Do You Count Babies in Wedding Guests? 5 Things to Know

Weddings are often a family- and community-wide affair. Couples invite their closest friends and relatives to witness the solemnizing of their union. However, attending a ceremony or reception is not always simple; some guests might have responsibilities, such as children or jobs.

If you want to invite people with children, you have to decide whether you will include their kids too. If so, adding babies and toddlers to the final headcount is generally the best idea.

Below are five scenarios where you might be confused about whether or not to count babies as wedding guests.   

Do You Count Babies in Wedding Guests? Scenarios and Answers

mom fixing baby girl's shoes

1. If the child can eat on their own, they must be counted.

Most children start using utensils to eat around 15 to 18 months old. However, they might not be fully capable of eating alone until they turn two years old. Furthermore, kids might need some assistance from their parents for a few more years.

With that said, ask your guests if their children can sit and eat by themselves. If they answer affirmatively, add them to your final headcount.

2. If the parent wants a highchair for their kid, they must be counted.

Most of the time, parents will want to keep their kids seated on their laps. Besides a way to bond with and provide a sense of calmness to the child, they might get too rowdy and run around the venue. This is especially true for toddlers and young children.

However, the parents might eventually get tired, or they might want to go to the dancefloor and show some moves. Providing a highchair for each kid allows the parent to rest every now and then, socialize, and enjoy the night. 

3. If the child will sit on the parent’s lap the entire time, counting them is optional.

As mentioned above, some children still prefer sitting on a parent’s lap. This position will give them comfort, as large crowds of strangers might be overwhelming. Likewise, this position allows a parent to feed their kid directly from their plate.

In this situation, you can opt not to count the child in the headcount.

4. Your venue might have a specific age threshold.

girl and boy toddlers

Some couples have shared that their venues or caterers asked them not to include toddlers below a specific age in the food headcount. For example, children below two years old might be excluded because they cannot eat the food served at the reception.

Nevertheless, it might be best to prepare separate headcounts for meals and seating. While some kids might not need solid food, they still need somewhere to sit.  

5. Some venues may not allow children.

Before asking yourself, “Do babies count as wedding guests?” make sure your venue allows guests below the age of 18. Although most venues do not have strict rules surrounding children on their premises, you may want to double-check regardless.

Many venues prohibit bringing children because they do not want to risk letting kids damage their premises and equipment. Most children are energetic and might not understand the significance of the event they are attending.

In this case, you might want to inform your guests that children are not allowed at the venue. This information will let your guests make the necessary adjustments ahead of time.

Alternatively, you can provide a babysitter or crèche service for the children of your guests and bridal party. You can rest assured that your nieces and nephews are being monitored, and their parents can make the most of the night.

Adding a babysitter or crèche service entails more planning and spending on your part, so consider your priorities, preferences, and resources.

Final Thoughts

As illustrated above, the best move is to always include young children in the headcount. Some vendors and venues might ask you to prepare two headcounts, separating the figures for food and seating.

Even if the child will sit on their parent’s lap the entire night, and they still cannot eat food on their own, the parent will appreciate the additional seating option. They can place their diaper bag, baby car seat, or their feet after a long day, on that chair.