Including some children, excluding others.

posted 2 months ago in Family
Post # 2
1095 posts
Bumble bee

Oh boy…. this is a difficult question to answer. I’m sure that feelings could get hurt by excluding the 2 , especially when you’ve included the ring bearer. I think I might lean toward including all the kids or excluding them all ( ie- no ring bearer).

I had a child free wedding so may not be the best one to address this!

Post # 3
546 posts
Busy bee

Before everyone else jumps all over you for wanting to invite one child and not the other two, I say do WHATEVER YOU WANT. Your wedding, your rules. Children don’t care if they’re included in a wedding or not. And if any adults dont like it, they can stay home too. I’m so tired of this debate on the Bee. Unruly children ruin adult events all the time and I would NOT take the risk that they would disrupt your day just to make other people feel better.

Post # 4
1729 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I did this, to some extent. I had a family friendly wedding. My brother in law, however, had a girlfriend who we did not get along with who had 2 kids and I discouraged him from bringing the children. They wouldn’t know anyone, and he would be distracted from the wedding trying to entertain them. He kept saying they could go hang out by the pool… was an inn on a lake, not a Hilton. We didn’t outright say he couldn’t bring them, but implied as much.  My family has lots of children and they were all invited. A few friends who had planned to leave their kids at home ended up bringing their kids. So looking back on it, I definitely singled him out more than I intended to, but there was a lot of previous drama behind our decision (and my mother in law was on board). That being said, I think allowing children from your family but not allowing family from his is a whole ‘nother ball game and I wouldn’t do that unless you are prepared for the fall out. How are you going to justify it when asked? THEY WILL ASK. Are you going to straight up tell them their chlidren are not well-behaved? I think you are asking for trouble a little bit, but it really depends on your fiance’s cousin and their reaction. I think you can justify because your cousin’s son will be in the wedding, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be fall-out. Just be prepared for that. 

Post # 5
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I think people will understand if you have one child in the bridal party as the ring bearer and that’s it. It would be different it he wasn’t a ring-bearer, but I think in this case it’s okay to exclude the 5 and 7 year old.

Post # 6
9694 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

Well, tbf the reason this is such an issue isn’t because bees dispute that this is the couple’ s day- it’s because the choices impact family relationships for years. So like it or not, it’s not just about the couple.

OP, your FI doesn’t seem to have a good grasp of how this could impact the family, but it really doesn’t seem fair. How would you explain this? Would you tell his cousins their kids aren’t well behaved? 

It sucks for sure but I’m not sure it’s a good move to exclude his cousins’ kids and include yours. 


Post # 7
187 posts
Blushing bee

It’s okay to only have children attend if they are in the wedding. We are only doing 16+ (for the purpose of some of my family needing DD lol) but my two God children (ages 2, 5) will be there because I couldn’t imagine my wedding without them. They aren’t in the wedding but they are well behaved. I do foresee my Aunt getting upset about her two poorly behaved children not being able to come. If the mother of your FI’s cousins don’t say anything about them not being allowed to come then don’t address it. I’m waiting to see if my Aunt will approach me about the situation of her children not being invited but we will see and just deal with it if that moment comes. I would just make it very clear in the invite that your FI’s cousins aren’t allowed to come by only addressing it to the adults if you haven’t already done so!

Post # 8
981 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Anyone in the wedding party (ringbearer included) doesn’t count towards a no-children rule and is an exception. Totally fine to exclude the others 🙂

Post # 9
3679 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

We’re not inviting terrors, aka my niece and nephew, I suggest you go with your instinct. If this means one of my sisters won’t be there then thats her right as a parent to decline. Although we’re not inviting any children in your case I think having a child in the wedding party is perfectly fine. Personally, most of the time this issue pops up I don’t see how family relationships would be ruined since its usually over inviting kids the couple has either never met or barely knows and they also aren’t close with the parents. Like your situation. Life is too short for me to worry about ruffling the feathers of someone I barely speak to or know from the start, family included. This is your wedding so plan it in a way that works best for the both of you. 

Post # 10
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

I agree with PP that (non-elopement) weddings are not just about the couple. I’ve never understood why the Bees who take couples to task for tacky registries and honeyfunds are the same advice-givers who insist “it’s YOUR DAY” and “‘No’ is a complete sentence.” Many of us come from cultures where family and obligations to family underpin major life milestones. I’ve always thought greediness for control is as tacky as greediness for gifts. 

Post # 11
1223 posts
Bumble bee

I would definitely not invite the terrors, and eff the parents if they get butthurt. This is their own fault for not controlling their children.

Post # 12
8646 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Contrary to what many seem to believe wedding party children are NOT an exception to a no kids rule unless the relationship itself is obviously closer. A good rule of thumb is to make invitations consistent by category. For example, people can and should understand if nieces and nephews are prioritized over friend’s kids or those of more distant relatives. 

Otherwise you risk hurting feelings or even offending. In this particular case you are talking a small wedding, and discriminating against FI’s cousins in favor of a cousins child. Personally I would do all or none in a situation like this. Ring bearers and flower girls aren’t required. 

Post # 13
619 posts
Busy bee

blissfullyshelby :  Echoing the idea that if the kiddo who is included is “IN” the wedding, that’s an exception and it’s fine to say no other children allowed. 

It shouldn’t really be necessary to explain yourself. Stipulate in the invitations this is a child-free event and leave it at that. Don’t mention the ring bearer. If it comes up later, he was a member of the wedding party and an exception was made. As long as there aren’t any other children there, they should have no cause to feel singled out.

Post # 14
709 posts
Busy bee

Curiosity: when inviting guests is the hosts perogative…why isn’t this true for choosing to invite specific children or not? 

“Why isn’t my little Johnny invited when my sister’s child is?” Unfortunately we weren’t able to extend an invitation to everyone, and so the only children invited to the wedding are also part of our wedding party. We hope you can make it, but understand if you need to stay with Johnny. 

If I don’t have to invite my alcoholic cousin Bc he’d be an unpleasant disruption, I don’t have to invite someone’s poorly behaved child either. It’s not like you’re excluding a breastfeeding infant.

Post # 15
748 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Invite the individuals you want to invite! I fully believe you can treat kids the same way you treat other guests. If you know them and like them and want them at your wedding, invite them. If you don’t know them well or don’t like them, don’t invite them.

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