My fiancé told her she has six months to find a babysitter and that we will help in any way we can, including paying for the sitter, but she is adamant that she won’t come if she can’t bring the baby. We feel that our reasons for saying no babies are legitimate, (it’s a very formal wedding, there is nowhere at our venue to remove the baby if it is fussy, she is notorious for dumping her child off on other people while she goes off and enjoys the party, and we don’t want anyone to feel obligated to leave early to take the baby home, i.e. my fiancé’s mom) and, since we are paying for the wedding, we should get to have whatever type of wedding we want without justifying it to anyone.
Obviously, this is killing my fiancé. He wants his sister to be at his wedding, but he also feels like she is trying to manipulate him into getting her way. So now they are at a stalemate, and neither one will cave. I am so irritated that I want to say forget her and move on with enjoying the process leading up to my wedding, but then I feel bad for him; she is his only sibling, after all.
So what should we do, stand our ground on the no babies or give in and let the baby come to keep the peace? I would just let it play out, but the bridesmaid dresses need to be ordered in two weeks in order to arrive in time for the wedding, so I really need to know if she will be in the wedding or not. — Thinking I Should Have Eloped
If letting your future SIL bring her baby to your wedding would truly keep the peace, I might suggest giving it a try, but you know that if peace is what you’re after, this is not the answer. You said yourself, the wedding venue is not an appropriate place for a baby. Your own niece isn’t invited for that very reason. And your SIL isn’t just talking about bringing her baby — she wants him in the wedding party as a ring bearer! And how is that going to work? I can see it now: you have to wait 20 minutes to walk down the aisle because baby ring bearer is starving and needs to nurse before he makes his grand entrance. Or he had a big diaper blow-out and now his parents have to find a back-up baby tuxedo so he’ll look adorable in the photos since that’s the whole point in having a baby ring bearer. Ugh, you don’t want that. You want peace at your wedding. You don’t want screaming babies and blow-out diapers. And you don’t want a family member who’s gonna dump her kid on other family members because she’s too irresponsible to handle him herself (as you suggest would be the case).
Stand your ground and do not let this woman manipulate you. Doing so will not only compromise your wedding day, it will send a message to your SIL that, if she whines enough, you’ll cave and she’ll get her way. You likely have many decades ahead as this woman’s family member, so set a precedent and establish boundaries NOW for what kind of behavior will and won’t be tolerated, and let your SIL know you will not be bullied. Also, keep in mind that if you make an exception for her and allow her to bring her baby, you have to do the same for the parents of your niece as well or there will likely be hurt feelings and resentment from them.
Call your SIL’s bluff and tell her that you want very much for her to be at and in your wedding but that you simply cannot allow babies to be in attendance. If she can’t find a sitter in the next six months — a sitter you’ve offered to pay for — then tell her you will miss her and leave it at that. (Your husband will get over not having his sister there, and, if he doesn’t and their relationship is ruined forever, then maybe you’ll be spared future family get-togethers with her). And if she tells you she’ll come and you go ahead and order a bridesmaid dress for her, you should do so with the expectation that you may very well have to eat the cost of the dress since this woman sounds about as reliable as a $3 umbrella.
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cdobbs March 21, 2013, 9:09 am
The SIL sounds like she is pulling a tantrum to get her way…the fact that you offered to pay for this sitter is awesome in my opinion and should have solved everything…6 months is plenty of time to find a sitter!…i would call the SIL bluff…stand your ground on this one….she is in the wrong!
Rebecca May 6, 2018, 2:50 pm
Although I DO NOT agree with her throwing a tantrum to get her own way which she quite clearly is. She probably has her reasons. Perhaps she is or will be exclusively breast feeding? (For some women, myself included, pumping just isn’t possible and my little one won’t feed from a bottle)
Perhaps she doesn’t trust anybody else to look after her child? And perhaps she has her reasons to feel that way. Yes six months is plenty of time to find a sitter but I would say that she might not want to leave her baby with just anybody. Perhaps all the people that she would trust with her baby are actually going to the wedding? Again throwing a tantrum is not justified but a woman wanting to attend her brothers wedding and look after her own child doesn’t make her an awful person. As far has her wanting her baby to be the ring bearer that’s just ridiculous and she has no right to even ask that!!!!!!
FossilChick March 21, 2013, 9:12 am
I agree with Wendy that the SIL is probably being manipulative and threatening to upend the wedding to get what she wants. And what she wants (a baby ring bearer? WTF?) is not reasonable.
Still, this line… worried me: “since we are paying for the wedding, we should get to have whatever type of wedding we want without justifying it to anyone.”
LadyinPurpleNotRed March 21, 2013, 9:15 am
Why does that line worry you? It’s been stated here that if you’re paying for the wedding, you *don’t* have to justify it to other people. There will always be someone who disapproves, so you should do what you want. They aren’t being unreasonable with their decision to not have the baby. They shouldn’t have to justify it to anyone.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:17 am
I have to agree. If you’re footing the bill you get to do just about what ever you want for your wedding. (But I personally woudln’t fight this battle.)
