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Brides vs. Babies, Round Two

By Amalah

Hello!

I have an advicely question which needs the opinion of a parent completely unrelated to me. I’m planning a wedding. It’s far away, still, but of course, everything hinges on the guest list. Trouble is, we have two guest lists. One list of adults only, and one list with children included. It’s not a huge list either way, but adding children jumps the list by 25 or 30. I managed to skate around choosing which list to use through the whole “choosing a venue” process (holycrap I still can’t even talk about that), but I’m not going to be able to avoid it much longer. I have to decide: Am I having an adults only wedding, or will children under 18 be invited as well?

Of course, there are complicating factors.

1. Due to the ages of my cousins on my father’s side, there is no reasonable “cut off” age to apply across the board. We’d be dividing between siblings or telling just one of my dad’s 6 million brothers that he couldn’t bring his children.

2. I think the idea of a wedding with all of my 16 thousand cousins and kids’ friends running around and having a blast would be awesome. I think that a wedding with only adults, no kids to watch, no one having to take their children home early, would be equally awesome. I genuinely like BOTH ideas.

3. Hiring an on site babysitter and other various “kids table” or separate kid facilities have already been discussed and tossed out as unworkable in this situation.

4. My entire family already thinks I hate children. Excluding children would just confirm this in their minds. That aggravates me, as I do not hate children.

5. I kind of feel that an evening wedding with a late reception and open bar really isn’t a kid-friendly event, but I also feel that weddings are family-centric events.

So here are my questions. As a parent, how do you feel when you get an invitation (say to a wedding) that doesn’t include your children? Insulted? Excited for a child-free evening? If you got an invitation to a wedding that DID include your kids, but was an evening reception (going to 11pm or so) with an open bar, do you bring them? Do you feel obligated to bring your kids if they are invited, or make a decision based on your mood or what kind of evening it is? Do parents keep an eye on their kids at such events (I admit it – most of the kids I’d invite are great, but a couple are complete jerks not above sticking their hands in a cake)? Is it a bit “less fun” if you’ve got to watch your kids the whole evening, without anything really to entertain them? Do parents need to leave these events early to take children home? If I do decide to exclude children, how do I explain that it is not out of any animosity for kids (I DON’T HATE KIDS!), but simply because we’ve planned an adult evening? Tell the truth, there are people who are going to be pissed, aren’t there?

Crap.

Your pal,
K

If you read the comments on the LAST question I tackled about kids and weddings and brides (oh my!), you probably got the picture that this is one of those AWESOME topics where 1) a lot of people have strong-ish opinions about it, and 2) nobody really agrees with each other.

So hooray! Congrats on THAT one. Moving on.

If you’re really just after what I would do, with my own children…I would be absolutely totally fine with you not inviting them. I mean, they’re LITTLE. They go to bed at EIGHT. By 8:30, they’re practically gremlins. One of them requires regular access to a changing table and destroys everything, and the other probably couldn’t find a single palatable thing to eat on a wedding buffet if his life depended on it, unless you had the entire event catered by Annie’s Organics. I am one of those parents who WOULD keep both of my eyes on both of my children the entire time, and would DIE if they put their hands in the cake or knocked over a centerpiece or farted during the ceremony.

There are times when being with your kids is really, really fun. A formal evening wedding and late reception and open bar is just — TO ME — not one of those times. I would not think twice about contacting our sitter before sending off our two-person RSVP. (We’ll eat whatever’s fanciest. Unless there’s ribs.)

If you did invite them, I would probably be a little surprised, a lot touched, but unless it was during the day, or there was information provided about on-site child care, or I had your personal assurance that it was going to be a very casual, laid-back event with dozens of other children to act as bad-behavior camouflage…I’d likely still leave them at home.

But then again, we’re talking LITTLE KIDS here. You mentioned the lack of a clear cut-off age and I really feel you on that. If my boys were…I don’t even know…9 and 12? Capable of eating chicken or fish without protest and generally behaving like real human beings after 10 pm? Or even 6 and 8, and at an age where busting moves on the dance floor is fun for them and hilarious for everybody watching? Perhaps then I’d be bit more on board with saving money on a sitter and bringing them along. (And on the flip side, if I only had one very small baby of the stick-em-in-the-sling-and-go-about-your-business variety, who could be counted on to nurse and sleep and not much else, I’d definitely rather bring him along.)

