Post # 1
I know there are tons of posts on this, but this is slightly different. I thought we had agreed on only BP kids (our nieces) at the reception. But apparently my FI thinks we had not agreed on this and feels that it is an absolute necessity to allow anyone who wants to bring their kids to the reception to do so. I asked him whether we should have an age cut off, and he said we can take care of this by only addressing invites to adults but if people still want to bring their kids we should let them. I adamantly oppose this, especially b/c I feel like the only people who would do that are those that are fairly rude to begin with. But the bigger issue is that aside from our nieces I don’t want small children at the wedding. It really cahnges the atmosphere and as much as I love them, I just don’t want that for my wedding. But my FI feels that it is absolutely horrible to not allow someone to bring their kid to the reception if they want to do so.
The background here is that we are having a rather formal reception with an assigned seating, served at the table dinner. In addition to our immediate friends’ children, there will be several family friends who have small kids…so if allowed everyone to bring kids it would be a sizeable number. My Mom absolutely agrees with me. And since she’s the main point person for most of the details (the wedding is where I grew up), she also does not want the hassle of arranging high chairs etc. Our wedding is a two day affair, with the Friday night event being an Indian event. Children are definitely invited to both friday night and the ceremony, I just don’t want them at the reception. Since it is at a hotel, we’re making arrangements to have a suite with baby sitters if people want this option, and also providing a list of baby sitters we trust for people to hire individually if they’d like. Many of our friends will be from out of town so I know arranging childcare is difficult, but I feel like this is more than a reasonable accomodation.
But my FI is dead set against the idea of an adult only reception (not something we’d print on the invite, but something I think most people with kids would ask or discern from the addressing). Basically, he’s even opposed to the idea of my making these arrangements b/c he feels like its rude, exclusive, and bridezilla-y not to want kids there. But I think his idea to address invites to the adults but let people do whatever they want is by far the worst. It means people who bother to ask and generally be polite about it might end up feeling slighted if random other people show up with their kids and we bend over backward to accomodate them. And already some of my friends have asked, and since I thought we’d agreed I told them the above arrangements. I personally don’t feel like it’s terribly rude to do this. And my sister who is a mom thinks I’m already going way more out of the way than most people would to help people out who have kids. But I don’t know what to do. I really don’t want to just change the whole guest list so that whomever feels like it can bring their kids or whatever random relatives they want (he also thinks we should let it slide even if people want to bring their h/s or college age kids who aren’t invited). And I just don’t want that kind of event anyway. But, even though he’s leaving most of the wedding planning up to me, I obviously want it to reflect his values as well. I guess I should say I also feel frustrated that he’s so removed from so many of the details, but then gets really upset about certain ones he doesn’t like…so maybe that’s playing into my unwillingness to just do what he wants in this case. But I’ll throw it out to everyone else, what should we do?
Post # 3
Have you actually looked at a real number of how many children you could possibly be including if everyone brought their little ones? I would honestly go through the entire guest list (as best you can) and make a list of the number of kids who would be attending. Additionally, I don’t know what kind of food you’re serving but it might be more expensive to include children’s meals in the cost.
I’m hoping we don’t run into an issue with the way we’ve determined how to invite kids. His dad’s side of the family is huge (My future father in law is one of 11 and he’s one of the youngest, so most of his nieces and nephews have kids, and even some of those people have kids! Talk about confusing!)and we rarely see most of them. However, his father felt we should still invite all of my fiance’s first cousins. But, we’re making a strict cut off (since there is only 2 second cousins we actually know by name – out of literrally a few dozen kids) by not inviting any second cousins. We’re inviting second cousins on my side because I see all of them at every family function and they’re more like first cousins to me.
Hope that wasn’t too confusing. Anyhow, I don’t think you have any pressure to invite these children to the actual reception, especially because you’re providing sitters.
My suggestion is to show him how many extra plates you could possibly be responsible for if all the kids showed up. How would you possibly accomodate that if they are all unexpected arrivals?
Post # 4
I agree with Miss E above- not only show him how many might show up, but let him know the cost of having all of the kids (especially if they show up unexpected). Showing the cost of things was the best thing ever for my fiancee, as he really had no idea about how much things cost!
