Post # 1
I’m sorry in advance for the lengthy post! I have a guest dilemma. I come from a close, but large, extended family. I have nearly 20 first cousins, ranging in age from 27 to 3. My sister and I are both getting married this year, and although neither of us was ever particularly keen on inviting small children to the formal evening weddings we are planning, the ultimate decision not to include young children was made due to space constraints at my sister’s venue. For every young child who would be invited, my sister would have been forced to exclude one of her friends. We decided to draw the line at cousins in college or older, as they will actually enjoy the party, which left the youngest seven on my mom’s side not invited. The problem is that this has created DRAH-MAH with one aunt in particular whose three kids were not invited. (The other two sets of parents are divided; one is thrilled for a weekend away from the kids; the other is more ambiguous — can’t tell if there are bad feelings.) There are a couple of issues here. First, she had assumed that her ten year old daughter would be the flower girl (ten is too old for that, right?), but neither my sister nor I are having children as attendants. Secondly, she is just plain hurt that her children will not be included, and has decided to take her hurt out on my mom (her sister). She barely spoke to any of us at my sister’s shower and raked my mom over the coals under the guise of “honesty,” stating that she can’t believe my sister and I were raised not to appreciate family, to be exclusive of family, that we don’t love her children, that she included us in her wedding, etc., etc. She can’t get beyond that cousin is a different relationship than aunt/niece; that an evening wedding is different than her luncheon reception; and that if there are no nieces/nephews of the bride/groom, then it is not that uncommon now for children not to be included. It is not a reflection on our feelings about her kids at all.
My dilemma is that this is causing such hurt for my mom at what should be a happy time. I have said that I would rather sacrifice my preference and just include the kids for my wedding, for the sake of family peace. However, my mom does not want my sister to come across as the bad guy; she thinks our guest lists need to be consistent. What do I do? Thanks!
Post # 3
I think your wedding is completely seperate than your sister’s. If your venue and budget allow for the children to come and you and FI want to include them, then do so.
I also think making the decision to exclude family memebers due to age is almost ALWAYS going to cause drama, so if that is your decision (which is absolutely your decision to make alnog with FI) then be ready to bare the consequences.
Post # 4
This is a tough situation, but I can totally see how a parent would be doubly hurt if their kids weren’t invited to either wedding. It does seem like they are being excluded. Especially since the other older cousins are being invited.
I can also see why she’d be especially upset that she included you as children in her wedding, and now you’re not including her kids.
What about providing a babysitter on site?
Post # 5
I say stick to your guns!
Your aunt is being unreasonable and the drama shall pass!
Post # 6
I think you should stick with your original plan, not to be in line with your sister because you do not have to do everything the same, but because that’s what you wanted in the first place.
I know it’s causing grief for your mother and that is definitely tough. But if you and your FI decided you didn’t want kids at the wedding (for whatever reason) than you shouldn’t let other people talk you into changing it. It is your wedding and your day. The best you can do is explain to your aunt your reasoning and explain that it isn’t a reflection of anyone’s feelings about her children. If you’ve already done that and she is still acting this way then it is her problem to get over then.
I had a smiliar situation and I told my Uncle that it was his choice to allow children to come to his wedding and to have my sister and I in his wedding back 20 YEARS AGO! This is now my wedding and I don’t think that children have any place at a night wedding where there will be drinking and adults later on after the ceremony. I told him that I adore my cousins but this was my decision and if he didn’t like it then he shouldn’t feel obligated to come. There was tension for a month or so but he eventually got over it (and I think he is still coming to my wedding).
Post # 7
I know this is tough. We’re pretty sure we won’t be having young children at the ceremony or reception either.
Unfortunately, once you make an exception for one set of kids, you open the door for others to get hurt as well.
It’s her fault for assuming her children’s involvement. My advice would be to be as delicate as possible while sticking to your rule.
Post # 8
i think you should stick to what you want. we’re doing an adult-only ceremony and reception as well. i definitely agree that once you make one exception, you’re just opening the door to everyone bringing their child. do what you want because it’s your wedding. plus it’s not like you’re just excluding HER children. it’s all children.
