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“I Don’t Want Kids at My Destination Wedding”

I’m getting married this September at a semi-destination event (it’s about a 2-hour drive away for most guests). My parents and my fiancé and I are paying for the wedding together. We all agreed that children would not be invited. The only exceptions are our 6-month-old nephew, a bridesmaid’s newborn and my two first cousins who are 11 and 12. We have several family members and friends who have toddlers and kids under 10 years old, and we simply do not want that many children that age at our wedding. There’s going to be lots of drinking, dancing, a pool and an after-party that goes til the wee hours in the morning — not the best place for young kids! When we sent out the invites, we specifically addressed the invites to Mr. and Mrs XX. I haven’t had any problems/questions from any couples with children, except one.

I just received a response card from a couple who replied that, yes, they would come but, “We may have to bring the girls if that’s okay.” The girls are a newborn (wife is pregnant now, will be giving birth a couple of months before the wedding) and a toddler. I completely understand that newborns, especially if they’re nursing, need to be with their mommies, and I have no problem telling her that the newborn can come. But their toddler, I have to say no to. I have first cousins with kids who are 2 and 5 who aren’t coming, another couple with a 9-month-old who wasn’t invited, another couple with a 3-year-old, another with a 6-year-old…the list goes on. I sent invites out early so people could arrange for travel, hotels, sitters, etc. if they had to.

Is it wrong of me to want to say no to the couple bringing their toddler? I feel bad, and I understand that when you are a parent, kids come first, but I feel like my fiancé and I need to stand our ground on this one. I know if my cousins or other friends/family see their toddler there, they will not be happy that their own kids couldn’t come. I haven’t even mentioned it to my family, because I know they would freak out a bit if they heard someone asked! — Wants Kid-Free Wedding


Oy vey. I wish you wold have written before you sent out the invites and asked how best to deal with having a destination wedding that you don’t want kids to attend. I would have told you to consider one of two options: provide babysitters for your guests with kids (one babysitter for every 3-5 children), or include a list of local babysitters/babysitting services in the invitations to parents of children. Because the fact is, you are having a destination wedding — one that’s going to require at least one overnight stay in a hotel, and for many parents of young children — which seems to describe a lot of your guests — it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to plan such a trip without bringing their kids along. Not everyone has family or flexible friends or babysitters that can watch their kids for 24-48 hours at a time.

I’m also a little concerned that since you’ve sent invitations out to your destination wedding without specifying that kids weren’t invited, there may be some families who just assume they are and don’t bother to double check with you. Of course, you know your friends better than I, who doesn’t know them at all, so maybe you know you don’t have reason to worry about that. If, however, you think there’s a possibility your wishes and intentions may have been misunderstood, you could still send out that list of local babysitters or babysitting services in the area. Have you booked some rooms at one or two of the local hotels? If so, those hotels may even have a babysitting service or one they can recommend. Then you can send that info — email would be fine at this point — with a little note saying something along the lines of, “In case you’re having trouble finding babysitters to leave your children with when you come to the wedding, here’s a list of recommended local babysitters at [name of the town where you're getting married]. Really hope you can make it!” That way you make your message clear — no kids, please — while being helpful in the process.

As for the friends who have outright asked you if they can bring their toddler, you cannot allow them to bring their kid if you aren’t allowing any of your other guests to bring theirs (newborns and family members excluded). The best way to handle this situation is to call your friend, apologize for the inconvenience, thank them for understanding that you’ve decided not to have children at your wedding, and then give them the list of recommended babysitters in the area. Just be prepared that they may not come. Travel and hotel expenses will be high enough that babysitting costs on top of that may be more than some young families can afford. If you’re asking people to travel out of town for your wedding and you aren’t providing babysitters for their kids whom you don’t want in attendance, you’ll have to accept that some guests may decide not to come. This is one of the drawbacks of having a destination wedding — not everyone will be able to afford or arrange to make it (especially those with children).

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

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{ 174 comments… add one }

  • avatar BoomChakaLaka June 28, 2011, 8:03 am

    To answer you question point blank, it isn’t wrong to say no to anyone for anything. It also isn’t wrong to not want kids at your wedding.

    But, in this situation, yeah, you are definitely toeing a fine line. I don’t understand how you could decide between your parents and fiance, ONLY, that kids wouldn’t be invited yet not communicate that to the guests. And, even if you don’t want kids at your wedding, you still need to be sympathetic that some people, and rightly so, will put their kids over you.

    It’s a tricky trade-off. I think Wendy’s idea is clever, but it still leaves people open to outright not come (those that don’t trust others with their young children/can’t afford a babysitting service) or for those that do come, to leave early since they want to spend that time with their child or an emergency arises.

    I think another thing you can do is to confirm with everyone coming personally (since this is a semi-destination wedding, I don’t think there are a lot of people coming) via phone or e-mail, thank them for their “Yes” and let them know that unfortunately kids aren’t invited (include the babysitting if possible). That way you’ll find out who is coming and who is not, who might have brought their kids, and inform people that were thinking of bringing their kids not to.

    • avatar kerrycontrary June 28, 2011, 8:59 am

      I don’t know, I think that putting just the two peoples names on the invitation makes it clear that children aren’t invited. Every time my parents got a wedding invitation with just their names on it they knew that they couldn’t bring their kids. Weddings with kids usually say “Mr and Mrs. so and so and family”.

      • avatar lemongrass June 28, 2011, 9:42 am

        I really think that names on the envelope are the older, proper way to communicate who is invited but people are so casual these days that it doesn’t really fly anymore. My wedding is in a couple weeks and I only wrote the names of parents on the invites and over 20 of my 130 guest list are children. I didn’t mean to not invite them and I don’t think any parents assumed that they aren’t invited.

        • parton_doll parton_doll June 28, 2011, 9:52 am

          I agree. You really can’t assume anything with wedding invitations. The same thing happened with my wedding … I invited Mr & Mrs. Friend and they also brought their kids. So better to be specific upfront so you get the gust type that you want.

      • avatar Morgan June 28, 2011, 9:47 am

        Yeah, that’s pretty well accepted as protocol. The way I’ve generally heard it is to just address it to whoever is invited (so if its only you, you don’t get a plus one, if its not your kids, your kids can’t come, etc). I agree, including babysitter information would have been helpful; maybe you could add that to your wedding website and sort of spread it word of mouth or even email to the guests for whom its relevant?

      • bagge72 bagge72 June 28, 2011, 10:03 am

        Or sometimes the invitations would say kid friendly on it. The parents who are bring their kids should know that they can bring their kids to the hotel, but have to find other arraingments for the kids during the cerimony, and reception.

    • avatar BoomChakaLaka June 28, 2011, 12:16 pm

      But don’t they always include those RSVP cards where you are supposed to clearly say who you are bringing? So if its addressed to you, then you should mention that yes, you are coming, but I’m also bringing hubby, 2 kids and maybe the dog?

  • avatar Nadine June 28, 2011, 8:15 am

    I agree that people may assume that their kids are welcome, especially if it is a destination wedding. They are taking the equivalent of a holiday for you, to show they love and support you, and you are showing that their children are not welcome. Why would anyone assume that?
    Not many of my friends have children yet, but the ones that do are always welcome to bring them to dinner parties etc. Sometimes they choose not to, but the choice is always theirs. I think it is important to establish that NO children are welcome, and these are the reasons why. You would be wise to do this earlier, so you give people time to make a choice, and make arrangements appropriately.

  • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 8:41 am

    So what’s so special about “our 6-month-old nephew, a bridesmaid’s newborn and my two first cousins who are 11 and 12″ that they’re allowed and your other family members’ and friends’ kids aren’t? I think it’s pretty rude to pick and choose which kids are allowed and which aren’t, personally. You should have either said, flat-out, “adults only” on the invitation, or just left it up in the air and let people bring kids if they want. I think at this point the best you can do is what Wendy said, understand that some kids may show up, and try to help find childcare if you really don’t want them at the wedding and reception. I really don’t think you have any right to try to keep them from, say, running around the hotel and pool, though.

    Consider that for a LOT of families, two or three days at a motel out of town is a big deal, because it’s a vacation. For some it may be the only vacation they get all year, even though two hours doesn’t seem like that big of a deal on the surface. If they ask, say politely that you’d prefer children not be at the service or reception, since it will be adult-oriented. After that, I’d say it’s the parents’ problem to figure out how to handle the situation.

    • avatar Emsz June 28, 2011, 9:01 am

      The 6-month old nephew and the first cousins, obviously because they are family. That’s special about them, and nothing apart from that should have to be special about them.
      The Bridesmaid’s newborn probably can’t be separated from the mother for the amount of time both the wedding and reception will take. Especially if the mother is breastfeeding the newborn.

      • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 9:25 am

        She says: “We have several family members and friends who have toddlers and kids under 10 years old, and we simply do not want that many children that age at our wedding.”

        Therefore, she invited only the kids she liked best. Totally understandable (some kids I like, some kids I can’t stand), and it’s her wedding, so her prerogative, but I don’t think she can really play the “no kids” card here.

        • avatar camille905 June 28, 2011, 9:37 am

          No she didn’t only invite the kids she liked best- she invited a newborn that can’t be separated from it’s mother and FAMILY in the form of her two first cousins. You’re being deliberately obtuse.

          • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 9:43 am

            I’m not being at all obtuse, I’m pointing out what she said in her letter.

            I actually think her reasoning might have been that, at 11 and 12, her cousins were old enough to attend, which I get, if all the other excluded kids are toddlers (a different bag entirely). I really think that at this point it’s the parents’ responsibility to take care of making sure their kids aren’t there. But, of course, she could be extra gracious and help them find childcare if they choose to bring the kids with them.

            I think it’s really important, however, that the LW realizes there are most likely going to be some uninvited kids there. A lot of people will assume their kids are allowed, unless they’re expressly uninvited. I wonder, LW, did you put a line on the invitation, like someone mentioned below? but anyway, going forward, I agree with Wendy. Cover your bases by getting the numbers for some sitters in the area, just in case.

            • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 1:56 pm

              Discussions get pretty heated here, but when somebody calls somebody else ‘obtuse’, THE SHIT IS ON. You don’t drop the o-bomb and expect to walk away unscathed!

              • parton_doll parton_doll June 28, 2011, 2:51 pm

                preach on preacha!

          • avatar Christy June 28, 2011, 9:53 am

            But she didn’t invite other, younger, first cousins. It’s favoritism.

