(Closed) How not to offend my guests when I ask them not to bring their babies.

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll:

    Stop being a baby yourself and invite all the babies/children (and give into your FMIL)

    Don't invite the under 2's. Their parents will/won't be offended (add more below please!)

    Impose a blanket ban on all under 5's/all children

  • Post # 32
    1722 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    i’m right there with you OP. i’m in a very similar situation, and i’m getting a lot of grief about wanting a kid free wedding.  it’s hard, because i attended many weddings as a kid with my parents, and they never would have gone if we weren’t invited….. so i don’t know what to do. i also would like to do a cut off, like “no children under 5”, but it seems like that’s not an okay thing to do. :/

    Post # 33
    4173 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2018

    This is one of those polarizing issues where people jump from one camp, to another once they have kids of their own.  OP, your wishes to have a solemn and crying free wedding are totally understandable and valid, on the other hand, if you had a child whom you loved and adored and found out they couldn’t attend a family event just because they might cry…well, that might put your nose out of joint a little bit, wouldn’t it?

    There is no right answer to this problem, especially since it’s already sent the in laws into orbit…right now your first order of business is damage control or forever be branded as an evil woman who hates children…or something.

    Most churches have rooms and nursery facilities for the little ones at regular services, find out how much it would cost to employ their regular daycare person…my sister did this for a long time and she loved it, the kids get to play, their parents can watch you get married and when everyone is done being quiet, they can join the party!

    Good luck!

    Post # 34
    260 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    @Luayne:  Why would you be angry? So if you can’t go, no one can go? If youcan’t have fun, your poor husband can’t either? What is it with women (and some men) who look at themselves as a unit for every single thing? Life happens, and not everyone is crazy about babies. So if the baby can’t go, NOBODY goes? I think it’s fine for one parent to stay at home and one parent to go.I may just be more self sufficient/independent…. But I’ll never understand why in certain situations, it’s wrong for a couple to split up to go celebrate a friends wedding!


    OP stand your ground. Crying babies don’t belong at a sophisticated adult wedding. Be prepared that you may get a decline or two unless you set up a makeshift nursery. Good luck!

    Post # 35
    2865 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    Having kids at our wedding is non-negotiable from a family perspective and I have the same fears as you. As it looks now, we will have at least 5 under 1, 20 under 5 and a total of 40 under 12. It makes me nervous, but it is not worth the fight.

    What we are doing is puting this note on the wedding website:

    Are children invited? Yes, children are absolutely invited! We view weddings as an opportunity to bring families together and think children add to the celebration. 

    For the ceremony, there is no crying room and no place to walk around if a child is fussing.  There are doors on either side of the church, as well as in the back. Feel free to enter and exit the church as you wish.

    During the reception we will be having babysitters at our venue. We tentatively plan to have kids 1-12 downstairs, and infants and teenagers upstairs during the meal and speeches. After dinner, parents are more than welcome to bring their kids upstairs for cupcakes and dancing.

    As it states, we will be paying for babysitters during the meal. This will allow us to have our first dance, the speeches, and the meal in peace. Then kids can play as they wish. Parents seem happy with this– many of them have said they will leave their kids at home. I would gladly pay a little more to avoid family drama without having exhausted kids not knowing how to behave.

    Post # 36
    2116 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    Don’t feel bad about not having kids there. This is YOUR wedding.

    Post # 37
    1149 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    If you’re paying for the wedding, and you don’t want children under a certain age to be there, then that’s what you do. DH and I had a child free wedding, his family threw a little fit but you know what, they didn’t pay for the wedding! We stood our ground and they came around and let it go.

    One thing I will say though, if you’re going to allow some people to bring their kids, but not others, that WILL cause problems. It would be a whole lot easier and fair to say something like “nobody under the age of 5” or whatever age you want.

    Post # 38
    3479 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY

    WHY CAN’T PEOPLE BE AWAY FROM THE KIDS FOR 6 HOURS????? This is SO annoying to me. 

    Post # 39
    2865 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    @Lillyrose:  Do you have any… how to say this nicely… old teacher-type relatives? You know the kind who can give the evil eye and get any kid to behave instantly or shame a parent? For the kids sitting upstairs, they will be at the table next to my beloved, former Catholic school teacher aunt or my basketball coach/strict teacher uncle. They will keep children who were not given clear expectations of acceptable behavior (and their parents) in line. Babies fuss, which is fine, but when school age kids misbehave (my fear), it is a reflection of their parents and their parent’s expectations of their behavior.