There’s also the whole “out-of-town wedding” aspect. If you’re expecting these families with children to travel further than a reasonable drive…I could see the no-kid invites becoming a bigger deterrent. Travel costs, possible hotel stays…PLUS needing to find and pay a stranger to watch your kids? People may understand, but they may also just not be able to commit to that.

Have I talked in aimless circles enough? God.

So. If you look at your list and see a high percentage of out-of-towners with kids…I think you might want to include the kids. I know you said hiring childcare or doing a kid’s table isn’t feasible…but what about aiming for something a little less organized? Any teenage cousins with some babysitting experience who could be persuaded into having a couple much-younger “charges” for the night? Some baby-crazy 12-year-olds who could be called to hold babies outside the ceremony or while parents get to sit down and eat? (Hell, we had the teenage sons of a couple invited families act as parking valets in exchange for $20 and tips. A lot of kids find weddings to be boring anyway, and are happy to have something to do.) Could you swing a small table off to the side somewhere with paper, crayons, some other craft-y activities in case kids get bored and looking for mischief? Fake flowers so kids can create their own bouquets, coloring pages of wedding cakes or getaway cars to decorate?

But. Here’s where I take wishy-washy to new heights: you are entirely within the non-Bridezilla realm even if you only invite adults. You’re obviously thinking this through and thinking about your guests and your family and pleasing everybody. But look, if you can’t invite the kids for some reason (guest count, budget, venue limitations, etc.)…OR EVEN IF YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO…give yourself a break. It’s okay. Evening wedding! Late reception! Open bar! Most parents get that it’s not really time for a big ol’ playdate. And some people might not be able to come and some might even be pissed that you did not include their preshus snowflakes. Bwah. More cake for everybody else then!

If you do decide to go no-kids but want to stave off any (real or imagined) bad will from snubbed parents, maybe try to organize some shared-sitter/drop-off locations? (And by “organize” I mean “delegate to someone local with kids who would enjoy feeling useful.”) A couple houses, a couple sitters, as high of a kids-to-sitter ratio as parents feel comfortable with (or is, you know, legal). Then multiple guests can split the cost of the babysitters, and out-of-town guests won’t have to stress over using an agency or finding someone responsible.

(Oh. If you do decide to go adults-only, there is always the chance that somebody will ignore the names on the invitation and bring their kids anyway. Happened to us, though we weren’t necessarily going no-kids, we were just trying to stay really, really small. They sent back their RSVP card with the printed TWO crossed out and wrote THREE. So. There is also that.)

Ultimately, just figure out which wedding is the one you REALLY WANT. Kids running around, getting down on the dance floor, saying hilarious things to your videographer? Or a nice grown-up evening out where everybody can stay as long as they want and dance the night away without worrying about the unsupervised 14-year-olds who managed to swipe a bottle of peach schnapps from the bar and are now puking in the rose bushes?

 

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Ellen
Guest
Ellen

Yup. The other thing to keep in mind is that whether or not they bring their kids (or even HAVE kids), a lot of people are not going to want to stay for the entire reception. Weddings go by in a blur for brides/grooms, but for guests they can really drag. Of course everyone’s happy for you, but the fact is that some of them are just waiting around for the cake-cutting and bouquet-tossing “moments” to happen so they can decently skedaddle. The reason I included kids in my wedding invitations was that I didn’t want to stress about it;… Read more »

Beth
Guest

Amy’s response is awesome, and I just wanted to offer one other option that might sound a little wishy-washy, but it worked well for us. When we planned our wedding, including everyone’s kids made for a very long guest list that wouldn’t work for our venue. We discussed providing babysitters or activities for kids, but in all honesty, we couldn’t handle planning or funding any more details that weren’t aboslutely necessary. So we made the decision to invite only kids in our families. This worked well for our particular situation, and it made a very clear “rule” for how we… Read more »

Hilde
Guest
Hilde

I’m delurking to emphasize Amalah’s last point: if your families are fairly large and a lot of people have kids, odds are some clueless person will bring theirs, and then you’re stuck with the worst combination: people grumbling about you not inviting kids AND you still have to plan for kids being present. We just got married and included kids simply because we knew that a few people would bring theirs regardless.

jodifur
Guest

I just wanted to 2nd Amy’s comment about helping to find sitters. I have a 4 year old, and we were recently invited to a fancy out of town family wedding w/out him. Fine, no problem. Except no one helped us find a sitter and then gave us crap when my husband went w/out me. So, I think not inviting little kids is fine, but if the wedding is in a place where guests won’t have access to their sitters, it is helpful if you help them find sitters, but you don’t need to pay.
Soapbox over.