            • avatar SpaceySteph June 28, 2011, 10:06 am

              Maybe she only invited family members she had a relationship with. For my bat mitzvah we invited only one of my 3 great aunts, who I saw regularly. The others I had met only twice in my life and my parents didn’t feel the need to invite them.
              If these other family members have kids they don’t know or rarely see, why should they be invited? Besides a kid under 10 probably would be bored out of their mind at a wedding and a toddler won’t even remember.

              • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 10:24 am

                I agree, the children probably won’t care. I think the issue at this point is the parent.

                If I had kids who weren’t invited because it was a “no kids allowed” wedding, and I scrambled to find childcare and attended the wedding, I’d be kind of offended if I saw a bunch of other kids there. I’d assume either their parents were rude and party-crashing by bringing their munchkins, or those kids had been invited and mine hadn’t. Maybe as a friend that wouldn’t bother me, but as family, it would (if the kids that were invited were family).

                I think following Wendy’s advice and just graciously accepting that some unauthorized children will probably show up will avoid a lot of drama.

            • avatar Jess June 28, 2011, 12:04 pm

              “I have first cousins with kids who are 2 and 5 who aren’t coming”.. I think that’s what you’re referencing. They would techincally be first cousins once-removed. So it depends on what your definition of “immediate family” is, but I understand why you can draw the line at first cousins and your nieces/nephews, but have that be the limit.

            • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 12:17 pm

              This is the LW and I didn’t invite any other younger first cousins because I don’t have any :) I invited all my first cousins…the youngest is 11 years old.

              • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 12:45 pm

                I consider them my 2nd cousins (I also have 3rd cousins)…and there are so many of them out there of all ages, both adult and children. Unfortunately mine (and my parent’s) budget had to draw the line somewhere. Honestly, if we had all the money in the world, things would always be a different story.

            • avatar kali June 28, 2011, 1:47 pm

              Nothing wrong with favoritism. It’s a wedding. It’s really not a kid event.

              My daughter had no children at her wedding except three favorite nieces whom she made junion bridesmaids and flowergirls to minimize the bitching from other relatives. And believe me, no children at a partially Filipino wedding is a MAJOR departure from tradition. As her Mom I got to talk a few relatives out of calling and asking the bride to make an exception for their ‘little angels.’

              My best friend from high school hired a babysitter for her cruise wedding (a four hour tour!) otherwise she’d have had to pay for the kids. Makes sense to me not to want to pay for meals for kids and listen to them scuffling or crying during the ceremony. Not all venues are kid friendly.

              It really is the couple’s choice and we guests should respect their wishes on their day. If that means we are unable to attend, send a gift and best wishes and leave it at that. It’s their choice.

              • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 2:16 pm

                I think that’s what it comes down to – some people see weddings as all family (including kid) events, whereas others see it as an adult event. Is it okay to have a few kids, who are very close to the bride and groom, attend an adult event? Some people will say yes, others no.

                • avatar kali June 28, 2011, 2:38 pm

                  That call is for the bride and groom to make – not the guests. It’s their money, their ceremony, their decision. It’s even their decision if they invite every third kid or all the green-eyed left-handed two-year-olds. THEIR choice.

                  We don’t have to like it. Our choice as guests is to attend or not. We guests can make our stand that way if we feel so strongly that children must be included.

              • avatar SpaceySteph June 28, 2011, 6:58 pm

                “As her Mom I got to talk a few relatives out of calling and asking the bride to make an exception for their ‘little angels.’”
                OMG I hope to never be one of those parents who thinks that somehow my children are better than anyone else’s little brats.
                A man at my synagogue asked me to take him and his 9 year old son on a tour of the space center, which I was happy to agree too. Then he asked if I would be able to pull strings to get them on this special behind the scenes tour offered by the public affairs office. It is for people 14 and up but he said “He’s very mature for his age,” blah blah blah. Well I didn’t have the power to get them on the tour so I took them in using my guest passes.
                Well the kid was an ABSOLUTE brat when I took them on the tour. He ran ahead, lagged behind, walked down the middle of the street, climbed on things he should not be climbing on. Mature for his age my ass. He’s a 9 year old, and its fine that he behaves like a 9 year old… but I wish parents would understand that their child is not a special darling little angel, and sometimes they are too young for certain things. Its not a slight, it just means they need to grow up a little.

      • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 9:33 am

        Also, yes, if the invitation said only “Mr. and Mrs. XXX,” then yes, they should NOT bring their kids. But you should probably assume that many of them will.

        • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 9:44 am

          Hell yes. I’m not sure when it ever became OK to blindly assume that you can bring along your kids when they are not invited, but it’s dead wrong. When I was a kid, I either received a separate invitation addressed to Master Spaceboy (invited) or I didn’t (not invited).

          Also having worked in the wedding industry for a few years, having any unplanned guests show up is a complete nightmare. The wait staff has to change assignments, the crew has to create a new table (or three), and the kitchen has to put out more plates. The room may or may not be at its occupancy restriction already. Kids are even tougher since most parents raise hell unless they are seated next to their kids, and the kitchen may or may not have the stock to create a kid’s meal on the fly. The bartenders also have to be on high alert if the party is open bar since you now have to create an over/under system on the spot (this is serious legal issue). It’s a disaster waiting to happen and the whole idea of ‘kids don’t count’ could not be more wrong. I have asked families to leave the venue because of this.

          • Skyblossom Skyblossom June 28, 2011, 12:12 pm

            I agree completely. If the kids aren’t invited they don’t go. It’s up to the bride and groom to choose the wedding that they want and if you’re invited you decide whether that wedding works for you. You know that they can’t accommodate everyone and they understand that their wedding may not work for you.

          • avatar dobby June 28, 2011, 12:14 pm

            “Hell yes. I’m not sure when it ever became OK to blindly assume that you can bring along your kids when they are not invited, but it’s dead wrong. ”

            THIS. THIS. 1000x THIS.

      • avatar camille905 June 28, 2011, 9:36 am

        And the LW already said that she understands that newborns can’t be away from their mothers that long

    • becboo84 BecBoo84 June 28, 2011, 10:16 am

      I agree entirely! I understood when she made the exception for newborns (and a 6 month old could technically fall into that category in terms of breastfeeding, although pumping would be an option as well), but I didn’t understand the exception for others. Honestly, I think a little more thought and planning should have been put into this BEFORE the invitations were sent out.

      However, it’s your wedding, so you may of course do as you please. However, like other commenters have said, you probably have to accept the fact that some of your guests will choose their children over you. And, if you haven’t made it abundantly clear, some of them will assume that their children are invited.

  • avatar kerrycontrary June 28, 2011, 8:57 am

    I think that Wendy’s solution of hiring a babysitter at the hotel would’ve been the best option.Many hotels that are accustomed to weddings/wedding guests have designated staff for this purpose. It’s probably not too late to do that, or at least find a list of babysitters (which the hotel may have available). I do not think there is anything wrong with the LW wanting to not invite kids (although it IS difficult if it’s a destination wedding since its an entire weekend not just 6-8 hours). But, it’s not like there is a “right way” to plan a wedding, just as there is no manual for parenting or getting through adulthood. Just understand that the particular couple you asked about may not come, especially because they can’t stay up late drinking and partying with their newborn.

  • avatar MJ June 28, 2011, 9:04 am

    LW, I think your only option is to call your friend and explain the situation. You can use the reasoning that no one else is bringing their kids (minus the newborns) and it would be offensive to others if they showed up with their toddler. That makes it less of a personal thing…more like, “Oh, what can I do? Your kids are great, but…”

    While I get the idea of not having kids at weddings, I really think it’s way less of a big deal than most people realize. Obviously you don’t want a baby screaming during your ceremony. But at the reception? Kids are awesome. They dance to every song and have a blast! The best way I’ve ever seen this handled: a friend had a formal reception, but had a separate room for the kids, complete with pizza, a balloon artist, coloring books and crayons (in gift bags) and several adults to supervise. This saved her a ton of money on meals that no kids would eat (“ew, I don’t like salmon”) and gave parents a chance to eat a nice dinner with other adults. Then, when the meal and toasts were over, the kids came back in time for the dancing.

    Parents are good about taking their kids away to bed when it’s time or if things get too crazy. You’re more likely to have trouble with your aunt and cousin screaming at each other because they’ve had too much to drink.

    • avatar Fairhaired Child June 28, 2011, 9:16 am

      Great advice! And yes, most parents know when to take their kids away at parties when its too crazy or late, and will probably opt to have them go to bed early or just have the whole family leave the reception at a more decent hour to accommodate the kids without having sleeping children falling all over the reception hall.

    • avatar Lexington June 28, 2011, 9:25 am

      Kids are awesome, but some people just can’t afford to have them. I’m trying to make my wedding as small as possible (and with at least 50 relatives, it ain’t happening) and one way to cut down on the guest list is to cut out kids. So unfortunately, I don’t really have a choice with regards as to money.

      • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 9:32 am

        Us too! Adding kids would have increased our guest list by 20-30. At $150/head, it adds up pretty fast. You’re also paying full price for a guest that will choose the least expensive menu option and can’t drink.

        • avatar TheOtherMe June 28, 2011, 9:41 am

          Spaceboy, you actually got charged the same price for kids ? We didn’t, it was a different price for them and obviously no bar fees either :)

          • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 9:51 am

            It all depends on your venue. Most higher-end places will not have a kid’s option. If you are big enough to require your own chair, then you pay full price. There are typically no bar fees either since everything was open bar. Having worked in the wedding industry, you can negotiate almost anything into your contract, but a high-end will tell you to screw off if you start pushing it on revenue items. We had to book our venue 14 months in advance to get our 3rd most desirable date… they certainly didn’t need to put up with our crap to fill the joint that night.

            In other words, welcome to New York.

            • avatar mf June 28, 2011, 12:47 pm

              Yeah, I’m getting married in Chicago and it’s pretty much the same deal. We’re only inviting children who are immediate family because we simply can’t afford to invite all our friends and family with kids. So we’re inviting them without their kids, because the only other alternative is to not invite some of them at all.

        • avatar MJ June 28, 2011, 9:42 am

          I’m not sure how my friend worked it out with the caterers/venue, but these kids didn’t have seats at the formal reception tables, and they didn’t eat the meal that was served. I don’t think having them there cost her any more than the pizza and babysitters (and gift bags).

          Of course, YMMV, depending on the setting and how flexible it is.

          • avatar twiglet June 28, 2011, 12:16 pm

            good grief. Gift bags, really? Do kids these days have to be given a present every time they go ANYWHERE?

            • avatar mf June 28, 2011, 12:47 pm

              I know! I mean, buy them a few coloring books and tell the parents to bring toys.

