It’s Wedding Week on Dear Wendy! This week will be chock-full of wedding columns, gift guides, dollar dances and an open bar. If you love wedding content, this is your lucky week. If you hate wedding content, this is your lucky week because–-open bar! But just kidding about the open bar.
You say that you will discuss with the parents whether or not they want to bring their older kids to the wedding but that your fiancé isn’t too keen on the idea of children at the wedding. I think you and your fiancé need to get clear on your general stance before you go approaching guests about what they want. If you decide to not invite children to the wedding, which is fine and valid, then provide some kind of childcare assistance for your out-of-town guests (and don’t just assume grandparents will be able to watch the kids). At the very least, get the names and numbers of babysitters recommended to you by people you know and trust. If at all possible, consider providing childcare yourselves, either on the premises of your reception site (most convenient if you happen to be having the ceremony in the same place) or at a hotel where you have blocked rooms (or where know the majority of your guests with kids are staying).
Finally, be clear on your written invitation, as well as verbal invitation if you plan to discuss the issue with guests over the phone, that you love their kids but have decided to keep your wedding adults-only with the exception of breastfeeding babies (and any other exception there might be) and that you hope they understand and that they are still able to attend the wedding as their presence means so much. And if they can’t come to your wedding, which is a potential consequence of your not extending an invitation to the entire family, try not to take it personally or harbor a resentment against them or your fiancé. There are good reasons to not have children at a wedding, just as there are good reasons to skip an out-of-town wedding if childcare is too much of a challenge.
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