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

posted 14 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
Member
607 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

MarriedMom, isn’t it funny that when your kid is in the picture, everything seems like it’s 100x bigger of a deal?

Post # 18
Member
1485 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Oh, I wish that parents would appropriately control their children.  A very few do.  The vast majority don’t.  Not only in public places, but everywhere.  I have friends with kids that I simply no longer invite to my home, because not only with they not prevent their little darlings from jumping on the furniture or man-handling the animals, they seriously object when I step in and stop the offending behavior.  (My policy, in my home, is that you control your kids, or I will.) 

And on the issue of crying babies – my observation is that generally the kid is on their way to a hysterical tantrum by the time mom or dad grudgingly (after many dirty looks and sometimes comments by the surrounding people) gets their butt out of their seat to take the kid out.  Really, the hiccuping half-cry accompanied by many "shushes" and bounces and under-the-breath singing actually is just as annoying and distracting to the rest of us as the full-on-screaming-cry.

We did invite kids for all our out of town guests, who mostly decided to leave the wee ones with the grandparents for the weekend.  And really, we love our friends, and also really enjoy their kids (for the most part) in AN APPROPRIATE SETTING.  Such as a 4th of July picnic, a ferry ride in the Sound, an informal get-together.  A great many wedding receptions are not all that kid-friendly, and if you’re having a very formal sit-down dinner, or a late-night dance party with open bar, probably best to leave the kids out.

Post # 19
Member
6 posts
Newbee

Everyone I know who worried about every single detail of their own wedding, now claims that it’s all so unimportant.

While I agree we’re not saving the world through wedding planning, condescending comments like "Get over yourselves" because people care about how their ceremony or reception will go, isn’t helpful.

Post # 20
Member
250 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

OP, I think your reasons for not inviting children are good ones — it’s not a kid-friendly venue, you don’t know most of the kids you’re not inviting, and you just don’t have the room in the venue to invite all of the children under age 13. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for making that choice!  Honestly, when I was a kid I hated going to weddings.  I would have loved it if more of our friends and family members had adult-only weddings.

But as far as your relatives go, I think it would be OK to make an exception for a newborn, still-nursing infant.  If these are first-time parents, they will likely be really freaked out at the idea of leaving the baby behind with a sitter in a strange city, and I’m sure everyone on the guest list would understand why you let them bring the baby.  (Are their any other nursing infants on the guest list?  If so you might need to let them come as well.)

If you decide to stick to your guns and go 100% no kids (or if other family members ask), say something like, "Our reception site is very small and we just didn’t have enough room to invite all of our guests’ children.  We decided the most fair thing to do would be to invite the kids over 13, but not the smaller ones." 

If they press you with excuses like "but my kids would really love to come" or "but I don’t want to leave them with a babysitter," say,  "I would feel really uncomfortable making an exception, I’ve already told a couple other parents that the reception is adults only, and I think it would really hurt their feelings if they saw that we let you bring your child but not theirs.  I hope you understand."

Post # 21
Member
47 posts
Newbee

this is such a touchy subject so proceed with caution. i want an adult only reception also and i’m trying to think of ways to go about telling people that their children can’t come…but there really is no easy way to say it. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a 4 month old being there in his or her own stroller. i would seat them against a wall so they can "park" it there. what gets to me is the 4-13 year olds that run around like chickens without heads. i really hope that no one brings their children because every seat in the hall costs money. you gotta be firm and say no. good luck.

Post # 22
Member
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

God, I just went through this yesterday, so this post is very timely.  One of my BMs has a 1-year-old, and talked to me at great length about the problems with finding a sitter– namely, that her parents wouldn’t be able to take the child for more than a few hours.  She proposed as an alternative that she take the kid to the wedding, which I said was NOT a good idea.  She even said, like @marriedmom says, that she would have her husband take the baby "out" if she started crying, and promised she would not let it ruin the day.