    Post # 40
    4980 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    Personally I think it has to be an all or nothing situation.  If you include some children and not others it will look really rude. For me I can’t understand not having kids at a wedding.  We had babies to children at ours and had no issues what so ever.

    But it is your wedding you should have it the way you want. 

    Post # 41
    2015 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    @lealorali:  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve happily left my child behind to attend weddings of those close to me. However, I find it mildly annoying that people can’t see others’ POV on this one. It’s not about “leaving one’s kid for 6 hours”, it’s usually about the rejection parents feel when someone so loved and cherished in their life, a part of them, is unwelcome. It feels like a personal insult to many. It would be a lot easier to “deal with” parents when it comes to child free weddings if people would try to understand this. Also, the fact that so many people refer to others’ kids as “little brats” who aren’t welcome and will “ruin my wedding” so often on threads like this doesn’t help anyone.

    View original reply
    @Nona99:  explained it very succinctly.

    Post # 42
    913 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    Will you be having flower girls?


    I am having a kids free wedding too (teenagers will be allowed though) with the only exception being our two little flowers girls. They are our nieces, they will be around 2 years old. 


    Also, kids aren’t allowed at bars, and I can see why they shouldn’t be at a wedding. Especially if it’s a fairly formal one. No offense anyone.


    Post # 43
    6386 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    I personally don’t think it’s fair to refer to children as “little brats”, if children are misbehaving it is because the parents have not clearly explained/modeled proper behavior.  I do not want children at my wedding for two reasons:

    1.  I can’t be liable for children’s food allergies (and a lot of my family has allergies), we have ingredients like wheat, dairy, and nuts in our homemade favors and I don’t want to risk it.

    2.  There will be a lot of drinking at my wedding, we plan to have a full open bar.  This, to me, signifies an adult event.  I know that there will be at least one or two people who will over-indulge in drinks; the ceremony, reception and hotel are all 1 place for this reason.  It is NOT ok for a child to witness an adult abusing any drug, even alcohol.  I’m sure there will be others who disagree with me on this and that is fine.  I just don’t want it at my wedding.

    I’m sure most of this thinking comes from being raised in southern California (lots of frivolous lawsuits) and having an early childhood ed background.  When I explain it like this to parents, they seem to have a much better time understanding why we imposed the “no children” rule. 


    Post # 44
    3479 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY

    @les105:  I’ve personally witnessed “little brats” “ruin weddings” and my POV is if the bride and groom don’t want them there, they shouldn;’t be there. Nothing personal. 

    Post # 45
    1098 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    @Lillyrose:  I have a 2 year old. NO.WAY.IN.HELL. would I bring her to a wedding.

    That being said, I had a child free wedding. Don’t let your Future Mother-In-Law blackmail you.

    Try to find a wedding babysitter and offer the parents this service. I included a small note in my invitations that read as follows:

    “Due to the reverence of the ceremony and due to the fact that the reception will extend late into the evening, children under the age of 5 will not be accomidated at the wedding or reception”.

    No one complained.

    Post # 46
    23 posts
    • Wedding: May 2013

     Things may be different between England and the US, as well as between different religions, cultures, families, areas of the country, etc. Where we are – US east coast, suburban area of big city, children attenders, other than those in the wedding party, are very rare.

    Per the FOB, who’s paying for everything, we’re doing a strict 21+. The flower girl/ring bearer are leaving after the cocktail hour, which ends at 7:00 PM. It’s a black-tie wedding, which lasts until 11:30. The venue charges adult rates for those 13 and up, even though they can’t partake of the 5-hour open bar. Chicken fingers/fries will run around $65, for those 12 and under. Adult entree choices $145 and $165, with a possible 60 kids, added onto an expected 220 adults attending (220 all the ceremony room holds anyway). When asked, the venue stated that they rarely have kids attend weddings there and I think their pricing is done to keep those numbers low.

    There are no nephews or nieces yet. First cousins under 21 are not extemely close to the couple. An adult, 1st cousin of the bride will have a 2-month old at the time, but probably won’t attend as it’s a 2.5 hour flight. The only couple that’s made a fuss is one that has always had a narcissitic sense of entitelment, when it comes to their family.

    Good luck!

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