Post # 1
What a supportive group this is! I’m hoping you can help me with an awkward situation. My fiance and I live out West, and we’re getting married in my hometown of Nashville on my parents’ farm. I would have loved to, but we didn’t have space to invite children (beyond the flower girls and ring bearers) and the wedding is by a dark pond that would be disastrous if a little one wandered off in the dark. We just invited "Mr. and Mrs."—not "family"—but now two couples have sent back the RSVP card saying they would attend with their children. Any suggestions for how to handle delicately? They are flying in from far away, and none of the other wedding events—a downtown party Friday night and a brunch Saturday—are kid-friendly either. I think they’re much more used to the come one, come all western casualness (which we love) than the southern etiquette (which, though it’s a country wedding, is the case here.) We are going to recommend a babysitting service and suggest they go in together, but wow, I just feel like we may be getting into an awkward situation: thanks for flying all this way, but sorry… (I’ve also asked my parents, and the "no kids’ is firm, because of the pond and also because we’ve already told our extended family from out of town not to bring theirs…)
Thank you sweetbees for your wisdom!
Post # 3
MissMarigold. I think you’re on the right track–the most important thing to do is not make exceptions if there are other families who have been told not to bring their kids. If I were you, I’d use the pond as a scapegoat. "I’m so delighted that you and [other adult] are coming out for the wedding! Unfortunately, my parent’s farm has a large lake and when we talked to them about the wedding, everyone agreed that the lake is too big of a hazard (and far too attractive) for kids at the wedding. [The other couple] are also planning on bringing their kids. I would be delighted to get you in touch with them and recommend some great babysitters."
Just be firm, kind, and understand if they decide not to travel across the country to leave their kids with the babysitter.
I hope they take it well. Good luck!
Post # 4
If this is within your budget, maybe you could arrange for a few babysitters to accomodate the children in a nearby hotel room suite / ?
Otherwise, I think you can be honest and tell them "We would be excited to see your children but unfortunately, the pond at our venue is dangerous for young children so we are not having any children at the wedding. We understand that this is a huge inconvenience and we are very sorry, I won’t even be able to have my own nieces and nephews and young cousins attend, aside from the flower girl and ring bearer. I hope you understand."
Post # 5
I also think that if you can swing to pay for a babysitter, it would be incredibly sweet. It might also come across to them that you really care. Providing a list of babysitters is probably enough of an effort on your part. But they still have to arrange for this, which is another step for them.
I think also since the wedding is at your parents’ farm, they would be nervous about the liability. The farm wasn’t established with public safty in mind. I don’t think for your parents sake there would even be the option of bending the rules for little ones.
Post # 6
WOW that is the situation. I would call them yourself and explain the situation, they have to understand and if not I suppose they will have to decline on coming. Offer the babysitting service to them and see how that works for them. I agree with Tanya that would probably be your best option. Good luck I am sure they will understand.
Post # 7
Call them and explain the situation. I have made several phone calls to people who RSVP-ed and included kids. Most people are embarrassed that they didnt realize it is an adult reception. I have not had any issues yet. Plus you are giving them recs for babysitting…I probably would not offer to pay though unless I had extra in the budget.
Post # 8
Hello, I was out of town, and have returned to find all of your good advice! That’s just what we’ve done—found them some babysitters, showered love upon them, and told them we can’t wait to see them and hope they can still make it. 🙂 Thanks bees!