Post # 5
Yikes-tough issue. As a parent, if we were invited to your wedding and kids were not included in the reception for the reasons you stated-I would completely understand! I personally would NOT be offended. I would look forward to an evening among adults personally. Kids=chaos most of the time. I think your offer of the suite with babysitting options is a good idea and again, if we were there, we’d take full advantage of that choice. My twins are 5 and I would not, nor do I, expect them to go everywhere that we go for the simple reason that there are some places that it’s just not appropriate for children to be. For my wedding, we are having a nursery for the ceremony and children are included in the reception, but its informal and brunch. I have a friend who is getting married on the beach and having a swanky cocktail reception and flat our wrote it down on an enclosure (not the exact wording, but this is close) We love your children and hope they have a great time at the kids reception…they flat out wrote it and I thought GREAT! We will be dropping our kids off with their bathing suits for a pizza dinner and swim party on our way to the wedding.
That being said, here is a copy of my post about disposables for our reception:
I also priced a roll of white table cloth in a heavy-weight paper that I am thinking about for the kids tables which is 40 inches wide for $12.99. I’m an encore bride and have children, as well as most of our friends and both of our families have children-who are all included in the reception-rather than fight the inevitable, we decided to embrace it. We are having baskets of crayons with coloring books on the table at the reception, as well as hiring two VERY willing teenagers from our church to help keep an eye on the little ones. I know some people have strong feelings about children at their receptions, which I totally understand bc I did too the first time around and due to monetary reasons and the type of venue it was, I didn’t want children either. Since our brunch reception is being held in our church social hall (recently and very tastefully remodeled) and our life together is about kids, bday parties, church activities, soccer, gymnastics & all of these things with our kids and friends, we thought we should include them. I got some simple kids activities-sticker bags and some other things from Oriental Trading that will keep the little ones occupied during the reception.
Hope this helps whoever it was who asked me! Oh, I did price things at BJs, Cotsco, and Sams-best prices and availability without me having to drive was at a local wholesale distributor. I am also thinking about small boxes that they had that are just perfect for take home cake boxes. I found out about this place by word of mouth from our church hostess who is helping me with the logistics of our planning.
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Post # 6
I agree with having a kids’ table and kids’ area complete with babysitters adjacent to the reception site.
Have a kids’ cake, kids favors (oriental trading has great stuff and prices) and it can be very fun!
I am a mom, and a mom to a very respectful and socially responsible 10 year old. I however, would not be happy if he were not invited to a wedding. I think the kids’ room should be relegated to those 8 and younger imho. Kids about 8 can handle being dressed up and acting somewhat appropriate for a formal affair, although I can say it’s a case by case basis and can say my son at five would have been great at a formal event..
I know we’ll have kids at ours. Goes with the territory. If you want an elegant event and all the attendees to be happy, then have an adjacent room with babysitters and let it be known that (word of mouth) for weary, or kids wanting to do activities who aren’t into wedding mode, there’s a secret party room just for them! And when/if they act up, they can go visit the kids’ lounge!
Post # 7
Thanks for the thoughts all. I don’t have an exact count, but it would be in the ball park of 20-30 kids…pretty much all under 6, mostly 1-3, if we said it was okay. If we allowed even older kids (H/S and college) I don’t really have a clue, but it would be a lot! Cost is not directly an issue to my FI, since my parents are paying for the reception. So generally speaking we could simply leave it at my parents don’t want to pay for it, but that doesn’t really feel like a good solution. I don’t know how drastically it would impact costs, but I do know it would add a lot of logistical headaches to arrange children’s meals and highchairs.
I don’t actually think his issue is that he necessarily wants kids there so much as he feels it’s rude not to allow parents to let their kids sit with them if they want to. He now says that we should go ahead with babysitters and the suite, but we should also keep some high chairs on hand in case people don’t feel comfortable with our sitters (who would be very trusted people my mom has known for over 10 years…my mom would never even consider hiring someone she wouldn’t have left us with as children). I feel like it’s kind of unfair to the people who bother to make other arrangements to allow some people to insist on getting their way. I also think it’s a logistical nightmare to move highchairs around in a ballroom at the last minute. So I guess my question is that is it? He feels that it’s rude not to make accommodations for people who don’t want to use our sitters or hire their own, and I feel it’s rude to do so for just those who insist on bringing their kids. I guess it’s highly unlikely that many people will insist on this so maybe I should just let it go and see what happens…but I still feel that it would be rude to make these arrangements for even one person. But maybe that’s the better way to go…any thoughts?
Post # 8
My Gosh, how much can be expected of you? I’m not sure if I understand it correctly, but if the little ones are goingto be invited, I certainly don’t see how the older high schoolers can be excluded. That would definitely be a first for me.
