Post # 1
Looking for advice on reception etiquette.
My fiancé and I have been struggling with whether or not to have kids at our reception. We just booked a venue, a local winery and they do not cater to children (fixed menu, no price adjustments for under 19). We also have a tight guest list of 175 guests in order to fit the venue capacity.
Because of the above we decided that it’s best for us to not include any children, other than my young step-sisters (18 & 17) at our reception. We simply don’t want to pay $200+ A plate for children and don’t want them to take up seats for other adult friends/family. Of course they are welcome at the ceremony/cocktail hour as there is no guest limit for those.
We have had two family members (cousins) reach out to tell us that they will not be attending our wedding (ceremony or reception) if they cannot bring their children. These family members are very close with the groom (he was in both of their weddings), so now we are struggling with what to do.
We feel that if we invite their children, other cousins and family members will wonder why their kids weren’t invited. Their children are also all under 5, so not even close to an appropriate age to be eating a $275 plate. We just aren’t sure how to handle this situation and feel so hurt that close family members would chose not to share in our special day for this reason.
Post # 2
@fearlesstravelbee: We have had two family members (cousins) reach out to tell us that they will not be attending our wedding (ceremony or reception) if they cannot bring their children. These family members are very close with the groom (he was in both of their weddings), so now we are struggling with what to do.
IMO this is manipulative behavior. If they’re that close with the groom, they can find a babysitter (assuming, of course, that they don’t have very young and/or nursing babies, which is different) then they would make it a point to try to come. It sounds to me like they just want it their way or the highway. I would tell them that you certainly wish they could make it, but the no kids rule applies. I had a child-free wedding and don’t regret it at all, that’s your prerogative.
Post # 3
I mean, it’s really up to you, but its opening a can of worms IMO. Inviting some kids but not others will make some other guests mad. I understand 100% inviting children close to you like siblings (or your own children), but when you start saying “ok these people can bring kids, but those ones can’t…” I think you’ll give yourself a headache. Also once some people hear that cousin so-and-so is bringing their kids, why cant i?
My wedding was strictly 19+. We did have some people ask if they could bring young children (no) and older teens (also no). I think we had only one family come because they couldnt bring their kids.
I agree with pp that its very manipulative of them to even say shit like that. I’d be upset if I were him, but I wouldnt cave. YOUR wedding isn’t about them or their kids and its really selfish of them to behave like it is.
Post # 4
You’re not wrong, but neither are they. There are a myriad of reasons parents may not be able/willing to attend an event without their children and that’s their choice. I know it hurts but if you’re really set on no-kids then they won’t come. Please don’t try to convince them that they should get a babysitter or whatever – just respect their choice without a guilt trip.
Post # 5
then they just won’t come. If they really wanted to they would find a way to work it out. Family on the other side who could watch the kids a few hours, friends who could, a babysitting service. If none of that works they can come to the ceremony and leave after. If you invite their kids you’d need to invite the other kids as well. We did no children (except husband’s nephews and the flower girl) and no one mentioned it, they just found childcare.
Post # 6
And I want to add, my sister said no children, but then allowed some of her husband’s family to bring children and it was a mess! A big mess, because the people on our side of the family with kids were very upset.
Post # 7
@LilliV: You’re not wrong, but neither are they.
They would not be wrong if they simply declined. They are wrong in contacting the couple to say they can’t attend if their children are not included. This is manipulative behavior. They obviously were able to figure out their children are not invited, yet they are trying to pressure the couple to include them.
Post # 8
You’re right, it’s rude to ask. I think given their closeness if they had just declined the couple would be left hurt and confused as to why though. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they weren’t being manipulative and that they were more giving a warning so as to not hurt feelings by just declining.
Post # 9
Love if you’re insisting on a child free wedding you need to be okay with people deciding not to come. There are a lot of people who cannot leave their children, who won’t trust strangers with their children and some who will simply be offended that you’re leaving out their children. None of those situations are wrong. If you can’t empathize with that then I don’t know what to tell you. You need to be like “okay we’ll miss you” and keep it moving. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without adding unrealistic expectations into the mix.
You need to change your perspective and see that your wedding is most important to YOU and no one else. I say this as a cfbc who planned my own childfree wedding. You must change your expectations so that you can have a happy day. Congrats on the wedding!
Post # 10
Also the “just get childcare” thing REEKS of privilege. In the US over 1.5 million mothers are still out of the workforce because of a lack of childcare. The expense and the risk aren’t small things.
Post # 11
So one of them could stay home with the kids? Trying to manipulate someone else to invite your kids to an expensive night out is bullshit, and you defending their behaviour is not cool.
Post # 12
Did they have children at their weddings?
Would they have to travel for the wedding or is it local for them? Regardless, if you make an exception for them you’ll invite the fury of other family members.
When you choose to have a child-free wedding there is always the possibility that some invited may choose to not attend as a result. You get to make your choices, they get to make theirs. “Our venue cannot accommodate children; you will be missed.”
Post # 13
The cousin’s are being manipulative.
Having a child free wedding usually means some people can’t come (similar to a destination wedding) but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right choice. Some venues aren’t suitable to children, some guest lists are too tight etc.
If they can’t get a babysitter for some reason, that’s understandable. But they should have just sent their regrets.
Saying “they will not be attending our wedding (ceremony or reception) if they cannot bring their children. ” means they’re trying to threaten you into changing your plans. Doing so will open a whooole can of worms. Just tell them you’re sorry they can’t attend and move on.
Post # 14
You chose a child free wedding, which is entirely your perogative. That decision, however, comes with the consequence that some families may not be able to come for whatever reason. Allowing these families to come with their children will get side eye from guests who were told their children aren’t invited and got the appropriate childcare.
You are not wrong in having the wedding you want, but you cannot get upset at other people who don’t come because it doesn’t work for their family.
Post # 15
How do you know their situation? Nothing about this suggests they parents are necessarily trying to be manipulative. The idea of declining without saying why just does.not.fly in a lot of close relationships – it might be ‘etiquette sanctioned’, but would cause deeply hurt feelings. Most people *don’t* decline a super close friend’s wedding without telling them why.
If my mother were invited to a wedding that required walking up a flight of stairs to get into the venue, she’d have to decline, and she might well say ‘if there’s no elevator, I’m afraid I won’t be able to come’. That’s not *manipulative*, but it is the consequence of someone’s choice of venue. That doesn’t make the host ‘bad’, but neither is my mother ‘bad’ for not being able to attend.
And sending just one person to a wedding may not be an appropriate use of family resources, vacation time, etc.