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

I think in some situations, it’s okay to have a cut-off age that would separate siblings. Like if one family has, say a two-year-old and a six-year old. Depending on the kid, a six-year-old could really enjoy a wedding (and be an enjoyable guest), but a two-year-old, definitely not. And if I had kids with a big gap in ages, I’d completely understand the youngest being excluded from a wedding invite. Even if the youngest was invited, I just might find a sitter for him or her anyway. My sister’s kids are five years apart, and the youngest (she’s three)… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

No real advice, I just wanted to share a personal anecdote; my childhood best fried got married this June, I had a baby mid-May. She would have happily nurse/slept in a sling the entire time, I’m sure. However, it was a no-kids event (um, except that the bride had her nieces and nephews in the wedding and apparently family was allowed to bring their kids…). I was pretty hurt that I couldn’t bring her, because at that point it meant that I couldn’t go. I also felt that the allowing of family’s kids and not friend’s kids was rude.

Daisy
Guest

So I recently left basically the same comment on the previous brides/babies post (Look! Pushy Bride! My opinion is THE BEST!) and I also should say I said my wedding was in May which was a huge typo, it is, um, NEXT WEEK, but anyway. We have a destination wedding (Savannah! So pretty!) but our wedding doesn’t even start until 6:30 pm. That just isn’t conducive to kids bedtimes & our food is kind of fancy-fancy & we didn’t think all of our friends/family with kids would be so accommodating about finding sitters. So, first we planned a whole weekend… Read more »

Heather
Guest
Heather

My husband and I are attending a fancy (black tie! Ack! Had to buy a dress with post-partum-ness! Double ack!) wedding next weekend, which requires plane tickets, with our 3.5 month old. The bride desperately wants to meet the baby, so there was no question of her attendance. I asked, and she responded with, tips about how to sneak out of the wedding if the baby got fussy. We are renting a car, rather than taking the shuttle, so we can ditch the fancy reception whenever needed. The baby is young, so there are no worries about food pickyness or… Read more »

Heather
Guest
Heather

My husband and I are attending a fancy (black tie! Ack! Had to buy a dress with post-partum-ness! Double ack!) wedding next weekend, which requires plane tickets, with our 3.5 month old. The bride desperately wants to meet the baby, so there was no question of her attendance. I asked, and she responded with, tips about how to sneak out of the wedding if the baby got fussy. We are renting a car, rather than taking the shuttle, so we can ditch the fancy reception whenever needed. The baby is young, so there are no worries about food pickyness or… Read more »

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

This is all depends so much on individual circumstances I don’t think there is a good answer. If I was invited to a no-kids wedding, I probably wouldn’t go right now unless I was SUPER close to the couple. My baby is 6 months, I work full time and I simply wouldn’t want to spend much time away from her. And (wrongly) I would feel a bit slighted because my baby is super easy. I can (and have) worn her in a sling at adult parties, and she will hardly make a peep. But I know the “My baby is… Read more »

Alissa
Guest
Alissa

I’m with the PP. Out of towners, with kids, at an adult-only wedding? Help them find a sitter. We’re going to a very out of town, adult wedding in a couple weeks. Fortunately, auntie lives only 45 minutes away, so she’s our babysitter for the eight month old. But the groom’s BROTHER is coming solo, sans wife and four year old child, because nobody helped him find a sitter. And he’s… Well, he’s a bit pissed about that. Which doesn’t make for great family relations! I don’t AT ALL mind the no kids thing, personally. Hubby and I are going… Read more »

aimeonee
Guest
aimeonee

We had an afternoon wedding, invited kids because I had young cousins, and genuinely wanted kids to come, but still caught flack from my husband’s cousin’s wife because we couldn’t arrange sitting for her little ones. You’re not going to be able to please everyone, so follow Amy’s sage advice: Have the wedding you really want. And enjoy yourself! As my darling 95-year-old neighbor told me, “Have fun, dear. If the bride has a good time, everyone has a good time.” So I did, and they did…Well, the cousin’s wife picked a fight with him and dragged a bunch of… Read more »