            • avatar MJ June 28, 2011, 1:07 pm

              Well, we got favors, they got gift bags. That touch was unnecessary, IMO, but she put in coloring books and crayons and maybe something else small. Not crazy gift bags!

        • avatar Valerie June 28, 2011, 12:30 pm

          This was our issue too, by inviting kids, it would have increased our guest list by ~20.

    • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 9:26 am

      It really depends on the occasion you have planned. If it’s a Saturday night black tie affair, then having kids everywhere will pretty much sabotage the event. I like Wendy’s idea of providing some kind of kid’s party back at the hotel.

  • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 9:07 am

    As Wendy said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if people assume children are invited. Typically, when children are not invited the invitations say something along the lines of “we respectfully request that our wedding and reception be an adults-only gathering.” If children are specifically invited, sometimes the invitation lists them, but if there’s no indication either way, most people probably assume they’re invited as a family.

    And I kind of agree about it being unfair to pick and choose children to be invited. Yes, newborns need to be with their mothers, but how is a newborn going to fare in a crowded, boozy, loud reception that runs late into the night? And how are guests going to fare when said newborns start screaming during the ceremony or as the best man is giving his toast. I’m not sure how that situation is better than a well-behaved 7-year-old. Look, no kids means no kids, and people will probably be miffed when they see a ton of babies and your 11- and 12-year-old cousins. If the cousins are in the wedding, then let them do their share and stay for dinner/toasts, but then they should depart at an age-appropriate time.

    I’d say it’s best to call or e-mail all the guests you know have children and ask if they’ve found suitable babysitters for the kids/offer to provide babysitting services at the destination during the ceremony and reception. Also, make peace with the fact that you will still see the kids at any pre/post-wedding events like brunch buffets or mini golfing, and/or that many people with kids simply won’t come.

    • avatar justpeachy June 28, 2011, 3:43 pm

      I have to disagree with you just based on the little we know about this wedding. If it were a backyard buffet-style affair, I think more people might show up with kids. However, because it’s kind of a destination affair, I’m betting it’s a seated event with a block of hotel rooms seat aside and the bride has a much better grasp on who should be coming (people who show up to weddings with more people than they RSVPed for have a special place in hell).

      And I really got to disagree with the opinion that people will be mad if they see other children there. If it’s a young cousin or nephew, odds are there are dozens of potential family members to hand the kid off to if they start to act out. If you’re a couple and you show up with your kid, you can’t have a romantic twirl around the dance floor without worrying that little Timmy is setting fire to the tablecloth with the floating candles.

      • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 6:17 pm

        I don’t think people will be mad that there are other kids there because they’re annoying– they’d probably be mad because they jumped through hoops to get a sitter for an overnight occasion, and then saw someone else was allowed to bring their kids. Maybe they wouldn’t be, I don’t know, but I’d be a little peeved if I were inconvenienced and yet others were allowed to break the rules.

        And you’re right, we don’t know the details of the wedding, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s somewhere between a resort-type destination wedding and a backyard barbecue. She said it’s about a 2-hour drive, so it’s probably in a neighboring town. In that case, I’d think not everyone will stay over and many will see it as more family-friendly because it’s somewhat close. I don’t know what people will assume, all I’m saying is I wouldn’t be shocked if people did assume kids were invited.

  • avatar TheOtherMe June 28, 2011, 9:08 am

    I guess I’ll be the first one to say that I wouldn’t go to a wedding if my kids weren’t welcome ( and I don’t even have kids ). I guess maybe wedding etiquette has changed a lot since I got married but I just don’t think it’s ok to flat out restrict any type of guests, whether it’s boyfriends/fiancés or kids.

    • avatar Flake June 28, 2011, 9:21 am

      If NO kids were allowed, then it would be ok I guess.. But I wouldn’t be happy to see other kids there if I couldn’t bring my own. And yes, you can even leave a newborn for a couple of hours with a bottle of expressed milk, if you really want to.

      • avatar PFG-SCR June 28, 2011, 9:25 am

        “And yes, you can even leave a newborn for a couple of hours with a bottle of expressed milk, if you really want to.”

        Not necessarily, plus this isn’t just a couple of hours – the drive alone is four hours round-trip. Add that to the time spent at the wedding ceremony and reception – the mother will be gone all day.

        • avatar Flake June 28, 2011, 9:28 am

          Ok, more then one bottle of expressed milk. Or simply do not attend the wedding. The baby can stay at the hotel with a parent or a relative, and the mother can come whenever she needs to feed the baby.

          • avatar PFG-SCR June 28, 2011, 9:41 am

            Not everyone has the luxury of living near relatives who can do this. Not everyone has the luxury of having relatives that are even willing to do this.

            However, regardless of your opinion on this, the LW is fine with newborns being in attendance.

          • Skyblossom Skyblossom June 28, 2011, 9:44 am

            You’re assuming you have a parent or relative who is available and willing to go along for the trip to spend the day and evening in a hotel just to babysit your baby. Then there is the problem that the expressed milk must be kept cold but be warmed to feed to the baby.

            • avatar TheGirl June 28, 2011, 10:11 am

              Hotplates work great for that and babysitters can be found anywhere. In fact, a lot of wedding venues will recommend local babysitters that are licensed to watch multiple children. I do recommend that the host of the wedding offer to cover the expenses, but I’m a bit old fashioned like that.

            • avatar kali June 28, 2011, 1:53 pm

              And not all babies will take milk from a bottle readily.

          • avatar TheGirl June 28, 2011, 10:08 am

            That’s what I did. I found a reputable babysitter for my friend’s newborn and paid for them to stay with the baby during the actual wedding. Its not really that expensive (especially when you consider the cost of a wedding) and it was totally worth it all around. My friend got a nice evening out that didn’t involve a screaming baby, and I got my adults-only reception.

          • Dear Wendy Wendy June 28, 2011, 10:20 am

            Ooh! Where can I find a parent or relative like this? I am due in less than four months and would LOVE to have a relative nearby who could just drop whatever and come travel with me — and pay for their own hotel room, please! — and watch my baby while I go to a party. Alas, my parents live on a different continent, Drew’s mother is long deceased, his father in 91, his brother lives in another state with two toddlers of his own, and my sister lives on the other side of the country. We’re totally on our own, and I don’t think ours is a unique situation. These days, parents simply don’t have the close family support they may have a generation or two ago when people didn’t spread out as much.

            • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 10:27 am

              Good news: I know a wonderful woman in Park Slope that provides this exact service for a reasonable fee

              Bad news: She is one month pregnanter than you and probably isn’t looking to take on new clients anytime soon. :(

              • Dear Wendy Wendy June 28, 2011, 10:36 am

                Boo. I would also settle for someone to watch Baby three mornings a week so I can keep this site up. Lining up daycare is next on my to-do list…

            • katie Katie June 28, 2011, 9:09 pm

              wendy, i cannot believe you are already 5 months pregnant! has time really flown by that fast!? lol

    • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 9:24 am

      No kids was pretty common when I was a kid (I’m 23), but I definitely remember that being stretched to inappropriate levels on a number of occasions. There are ways to be nice about it, and there are ways to be offensive about it. An in-town wedding where everyone’s within an hour’s drive, you let people get sitters on their own. An out-of-town wedding, you ideally should provide some kid-friendly activities or sitters.

      And you also have to have a clear idea of who’s a “kid” and who’s not. I remember once my parents were told the wedding of a family friend’s son was “no kids” so they couldn’t bring me– I was almost 15!! I was getting a driver’s permit a month after their wedding! And when I got there, I was put with my cousins (15 and 13) at the kids table they were “forced” to create, eating chicken nuggets and playing with crayons. As dancing started we were approached by the bride and asked if we would rather watch Disney movies in the hotel movie room with the other kids. No thanks, I’d rather be in hell.

      • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 9:29 am

        That’s insane. 13 year-olds should receive full invites.

        • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 9:37 am

          Agreed– I think teenagers are the cutoff. Clearly, the bride didn’t see it that way, or just didn’t understand what kids were like at various ages. My 13-year-old cousin shot daggers out her eyes at the bride when asked whether she’d started learning to write in cursive yet, and she (the bride) seemed shocked when the older of my cousins and I said we were looking forward to learning to drive and doing some pre-college visits in the next school year.

          • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 9:56 am

            If you’re old enough to sit through a four-hour Bat Mitzvah without crayons, you’re old enough to sit through a four-hour wedding without crayons.

            PS- Catering for teenagers is a BIATCH. They’ll usually reject the kiddie fodder (and rightfully so), their palates are usually not developed enough to handle the real cuisine-y type stuff, and they can’t drink enough to not care. Very tough task.

            PPS- Great, now I want crayons.

            • avatar Lexington June 28, 2011, 10:06 am

              I don’t think I’m old enough to sit through anything 4 hours without crayons :|

              • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 10:12 am

                I suck at crayons. I can never color inside the lines. :(

                • avatar dobby June 28, 2011, 12:22 pm

                  Screw the lines. Defy authority and go outside the lines! Why be like everyone else?

                  • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 12:50 pm

                    This vibe only works if you have a discernable degree of talent. If a talented kid does this, it’s “Bold! Avant garde! I love it!”. If I do this, it’s “OK…. here’s a ball. Perhaps you would like to bounce it”.

            • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 10:07 am

              Haha, we were all pretty good eaters (I’m actually a pastry chef, so my palate was fairly developed pretty early on and I’m usually willing to try anything once), but yes, in general teenagers are tough. They’re usually difficult just to be difficult.

              PS: crayons are always age-appropriate– go nuts!

              • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 10:14 am

                You went to Penn to become a pastry chef? How did mom and dad take that one?

                • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 6:25 pm

                  Surprisingly well, actually. They were a little skeptical at first, but I found a good year-long pastry and management program so I could use it more as a supplement to jump into the industry without spending a fortune. And my alternate career–public interest law– probably wouldn’t have made me any more money than I make now, but I’d have an extra $200,000 in debt from law school.

                  I do actually use my Penn education in my job at the moment, though, so they’re happy about that. I work for a small ice cream company (run by another Penn grad) doing marketing/operations and consulting on the flavors and production of the ice cream, and I’m hoping to start a small dessert catering business in the next year on the side of my full-time job.

          • avatar Jshizzle June 28, 2011, 9:07 pm

            lololol isn’t ‘cursive’ taught in grade 1 or 2?? What was that woman smoking?

