(Closed) Family members asking to bring kids to an adult only wedding

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
51 posts
Worker bee

Hi Alibride!! I’ve been battling this issue since day 1 of us deciding that we weren’t allowing kids at our wedding. We too are having a night event with limited guest list. It’s really put a damper on family members however I’ve stayed true to my wishes and I don’t regret it. Be kind to them but hold your ground, don’t go into too much detail and get word vomit. Short and simple with a smile!! It is an honor and privelege to be invited to such a monumental time in your life and people who don’t respect your wishes shouldn’t be there It’s harsh and I’m sure I’ll battle for the next 5 months but it’s worth it to have it the way you’ve envisioned! If you need to vent PM me!!

Post # 4
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

Does anyone leave a 4 month old with a sitter overnight?  I’d be surprised, that seems way too young.  I think you have to make an exception for newborns, or else just tell her politely that you’re sorry she’ll have to miss the wedding.  The mom could still be breast-feeding and need to be near the baby.    You could also suggest some good babysitters in the area for the time during reception as an alternative.

I don’t think that anyone else would be upset and think you’re breaking the nobody under 13 rule if you have infants there was well.  I think people understand that a nursing baby is an exception.

Post # 5
323 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

the LAST thing I would want at my wedding are babies at the ceremony, reception is more flexible because theirs more movement. I am sure that your family member will not want to leave their baby with a sitter because it is so young, but honestly, that’s THEIR PROBLEM, not yours! You’ve set the rule of no kids, they need to follow it, even if they have to be hit over the head after a polite nod has been introduced.

Do you have a DOC? My invites says ‘adult only’ and I have instructed my planner that she is to stop any of my guests from coming into the ceremony with little children. It sounds severe, but I’m spending too much money to have this really special moment between me and my fi ruined or diverted due to an inconsolable toddler. Stand your ground. As you said, you don’t really even know them well….. shame on them for having bad manners.

Post # 6
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2005

From my experience most young babies aren’t all that comfortable at weddings. Maybe you can invite them to the ceremony, saying you’d really like them to be there and share that with you, but that you have to be firm on no young kids at the reception rule.

Post # 7
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Four months is young to leave overnight, but not to leave for the evening.  If the travel distance is too far for your guests to avoid staying overnight, maybe you could provide them with the names/numbers of local sitters who could be available at their hotel room.  Or maybe they could bring a sitter with them. I recently went on a 12 day cruise with a couple who brought both their young children, and a young girl to nanny part time.  Its not that rare.  Another option, one that my sister and her husband (who have a 6 month old) used this New Years’ Eve, was to have a hotel room within walking distance of the party and take shifts with the baby.

Of course, and especially if its their first child, it may take them a while to get used to leaving the baby at all.  In that case, they may not be able to attend.  Certainly your social life changes when you have children, and we all have to accept that.  Trust me, if they really want to attend your reception, they will find a solution. 

Breast feeding, by the way, is not really a valid excuse for overnight.  That’s what pumps are for…  my sister travels on business overnight all the time, and just leaves her husband with a refrigerator full.  You can easily pump enough extra for that long, if you start early. 

Post # 8
1458 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I don’t think it’s rude. I think that when you make a decision it’s made and if you bend it for a 4 month old, then what about a 1 year old, or your second cousin who’s 10 year old sister is "really well behave" and won’t be a bother? 

I said this to my sister about her baby shower I just threw her – you can’t let one person bring them and tell the rest no – it’s rude to everyone then who went out of their way to find a sitter and be responsable and follow etiquette.  And I’m taking the same stand at my own wedding.

IMO She was rude in the first place letting you know she was bringing her child with out asking. And on top of that – if they are worried about leaving the baby with a sitter overnight, be reponsable, don’t drink so much you can’t drive and go home a bit early. It’s what I do with my daughter now at 3, and when she was an infant I just didn’t go because I didn’t want to leave her yet. My decision not to find a sitter.

As parents – new or old – they need to understand that all invites don’t extend down to their child as well, no matter their age.  The sooner they learn this, the better. I know as a new parent you don’t want to leave your kids behind, but again, it’s a decision they need to make – get a sitter or stay home. 

I’m sure she didn’t intend rudeness – but setting it straight is definitly ok! 

