Post # 1
I just need some general advice on my one wedding-related stress: the guest list.
I’m the last on both sides of my (very large) families to get married and its turning out to be a pretty big deal. I have always dreamed of having a small wedding, but with the size of my families (plus a step-family I’m close with) and all of our friends… our guest list is pushing 250.
With that said, I decided very quickly that I would not invite kids to the wedding. Combined, there are about 50 kids ages 1 to 12 in our family. I am VERY set on this as I don’t want 50 little kids running in circles on the dance floor while we’re enjoying our dinner or cutting our cake. It changes the feel of EVERYTHING.
Now, I LOVE kids… I’m a part-time nanny, have taught gymnastics to kids for years, and have 5 nieces and nephews who I adore. Those five nieces and nephews will be in our wedding party and WILL be invited to the reception. My sisters can choose if they want to arrange for sitters or bring them along but I would never exlude them.
My dilemma is: we set our date for Mother’s Day weekend of 2010. I have a ton of cousins who I’m not super close with that live across the country (and each one has atleast 2 kids). Since I’m the last to get married, my dad told me that "everyone is treating your wedding as a major family reunion so it would be nice to include everyone". He doesn’t understand why I refused to invite the kids. How is it fair that none of my cousins had to include kids at their weddings (because they weren’t born yet) but I "should"?
Because of Mother’s Day, I highly doubt that any of my cousins will want to travel without their kids and I highly doubt that they will pay for plane tickets for their kids when they aren’t even invited.
I guess I’m just confused in general. I am not changing my mind about the little kids but should I maybe set a cut-off at age ten so some of my younger second cousins can make it? How do I let people know this? How do I arrange for babysitting for FIFTY little kids if they all decide to travel for this "big event"?
Or should I stop stressing and just realize that its my day and I’m allowed to put my foot down? Help!
Post # 3
Yikes. That’s a tough position to be in.
What about a compromise?
Ask your bridal party (the ones with kids who live locally) to arrange the babysitting for you. When you send invites say something like, "Children under 10 are not permitted in the venue. If you will be traveling with your children and wish to arrange for child care contact Sister Bridesmaid or Best Man for information." Then maybe you could have a few babysitters set up a make-shift daycare center at your sister’s house?
Then the kids can travel, but you don’t have to have them all at your reception. If anyone comments about your nieces and nephews (which would be rude of them), just lie and say your venue makes exceptions for children in bridal parties.
Otherwise- I say put your foot down. You can’t make everyone happy and all those children will be a significant expense. If your dad is really set on inviting all the kids, tell him to arrange the babysitting!
Post # 4
Why not have a sitter at your wedding? Someone to watch the kids and keep them entertained, but also out of the way.? That way all of your family can be there, but you wont have to deal with the kids during the wedding.
Post # 5
This is a tough one. Usually I would respond, "If you don’t want kids there, don’t let kids come," but your wedding date poses a problem. You say it’s "your day", but it’s not. It’s Mother’s Day (weekend). I don’t think it would look very good (etiquette-wise) if you were to try and separate mothers from their children that weekend. I think your options are limited. If it were me, I would attempt to change my wedding date or let the kids come. For the record, I did not allow children at my very intimate wedding, so I know where you are coming from.
Post # 6
I agree with Niki. I’m usually very cool with not taking our daughter, but I wouldn’t travel for a wedding that didn’t allow me to bring my child if it was MDW. So, for me I would say change your date if you can’t stand to have kids there or just let it go and celebrate with your whole family. Good Luck making your decision. I know it’s not an easy one.
Post # 7
Thanks guys… I appreciate the help! The thing is, the venue we are set on has ONE date available next spring- Mother’s Day Weekend and I really love the place. It has everything we want.
We did a poll with our friends who have babies and with some of my mom’s side of the family and all of them said they didn’t care about it being Mother’s Day. With that said, they live locally and will have no problem seeing their children the day after the wedding.
I feel like such a brat because I guess my attitude is, if you don’t want to travel on Mother’s Day weekend, then don’t come. I don’t want to feel bad about the date I chose and I feel like any date will somehow be a problem for someone invited to your wedding.
I think the best solution may to invite young teens to the wedding and then help arrange for sitters at the hotel or at someone’s house. People can then choose if they want to travel with their kids or not. My mom also owns a gymnastics center in our hometown and she offered to have her staff throw a mini party at the gym for the kids while we’re all at the reception.
Thanks again everyone!