          • kaluu kati July 19, 2011, 11:13 am

            ahhh no i think she gets that but has a cost issue here! remember, newborns don’t cost anything but possibly a bit of noise. but they would if she hired a sitter for them. each teenager would be another meal and at that age they might not want pizza over catered meals

            • kaluu kati July 19, 2011, 11:18 am

              my comment was in reply to quaker girl’ ‘teenagers are the cutoff’ by the way

    • avatar Temperance June 28, 2011, 1:24 pm

      I have been to many a wedding where bad children or screaming babies have ruined the ceremony. I totally disagree with you on t his.

  • Skyblossom Skyblossom June 28, 2011, 9:10 am

    It’s your wedding and you can choose to make it child free if you wish. As a parent I can tell you that we didn’t attend any wedding where our children weren’t welcome. The reason was that we have no relatives living in our area so had no one that we would be comfortable leaving a child with overnight. We would never use a babysitter at a destination because we would be leaving a young child with a total stranger in a place where the child had never been. I can’t think of a better way to make an infant or toddler cling like crazy for weeks to months than to leave them in a totally strange situation for an extended period of time. I would never do that to my child and I would never do that to myself because I would be the one dealing with the extremely clingy child for months.

    The other problem you have here is that you have already made exceptions to your rule. I know people who have been invited to events where no children were allowed and so made arrangements for their children only to find that exceptions had been made for other children. This insinuates that there is something wrong with the children (these children were well behaved) excluded and makes parents furious. I’ve known couples who quit speaking to friends who had done this to them. Your rule needs to apply to everyone if you don’t want guests to arrive and then spend the entire evening fuming that their kids weren’t allowed when others obviously were. You need to be very clear on the rules for which children are allowed and which aren’t and then apply then equally to all guests.

    • caitie_didnt caitie_didn't June 28, 2011, 9:20 am

      I was going to say, I don’t even have children, but if/when I do, I’d never leave them with a hotel babysitter I’d never met before! Maybe I’m paranoid, but there’s noooooo way.

      • avatar SpaceySteph June 28, 2011, 9:59 am

        Eh, I had a couple friends who did that for money in college at the Disney resorts. They were all kid lovers, and went through all kinds of training and background checks. It’s generally safer leaving your kids with them than with random teenagers on the block.
        Obviously I can’t tell you what to do with your kids but from my personal experience, I would happily leave kids with a hotel service, especially if I was going to be nearby.

  • avatar LTC039 June 28, 2011, 9:30 am

    While I understand the no kid policy completely, I think it’s unfair to request that your guests not only accommodate to traveling for your wedding, but also find babysitters. Had your wedding been in your same town, that would be completely ok.
    You can’t have your cake & eat it to, no, not even on your wedding day.

  • avatar PFG-SCR June 28, 2011, 9:31 am

    I think the LW is getting a lot of advice on what she “should have” done differently, but as things are now, she’s just asking about whether she can tell the parents of this one toddler that she’s (the toddler) not welcome. Since the parents are aware this is a “no kids” wedding (otherwise, they wouldn’t have written the note), then you can inform them that the toddler cannot attend if you feel strongly about it. But, there’s likely a good reason that they’ve asked to bring her, and so if you tell them this, the parents might not be able to attend.

    Personally, I’ve been to weddings that were “no kids allowed” and saw kids there, and even though I didn’t bring my own, I assumed there were special circumstances as to why those children were there or the parents disregarded the “no kids allowed” policy. It’s really your decision, though, and since all the other guests seem aware and are compliant with the “no kids allowed”, I don’t think I’d email out babysitter or other information. I’d just let things be and handle this one isolated situation how you want.

    • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 9:34 am

      There’s always one psycho that ignores the rules and you just have to deal with it. One woman brought her two Corgis to my cousin’s wedding as if this was a completely normal thing.

      • avatar TheOtherMe June 28, 2011, 9:35 am

        But Corgis are so cute !

        • avatar moonflowers June 28, 2011, 5:29 pm

          They’re adorable (I have a weakness for stubby-legged dogs), but I’ve heard they can be snappy in company. Apparently Queen Elizabeth II’s are responsible for biting the ankles of many foreign dignitaries visiting Buckingham Palace. Not ideal for a wedding…

      • avatar PFG-SCR June 28, 2011, 9:49 am

        “There’s always one psycho that ignores the rules and you just have to deal with it.”

        If the worst thing that happens on her wedding day is an “unauthorized” toddler is present, then I think it’s going to be a good day for the LW. :-)

        • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 10:01 am

          It could get dicey if the irate “How come THAT toddler was invited and MINE was not?!” conversation comes up. In that case, the bride has to say that they were not invited at all and that the situation has been dealt with. I really don’t consider this a Bridezilla situation. Bringing uninvited guests is an absolute no-no.

          • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 10:29 am

            That’s exactly what I’m afraid will happen. If she calls these guests to say, no, sorry, can’t bring your daughter, this is a “no kids” wedding, and then they arrive and see a few kids that *were* allowed to come (and probably one or two that weren’t invited but just showed up anyway), things could get awkward.

            Reason #284 why I am eloping.

      • avatar LTC039 June 28, 2011, 10:50 am

        Totally agree! My parents threw a party at our house years ago (open bar, dj, etc…) It was a night time party & they specifically put on the invitations “no children.” Everyone complied except for my dad’s OWN SISTER. She brought her twin toddlers & her son, who was 14 at the time, & was soliciting the bar tender for some alcohol. Even with that, it was ok for him to be there bc he was 14.
        The reason my parents didn’t want children there was bc we have a pool, it was night time, & they didn’t want people to be worrying about their kids running around/falling in the pool. BUT the party was a one night thing, same city, no travel required.
        I think the LW is being slightly unfair here, though.

      • avatar Britannia June 28, 2011, 4:00 pm

        I really don’t understand women who bring their dogs OR babies without checking to see if it’s okay beforehand! Frankly, I find that most dogs are on the same level of training as children under the age of 4… in fact, my dog has been better behaved than the majority of the children I’ve had the pleasure of dining in proximity of when my girlfriend and I take our dogs to an outdoor restaurant (a fairly regular tradition).

        That being said, people seem to have more of a problem with dogs showing up uninvited than children, which I find understandable because both species can be incredibly annoying, and their presence cumbersome. I know some people who show up to parties with their dogs in tow without asking the hostess (primarily, my best friend’s house parties, because she has a large backyard). It’s rude, no matter what kind of bundle of joy you show up with, if you didn’t get permission first!

        Oh and btw, my Corgi/Dachshund mix will be in my wedding and I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks :)

  • avatar Valerie June 28, 2011, 9:47 am

    I totally understand where the LW is coming from. My wedding in October is going to be in my hometown, but my fiance isn’t from my hometown, so the wedding will be “semi-destination” for most of his guests. We’ve decided not to invite any children either, except for my cousins (we went with the “family only” children invited, and in fact several of these cousins aren’t coming because their parents WANTED an adults-only weekend!). My fiance and I totally understand that some people with children aren’t going to be able to make it, which is fine with us. I think it’s totally ok to not include children at all, but if you do decide to include SOME children, the line needs to be clear-cut (family only, for example; or just the flower girl and ring bearer, etc.). In this case, since the line wasn’t clear-cut and now the LW has to backpedal, I would definitely go with Wendy’s suggestion of sending out a list of babysitters in town or checking to see if the hotel offers babysitting, but definitely realize and be understanding that people may not choose to attend if they can’t bring their kids.

    • avatar Valerie June 28, 2011, 9:50 am

      And yes, I agree with PFG-SCRs comment above, that the LW should just tell the couple that the toddler can’t come, but be prepared that they will decline the invitation all together.

  • avatar SGMcG June 28, 2011, 10:19 am

    LW, you already drew the line in your no-kids stance. I’ve observed that the best way to TRULY guarantee an adult-only wedding (aside from mentioning it on the invite) is to not have a flower girl or ringbearer in your wedding party. As cute as they are in their little dresses/tuxedos, a few guests reason that if you have those designated positions in your wedding party, then SURELY you’ll have a way of accommodating their children too, so that they can come along (even if they’re children are not individually invited and/or if the invite isn’t designated for the “Family”). If the LW can’t explain to that couple why the toddler can’t come, they should emphasize how “adult-only” the wedding will be by mentioning the absence of the flower girl/ringbearer, if they don’t have one assigned.

    FYI – I personally DID have the flower girl/ringbearer at my wedding, so kids were more than welcome to come. Yet because my invite was mailed 4 months before the actual event, some of my relatives chose not to bring them because it was easier to leave them at home with the relatives who stayed behind. The kids who did attend had a BLAST.

  • avatar Greebo June 28, 2011, 10:26 am

    Long-time reader, first time poster here. Hi to all.

    This topic brought back some memories. My husband and I were on a VERY tight budget when we were engaged. We found a reasonably priced, classy place for the venue, kept things simple, affordable and elegant…and took a scalpel to the guest list. Our list was so tight that only 4 kids were potentially involved, and you know what? We still made it “no kids”. That offended my father on behalf of my sister, but my sister, her husband and my mother were thrilled to have the night off. So was my SIL. And my family came from out-of-state and managed to get a sitter, despite having no non-attending family nearby. The kids at issue were 1, 3, 4 and 7.

    Incidentally, my husband and I adore those kids. They were at the rehearsal dinner. But their behavior was not trustworthy at a formal event, their parents were at the head table, and babysitting duties would have fallen on the grandmothers, neither of whom wanted to babysit on the day their daughter/son were getting married.

    I respectfully disagree that anyone besides the parents have any responsibility to find babysitters. This is just part of parenting. Also, if you locate a sitter who you think is good, but who turns out to be irresponsible or even worse, how do you think that will affect your relationship with the parents?

    That said, I agree with the posters who say the “no kids” rule should be a blanket:no one under age 10, no kids at all, whatever. Otherwise, whatever the reason for including some of the kids, it does look like favoritism.

    • avatar mf June 28, 2011, 12:30 pm

      Thank you for your comment! I REALLY hate it when people suggest hiring a babysitter to accommodate families at a no-kids-allowed wedding. I’m planning my wedding now and I’m spending thousands of dollars on appetizers, dinner, alcohol, favors, and entertainment for my friends and family, and now I’m supposed to foot the bill to babysit your kids as well?! And practically speaking, I don’t know anyone who is planning a wedding who also has the extra cash for a babysitter.

      It would be nice and helpful for the LW to recommend a babysitter but that’s going above and beyond–it’s not actually her responsibility. And you’re right, if that babysitter turns out to be irresponsible, the parents may hold you accountable.

      • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 1:27 pm

        “And practically speaking, I don’t know anyone who is planning a wedding who also has the extra cash for a babysitter. ”

        FWIW, for the obscene amount of money Spacewife and I dumped into our wedding last July, shelling out $300 for a babysitter might be a good use of funds. At some point, you just close your eyes and write the check. We spent $800 on staff tips, FFS.

  • avatar Tudor Princess June 28, 2011, 11:26 am

    When I was 16 or 17, my brother and his wife were invited to a kids free wedding a few hours away from where we lived. Instead of hiring a stranger, they brought me along and I watched my niece and nephew while they went to the wedding. (I also did this when they went on a ski vacation which was awesome because I got to go and ski for free and all I had to do was play with my awesome niece and her cousins).

    Anyway, might I suggest finding a young relative that isn’t invited, but old enough to babysit, to come along and serve as babysitter for your friend? That way, it might be a stranger, but at least they are known by someone so that they might feel more comfortable leaving their child with them.

    Perhaps I am different in my thinking, but I believe a wedding isn’t just about you and your husband. Yes, for the most part it is, but you are asking people to come out of their way (especially in this case),to celebrate with you, and you should feel honored that they love you and want to share in your day with you. You should be more than happy to help and try to accommodate them as best as you can.

  • avatar Desiree June 28, 2011, 11:35 am

    I really hope that the two infants invited remain silent during the ceremony. I was recently maid of honor in my friend’s wedding, and she had her two year old cousin be the flower girl. The child shrieked and sobbed during the vow exchange, and the child’s mother did not remove her until too late to really matter. If the guests at the wedding who were forced to leave their little ones at home have to hear someone else’s baby throwing a fit during the ceremony, they probably won’t be too happy.

  • avatar Bethany June 28, 2011, 11:48 am

    I think what people are forgetting here is that it’s HER WEDDING and she can choose to invite whoever she wants, regardless of if they are a child or not. You wouldn’t force her to invite a relative that she didn’t like/didn’t get along with, would you? Why should she have to invite someone just because they are a child?

    Personally, I would be pissed if someone who wasn’t invited showed up to my wedding, regardless of their age. If your name isn’t on the invitation, you are not invited. If the whole family was invited, the invitation would read THE SMITH FAMILY. If it’s address to MR and MRS SMITH, get the point and don’t bring your kids.
    To assume that anyone is invited to an event is rude, in my opinion.

    • avatar SweetChild June 28, 2011, 12:08 pm

      I agree that it’s rude to assume that someone is invited when they’re not on the invitation. I figured that my then-bf wasn’t invited to my cousin’s wedding as she never mentioned him coming at all until 3 days beforehand when I was informed that yes, of course he was invited and I should have assumed as such. That then led to me awkwardly having to ask him to come and he had to get time off as it was on a wednesday. The opposite problem I guess.

    • Tracey Tracey June 28, 2011, 12:22 pm

      Good point, but she’s being arbitrary with her guest list. To say she didn’t want kids is one thing, but she’s also made exceptions to that rule. How will that make the parents of the uninvited kids – the ones who are traveling two hours out of their way and paying for travel expenses plus child care for those who had to remain home – feel when they arrive at the wedding and see…invited kids? It is rude to assume an invite is all inclusive without checking with the hostess of the event. IMO, it’s equally rude to not say children are not included on the invitation…then turn around and invite some kids. This is setting the stage for a lot of unnecessary hurt feelings and resentment.

      • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 2:00 pm

        Luckily, I didn’t say “adults only wedding” on the invite. You are right to say I did make exceptions to my “rule,” so I should probably stop calling it a rule, and just say the only children invited are my nephew and first cousins and leave it at that.

        • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 2:49 pm

          Absolutely. Draw the line at closeness of relation and not age. ‘No kids’ would even have to be applied.

    • avatar Random June 28, 2011, 12:25 pm

      I think the aggregate wedding experience across a lifetime (one’s own plus all guesting, etc) would be improved by acting as if a wedding was a celebration for the community organized by the bride and groom. I’m not claiming that’s true, but it would be if we all acted that way. Under that rubric, destination weddings (not of the LW’s type) are mildly tacky since they impose a large cost on the community at large. They can be hugely expensive, and owuld be seen to be so, except the inviters typically pretend the vacation component should not be counted. It’s okay to be tacky occasionally, even on one’s wedding. Likewise, not inviting kids is tacky since it diminished community involvement. Again, you’re allowed to be selfish now and then and not be a selfish person, but you are a better person if you simply don’t mind much if a toddler is mildly disruptive to your “perfect” day. Large disruptions do matter, but then to the extent the kids can remain, they should (even if with a babysitter slightly out of sight). I’m not suggesting any of this, just commenting on the weirding of weddings in our affluent world. Another way to note this is that arranging a party in your own honor is odd/tacky (e.g., bride organizing “her” wedding), whereas organizing a celebration for the community is not.

      • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 12:55 pm

        I think the aggregate wedding experience across a lifetime (one’s own plus all guesting, etc) would be improved if smug hippie douchebags respected other people’s decisions.

        • avatar Random June 28, 2011, 1:12 pm

          Well, my post was more respectful of other people’s decisions than yours was respectful of mine to be (arguably) mildly disrespectful. While it’s your principle and not mine, I didn’t see my comment as particularly disrespectful. I would, in fact, be fine with being disrespectul of bad choices, but I was more just feeling around what sort of cultural consensus has developed (“bride gets to celebrate her day”) and whether it’s good or some sort of problem of collective action. I’m not a hippie, although I will cede to your greater knowledge of douchebags (kidding: I like you, spacebody, and it’s not contingent on your liking me). Everyone always hates me on the internet and likes me in person, so it balances out.

          • avatar kali June 28, 2011, 2:08 pm

            Random – in our family, any wedding is a destination wedding with guests typically coming from at least four continents. And I completely disagree with you that a wedding is a community event. A portion of the community may be invited to attend and join in the celebration, but the ceremony is for the couple.

            FWIW, this whole insane business is part of why I eloped. So glad I did.

      • avatar Bethany June 28, 2011, 1:24 pm

        I have never in my life been to a wedding where everyone who was invited lived within a short drive of the wedding/reception. To say that having a wedding in a location that is a “destination” is tacky is just absurd. I grew up 6 hours away from my closest relative. It would be physically impossible for me to have my wedding somewhere that wouldn’t be a “destination” for someone. In real life people don’t always live where they grew up and where the rest of their family lives.

        • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 1:34 pm

          Yep. My entire family is scattered, as are the few friends I have left from HS and college. No matter where I get married, a lot of people won’t come. That really narrows invitations down to VERY close friends and VERY immediate family. Casual friends and extended family don’t know me well enough to justify the travel, IMO.

          Reason #4 why I am eloping.

        • avatar Random June 28, 2011, 1:54 pm

          I did say destination weddings not of the LW’s type, which is arguably what you’re talking about. I’d say “destination weddings” is a term more typically reserved for weddings where everyone is going together on a vacation of sorts (although I’m open to correction). The goal is to get a vacation in (and, often, damn the torpedoes/cost). If the goal were to pick a location as convenient as possible for the guest list, it’s not really a destination wedding by intent (just happenstance). Anyway, just to reiterate, imagine a thought experiment:

          Person 1 is trying to plan a perfect wedding for her guests. She says things like “I’m trying to just have a really cool party for my family and friends”. Person is trying to plan the perfect wedding for herself (and maybe, secondarily, her husband). She says things like “I want this to be my perfect day. I’ve been dreaming about it for years”. As it turns out, Person 1 and 2 end up planning identical weddings. I’d suggest person 1 is still likely a happier person (and likely to have had a happier perception of her wedding). Of course, people with such goals are very unlikely to plan the same weddings, but to the extent they differ, presumably person 1′s wedding is also better for her guests.

          So, sure, “destination weddings” where it is chosen because it suits your guests is not tacky. I just think, on average, that’s not the way the term is usually used.

          Not a big deal, and I should clearly shut up now :-)

          • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 2:05 pm

            We may not agree on certain things, but as a project manager I have to say… I’m intrigued by the application of crowdsourcing to wedding planning!

          • avatar ForeverYoung June 28, 2011, 3:24 pm

            Well I think it’s kind of rude to suggest all destination weddings are tacky. I had the typical “destination wedding” in Costa Rica. I have a HUGE family and am not a fan of a lot of attention on me. I wanted to celebrate my wedding day with the people that could make it in a relaxed environment, aka a beach. I did have some young cousins that made it, and that was great. Having a huge wedding with 300 people staring at me is enough to make me run to the nearest xanax dispensary. Our wedding was small and personal and I loved it. I assumed a lot of relatives wouldn’t be able to make it, and was fine with that. All relatives were invited, and it was during a school break so if any relatives did want to bring their kids they could. I’m just not sure how that’s tacky.

            • avatar Random June 28, 2011, 3:47 pm

              “I assumed a lot of relatives wouldn’t be able to make it, and was fine with that.”

              It’s not an act of God. Here’s that sentence rewritten:

              “I arranged a wedding a lot of my relatives who would have otherwise liked to attend, couldn’t make, for reasons of expense and convenience”.

              In fact, you actually did this deliberately and used the destination wedding partially to disguise the fact. That is, you invited people hoping they wouldn’t attend. It’s that sort of behavior that I’m calling tacky.

              “Well I think it’s kind of rude to suggest all destination weddings are tacky.”

              I didn’t. I said destination weddings not of the LWs sort. And, yes, one tacky decision does not a tacky wedding make, and I also said one gets to be tacky. For future reference, generalizations in ordinary speech are not intended to apply without exception unless explicitly stated (joke).

              • avatar Kate June 28, 2011, 3:52 pm

                I SERIOUSLY doubt this LW invited people just to do it. She can’t make the call if they can or cannot afford to come.

                Your definition of tacky is strange.

                • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 4:04 pm

                  I just assumed that there would be some people, not anyone in particular, that couldn’t come. Statistics and basic realistic thought tell most brides and anyone planning any sort of event this. I also knew that because my wedding is more than a 20 minute drive for most, the percentage that can’t come would go up. And I’m fine with knowing that, just like the other bride was find knowing her destination wedding might cause more people to not come. You can’t please everyone.

              • avatar ForeverYoung June 28, 2011, 4:15 pm

                Oh you think you’re so smart. Joke’s on you, my family lives in another country. If they had to come to where I live now they still would have had to pay for international plane tickets. At least if their going to have to pay for a plane ride to come to my wedding they might as well get to go to a beach. I have only lived in the city I do for two years so saw no reason to have the wedding here, and didn’t want to have it in my home country either because then my husband’s family would have had to travel. Either way one side of the family was going to have to get a passport and travel, so why not go to Costa Rica?