Post # 9
59 posts
Worker bee

Honestly: If the reason you’re not inviting children is because you have a strict guest limit–then probably adding a 4-month old who doesn’t take up his/her own chair shouldn’t make a difference to the venue or the caterer…

But if that’s not the reason, then I’d say be honest with them about explaining why the no-kids rule. They can decide as new parents & as your relatives whether it’s worth it to them to find a solution or not…

 That said, I do totally sympathize with anyone who has friends or relatives who just tell you who else they’re bringing that you didn’t invite (kids, guests, whoever). It’s a totally frustrating position to be in!!! But I figure when that happens, you have to first look at why you didn’t invite them in the first place, whether you can accomodate them anyways, and if you can’t accommodate then explain it firmly & with a smile. And the invited guest can decide on their priorities too

Post # 10
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

My sister has an infant (born 3 weeks ago) and will be less than 4 months for our wedding (April 5th). We have provided numbers for a sitter and a private location she can go and nurse the baby as she needs during the ceremony/reception. The sitter will be at her cost, but she is totally fine with that as the parents need a night out too!!! I’ve made it very clear that I don’t mind the children (I downright love kids), but we just cannot afford to include them in the reception due to the space constraints.

My advice- stand firm but offer options. The sitter will be at the hotel with the children and my sister will be able to check on the baby as needed. 🙂

Post # 11
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

i don’t think it’s an issue with the caterer or the venue, it’s that the couple doesn’t want kids at an adult party. i totally get it — one of my wedding nightmares involves a screaming baby at the ceremony!

sweeney is def right though — it’s all or nothing.

just stand firm, and make sure the moms stand firm too. i’ve heard of the couple saying that they don’t want kids but the MOB or MOG ends up saying "oh it’s okay, i’m sure they won’t mind…"

Post # 12
202 posts
Helper bee

if you absolutely cannot accommodate 4 month old infants, who will probably be on mom’s lap?, you can say something along these lines….


it’s so good to hear from you! we would love to celebrate with you; however, after much consideration, we have decided to have an adults-only reception. we hope you understand and would still love to have you there if you can make the babysitter arrangements when the wedding nears.


hmm, there really is no good way to say it! haha.  but honestly, i think they will take offense and just not come and will probably hold grudges. so if you are ok potentially losing this relationship, then yes, let me know your feelings.


i’m letting everyone come to my wedding, because there is no way i can keep the kids out. so it will definitely change the wedding ambience, but i’m ok with it, because as long as it’s a day where Fiance and I can celebrate our love, the day will be perfect. 🙂 good luck!! 

Post # 14
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2005

Let us know how it goes when you do tell them.

Post # 15
1 posts

Just received an invite addressed to only me and my husband for an out of town family wedding that is just a few weeks away. We have a daughter who is under the age of two. There were no options put together for family members like us, who are expected to be there… The worst part is that the "Save the Date" card was address to our family… the invite says specifically Mr. and Mrs…

I too once thought that I wanted an adult only wedding. Luckily my mother made me make exceptions. Looking back I am so glad that my nieces and nephews were there – and that our family pictures were complete with all members.

It is hard to be a bride – everything seems 100x bigger of a deal then it actually ends up being. Do you ladies really think that a baby at your wedding would ruin your day? No parent would let a peep out of their kid during your ceremony – they would walk outside and take their kid for a walk… Get over yourselves ladies. Or at least know – you are not choosing family on this one. And at the end – those are the people who truly care about us the most – believe me – out of everyone at your wedding – those are the people who will stand by you.

Post # 16
38 posts
  • Wedding: April 2011

MarriedMom –

 While I agree that brides magnify everything by 100, I don’t agree that parents will quiet their children or take them for a walk if they get out of control or upset. I have been to many a wedding where the flower girl has a meltdown in the middle of the aisle during the ceremony, and everyone lets her be, or where babies cry intermittently (or loudly drop the toys you’ve brought to distract them) without the parents hushing them or darting out. 

On the note of providing babysitters yourselves, this is the information/advice I received from my family – DON’T.  Not because they won’t appreciate the gesture (this is coming from family that is out of town and has 4 children) but that most parents will want to choose the person with whom they leave their children themselves.  I’m sure that while they might think you have good judgement, they probably aren’t going to want to use your sitters.  Our relatives all saw this as a chance to have an "adults evening" and sought out their own child care arrangements.

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