We *adore* our sweet little ones. But there’s no denying that as amazing as they are, some things, like traveling with children or going to a bar with baby, can be a bit complicated. So when you get that wedding invitation proudly announcing that kids are welcome, there are a few things to consider before you say yay to your mini-me date — other than not having to find a babysitter. Bringing the kiddos to a wedding could be majorly magical, or a very memorable mistake (for you and the bride). Before deciding whether or not to dress up your cutie in formalwear, check out these tips for making the right choice for you.

With mother on her happy day

Bring ’em along

1. It’s an all-out family fling. The bride is bringing her toddler and six-year-old (obviously), Aunt Carol’s tweens are on the invite list and three-fourths of the guests are ready for the reception with kids in tow. Some weddings are completely family-friendly. When this is the case, bringing the kids along is more than a possibility — it’s a must-do. Enjoy that adorable toddler dance floor show!

2. Schedules align awesomely. Mid-afternoon is baby’s nap time. When she wakes up, she’s ready to eat. The wedding starts at 2pm. Lucky you! The stars have aligned and baby and bride have the same schedule, making this wedding a go. On the flip side, if your toddler naps at 12:30pm, but the wedding starts at 1pm, you’d need to push her nap-time back half an hour, making for a cranky kid. When the wedding totally skews your child’s schedule, it’s time to say no to your tiny date and yes to a babysitter.


3. Remember that littles aren’t up for a late-night. If the wedding starts sometime in the late-afternoon or evening, remember that after the ceremony there’s a drive to the reception, an hour of hors d’oeuvres, then speeches, speeches and more speeches. Dinner service won’t start until it’s nearly dark out and the rest of the party will go until the wee hours. Your four-year-old may have begged, pleaded and bartered away his beloved action figure in order to stay up until midnight. But, in reality, the post-bedtime bash is likely too much for your little one. While a daytime fete may be fun for everyone, if the wedding is an under-the-stars late-night party, it’s best to leave the kids at home.

4. When the bride is a BFF, just ask for an honest answer. Your favorite person on the planet (other than your partner and child) is getting married. That’s right: Your best friend is the bride. You’re totally tight with the happy couple, and know that both of them are absolutely honest with you all of the time. This includes whether to bring your kids or not. While an acquaintance or third cousin twice removed might politely agree to your brood tagging along, your closest comrade will give you the straight scoop. Just ask!

Little Hispanic girl sound asleep on mother's shoulder

Leave the kiddos at Home

5. Your and your boo need a date night. It’s been, um, weeks… maybe months since you and your honey have had time together. That is, time to have a real grown-up conversation while possibly even wearing something that doesn’t resemble what you throw on before vacuuming the cat’s fur off of the playroom carpet. If any of that sounds familiar, you’re in need of a date night. Right now. Okay, so you can’t get out immediately. But, you can hire a sitter, leave the kids at home the night of the wedding and revive your romance as a one-night-only kidless couple at your former college roommate’s wedding.

6. Your kid is in a somewhat strange stage. When your child is going through a transition period, a fairly formal event probably isn’t on the agenda. Whether your child is potty training, phasing out naps, starting preschool or in the midst of some other change, a wedding won’t make life easier. The strange situation, the new people and the forced sitting may make your kid uncomfortable or make your night less-than-ideal.

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(Photos via Getty)