              • avatar ForeverYoung June 28, 2011, 4:16 pm

                In this case assuming makes an ASS out of just you.

                • avatar Random June 28, 2011, 4:40 pm

                  Are we fighting? Anyway, your response seems to be that because having your wedding near your family would be a burden on your husband’s family, and having a wedding near your current address would be a burden on your family, you decided to have a destination wedding and burden both. I have no problem with that, incidentally, but you seem to avoid saying so. Anyway, it was irrelevant to my point, which was about intent. Again, I have no psychic powers, but is it not true that:

                  Your preference is for a small wedding.
                  Your preference is to not insult people by not not inviting them.

                  So, on average, you’re inviting people hoping they won’t show up, even if it’s true of no particular person. That it’s the intent and not the action was what I was trying to suggest in my thought example. I hardly think you’re exceptional in this, but I think it’s weird people won’t admit when they engage in mildly bad behaviour. I had a candy bar today. Bad me! Not: I had a candy bar today. I deserve it because I haven’t had one in a while and I’m depressed.

                  Possibly these conversations are better in the abstract, but I am happy your wedding went well and am likewise happy to concede my remarks are totally irrelevant to your experiences. If we even had reason to care about my (arbitrary, for the sake of discussion), opinions anyway!

                  • avatar ForeverYoung June 28, 2011, 6:57 pm

                    Going to a wedding should not be a burden, if it is a burden, DON’T GO. If the whole 120+ (dad’s side only) would have shown up great, it still would have been what I wanted because it was a relaxed atmosphere.

                    I just think it’s rude that you insist that a destination wedding is tacky. Not all of us have lived in a small town where our entire family lives and our entire husband’s family lives. This is not the 1800′s. Wouldn’t life be simple if we all did?

                    • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 11:24 pm

                      Both my wife and I went to colleges that draw from the entire country. We had 235 invitees representing 18 states and Spain once you threw in our far-flung relatives. Welcome to real life.

      • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 1:51 pm

        Some people do think destination weddings are tacky, and hey that’s fine. That’s why there is a response card and people can chose to go or not based on what they can afford. The reality is we all are not the same and we all can afford different things based on our respective situations. Weddings are what the people who are paying for them are…if the whole community would like to get together and throw me a wedding, hey I’m not stopping anyone. Also, I’m not expecting a perfect wedding, nor do I want one.

  • avatar Kare June 28, 2011, 12:00 pm

    Man I would hate to be that toddler if the couple does attend the wedding. I think she will be a little upset if her entire family leaves and she’s left behind.

    • avatar twiglet June 28, 2011, 3:14 pm

      …..why? Are parents never ever allowed to go anywhere on their own again after giving birth? Is there not another human anywhere whose company the child might enjoy for the evening? Has some law been passed I know not of?

    • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 6:44 pm

      She’s probably going to be a little upset about lots of things in her life. I know my cousin’s toddler is upset when someone wears too scratchy of a sweater or when there are no bananas for breakfast. And yet, somehow, his life goes on.

      My guess is the toddler’s reaction will go something along the lines of “waaah Mommy and Daddy left– oooh hey look Grandma/Babysitter Annie is waving a toy over there! Play time!” It’s not like they’re abandoning the child forever– it’s an overnight stay. She’ll get over it, and in the long run, she’ll probably benefit from learning a little independence and some socialization skills.

      • avatar kf June 28, 2011, 6:58 pm

        I’m with Kare. There are plenty of okay places to drawe the line, but right through a family (this is the family whose newborn is being invited)? Come on.

        • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 7:07 pm

          If our sympathies are meant to be with the toddler, I just don’t see it. She probably has no clue what’s even going on. Most toddlers have short attention spans and don’t have the sort of “why was my sister allowed to go and not me” responses that older children do. They don’t quite grasp social slights yet, and being separated from their parents for one night most likely won’t cause serious abandonment issues in later life.

          And if we’re supposed to sympathize with the parents, I don’t get it either. They made a choice when they had kids– sometimes it means they’ll need to hire a sitter or miss out on social events. That’s part of parenting. And it’s not like the couple getting married is implying they like the newborn but not the toddler– it’s not that the newborn is “invited” so much as allowed to come along on the (likely faulty) assumption she’ll be quiet and not cost money/cause logistical chaos.

          • avatar kf June 28, 2011, 10:28 pm

            “it’s not that the newborn is “invited” so much as allowed to come along on the (likely faulty) assumption she’ll be quiet and not cost money/cause logistical chaos.”

            Or, to put it in shorter terms, she’s being invited.

            I guess I just agree with the wise poster above who said “Yes, newborns need to be with their mothers, but how is a newborn going to fare in a crowded, boozy, loud reception that runs late into the night? And how are guests going to fare when said newborns start screaming during the ceremony or as the best man is giving his toast. I’m not sure how that situation is better than a well-behaved 7-year-old. Look, no kids means no kids, and people will probably be miffed when they see a ton of babies “

          • avatar kf June 28, 2011, 10:32 pm

            Also, I meant to respond to this:

            “They made a choice when they had kids– sometimes it means they’ll need to hire a sitter or miss out on social events. ”

            I agree with that completely, and it’s a fine argument for saying no to the kids. When someone asks if their kids can come, there are two (IMO) perfectly acceptable answers – yes, and no. Yes to one kid and no to the other, I can’t get behind.

            • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 11:55 pm

              The newborns are allowed to come if asked because I thought it would be nice option for the two women who have them, and because they are breastfeeding. I’m not going down a list like Santa and saying this kid is bad/good and can/can’t come. I invited all the kids in my immediate family. That’s it. And I think, since we’re throwing the wedding, that should be okay. Everyone else’s invites were addressed specifically and only to the parents. If any other couples ask, it’s a no, but I will give them a local sitter recommendation, if they say they do want one.

  • avatar Sarah June 28, 2011, 12:10 pm

    “We all agreed that children would not be invited. The only exceptions are our…”

    There. Right there. That is your big mistake. I’m a big believer in the no children policy for weddings. I hate kids. They look at me like they know the day I’m going to die. However, you have to be all or nothing with it. Otherwise you are guaranteeing resentment from the parents that had to go out of their way to accommodate you just to find out the better friends and family got to bring their kids. My aunt threw a FIT at my mother’s wedding when she saw a 16 year old there because she was asked not to bring children (her grand kids were 2 and 4 and my mother had asked in the invitations not to bring children under sixteen). My aunt even called her daughters and told them to bring their kids to the reception just to spite my mother for not inviting their little snowflakes. This sh*t STILL happened even though my mother hired babysitters near the reception site (which you didn’t do) let guests know about the babysitting service in the invitation and said they could also bring their own babysitters to the same site if they preferred (which you didn’t do) and called to confirm that these parents knew of this service (which you didn’t do).

    Fix it, fix it now. People are never more hostile than when their precious preciouses are denied something that other people’s runts are getting. Consider the rage doubled if they have to pay for the insult to boot. Hire a babysitter. Near the site and let everyone know you’ll cover the costs. That’s the only way you’re going to get out of this. Otherwise get used to overhearing parents at your wedding whisper, “The hell? I spend 100 bucks on an overnight babysitter and that 11 year old tartlet is stuffing her PediaSure hole with crab cakes?!”

    • Skyblossom Skyblossom June 28, 2011, 12:19 pm

      So funny and so right!

      People go berserk when they think their kids have been insulted, slighted, mistreated, overlooked or just plain not fully appreciated. They fume or rant or obscess and make a point to get even or never speak to you again. They probably don’t ask if there is a special reason for an exception and they can hold a grudge forever.

      • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 12:23 pm

        Yes!!! to this too.

      • avatar kali June 28, 2011, 2:21 pm

        But does that mean you have to appease those people?

        • avatar twiglet June 28, 2011, 3:15 pm

          nope, it just encourages them to believe in their entitlement.

    • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 28, 2011, 12:20 pm

      Yes!!!

    • avatar dobby June 28, 2011, 12:25 pm

      “The hell? I spend 100 bucks on an overnight babysitter and that 11 year old tartlet is stuffing her PediaSure hole with crab cakes?!”

      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha LOVE this line…I have to remember the “PediaSure hole” ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    • avatar fallonthecity June 28, 2011, 12:45 pm

      LW, it may be last minute, but consider providing childcare/a supervised playroom/something and let your guests with kids know about it. This would be very thoughtful of you, and would save you a lot of stress… And If someone shows up with kids who weren’t invited, they can be politely directed to the kiddie area, and that will be that. Don’t feel like you’re being “unfair” or anything. In fact, if you do have a kiddie area, the kids there are probably going to have WAY more fun than they would have if they’d had to attend the ceremony and reception.

      • avatar fallonthecity June 28, 2011, 1:09 pm

        Whoops, this was meant to be its own comment, not a reply…

    • avatar callmehobo June 28, 2011, 2:37 pm

      Sarah, I think I am in love with you…

  • Tracey Tracey June 28, 2011, 12:17 pm

    I can understand the desire to not want children at your wedding. I can understand the desire to want your wedding day to be “perfect.” I can understand the desire to want to be able to invite whomever you choose and exclude whomever you choose. The problem is that while you’ve said, “No children,” you’ve gone against your rule by allowing a couple of exceptions. Will your friends – the ones you’ve told, “No children,” understand why they could not bring their kids, but there are others who will be present? This could get to be an ugly situation and you risk damaging friendships in the process – especially since your invites did not say the one thing you wanted, “No children.” If it’s not too late, hire some babysitters or line up some child care options and have a wedding that’s inclusive for all of your family and friends – children included. Even if it is too late, please reconsider your “no children” stance and open your wedding up to all your family and friends. Is a wedding – a destination wedding at that – really worth alienating those who are closest to you? Especially after you’ve broken your own “no children” rule? Think about it and good luck to you.

  • avatar Miss MJ June 28, 2011, 12:21 pm

    I had a “no kids” rule at my wedding. It was a big party, with lots of alcohol, music and fancy food in a lovely Victorian mansion, and I didn’t want people’s kids running around, crying, spilling things on antiques and carpets that I’d have to pay for, etc. I simply addressed the invitations to Mr. and Mrs. or Ms. and Guest. No one even questioned whether their kids were invited – they obviously weren’t because they weren’t on the invitation. Also, a large number of guests were coming from out of town and it never occurred to me that I should provide a babysitter for their children. They’re the parents. It’s their job to either find a sitter or not come. Not every event is kid friendly, nor should it have to be.