I am OK with Bridesmaid or Best Man not making the bachelorette party; not making the rehearsal; not making the rehearsal dinner; not being there the morning-of to help out; due to her problems with childcare.  So I don’t think I am being unreasonable and selfish, even though I feel guilty and selfish right now.

@marriedmom– I get it, and yes, I know that having a child is tough, and that finding sitters is tough.  And yes, it would be hard to completely ruin a wedding, but the ceremony is outside, there are really no buildings around, and there is nowhere for a screaming baby to go that wouldn’t be heard.  Maybe back in the car, but the parking lot is adjacent to the ceremony site, so you would just hear the muffled shrieks coming from the car.

And yes, maybe it is selfish, but look at it from my point of view: I’ve put a lot of money and months of work into this; and the enjoyment is definitely going to be dampened if the singer is singing over a baby crying; the quartet is playing over a baby crying; the officiant is struggling to be heard over a baby crying in the background.  So who is really being selfish in this situation?

All of my other friends who have children have found other options.  She can leave the baby with in-laws or other friends who have kids.  Sorry for the rant but there are always other options if you are truly willing to make the effort.

 

 

Post # 23
Member
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I honestly don’t understand why some people think that their children have to go everywhere that they go.  I NEVER was invited to a family wedding as a child because my family felt that it was not an appropriate place for children.  When I think about an event that is most similar to a wedding, I think about a $100 a plate charity dinner.  How many kids do you see at one of those?

My Fiance and I had huge fights about this topic because it was the exact opposite in his family but part of the reason is that there were 4 kids in his family.  One set of my cousins has 8 kids and I am close to all of them.  So we invite his 2 cousins and my 8 cousins and not invite friends’ children?  That didn’t seem fair to me so we decided that it would be an all or nothing thing.  Based on the current number of friends that we have with children, we had an estimate of at least 15 kids at the wedding.  I’m sorry but I have to think long and hard about every person that is invited to the wedding and it seemed much easier for me to call it an "adults-only" reception than to find a way to make it work with the kids.

Post # 24
Member
699 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I’ve found that people with kids and dogs use them as excuses all the time.  I don’t mean to offend anyone, but when plans are made as far in advance as a wedding you can get a sitter for your kid(s) or your dog(s)! Seriously!!!!! It is called planning ahead and being prepared!

Post # 25
Member
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

Just as I wouldn’t invite children to a cocktail party at our house, we aren’t inviting children to our cocktail party reception. I have several friends with small children, and just like I’d miss the parents at a regular party if they couldn’t/wouldn’t arrange child care, I’ll miss them if they can’t come to the reception. 

But that’s life…our wedding isn’t the most important thing on anyone’s social calendar but ours and I’m not offended if they choose their kids over us.  Accordingly, I expect they won’t be offended that their kids aren’t invited to an occasion inappropriate for children. 

It is the host’s perogative to decide the age appropriateness of their event.  You don’t take your kid to work every day, you don’t take them to a very nice restaurant (right? right?), you don’t take them to a bar or a business lunch.  There are places kids don’t belong, and if you decide your wedding is one of those places, go for it.

Post # 26
Member
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2022

Ok, I’m a mother and I’m also planning a vow renewal weekend, so I’m on both sides. I think that 4 months old is too young to be left with a sitter overnight UNLESS it’s somebody they see all the time, such as a grandmother, aunt or uncle or nanny. We left our daughter for the weekend when she was two months old, but she was with my parents. Now, if it’s just for a couple of hours, I think that would be fine, but some people don’t like to leave their kids with other people at the age and they are probably still breastfeeding, etc.. I don’t take my daughter to weddings even when she is invited, because she is going to have much more fun with my parents, my aunt or my ILs and we get to have adult fun. Now, we’re planning a vow renewal weekend down at the beach and all of our friends have kids. I’m planning on addressing the Save The Dates to the parents only and I think they will probably decide to leave the kids at home and take a weekend off. But, if they don’t, that’s fine. Depending on how many there are, I’ll just do a kid’s table and do some child friendly food for them. I’m already planning on bringing our sitter with us to help with Lillie during the week she’s there when we’re busy, so she’ll watch the other kids. That didn’t really answer your question, but I wouldn’t expect somebody to leave their 4 month old overnight with a stranger, so maybe you ought to count them out.

