-spouse, and it’s true when it comes to friendships too! Some super-special friends deserve super-special treatment, and so do their kids. Inviting the HR guy who you barely know’s kids to your wedding? Maybe not. Inviting your friend since seventh grade’s kids? Maybe a good idea.

5. Preferred Preferences: Some people are “kid people,” and others just aren’t. Chances are that you have a preference when it comes to whether kids come to your wedding or not. That’s perfectly okay, if not expected. Go with your gut. If you truly want a grown-ups-only ceremony/reception, then go ahead and do it. But, if family-fun (that’s kids-included fun) sounds more like you, invite the littles along.

Are you inviting your friends’ kids to your wedding? Share with us why you are, or aren’t, on Twitter @BritandCo !

(Photos via Getty)