(Closed) Family angry about no children at reception

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 152
4371 posts
Honey bee

People don’t go to weddings for a large variety of reasons– it costs too much to travel, they can’t take the day off work, they dislike someone else who is also invited, they don’t have the appropriate attire… Yet, we would not be telling brides they should make their weddings at another destination, on another date, to disinvite certain guests, and to change the dress code for a certain few people. Why is is so different for children.

If you can’t afford to go, don’t go.

If you don’t have the time off, don’t go.

If you have serious problems with other invited guests, don’t go.

If you are offended that your little darlings aren’t invited, or can’t afford a babysitter to leave them, don’t go. 

But it’s not a guest’s place to tell the host how to throw their party.


Post # 153
186 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

As others have mentioned, it’s more of a family tradition/cultural divide.  Some people are raised that weddings celebrate additions to the family, and are therefore a family affair.  Those that would be invited to Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner, or a 50th wedding anniversary party for the patriarch/matriarch would be invited to the wedding.  This explains why parents would be so hurt if their child wasn’t invited.  Would you leave that child home from Christmas dinner?  

For others weddings are more like special gala birthdays.  The are asking people to celebrate not their union, but their day.  So their invitation list looks more like the special people that would be invited to a formal 40th birthday party. This explains why the justification for adult only weddings tend to be along the “It’s your day, invite who you please” vein.

The real disconnect comes when the two combine.  A bride who has been dreaming of this special day for most of her life runs smack dab into a groom who has been knocking over cakes at weddings since he was 2.  

Post # 154
2319 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

My niece is 3 and when I told my sister that she could bring her, she said to me.. “Do you really want her there? She’s kind of a terror, I’m not sure how she would behave…”  It’s still up in the air but I just want my sister to have a nice time, so I will leave it up to her….

Post # 155
964 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

OMG!!! Did your Mother-In-Law learn how to dougie cause I still can’t..lol  

I guess you have to know your guest and their kids. I have a coworker whose kids are so rude and she doesn’t allow anyone to correct them.  She will try to fight you for telling her kids to stop or not to do something.  I can see her kid running around and bumping into servers and them telling them to sit down andher going off.  I have another friend whose daughter will scream to the top of her lungs if she doesn’t get her way and she just lets her scream at the mall at restaurants in stores.  That lil girl will scream until she is tired.  

Knowing what I know I prefer to say adults-only except for the kids in the bridal party which will be leaving probably an hour into the reception. 

Post # 156
1545 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I just mailed my out today that said Adult Only Wedding and I put we have reserved 2 (or how ever many) seats in your honor. I am ready to take out the people that have  problem!!!

Post # 157
685 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I think it has to do with how much you want your guests to be there. If you are looking for a few NO(s) then excluding children will reduce the number of guests. However, if you absolutely want your guests to be there, you will have to accomodate them. 

Fiance and I don’t like kids, but we are allowing parents to bring their kids if they want. Since all guests have to travel for our wedding, we want to accomodate them as much as possible because they take the time and money to come to our wedding (guests are flying in or drive at least 6 hours). Fortunately, most of our guests don’t have the littling.

One of the couple initially did not want to bring their 2 kids, however they couldn’t find the sitter for them so now they are asking to bring the kids and having full adult meals, not kid meals. Our meal is averaging $90 per person, the kids will costs us $180 extra. We could say no and take the chance that their parents won’t come, however it’s important to me that the parents come, so we allow them to bring kids.

As for me, if it causes me inconvience to go to the “No Kid” wedding, I would decline.

Post # 158
10285 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

Some of the arguments made in this thread are ridiculous. If you can’t stand to be away from your offspring for 5 hours then you should probably never leave your house again. You’re going to give your kid a mommy complex and I think we all know how those turn out.

We’re having an “adults only” wedding with the exception of my cousins (who are in the wedding) and FI’s cousins (who are the only Out of Town children). No other kids are welcome. This is OUR wedding so we call the shots. Thankfully, our guests are respectful and normal so they’re looking forward to an evening away from the kids. FI’s brother and SIL just had a baby a few weeks ago and even she’s not invited. Our niece will be hanging out in the hotel room with her other grandparents while Future Brother-In-Law & Future Sister-In-Law enjoy our wedding. Not once did they express any negative feelings towards us for not including their daughter. To be honest, I think they’re looking forward to a night off.

When I was a kid I NEVER attended the weddings that my parents were invited to unless I was actually in them. Frankly, I would have much rather stayed at home and ate pizza with a sitter than had to sit through a Catholic mass followed by a boring reception with weird food. Guess what? I turned out fine. Not attending cousin Lucys wedding when I was 8 didn’t affect me at all.

OP: Stand your ground and DON’T give in. These people should not be rewarded for acting like spoiled children who don’t get their way. This is your wedding so you call the shots. If you’d prefer to not have to deal with untimely shrieks during your ceremony or sticky fingers all over your wedding dress then that’s your right. These people who are crying about you not including their kids can enjoy a night of reality with their brats at home. 