mary
Guest
mary

I think you said “Familycentric” in your letter, so to me, that means everybody including the kids. My 3yo was just in a family wedding and she did pretty well (it was an outdoor reception and the wedding started at 2:30 or so). My baby was 5 months at the time and not a trouble even though she was with Daddy because Mommy was in the wedding. I think it would depend on the kids. I would probably not leave my kids for an out of town wedding until over the age of two. I just wouldn’t want to be… Read more »

Kimmers
Guest

Amy, I think you did a fantastic job answering a really hard to answer question. What is it about babies and weddings that always bring out the strong opinions?? 🙂 Can I piggyback off the OP’s question and ask, what if my fiance’s sister has 5 kids? And they range from 15 all the way down to 12 months? And I really, realllllllly want an adults only wedding, but I JUST KNOW that his sister will be MORTALLY OFFENDED if we don’t invite her kids (even though I love them dearly I must say, they are 100% the type to… Read more »

E
Guest
E

Yes, Ellen. I wish I had known that when I was getting married. I know when we get a wedding invitation, the only time my husband is anything except grrr/dread/whine is when it’s guaranteed open bar and other friends as guests. I just returned from an out-of-town family wedding (which required plane tickets), which started at 7pm, to which my children were invited (which was touching, and no, we wouldn’t have gone without them). I was so glad to be there for my cousin, but for me, my focus is always my kids…that’s just the way it is. The wedding… Read more »

Amy
Guest

My mom owns a chapel, ballroom and event center, and bridal shop in Indiana, and has been a wedding coordinator for, jeez, forever. 15 years? Anyway, She has written about this very issue on her blog: http://aberdeenmanor.blogspot.com/2008_02_01_archive.html As a former bride and many-times-bridesmaid, I have seen the fallout of having a no kids policy at weddings first hand. One friend of mine’s own brother threatened to boycott the wedding if kids weren’t involved – not for his own kids who were in the wedding party and would’ve been there anyway, but because of his niece and nephew (another sibling of… Read more »

Denise
Guest
Denise

I was married 10 years ago and this “kids” issue is still quite vivid. My parents wanted kids to be invited and my in-laws did not. Also there were 2 teenage cousins on my husband’s side who had recently been slinging mashed potatos across the table at a very pricy restaurant on the occasion of their grandmother’s 80th birthday. We invited everyone else to bring kids except the family with the food-fighting teens. The parents came but there is no contact with the cousins to this day. Personally, I don’t care, but my husband wishes that he didn’t ailienate them… Read more »

Heidi
Guest

Y’know, I’m in the same pickle. My BF and I have started talking about getting married. Problem is…he’s got 2 kids from his first marriage, we have one child together, and oh yeah, aside from ONE PERSON in the wedding party, everyone we know has at least two kids. Mostly under the age of six. Like the OP, weddings have always been a family affair, and families have babies and children. We debated for hours on whether or not to invite kids. I mean, OUR kids are there, and we didn’t want to insult the bridal party and yeah…We’re paying… Read more »

Mama Bub
Guest

We did not have kids at our wedding. We had a very large evening wedding and it just didn’t seem like the appropriate place. The only children were the ones IN the wedding. People understood that a wedding is not a children’s event. If people are coming from out of town, I would help them to find a sitter, though, otherwise they’ll be high and dry.

NGS
Guest

Ah, yes. There was much family drama in our world over this question. We said no kids and we meant it (fine, I’ll come out and say it was because I am selfish and wanted to be the center of attention, not the adorable 2 year old bustin’ a move on the dance floor). Plus, Our wedding didn’t start until 6:00 pm. Late night! We had several people tell us they weren’t coming because of the kid situation. That was fine with us as we were trying to keep it small. But, the opposite side of the coin, the neglected… Read more »

Abi
Guest
Abi

Please have the wedding you want. In my opinion adding 25-30 children to a wedding is a lot of chaos and additional money. That said, about 25 years ago my dad’s cousin got married and invited everyone’s children. I have such fond memories of the event – hanging out with my all my extended cousins, dancing with my dad and grandpa. It was great. I recently saw the couple at another family wedding and mentioned how I had such great memories of their wedding. They said they couldn’t believe how many kids from my generation had come up to them… Read more »

