Baby & The Bride
I want my wedding to be kids free. And one of the main reasons is that, selfish as it may be, I want to be the center of attention. My fiancé’s sister just had a baby and fully expects her to be our flower girl, by then the baby will be a year old. I am not exaggerating when I say his family is obsessed with her, and I know his mom and sister would try to make the baby the center of everything. It is slightly complicated by his sister being one of my bridesmaids. I can’t just exclude the baby only, so I need to exclude all kids. I really don’t want to offend anyone and am wondering how I explain this to them without hurting feelings, especially his mom and sister?
So. Okay. I think long-time readers know that I am not exactly the most patient person when it comes to weddings! And my day! And meeee! And how do I defend a totally selfish decision without anyone thinking I’m selfish but don’t I deserve to be selfish because IT’S MY BIG FAT SPECIAL DAY? I just…don’t get it. I was born without the wedding wiring, I guess.
(And in the interest of full disclosure: I had my niece and nephew in my bridal party, but did not include children on the guests’ invitations. Someone brought their five-year-old anyway. It was perfectly delightful having a ring bearer and flower girl; everybody oohhed and ahhhed as they walked down the aisle, then my nephew fell asleep on my mom’s lap 30 seconds into the actual ceremony. During the reception, none of the children [even the technically uninvited one] ever registered on my awareness radar ONCE. Until I saw them in pictures I kinda forgot they were even there, because I had plenty of other, more important things to think about.)
So. Going to work very hard to be patient and as middle-ground-ish as I can with this one.
This may be one of those times you’re just gonna have to own your decision. And any judgment/hurt feelings that come from it. Unless you like, lie about the venue not allowing kids (which would be easily proven incorrect) or make your fiance the bearer-of-bad-news/fall guy (more on that in a bit). If you really, really feel like you aren’t going to be able to get through your wedding day without feeling seethingly jealous over the attention people might lavish on a one-year-old child, then fine. It’s your wedding! You’re the bride. You can absolutely control whether or not kids are allowed at your wedding or if your future niece-in-law serves as a flower girl.
But you can’t control what people think of those decisions, or if they secretly think of you as a bridezilla, or if this starts you off on the wrong foot with his family. Or if, no matter how nicely you inform them that you’re opting to not have a flower girl and would like them to leave her with a sitter all day, you get nothing but appalled faces or arguments or…I don’t know, your sister-in-law bursting into tears and running out of the room. Weddings seem to bring out the craziest behavior from everybody.
Or maybe they’d be totally cool with it and apologetic for being so presumptuous about you being on-board with a one-year-old flower girl. I don’t know.
Look, I’m a parent. I have kids. I do NOT NOT NOT automatically assume that an invitation for me includes them. I do NOT NOT NOT NOT automatically assume that they will be welcomed at every social gathering or situation — especially weddings! You do not have to invite my kids! I understand! Just…please then understand that it’s a big obstacle, then, for me to attend your wedding, particularly if it’s out of town or far away or an all-day thing. Or even if I simply can’t find a sitter for your straightforward, in-town, early-evening wedding. Anyway. That’s my take on kids and weddings, in a nutshell.
Family, though… Well, family be crazy, sometimes. I can picture them insisting that it’s perfectly okay to make an exception to the no-kids rule for a family member who is part of the bridal party (that’s what I did). And then you’ll have to be even more blunt and say that you don’t want her in the bridal party and they’ll say “Why didn’t you say something earlier” and you’ll say “You realize I never asked her to be flower girl, you just assumed” and gaaaahhhhh.
And while I do find it a little strange that your whole “no kids” thing actually seems to stem from wanting just to exclude this particular baby…I also want to read between the lines here and assume that maybe this isn’t the first time they’ve been a bit presumptuous and insert-y about the wedding, making decisions for you without asking. And I’ll take your word for it that their “obsession” with her (though to be fair, she’s a BRAND NEW BABY, people do tend to chill out about them after awhile) would really and truly upend the natural bride-focused balance of your wedding and make it the Niece-In-Law Show. And I’ll take your word for it that the only possible solution is to bar their beloved grandchild and daughter from even being in attendance. (Rather than say, a compromise that she can be dressed up and in some of the pictures, but not at the ceremony when she might cry. Or part of the ceremony but hire a sitter for the reception.)
And if this was YOUR family and YOUR sister and YOUR niece, I’d probably be much less hesitant to tell you to just go ahead: I apologize for any confusion but we’ve decided our wedding day is strictly for adults only and that extends to the bridal party.
But…uh, it isn’t your family. What does your fiance have to say or think about all of this? He’s…noticeably absent from your question. Is he completely on-board with the kids-free wedding, right down to his baby niece? Does he think it’s crazy that his family is pushing a probably-non-walking infant for flower girl and agrees there’s a high risk they’ll try hijack the day with her? Or does he not really think it’s a big deal if say, his sister walks down the aisle holding her daughter instead of a bouquet? And then the baby will need to go home to be in bed by 8 pm so whatever?
Yes, it’s your wedding and you want to be the center of attention. It’s also his wedding. HE should be YOUR center of attention, rather than whether the guests are all staring at you…or the cute baby over at table 12. And I really am all for the grooms getting to make decisions about their weddings, or at least get ASKED about certain decisions. Particularly decisions that pertain to their side of the family and guest list. And since this is his family, I would have a long talk with him about your honest feelings and maybe — JUST MAYBE — let him make the call about the baby and then handle any resulting discussions or fallout that comes from the decision. But I think it’s important that yes, it also be his decision to exclude her, rather than you unfairly outsourcing any unpleasantness with his family because you’re afraid you’ll end up pouting when a one-year-old steals your mighty bridal thunder. And if he decides that it’s not worth the potential for hurt feelings and would rather acquiesce, then so be that decision too.Published September 23, 2011. Last updated July 18, 2017.