Post # 159
54 posts
Worker bee

I think this entire conversation is very interesting… I remember being a kid and how I was always so disappointed if I wasn’t invited to a wedding (and how my parents, much in the spirit of said rude guest, would either always RSVP no, or just not RSVP at all [GASP!], as they were insulted to not be invited “as a family”). 

However, as I have become an adult…I find that small children put me into nothing short of a panic attack and a bout of major face-altering hives.  This, coupled with the fact that FI’s cousins have SO MANY children that it would almost double our guest list, have left me thinking that perhaps a child-free wedding is the way to go. 

And I see both sides: the side of me that says why should I risk a panic attack at my own wedding when someone decides to sword-fight with the cake server, and the side of me that remembers how I took it so personally as a little girl that my cousin “didn’t love me” enough to have me at her wedding.  Not to mention, when you are planning to finance everything yourself, do you REALLY need to cut back on all the wonderful parts to a wedding you have always wanted to just to invite some children you have met once or twice but are “related” to you? 

I digress, but it is a tough situation!

Post # 161
8 posts

I’m on the fence about it. I have been to weddings where they were invited and given activities (http://www.bellacroft.com/p-4776-weddingstar-wedding-activity-book.aspx) However, that was for my cousin’s wedding and she has kids which are my kids age so it just blended well. If you don’t have young children then I guess I could see why you wouldn’t want them there. I went to another wedding where they were invited to the reception but not the ceremony. The bride and groom actually hired a babysitter to take all children to a room and they were entertained there so the ceremony wasn’t interrupted by whining.

I guess the point is that this is YOUR wedding and people have no right to be nasty about it. If they don’t want it or are offended they can simply decline and leave it be – no reason to be rude or burn bridges. Try to let it roll off of your shoulders and continue with the blissful event planning =-)

Post # 162
3182 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@Verno Inferno: This exactly.  If you want an adults only wedding, have one.  If you want kids there, have them.  Accept other people’s decisions regarding their own weddings.  The end. 

Post # 163
3364 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Do what you need to do for you and your Fiance, esp. if you are the only one footing the bill.

We are having to do this with certain guests; it sucks but throughout the wedding process I’ve become a firm believer in “leaving the kids at home.” Esp. in that my venue is one of those “awesome” venues that charges you whether the child is 3 or 13 as an adult! Goodness Gracious!

Post # 164
3277 posts
Sugar bee

An argument that I have seen on this thread is that the guests cannot afford childcare as a reason they should be allowed to attend.

I’m sorry, but this argument makes me grumpy.  So since guests have children that they can’t afford childcare for, the hosts should make accomodations?  I don’t understand. 

They are your kids, what you do with them when you go shopping, on dates, anything is the parents responsibilities. 


Post # 165
5488 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2019 - Paris, France

@heather25: glad your back! I have to stick to my guns on this one. I appreciate that you see where I am coming from but I would still be offended. lol. What I can totally agree with you about is the not sending back rude comments on rsvp cards, there is just no need for that. I do understand that not everyone shares my culture ; I am just trying to put a dart to the reason why I may feel the way I do. Culture, upbringing etc. I still feel that children should be invited. 

@Future MrsB: You have been to east indian weddings? That is kind of painting with a broad brush don’t you think? I am east indian and I am having a black tie affair. Contemporary black and white with a 7 course seated meal, walking down the aisle of the air force academy chapel in my vera wang with my girls in black dresses. How does this fit the sterotype of your experiences?


@pinkshoes: yea, I guess your family and I think very similarly. It is just offensive. It doesn’t piss me off or make me want to punch anyone in the face or anything lol it just is very off putting. 



—I have to add in there that my Fiance is also east indian and I asked him if he thinks that children should be allowed at weddings and he said no! LOL. He pictures a crying scream right when we say ‘I DO’ etc etc. WHen I explained about weddings being family oriented he responds with a very smart “but we hate our families” LOL!

Post # 166
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Wow – this thread has blown up! I have two things to say:

1. We had an adults only wedding (Open bar, dancing, semi-formal). Someone brought their 10 year old. Poor guy sat there for hours, bored, because there was nothing for him to do. B/C it was an adults only wedding.

2. My grandmother brought me to a wedding when I was 5ish. It was a black-tie, adults only wedding, and she did it without the bride’s OK. I got up from the table and ran into the waitress who was carrying THE WEDDING CAKE. Needless to say, said cake smashed. There is a reason children are not welcome at all weddings. It was a really sore subject between my grams and the bride for years. (I have since, you know, grown up and don’t run into people.) 🙂

A wedding and reception is a party. Some parties are kid-friendly, others? Not so much. We’ve talked about it from the guests’ and couple’s point of view, but what about the kids? That 10 year old told me it was “The worst night of his summer” and for him, it probably was. He also told me it was “scary and weird” to see everyone acting strange. Strange = open bar. Adults only. This 10 year old didn’t need to see everyone like that (note: It’s not like it was a drunken scene, but it was an open bar with dancing.)

Weddings are about family. But if it’s not a kid-friendly event, is your child going to have a good time?

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