Dee
Guest

I’m commenting only because this issue came up recently with a friend of mine. I think if you have out of town guests with kids, the kids should definitely be invited. I have a 1 and 4 year old and am not comfortable leaving them even for a weekend to attend an out of town event. If guests are all local, then I’d still invite the kids knowing that most parents won’t choose to bring them (unless they are family). Most parents know their own kids. If the kids can handle the situation well, they’ll probably bring them along. If… Read more »

LB
Guest
LB

I’ve always been a pretty firm believer in the Evening Wedding = NO LITTLE KIDS. I was never invited with my parents to a wedding until I was a teenager, because where I’m from, it’s just assumed if you’re having a nighttime formal affair there likely won’t be any young children. I have no children, but I am married, and yes, some people expressed their anger at not inviting kids to our wedding, but in the end, those people still came anyway and it hasn’t been mentioned since. SO…do what is right for you and your fiance. It is your… Read more »

Christina
Guest
Christina

I’m planning my wedding right now as well. What I’ve done is be straight up with the Moms. I’ve called each of them and said something like, “Look I realize this can be a challenge for you and I want to make it easy if I can. I know you have to travel/drive/manage 3 kids/breastfeed/insert their issue here and here are the options I’ve come up with. How can I make it work for you?” Some of them have said, in not so many words, that my calling them was clearly my way of trying to keep them from attending.… Read more »

Sarah 3
Guest
Sarah 3

My sister in law got married 2 years ago and she only invited my children because they were in the wedding. She also provided sitting for the kids after the main pictures and meal were done.
That said? I look forward to weddings where I have to find a sitter for my children and leave them at home. If it’s an evening affair esp with open bar, I would exclude children. You certainly have enough to worry about with people drinking and driving. Throw children into that mix and you are adding absolutely uneccesary stress.
My two cents!

Michele Horne
Guest

I am floored by the response here. I did not even know that there was a big issue over this subject. Who the heck do you wedding guests think you are to dictate if your children should be guests at someones wedding? How selfish and rude of you! I have 3 children and would never even consider bringing them even if invited. It is the couples one and only very special day, not mine. There is no way that a bunch of kids is not going to alter the air of the wedding… they will be boisterous, lively and playful.… Read more »

Isabel Kallman
Guest

Here are some responses from Twitter: @yummymommyseyes I did not even know this kids/ no kids debate existed! Some people have quite a sense of entitlement! @mublogger If you’re asking people to come from faraway, then it can be hard, but local, I don’t expect my kids nor do I really want to bring @MrsLoulou I would be offended if other children were invited, and not mine. @rookieheather I radically prefer not to have my kids at the wedding. @queenvanna only if i’m coming from out of town…. if it’s a 1 day deal, no biggie. @TheChefsWife it depends on… Read more »

Christy
Guest

It’s up to the bride and groom. Period. Everyone else needs to get over themselves. Yes, it might mean that you can’t attend, and that’s too bad, but it’s not about you. We had my nieces and nephews at the wedding and no other kids. We had friends who had a newborn and we talked with them about it. We told them that we’d prefer no babies, but that it was more important that they attend. They found a sitter. And, I’m sorry, but how is it rude to invite related children, but not friends’ kids? The bride and groom… Read more »

Joceline
Guest
Joceline

I know this probably isn’t helpful to just have MORE OPTIONS, but another way to explain who you did/didn’t invite is to only include nursing babies. One of my husband’s cousins did that, and I thought it was a good way around having kids who are running around, eating, whining, but still gives parents with really little ones who can’t be left a way to go to the party. Anyone with kids older than that can leave them (even if they don’t LIKE to they still CAN), and you can hook out of towners up with babysitters (not pay for… Read more »

Maria
Guest
Maria

I’m with E on this one – when I got married, were there small children and babies there? Huh. I can’t even remember the GROWNUPS who where there, never mind kids! Brides and grooms are in such a (justifiably) self absorbed haze that most likely they won’t even notice who’s there and who’s not, who’s dancing with who, and who had to slip out of the ceremony because their little one needs a boob, bottle or change. That being said though, I am going to a wedding tomorrow and leaving my 3month old at home, both sets of grandparents are… Read more »