Post # 9
First of all, be thankful you have such a large family!! That must be fun around the holidays 🙂
Second, I totally understand teh drama, trust me. I had to get over my own adults-only wishes since all of the children are nieces/nephews, offspring of wedding party members. We have made the decision to include the kids and I am happy about it!
But I agree for space issues, they should be the 1st guests to be cut off the list. The line has to be drawn somewhere when there is limited space/budget and the most fair way to do that is make an age cutoff point. So you aren’t picking favorites, you’re just saying younger family who obviously don’t really care about your wedding in the 1st place and won’t appreciate the open bar aren’t invited.
Post # 10
I agree. Stick to your guns and stick it out, it may be a stressful time but it will be so worth it.
Post # 11
I always find myself fascinated by the adults only discussion. Personally, I was once an excluded child at a dear friend’s wedding. She had been my teenage babysitter, and the wedding reception had the dreaded words “adults only” on it… which as a young teenager seemed more like a slight that I wasn’t as important as my parents… when in the meantime… she had a bigger relationship to me than my parents. My parents went and came home and told me all about it, and our thank you note included me in the reply. I’m in my mid-thirties, and when I remember her… I remember that I wasn’t included… I understand not wanting crying babies during the ceremony or thinking that it’s too late to stay up. But I must say that some of my fondest memories of childhood are the nights that I stayed up late and danced into the night with my family at a wedding! The weddings that I got to celebrate live in my memories with beautiful brides and handsome grooms and my family together in joy and celebration! I want to have a celebration that is remembered with fondness. I do understand that sometimes the guest numbers are too limited by space or finances, but I’d like to suggest thinking long and hard about excluding someone special in your life from your special day… especially the ones who will be there for you in the hard stuff!
Post # 12
Thanks so much, everyone. There are so many good points here. Like moderndaisy said, we are so fortunate to have such a big, close family, which is really the reason why I am back to debating. I love my family, and hate hate hate to be in the middle of something causing such tension. Also, like Missbliss said, I was a kid once, and I loved being included in these big family events. I certainly don’t want the kids to feel excluded. However, a key distinction is that my mom was the oldest of her nine siblings, so when I was a kid, my aunts and uncles were all really young, many living with my (now deceased) grandparents, so I saw them all the time and was very close to them. They were my babysitters, as well as the people I hung out with at family events. By the time they had children, I was off in college, grad school, or working. I only see my young cousins once or twice a year, so I don’t really know the young kids. It is not at all about “my day” being perfect; if the people I love are there and everyone who is supposed to say “I do” does, well, that is perfect for me. It is more that this kind of formal, evening event is not really appropriate for kids, and while each of the kids individually is great, they can be kind of wild when they’re all together. But is avoiding a bunch of kids running wild at a fancy party worth upsetting the family balance? AGHH — we should have eloped! Thanks again, all.
Post # 13
STICK TO YOUR GUNS. I hope you did. Yes, it is worth upsetting the family balance. This is one day, for you and your husband. This is not a family reunion, or big party for your family. It is for YOU. I hope you stuck with it. By the time it rolls around, it will all have blown over. And if the kids ARE running around going crazy, it could really spoil things for you.
Post # 14
Wow, I’ve been struggling with the kids question, and I want to thank MissBliss for sharing. I was moved, in fact. I think you changed my mind about inviting kids. (now to find a way to afford it) i’d still like my friends with kids to be able to stay and party into the night, so maybe I just need to help with babysitting logistics (unfortunately, my venue is not a hotel so we couldn’t have the babysitter on site) so that parents have a choice about they want to do.
Post # 15
Honestly, stick to your decision. This is your wedding and I am sure that if your aunt’s children were older she would have nothing to complain about. It seems because it isn’t about not having kids at the wedding, but really not have HER kids at the wedding. It seems that others don’t have a problem about it. If anything, just help her find a babysitter if she wants, or pay for her babysitter but do not move.