(Closed) How would we go about this?

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
7122 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@jb20:  Are you okay with your siblings leaving that early as well? 

Post # 4
2566 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I don’t think there is a way to pull this off.  Child free weddings are fine, but it needs to be all or nothing.  And to have children but ask them to leave at a certain time, are you siblings just supposed to leave too?  Or are you expecting them to take their children home and come back, or have someone come pick them up?  This is a recipe for disaster.

Post # 5
3267 posts
Sugar bee

@jb20:  You cannot dictate what time any guest leaves.  It is the parent’s decision what time their kid leaves, and what is appropriate for them to be around. 

I think the best you cando is be clear with the parents that you expect it will be a rowdy, loud party with drinking, and hope that they agree it’s not child appropriate.


Post # 6
1101 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@jb20:  I have the same issue, but it is my grandnieces/nephews and only 3 of them.  They are my flower girls and ring bearer. 

I talked with their mothers on how to handle the lateness of the reception (it goes way past their bedtime).  The sitter will come to the reception after dinner and be watching the children in another room (the ceremony room) and *hopefully* they will go to bed like good children (eventually).  

Just approach the parents and ask how they would like to handle the “late night.” e.g., if they are planning to leave early so the children won’t be up so late, or if a sitter for all can be arranged.  Keep in mind, they may opt to leave early. Approach out of concern for them & their kids, not our of your concern.

Post # 7
11284 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@jb20:  i think the only way to ask that the children leave early is to provide child care for them all so that your siblings don’t have to leave the party.

is there someone that can come and pick up the children and take them elsewhere?

also, i don’t think there is anything wrong with only having a select few children at your wedding.

Post # 8
1592 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’m only having my nieces. I’m living it up to their mother, my sister, to decide what they can be around. I’m inviting my sister’s inlaws though so I have a feeling that her MIL is going to be in charge of the girls when sister and her hubby are drinking. 

My nieces have been around family and drinking though. I don’t think it’s going to be anything too crazy. 

Post # 9
9918 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Why is it so bad to have kids around drinking?  It’s not like a secret that adults drink.  Just let the parents decide when it’s time for them to leave.

Post # 10
2029 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@jb20:  I would do it by word of mouth.  Also if they take them home can they be left alone? Is their home close by? Would they even come back? Things to think about.

Post # 11
1689 posts
Bumble bee

Good manners do not contemplate a hostess’s inviting people to only part of an event. Inviting people to one event and not to another is actually fine (despite what you often read on wedding boards), but once guests are at an event, how long they choose to stay is up to them*. So for your plan to succeed, you need to influence those choices.

One way to influence your siblings’ choices would indeed be word-of-mouth. Since bluntly ordering your second-class guests to leave early (or even admitting that you consider them to be a second class of guests at all) would be rude, you will need to approach the subject tactfully, recognizing your own family dynamic, which naturally you know better than we do. In some families, expressing to your siblings your worry that as the night goes on the children might be exposed to too much boisterous partying, and that they might cramp their parents style, might lead the parents to offer to have the children taken home. In other families parents might just blow off such worries, and be unoffended by something more direct. You will have to judge.

Another way to influence the parents’ choice, would be to address the logistical complexities that pixiecat  mentions. Letting parents know, for example, that you will be providing bonded child-safe taxi service to take children home at 8:30, might inspire the parents to send them at that time.

Or offering up a hotel-room or mini-suite at the venue with a certified nanny watching over it, to open at 8:30 where parents can take their children to watch family-rated movies, eat popcorn and, for the younger ones, go to sleep; will let you strongly hint to your siblings that since the suite is provided, they should have their children use it. This will work particularly well, if you poll your nieces and nephews to find out what their favourite movies are (particularly the ones that their parents will tolerate but haven’t actually permitted at home yet) and announce to the children at the dance itself that the “kid’s movie suite” is now open and “Nanny Susan” is ready to lead them all to the suite. The parents would probably have to fignt to hold their kiddies back at that point, and you win.

Or, you could offer a seat at dinner to their various babysitters on the expectation that the babysitters will drive the children home and watch the children at their own homes. You can broach that with your siblings by asking what time fits best with the childrens’ bedtimes: eight o’clkock or eight-thirty? If you decide to propose one of these options, that too should be done in conversation rather than in a note to allow you tactfully to adjust your words when you sense how  siblings are reacting to the proposal.

A third option, if your ceremony and wedding dinner-dance are at two different locations, is to follow the traditional pattern of a single daytime ceremony-and-reception event at the same location, to which the children are invited; and a separate evening dinner-dance event where you and your adult guests get snockered. You would serve tea or punch and cake at the reception, and toss your boouquet as you leave the ceremony site, thus giving the children everything that they know about weddings: the pretty dresses, the towering tiered cake with the bride and groom cutting the first slice, and the scramble  for the flowers.  Tieredwedding cakes work particularly well for this traditional format, since the largest tier can be served at the reception which has the largest number of guests, and the remaining cake still looks complete and elegant when set up at the wedding-breakfast or dinner-dance location.



*subject to the limits that they must not stay after the party has wound down and the hosts are yawning and restless to say goodnight, and they must not leave before the guests of honour leave. Since most modern weddings do not have guests of honour, this latter is irrelevant.


Post # 12
3101 posts
Sugar bee

@jb20:  I think you will deeply offend all of your other guests that have children they weren’t allowed to bring.  And making a cut-off time that those kids have to leave at is also going to offend.  This sounds like a bad idea all around IMO.

Post # 14
8 posts

Gosh, first off I see nothing wrong with including only some children and not others.  Why is it an all or nothing situation for kids?  You don’t have to invite every neighbor because you invite one, or every co-worker because you invite one, or every classmate because you invite one.  It really shouldn’t be any different for kids – you invite the ones you are close to.  And OP is talking about siblings kids – certainly this could be approached in a conversation.  Hey sib – I really want niece and nephew at the reception, but it is going to go way past their bedtime – what do you think?  Maybe inlaws could swing by and pick up the kids.  Or maybe onsite childcare could be provided. 

Post # 15
1662 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I see nothing wrong with inviting only family kids.  As to getting people to leave early, that will be tougher. 

Post # 16
12635 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

There isn’t a nice, polite way to tell your siblings when to leave.  If it were my kid and I was told when they had to leave, I’d probably leave the wedding with them and not return. 

Post # 17
5885 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

@pixiecat:  This.

I have no issue at all with childfree weddings; we are having just 2 children at our wedding (our 11 year old bridesmaid and my 12 year old cousin), and are excluding several small children. I think there’s nothing wrong with this.

Time limits on the other hand get complicated. In reality, if you say that the children have to leave by a set time, what you will find is that they either don’t come at all (perhaps not an issue for you), or that your guests with children leave at the same time. I can’t imagine many people leaving at 8/9pm to drop their children with a sitter, and then returning; most wouldn’t be bothered. Obviously, if you’re OK with that then that’s fine and there’s no issue.

So, I would go with all or nothing, or, have a family-friendly ceremony, and state ‘adult reception to follow’. I think it’s far less messy and complicated that way.

The topic ‘How would we go about this?’ is closed to new replies.

Get our weekly roundup of the best of Weddingbee.
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

Find Amazing Vendors