Velocitygrl
Guest
Velocitygrl

We did not invite anyone younger than 18 to our destination wedding, and we were quite happy with that choice. It was kind of a big deal, because both my BIL’s had 4yo daughters, and their wives are kinda crazy. I did call a couple friends from OOT with young kids, and let them know that we could help arrange babysitters through the hotel. I also made clear through word of mouth that while kids were welcome to be there for the weekend, the wedding/reception was intended for adults only. I know that there were some guests that didn’t attend… Read more »

Megan
Guest
Megan

This is the worst sort of issue. This wedding is about YOU and YOUR HUSBAND, not everyone else. I wish that folks would take a step back and realize that brides aren’t going to be devastated if you can’t come to the wedding because of childcare issues. There are a million reasons that a person might not be able to attend and an unworkable situation due to childcare is a totally valid one. Like you mentioned, your guests are going to say one of the following: “Fine” and then make appropriate arrangements, “This doesn’t apply to me” and bring their… Read more »

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

On kids at weddings—if you don’t invite them (and you are obviously within your rights if you don’t) chances are you might offend someone. If you can live with that, cool. If not, you should probably invite them. I’ve been to few weddings without kids present and in my opinion its more likely that some drunken cousin will cause trouble than a little kid running around. And there is nothing quite as cute as a bride dancing with a bunch of kids at the dance 🙂 Something else not entirely related to the topic, but I’ve seen coming up in… Read more »

Kate
Guest

Oh, Kelly. I am am right there with you. My fiance and I are in our 30s, and most of our friends and families have children – many of them small children. We decided to invite children for two reasons: 1)Because we’re locked in to a huge F&B minimum so adding kids into the picture really just helps us meet our F&B min (I know that sounds coarse). 2)We love kids and love the kids of our friends and family and see them as part of the big circle of love. We have included a “children’s info” tab on our… Read more »

kakaty
Guest
kakaty

FWIW: here is what we did since I knew there was no way to get around the kid thing (and we were only going to have 6 kids, tops). We invited them, asked the oldest, a 10 year old girl, to keep an eye on them after dinner (paid her like $25 bucks). The other kids ranged from 2-6 years old and there were dozens of aunts and adult cousins on hand to keep an eye on them. At the tables we gave each kid a dollar store coloring book, a 4-pack of crayons and a matchbox car (total investment… Read more »

Stillie
Guest

I DO hate kids, and I’m the first one to be selfish about weddings, too. It’s YOUR wedding, and if you don’t want kids there, so be it. Yes, it’s true that one of the best parts of a wedding is sharing it with friends. Yeah, yeah, whatever. You want it to go perfectly, and it’s about you and your new hubby. If someone gets all @ss-hurt because they can’t bring their gremlin, then too bad. They should realize that not everyone thinks their darling is such a treasure, that a wedding really isn’t a place for most children, and… Read more »

Catherine S
Guest
Catherine S

I am of the school of thought that most people won’t remember who attended the wedding, and especially not the kids. I worried way too much about this issue when I was getting married and it ended up being absolutley fine. Some people brought kids, some didn’t and in the end, there was no drama and I wasted time worrying. I also kinda feel like people put a lot of stipulations on wedding guests… dress a certain way, must purchase gift from specific registry, no kids, they want you to stay at a specific hotel, and add another list of… Read more »

jodifur
Guest

I actually want to add, I wasn’t so mad that no one (including people that lived in the out of town location) helped us find a sitter, but that people gave me crap for not going to the wedding when I had nothing to do with my 4 year old.
I totally respect people’s right not to have babies at weddings. Hell, I didn’t. I had a black tie evening affair and it would have been inappropriate, but, if people can’t make it because of it, don’t give them flack.
Ok, now soapbox REALLY OVER.