    The LW should simply call the person, explain that it’s going to be an adults-only event (with a couple of exceptions for family members) and that it’s not an appropriate event for her child to attend. And the friend should say OK and either get a sitter or send her regrets. This wedding isn’t the only place her kids will ever not be welcome. (See also work, office parties, bars, girl’s/guy’s night and a host of other places and events.) And that’s OK. No drama necessary.

    • avatar Valerie June 28, 2011, 12:25 pm

      “Not every event is kid friendly, nor should it have to be.” YES! THIS!

      • avatar twiglet June 28, 2011, 2:11 pm

        You should be able to ask exactly who you want to your own wedding. If you don’t want kids, and haven’t invited them, they should not be there. It’s good this one couple have let you know in advance that there is a problem, so let them know asap that the toddler can’t come, otherwise you do risk hurt feelings from those who respected your wishes and didn’t bring theirs.
        I don’t see this as wanting the “perfect wedding”—it’s not like you are making everyone attend wearing cerise to match your bouquet! I used to love kids at a wedding- they charge around, misbehave, have fun, great if it’s that sort of a do, but these days it seems if kids are present, it will be all about them, and their needs/wants come before anybody else’s. It’s YOUR and your husband-to-be’s day, not anyone else’s;and I hope it’s a good one.

    • avatar Greebo June 28, 2011, 2:54 pm

      Thank you for saying it: not wanting kids at an event doesn’t mean you (1) are selfish, (2) hate children or (3) are failing to consider the people around you!

    • avatar Akmilly June 28, 2011, 2:57 pm

      “Also, a large number of guests were coming from out of town and it never occurred to me that I should provide a babysitter for their children. They’re the parents. It’s their job to either find a sitter or not come.”
      THANK YOU!

      Because of LW’s problem now, with her friend (and possibly more) being unsure about their child’s attendance, I agree there has to be an effort shown to accommodate those who were confused by the invite. Had the invite expressly said “No children, please” then I don’t believe the burden of finding a sitter/etc should fall on the bride and groom.

      • avatar kdog June 28, 2011, 3:33 pm

        I definitely agree with the only caveat being that the bride should be understanding if the family choses not to come. I’m only saying this after a destination wedding that I couldn’t afford to attend cost me a friendship.

      • avatar Quakergirl June 28, 2011, 6:50 pm

        Agreed– if you’re clear upfront, you have no obligation whatsoever to care for or accommodate other people’s kids. But if you’ve created a confusing situation and are now coming up on the wedding date– when people may have already made travel plans and not be able to get a sitter– you’re obligated to at least attempt to remedy the situation.

        • katie Katie June 28, 2011, 8:57 pm

          thats definitely the problem now. she needs to be clear and honest with people right now, and that is the only way to remedy this situation. if she just sits back and hopes that everyone gets what she meant, she is going to be very dissappointed, i feel.

  • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 12:57 pm

    That was actually another part of the equation – space and pricing. Believe me, if we had the money, the guest list would be out of control and I’d probably be hiring babysitters out to wazoo, paying for everyone’s hotel rooms, treating them to a fun night away. But that’s not reality unfortunately. And I completely understand if someone says no, they can’t come, because they can’t afford it. I’d do the same thing if I couldn’t.

    • avatar Kate June 28, 2011, 1:01 pm

      ” I completely understand if someone says no, they can’t come, because they can’t afford it. I’d do the same thing if I couldn’t.”

      I think this is a really good point. If people cannot afford or don’t want to come because of the no-kids rule, then fine, they don’t come. Not a huge deal.

    • avatar spaceboy761 June 28, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Hello KFW,

      I’m still buzzed after watching CM Punk last night, and I’ve been in an anti-authority work all day. Along those lines, here’s my advice. Explain that you simply drew the line at first cousins… end of story, and anybody in dissent can go to hell because it’s your money and your decision. If you want to invite a llama and exclude your sister, you can.

      In my family’s generation, I’m the 13th of 15 first cousins. Inviting 2nd cousins (i.e. those cousin’s kids) would have added 21 to a guest list of 191 which would have been unaffordable. Don’t even go into the money aspect when asked. It’s your decision based on consistent logic and you shouldn’t have to rationalize it to anyone other than your fiance.

      In a perfect world with unicorns and spaceships, money and feasibility issues wouldn’t exist. Until then, the grown-ups in the room have to make some real decisions about these things.

  • avatar bostonterrierbride June 28, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Oh my. I wholeheartedly agree with Wendy’s advice except for a few things:

    1. Your wedding is NOT adults-only. You’ve made exceptions for bridesmaids, cousins, etc. You’re having kids at your wedding, therefore, it is not kids-free. If you call your friend and give her the excuse that you’re not having kids at the wedding (while allowing her to bring one kid, I might add), and then she shows up to kids newborn-12 years old, she’s going to feel lied to, I would. Just keep it simple, explain to her you’ve only got the room and budget for your friend and her husband, and her newborn because he takes up no space or money for you. Then offer her the name of a babysitting service in the area that comes to the hotel she’ll be staying at. Repeat this process as necessary with anyone else who asks, or send a mass email to parents.

    2. It is expected that wedding guests know who is invited to your wedding by how the invitation is addressed. Unfortunately, these days, many people don’t realize that an inviation for “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is not for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, John Smith, Sally Smith, and Tiny Tim Smith as well. I would call and clarify to anyone you think might have misunderstood that their kid is invited.

    I am in the process right now of making our wedding inviations, and to help this issue, our response cards are writtin: “_ number of seats have been reserved for your party” , I filled in the blank with the number of people invited. Beneath that is says “_ guests will be attending” that blank is left open for the recipient to fill in when they send the response card back. That way, they know they can’t put “4 guests will be attending” when it clearly states in the line above that they only get 2 invitations

    • avatar TMSC June 28, 2011, 4:59 pm

      oh, what a great idea. Wish I had read this before I got my invites printed! I might use this verbiage on my web site RSVP page.

    • katie Katie June 28, 2011, 8:54 pm

      god that is a great idea!! haha i love all the great wedding planning advice from this site.

  • avatar anonymous June 28, 2011, 1:27 pm

    My now-husband’s aunt pitched a fit 20 years ago when her kid wasn’t invited to the wedding. She was refusing to come, etc. My mom (finally) agreed to let them bring the little darling who couldn’t possibly be left on her own.

    Although it was resolved to their satisfaction, I still can’t think of them without remembering how ugly they were about it. I can’t even hear the “kids at weddings” question without thinking of them.

    No response for the LW, but for all those with little darlings: we love our kids, but they are OURS. They’re special, but that doesn’t automatically mean that we can’t live for 1 minute without them.

  • avatar justpeachy June 28, 2011, 4:01 pm

    I had a no kids rule for my wedding, which wasn’t that big of a deal since we don’t have any young relatives or friends with kids. However, the best man had a 5 year old son. This kid was known for being a terror and I really didn’t want to worry about him screaming during the ceremony. We made it clear from the beginning to the best man that it was a adults only wedding which we didn’t think was a big deal because they lived in town and had several babysitters they use.

    Flashforward to two months before the wedding when they were being fitted for their suits when the best man decides if his son can’t come, he won’t come either. After trying to calm him down for a couple of days, we finally caved in. We arranged for a special kids meal and his parents bought him a little suit.

    Skip ahead to the rehearsal when the best man then tells us they found a sitter. I was livid that after all this drama they caused, it was nothing.

    Anyway, point of my story, they brought the kid anyway and he was very well mannered and a hit on the dance floor. Would I have still implemented a no kids policy? Of course. But, as much as it absolutely sucks, some things will be out of your hands, and you may walk into the reception and immediately see this toddler you explicitly told not to come, but as long as he doesn’t spill anything on your dress, you’ll be ok.

    (Oh, and to all those commentors saying that there will be awkward conversations if parents see kids when theirs weren’t allowed, anyone who dares to confront a bride on her big day is a total bitch and probably shouldn’t have been invited either.)

    • Skyblossom Skyblossom June 28, 2011, 5:41 pm

      They probably wouldn’t confront the bride. They’d just furiously mutter to themselves or complain to other people that they knew. You might even get a group of disgruntled parents huddling together bitching it out.

    • avatar Jshizzle June 28, 2011, 9:20 pm

      Very cute line about his parents buying him a little suit.

  • sobriquet sobriquet June 28, 2011, 4:51 pm

    Every fancy wedding I’ve ever been to, the people who brought their small children always got the short end of the stick. They were all seated at tables farthest away from the bride and groom (and the rest of the party, essentially) and often looked like they were miserable. It’s not fun having to bring a little baggie of cheerios in your fancy purse. They usually bowed out early. It’s exhausting to chase little Tommy around the ice sculpture all night.

    Of course, I think it depends on the swankiness level of the wedding. I’ve been to weddings in $30,000 venues and I’ve been to weddings in small churches where the reception was held in the small connected community building. Children would definitely be welcome at the latter, but I’m not sure why you would even WANT to bring your children to the former. Kids hate weddings.

    I completely understand why the LW would not want dozens of toddlers running around her (presumably) swanky affair. I think Wendy covered it pretty succinctly.

  • avatar Robert London June 28, 2011, 5:21 pm

    A lot of good comments but “not” inviting someone is very tricky, someone always brings them anyway and then others get mad – you do not want your wedding remembered that way. The best solution I have seen is to hire a baby sitter for the duration of the wedding, it solves your problem and the parents as well

  • avatar Andrea June 28, 2011, 5:23 pm

    My husband and I went to an out of town wedding last year. It was for a good friend/colleague of my husband. At first we thought only my husband would attend because we didn’t want to travel and have to drag our 18 month old to a wedding and reception. Let me be clear: I love, love, love my children (we now have 2!), but I do not like taking them to weddings/adult-only parties. It’s really hard to have fun and socialize when you have to attend to the needs of a small child the entire time. I can’t even begin to imagine trying to keep a young toddler quiet and happy during a church wedding ceremony!! My husband metioned to his friend that we would like to go but there was no way we could find a babysitter in a town that we don’t live in. Well, the lovely bride arranged for a babysitter to watch our son during the ceremony and reception. It was the friend of the bride’s little sister and it worked out really well. We got to drop our son off at the bride’s parents house and then attend the church ceremony. Then we went to the reception, which was at the bride’s parent’s house, so we were able to check in our son from time to time. We had a great time and we made a mini vacation out of it. The wedding was held in a beautiful beach town, so we got to spend the rest of the weekend at the beach!! I should also mention that we paid the babysitter and we were perfectly happy to do so!