Post # 27
Member
453 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

My wedding was about three weeks ago and everyone knew no children were allowed at either the ceremony or reception (the venue was an old mansion with expensive things everywhere).  Plenty of people were ticked off, and my decision will be the talk of the family for months, but you know what?  I do not regret it in the slightest.  What fun the adults had without their little ones tugging at their skirts!  My Maid/Matron of Honor (the one who complained the loudest had the best time of everyone and would not have had any fun with her four kids present).  I did make one tiny exception to my rule.  For husband’s brother and wife (who came from the other side of the country), we hired a babysitter to watch their one and a half year old (not sure how many months, but he was walking) and four-year old.  Even with the children only one floor away, she refused to leave them and spent the entire ceremony and reception with them.  Whatever.  Her choice (and my waste of money).  I couldn’t force her to leave them, but I at least gave them an option.

Do I agree that a 4-month old shouldn’t babysitter?  I think that is hard to say.  Depends on who is watching them (my mother versus random kid off the block).  I would not be at all upset if that mom were to choose to stay home either.

Regarding the comment about how people use their pets and children as excuses and that they should plan ahead and find sitters: sure, we can do that, if we want.  Sometimes we just don’t want to go to the event and we are just trying to be polite.

Post # 28
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Married Mom – I don’t intend for this to be snarky. Have you ever been to the movies?

 There are plenty of kids crying and screaming at Rated R movies. One would think that parents would control their children but many don’t. 

 

My Maid of Honor is AWFUL at controlling her kid in every day situations. What would make me think that he would be well behaved at a boring wedding ceremony. The kid is not invited and I have told her in a nice way that NO KIDS are allowed. (Actually my venue is historic and kids under 16 are not allowed). If she said she couldnt come to the wedding/be in the wedding, oh well, I will send her a video.

Kids are not welcome everywhere.  

 

Post # 29
Member
1485 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I’m laughing about the dog thing.  My Future Mother-In-Law can.not.leave.her.dog.  It is, of course, obnoxious and badly socialized and not really house-broken.  WTF – do I drag along my three cats when we go to visit her overnight?  I do not.  She has pretty much stopped visiting, as since Fiance moved into my house (which I will not have peed upon) we have instituted a crating rule.  In other words, the dog is welcome – but if he’s left alone in the house, he will be crated. 

I do think that 4 months is a little young to be left overnight – most parents are goint to be nervous.  However, when you decide to have kids, you realize that you’re going to miss out on stuff because of them.  How many other things do you opt not to do when your kids are small, because of the logistics of taking them along or leaving them at home?  It’s certainly nice if you plan your wedding to accomodate kids, but not necessary, as long as you’re not going to take it personally when people decide they can’t come if the little ones aren’t welcome.  By the same token, parents shouldn’t take it personally if the bride doesn’t want to plan a kid-friendly type party – everybody gets to make their own choice.

Post # 30
Member
4 posts
Wannabee

My husband and I have been to four out of town weddings in the last few months.  At each of them, parents of small children found ways to deal with the kids.  In some cases, they left them home with a sitter.  In others, the sitter came along (one family made a family weekend out of it, and her mom came along to help babysit.).  And in many cases, one of the parents showed up, and the other stayed home with the baby.  It was sort of a non-issue for these families.

 An evening wedding is just not a place for babies or children.  The parents have plenty of options.

Post # 31
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: April 2009

My Fiance and I are designating a room at our wedding/reception site and hiring two baby sitters. There will be a TV with plenty of videos. We are having all parents give the two sitters cell numbers and setting thier phones on vibrate. If a problem arises with the kids throughout the evening, they are called. Also, if at any point parents want to check in, the kids are within seconds. Hope it works!

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