Post # 8
<span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>OMG…this is my story too! I’m getting married mothers day weekend 2009 and I am NOT inviting anyone under 16. I am from a HUGE family and they are treating this as a family reunion. That being said – and I know this sounds harsh – I am not budging. My Fiance and I are paying for this wedding in its entirety. No matter what, you are not going to be able to please everyone. If you don’t want a bunch of children at your wedding, you shouldn’t invite them.
Post # 9
Wow that is weird! I dont want to budge either… And i feel like it might even keep the guest list down by keeping it on mothers day weekend. I know that sounds horrible but its not important to me to have a big wedding and i dont want to stress about finding a weekend that will work for everyone… Futuremrsmorgan- Are you offering any type of babysitting? I’m thinking its a good solution for us to let people know that we will help arrange for it, and they can decide if they want to bring their kids and use a babysitter!
Post # 10
I would’t sweat this one. Let the guests decide… everyone can do what’s best for them.
I was married on Father’s Day. Children weren’t invited to our wedding either. Two couples sited not being with their parents (not their children!) on Father’s Day as the reason for declining the invite. Several guests were from out of town and made alternate arrangements for their children. I think it’s fine to specify ‘no kids’ and let the guests decide.
Post # 11
Because this is on the Etiquette board, I am going to direct my comment to the etiquette dilemma here:
I feel like such a brat because I guess my attitude is, if you don’t want to travel on Mother’s Day weekend, then don’t come.
There it is. Making your guests choose between you and their kids on Mother’s Day weekend is kind of rude. A babysitter is a great way to get around this.
Post # 12
I agree. I’m not asking anyone to choose because I wouldn’t want them to. If they don’t feel comfortable leaving their kids, then I’d rather they miss my wedding then make the sacrifice of not waking up with their kids on Mother’s Day morning. And I know I should provide a babysitter but its hard when your family has 50+ second cousins in it, but I will figure it out.
The bright side is that all of our friends from my hometown who don’t travel home specifically for Mother’s Day, will actually get to see their mom’s!
I know that the easiest solution would be to change my date, but like I said before, the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend is the only Saturday available next spring at the venue we chose. My sister (who has three children) said that a wedding is a chance for adults to be adults, and most people appreciate having a night away from their kids.
So, solution is- I will help set up babysitting for my family and offer that to them, and they can decide if they want to 1) come at all and 2) bring their kiddos 🙂 I think I’ll invite out of town guests + children to the rehearsal dinner and children to the ceremony, but have an adult-only reception.
Post # 13
How perfect to hav e a party for the kids at your mom’s gymnastic studio. that sounds like a blast! You might actaully ahve more people coming than you intended.
On the flip side, I’m not sure if too many guests will accept or decline based on whether or not they can bring the kids. Many of them will be traveling on Mother’s Day, regardless. So figuring it will be a wasted day, maybe they’ll just decide to celebrate on a different day or skip the wedding.
It’s sweet that you are wanting to be considerate. Mother’s Day is a nice day and all, but speaking from experience, I am a mom. If someone that special to me was getting married, I would find a way to go. I mean it’s not like giving birth or something. I’d probably bend for just about anything.. my own anniversary, New Year’s. Don’t stress about it.
Post # 14
I didn’t read all the responses, so I apologize if this was already said, but I think the sitter is a good idea.
You could also have another family member plan a ‘reunion’ for everyone for lunch on Sunday, so your wedding isn’t the reunion.
It is very nice of you to be so concerened, but I don’t think most peope would be upset. Make an age cut off, and offer a babysitter for the others (I think you need one per 20 kids). Have them in a room at the hotel your reception is at (assuming it’s at a hotel), that way, the kids will be in one room with toys, TV and snacks, while the parents relax at your wedding.
Post # 15
I think the sitter is a great idea too! Plus, your guests should realize that it is Mothers DAY, not the whole weekend. So as long as there is a place for the kids on Saturday during your wedding, then your guests should be fine to spend Sunday with their children.
I wouldn’t change your weekend, if that is the only weekend available for the location that you love!
And I don’t think you are making them choose between Mother’s Day and your wedding. People will ALWAYS have reasons why they can’t come– and I doubt many would site Mother’s Day as the reason.
I’m not having kids at my wedding either. I hadn’t mentioned it, other than adding the line "Should you need babysitting services while at XXXX, please contact the concierge at: XXXX." I’ve had two people call and ask (for others, not for themselves) if kids were invited to the wedding. They were very nice about it, saying "So-and-so saw this on your website and is assuming that kids aren’t invited to the wedding. They are fine with this- they just wanted to double check and make sure this was the case so that they could get a babysitter lined up ASAP." I haven’t had much negative response so far.