  • avatar Britannia June 28, 2011, 7:19 pm

    In general, I do not think that it’s a good idea for either of those women with the newborns to bring their babies along. Babies don’t receive their first round of shots until they’re 2 months old, and exposing them to that many people, who have just spent time travelling and being exposed to more weird things than usual, who could passively be carrying God-Knows-What, is not a very safe thing to do. Maybe LW could mention that to her guests with the newborns? I understand that one of them is a bridesmaid, but her baby really shouldn’t be exposed to so much potentially bad things, and it would be better for her to bow out of the ceremony (or have her baby looked after at home by someone trustworthy) than for him/her to end up sick.

    • avatar PFG-SCR June 28, 2011, 7:35 pm

      Assuming the newborns were born full-term and healthy, their immunities are higher for a few months after birth. Additionally, if they’re being breastfed, they’re getting extra immunities from the breastmilk. Newborns are more exposed to germs from their siblings or in a daycare than anything else, yet we don’t quarantine them away from either one of those.

    • Skyblossom Skyblossom June 29, 2011, 12:26 pm

      Breastfeeding gives them immunity from their mother which includes all of her vaccinations. A breastfed newborn also needs to be fed frequently. When you first take them home they need to be fed about every 2 1/2 hours around the clock. By the time they are two months old you may be feeding them about every four hours and they might make 6 hours during the night wthout a feeding. Also, the breastfeeding mother will become engorged if she isn’t feeding the baby and will become very uncomfortable and so actually needs to be feeding the baby. The engorgement is even worse if she has been expressing milk and feeding the baby because her body is then making even more milk.

  • katie Katie June 28, 2011, 8:49 pm

    i think you have created quite the sticky situation for yourself…

    nothing on in the invitation about kids, but no kids, but wait, some kids can come, and her kids can come, but yours are too old so they cant come. that is basically what you have done. now, please put yourself in the position of a guest with kids. I definitely do not know a whole lot about wedding equitte, but i would for sure assume my children were invited unless there was something on the invite saying they weren’t. weddings are family things! so then a guest finds out kids aren’t invited, came anyway without them, and then saw other kids there, they would for sure be mad. even if the rule is family only, you said a newborn is coming who isn’t family right? ok, so a newborn needs extra care. well what about my kid who needs extra care because of X reason? what about meeee?

    thats what I see happening.

    so, now to get yourself out of this mess. i think you need to somehow get the word out that this is, in fact, a no kids kind of thing. then try to deal with what people will say to that. my bet is that a bunch of people will refuse to go outright, then the ones that will be able to get a babysitter will come and be pissed about the other kids there. i think that there is something to be said about the onsite babysitting thing, with coloring books or whatever for them to keep occupied with.

    im not exactly sure how to get out of this, but i really think you need to do something. doing nothing (and not outright telling people this is not a kids affair) will just lead to a very stressed wedding day.

    • avatar sarita_f June 28, 2011, 11:04 pm

      Katie – only people specifically on the invite are invited to a function (not just weddings). So if the invitation is addressed “Mr. & Mrs Smith” it’s meant to invite ONLY the mister and missus. Not their family and anyone else they want to bring. If the invitation was meant for the whole family, it would either list all the names of the family invited, or be addressed to “The Smith Family.”

      Unfortunately, like you, many people don’t know the traditional etiquette for stuff like this, and that’s where the LW started to get into hot water.

      I definitely think the classiest thing to do for a non-local wedding is to provide babysitting services at a place near the ceremony/reception area. But it’s not a requirement, on the flip side a wedding invitation is not a summons, and ultimately childcare is up to the parents.

      The best celebrations are where the hosts (marrying couple) do their best to anticipate the needs and desires of the people they would very much like to have at their wedding, who we assume very much want to go to the wedding. If the hosts can make reasonable strides to make attending their wedding as feasible as possible for their guests, and the guests have reasonable expectations, then everyone should be reasonably happy with the event.

      It’s when people start viewing events through a lens of entitlement and/or self-centered-ness that things start to go sideways.

      • katie Katie June 29, 2011, 12:59 am

        ok, but i just recently went to a wedding where the invitation was addressed to me, and then another addressed to my mom and sister (we dont live together). i brought my boyfriend, and our dad also came. for this wedding, it was assumed that our whole family would go (my family and the brides family have known each other since I was about 5). we call the other’s moms and dads Aunt and Uncle, they are really more then just friends. now my dad didnt officially get an invite, but of course he came, you know? it wasn’t that clear cut, i guess? i dont know. and the rsvp cards just had __ amount of guests attending. so I put 2, for me and my boyfriend, drew an arrow over to the blank side of the paper, and i wrote a little note to the bride that if she hadn’t gotten my mom’s RSVP yet that they (mom and sister) were both coming and my dad was to. i dunno maybe i totally broke the rules, lol, but thats how it happened. I guess maybe to it depends on how you just view life in general- I am totally a more the merrier, bring whoever you want to my party, kind of person.

        i totally agree with the babysitting at the wedding thing- i will definitely try to do that at my wedding, because it is going to end up being either half non local, or all non local.

        it is actually so great that so many people here write in about wedding questions, because as I dont know a whole lot about them, i get to read about it and get great ideas and learn stuff, so i really enjoy that. Like the lady above who said how she worded her RSVP cards to say X amount of seats reserved for your party, and then below __ guests attending, so that people could see that it really is just them and a spouse that is invited, because only 2 seats have been reserved for them. i will for sure being doing that!

        • avatar sarita_f June 29, 2011, 2:19 am

          That’s an odd configuration for the invitations. By any chance, for the invite addressed to you, did it also say ‘and guest?’ Because then it’s fine to bring a date, but if it’s just you on the invite that traditionally means you alone.

          It’s not odd to send separate invites to family members that live apart. What *is* odd is that your mom and sister were invited, but not your dad – assuming they’re still married. Again, unless there was an ‘and guest’ on the address envelope, only you, your sister and mom were invited to that wedding. But hey, you guys have a close relationship and it sounds like everything worked out.

          The most awkward thing I’ve had to deal with regarding wedding invites was actually not getting one at all. For a wedding I was a bridesmaid in (none of the BM’s got invites). I think she either thought it wasn’t necessary, or she was trying to save money. It was my college roommate, I love her like a sister, but we had a totally different group of friends and post-college life, so the only guests I really knew were her family. The wedding was in a town where I used to live and had a serious long-distance boyfriend at the time who she knew about. I was trying to strike the balance between not being an annoying or high-maintenance guest/bridesmaid, but still being helpful. I finally had to ask her straight out when, where and on what days the ceremonies were, and whether I was invited +1. THAT was really uncomfortable. She said ‘of course C should come’ but the week before the wedding she started talking about how he wouldn’t have much fun because I would be helping her out a lot. It was a little late to disinvite my bf, but I still asked her straight up if I should tell him to stay home, and she still told me to bring him. So I did.

          Looking back after a few years have passed it seems pretty clear to me that she ended up changing her mind about him coming, or never intended for me to have a date at all, but I decided to take her words at face value.

          And lastly, while Miss Manners would maintain that SASE RSVP cards are not traditionally included in invites, if you’re going to do them I agree – great suggestion to word it as “X # of seats have been reserved”

        • avatar sarita_f June 29, 2011, 2:31 am

          OH, and I’m also a ‘more the merrier’ type as well, but traditional weddings are just too formal and have too many logistics at stake for there to be an uncertain or out-of-control guest list.

          That being said, if I ever decide to marry, I hope the other half is also interested in some kind of elopement or tiny ceremony in my mom’s home country (where I also spent a lot of time growing up, and the highest percentage of my extended family still lives) and perhaps throwing a kegger or BBQ for American friends, and whoever else can come, later. My entire family, as well as a lot of my friends, are completely scattered across the globe. I’m the only one of my dear college friends to live in my current city. I have a tendency toward long-distance relationships. My family was involved in the wedding industry and I have attended/worked at literally hundreds, and the normal wedding holds zero appeal.

          Buying into the whole ‘wedding-industrial-complex’ is just too, well, complex for me to ever want to bother with. Knowing my luck, though, I’ll fall for some totally traditional Gent with a huge family and network of friends concentrated in some small town. Universe, please don’t hate me.

          • katie Katie June 29, 2011, 3:26 am

            wow- that totally sucks for you as a bridesmaid! haha.

            I just feel like people put so so much stake into their weddings, when really they should just let loose and have fun! I think that “normal” wedding is a little too formal for me as well, and i just hope that my wedding will have a much more casual feel. Nothing like an open ended guest list, not THAT casual, but just not with all these things that the brides get so worked up over, like this LW and the no kids thing. I do not want to get to the point where I have to call guests up personally to inform them of the rules of my wedding. that, to me, no matter what the circumstances, is too formal, lol

            I am a pastry chef, and I did a wedding cake for an ex’s older sister (another awkward wedding situation, ha), and i set up the cake, and got her and asked her if it was ok, if she wanted me to change anything, ect. and she just literally was like, you know what, were here now and i cant change anything about how today is going to go. its fine, i love it. she was the kind of bride i want to be! she just totally let go of that day and let things happen as they were going to happen. no stress. and i heard that her party was a blast.

            I like your idea of two weddings. that is totally awesome. if I had any reason to have two weddings, i would totally do it! haha

    • avatar Kids Free Wedding June 28, 2011, 11:44 pm

      “weddings are family things”

      Yes, I do believe the bride and groom’s families are important aspects of the day. Which is why every kid in my immediate family was invited. As I stated above, maybe the word “rule” shouldn’t be used.We invited every kid who we consider to be a part of our immediate families – which I think others should reasonably understand. I did not however “invite” newborns to the wedding (their names weren’t on invites), but am not excluding them if people ask (and I only know of 2 newborns), because I get that breastfeeding may be necessary. I think things like this come down to how you think about weddings – in my family, they are an adults only thing. In others, every child is invited.

      • katie Katie June 29, 2011, 1:01 am

        i just really think you need to tell everyone who has kids about the no kids thing. be upfront and honest. if you just assume that everyone knows what you mean, you might be dissapointed. you know what they say about assuming, right? it makes and ASS out of U and ME. haha my mom used to always say that.

        • katie Katie June 29, 2011, 1:53 am

          thumbs down for being upfront and honest with people?

          yea ok

  • avatar Jessica June 28, 2011, 11:20 pm

    LW1, if you didn’t want any children at your wedding, you shouldn’t have made exceptions.

  • avatar Code June 29, 2011, 10:37 pm

    Having been to plenty of weddings, all I can say is that I hardly think a 2-hour drive qualifies as a “destination wedding” or even a “semi-destination” wedding.

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