I do think it’s sweet that your FI is really concerned for the comfort of your guests. But you are being more than generous by offering babysitting, and listing other possible sitters. You are right not be wishy washy with, having "on hand", "just in case" kind of stuff. If the kids are that put out by the sitters, or have some other sepcial needs, I think the parents will be prepared or have to be willing to leave the party. Or the OOT might otherwise travel without the kids, or just decline the invitation. I’m a parent, and is what I’d do.
I think the best you can do is hire a babysitter and make the kids’ room the gosh darned best "unbirthday" party they’ve ever seen. That way the kids will have a good time, and not want to leave the party room. I would have no problem getting an invitation without my kids. In fact, if they were invited, I’d consider not taking them anyway, becaue I’d like a nice evening out with my husband.
And in figuring how many extra kids would be invited, is this someting your FI is askng your parents’ to pay for? I might have missed who’s footing the bill. But I don’t think he should insist on something that someone else has to pay for.
Post # 9
I think you have gone above and beyond to provide for childcare services for your reception. I understand where your fiance is coming from, but I don’t know why he is so worried about it when your parents are footing the bill. Like another poster mentioned, parents might actually feel realieved to have a relaxing dinner without their kids- after hauling their kids to the other activities the kids are already welcome to!
I think your fiance is just feeling like he needs to watch out for your guests feelings. But I think one of your guests (who you are good friends with, that might know your fiance too) to talk to you fiance about how it will be a nice break to have a ‘grown up dinner’. Just as a way to give your fiance permission to not feel obligated to have the kids at the formal function. So find one of your guests to talk to your fiance about it. Maybe that will give him a sense of reassurance- it’s ok not to have the kids around for everything.
Post # 10
I know I like to use weddings as an excuse to get dressed up and have date night. I wouldn’t expect my small children to be invited to an evening wedding and the fact that you are offering childcare is extremely generous.
Post # 11
Thanks everyone for your supportive opinions. I was really starting to think maybe I was being rude to my guests. fizicsGuy and I have talked, and he’s now mostly onboard with the plan. I think part of him still feels like someone might be bothered by this, but hopefully he’ll come around. Maybe I’ll ask my FSIL to talk to him. It was before we started dating, but she had a pretty formal wedding so I’m guessing they did not have kids there. Part of his thing, though, is that even though everyone else does it, doesn’t mean we should. I really love that he’s so thoughtful, but I also think he has never really planned an event like this (not that I have tons of experience, just more than him) so it’s hard for him to see the consequences of what might seem like a minor accommodation.
Post # 12
My husband and I had a similar disagreement- I wanted only the children that were in the bridal party to be at the reception, and he thought we should allow all children. All children would have meant 10-20 more people- and our venue was only so big my parents farm)- plus with alcohol flowing freely all night I had a feeling most parents would lose track of their kids and my parents own large animals/farm equipment.
We discussed it for hours- I put my foot down. There is no easy answer to this- like other posters have said, you have gone above and beyond to provide child care service (which I think is BEYOND gracious for couple’s to do. I myself don’t understand why it’s so hard for guests to find sitter’s when given 2-3 months notice).
Have you tried writing him an email? Explain the situation (again) and why you feel the way you do. It’s sometimes easier than going round and round verbally.
Post # 13
I’m a mom of a 7 year old girl and an 8 year old boy – If I was invited to a family wedding and they weren’t I would understand. BUT I know that not everyone knows the unwritten laws about bringing kids. If you have have to pick your battles and this isn’t one you’re willing to fight over – bring in a few game systems (borrow, rent), have some dollar store kid activities and hire a babysitter. The parents will thank you and you won’t have to worry about them being unsupervised.
Post # 14
There’s no easy answer to this issue, I think. I definitely don’t think you’re being rude or Bridezilla-y for doing this. I think you’re right that you might be in trouble for making accomodations for some families, but then having other families be excluded from the event.
I know we’re not inviting children and I was totally worried about a friend I know who deliberately ignores all ettitquette rules. Even if I didn’t include her children on the invitation, I knew she’d RSVP for everyone. Like you, I was worried that the other people who followed the invitations would be offended if they got to the wedding and realized that the other kids were there because their mom went around me. Anyway, I had a somewhat difficult conversation with my friend about the situation. Although she wasn’t happy about it, she seemed to understand.
I’m glad it sounds like you and your fiance have come to an understanding. Like you said, it’s possible that he just hasn’t thought about the consequences of the decision if you did change your mind.