Brie
Guest
Brie

I was married almost a year ago- I am very family centric. I have 20 first cousins- the youngest who was about 10 months old at the time of my wedding. My 2 year old nephew, 2 year old and 1 month old daughters of a married bridesmaid/groomsmen, the minister’s 3 kids, plus some of my other cousins who were 6-14 years old. My ceremony was at 6 PM, with a reception afterwards. A friend of my sister-in-law’s kept the small kids/babies during the ceremony (I paid her). I did not want crying babies/kids during that time. I invited the… Read more »

Karen
Guest
Karen

This horse is pretty dead, but I want to chime in too. I come from a large family and we had around 20 kids between 18 mos and high school at our wedding. It was a hoot. They all behaved, even the two Hellraisers that I figured would probably knock the cake over. I assigned my sister to keep an eye on them during the evening. The dance floor was packed all night and these kids still talk all the time about how much fun they had at our wedding. The photos are awesome. Kids really have a great time… Read more »

Kirstie
Guest
Kirstie

Not too much to add, because the above commenters are all right – do what makes YOUR DAY right for you and your soon-to-be-husband. All this talk of little ones makes me hope my best friend has kids before I get married though! (She got married in May, I’m not planning to get married for 3-4 more years since I’d like to graduate first, lol). I just wanted to respond to Amy’s comment about the 14-year-olds stealing from the bar and getting drunk. Having working in a catering hall since I WAS 14, I can tell you that any halfway… Read more »

ECB
Guest
ECB

We are headed to a wedding in DC next month. Our daughter will be 6 months by then. She will be staying with my sister and BIL near by. Sis is thrilled to be watching the kiddo. Husband and I are excited to have a a night out and a trusted baby sitter to watch her. The bride and groom have made it clear kids are welcome but I’ve only got two hands – one for a cocktail and one for a stuffed mushroom. 😉

Two Wishes
Guest

I began life as a wedding blogger and still follow my old group blog, so I have seen many generations of this discussion. Basically, the “correct answer” is: 1. It’s your wedding and you can shape both mood and guest list in any way you wish. If people disagree with a “no kid” rule, stand firm and let them know you will miss them (the parents) if they can’t make it and you hope to have some other opportunity to catch up with the whole family soon. 2. Most former brides say you should be consistent about either kids or… Read more »

Becky
Guest
Becky

I’m not a mom, so I can’t really chime in on what I would do. But I will say that I’ve seen a lot of people here worrying about the children’s behavior or how it might disrupt the “tone” of the wedding. In all the weddings I’ve been to, I can honestly say that none of the children really stand out or that I can remember any particularly incidents. (That’s not to say it probably doesn’t happen…) But in most cases, parents kept a watchful eye on their kids, left early if there was a problem or left the kids… Read more »

YetAnotherAmy
Guest
YetAnotherAmy

I just got married last month and had to deal with the same issue. I’m 35 – one of the last in my peer group to get married, so most of my friends have 2 kids now. Even though we had a morning wedding with a luncheon reception, the number of kids was really alarming – more than 40 out of 175 total on the original guest list, over half of those under the age of 6. (Our goal was a reception for 125) My Mom was terrified the lovely reception we planned would end up being a big kid… Read more »

Lana
Guest
Lana

What does your fiance think? When I brought the issue up with my (now) husband, he couldn’t imagine a wedding without kids.

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

We had kids at our wedding, never really considered not doing it. The little one were fine, very cute on the dance floor. The teenagers were the problem. They all managed to get trashed and one came very close to alcohol poisoning. So if there is alcohol you might want to have a chat with the reception site about strictly monitoring who is served.

Becky
Guest
Becky

My husband and I had the same issue. We decided to “split the baby” at our destination wedding. We had a small adult-only ceremony/short reception (only finger food, about 2 hours long) at night, but the next afternoon we rented out a nearby park and invited everyone to come. We just bought a bunch of cold cuts and chips and had the cake there instead. It cost us about $250 or $300 for the food and pavilion and everyone had a great time running around and no one was offended that someone was excluded.

Meghan
Guest
Meghan

I have three children and am absolutely not insulted if my kids aren’t invited, although I do think an exception should be made for nursing infants who can’t go more than a couple hours between feedings.

Nicole R.
Guest

When I got married ten years ago, we wrote a mission statement for our wedding. High on our list of priorities were “comfortable” and “family-friendly.” So we invited kids, had an afternoon ceremony, and chose an in-town venue that shared a parking lot with a playground. Know what YOU want, I guess I’m saying. Some of my fondest memories are of attending my aunts’ and uncles’ weddings as a child, so my feeling was that family-friendly weddings link us together and make family and relationships stronger — what every marriage needs to succeed. Now I have two kids, a four-year-old… Read more »