April 1, 2014 -- As wedding season ramps up again for the spring and summer, the excitement of newly engaged couples planning their events has breathed new life into an old debate: Should you invite children to your nuptials or not?
Not extending an invitation to Junior might offend some family members, but being all-inclusive runs the risk of a mid-ceremony or mid-reception meltdown.
While the kids/no kids decision is personal for every couple, etiquette and party experts such as Emily Post and Martha Stewart both advise alerting guests to your preferences sooner rather than later to allow for proper planning.
But if you do opt to welcome the wee ones, this much is certain: There's never been a better time for children to get gussied up in formal wear.
From silk smocked dresses ($250) and miniature tuxedo jackets at Brooks Brothers ($228) to organic cotton dresses featuring intricate cut-out floral embroidery at Stella McCartney ($350) to seersucker suiting ($128+) and vintage-hip cotton cady sheaths with jeweled necklines ($198) at J.Crew, the littlest guests on the social circuit this year may end up being the best dressed of all.
Superlative children's clothing label Marie-Chantal Children recently released its own "Wedding Edit" for younger members of the bridal party and the offerings are even more lush than usual.
Boys' suits in neutral shades of grey and taupe ($280+) feature summery piping for spunky ring bearers, while ladylike dresses for flower girls range from floaty pastel silks to shimmering jacquards with peekaboo tulle ($245).
This way even if your niece or nephew has a tantrum during the first dance, at least their ensemble will remain picture perfect.