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 10:06 am
I actually feel the same way. I hear what everyone’s saying, and they are right, but to me its not worth the fallout. Its bs, but I’d just let her bring the baby rather than potentially ruin relationships.
FossilChick March 21, 2013, 10:12 am
I agree with the principle, but to me it reads like the LW IS justifying their decision — that if his parents were contributing, they’d make a different decision based on those constraints. And I do think some justification, or a concrete explanation, is needed when asking a close family member to be separated from a very young infant. If there’s no place for a fussy infant to be whisked off to, where is the babysitter supposed to be with the infant? At a hotel or at their home, perhaps driving distance away? What about breastfeeding, if the SIL is doing that? I guess that line just read to me like a kneejerk reaction to the SIL’s kneejerk reaction.
The LW also says her reasons for not wanting babies are legitimate, and I think it’s totally fine to not have babies and/or children at weddings, but of the reasons listed 2 have to do with the inherent nature of the venue and event and 2 have to do with this specific individual’s questionable parenting. If the LW chooses to fight this battle, she ought to stick to the first 2 and not open Pandora’s Box on the second 2.
kerrycontrary March 21, 2013, 9:13 am
I think that the SIL sounds like a nutjob. BUT. I wouldn’t just throw away an entire family relationship over a wedding. Yes, your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. But it’s just a fucking wedding. So you and your husband are willing to risk never talking to his sister ever again? EVER? Because this woman sounds like she would pull the permanent silent-treatment. And you would never see that baby again either. I don’t think the baby should be a ring bearer, but I don’t know if I would just say “fuck you” to this entire situation and say goodbye to a family member. I think this is really tricky because as Wendy said you are setting up a precedent for future behavior, but I don’t know if your wedding is the appropriate time to hash out this power struggle. Does she have a husband that you could reason with? Maybe your future MIL could talk to her more? You could even suggest that the baby has a sitter for just the ceremony, and then the sitter will be in the same room as everyone else, with the baby, during the reception so your SIL has someone to take care of the baby if she wants to party but she doesn’t feel like she dumped her baby off.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 9:17 am
I understand your interest in diplomacy, but think of it this way: if the SIL is pulling a power play during THEIR wedding, imagine how awful she will be at later events that are supposed to be about *her*. Their wedding is when she should be most accommodating, not least accommodating, so I think the LW needs to stand her ground or she risks establishing a precedent that will be difficult to undo.
kerrycontrary March 21, 2013, 9:26 am
Yeh but what if the LW stands her ground, and then the SIL shuns them for the rest of their life. And they have to spend holidays and birthdays apart. I mean if it were a friend you could say “good riddance”, but this is family. I agree that the SIL maybe raging off of pure hormones and stress right now though. Maybe just order her bridesmaid dress and see if they have a return policy?
Desiree March 21, 2013, 9:29 am
“… and then the SIL shuns them for the rest of their life.” With family like that, who needs enemies?
LadyinPurpleNotRed March 21, 2013, 9:32 am
You’re allowed to say good riddance to family members who are acting entirely unreasonable and don’t back down from that. If this is going to cause the SIL to shun them for the rest of their life, it would be easy for another incident that the LW and her husband were involved in to cause the same thing. They shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells for the rest of their lives if the SIL is set off this easily. It’s the SIL’s problem. Not theirs.
Lindsay March 21, 2013, 10:11 am
If she “shuns them” for this, she’d likely shun them over something else later on anyway. Giving in now would probably guarantee that, anyway, since she’d know all she has to do is whine until she gets her way.
Monika March 21, 2013, 11:23 am
Hate to say it, but sometimes you gotta say “good riddance” to family.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 11:43 am
Do you think someone wanting to bring a baby to a wedding is worthy of saying good riddance?
Mandy March 21, 2013, 12:18 pm
I do. I think so not by virtue of the “wanting to bring a baby to a wedding” element, but by virtue of the:
1) Demanding the baby be ring bearer.
2) Throwing a fit when told babies aren’t invited (NOT unusual for formal events – certainly enough folks have problems with them at the MOVIES, let alone at a wedding!)
3) Being informed that the bride and groom – who, apparently, are also purchasing the attire for the wedding party? – are willing to pay for a babysitter.
They’re bending over backwards to accommodate (it doesn’t say anywhere they’re paying for the niece’s babysitter, does it?) – and have given fair and reasonable reasons (difficult venue, wanting everyone to be able to enjoy the ceremony, and funding the event themselves). There’s really nothing in there that seems at ALL unreasonable from the side of the bride. The SIL is pitching a fit because she’s not getting her way. To me, that’s a person I’d be very cautious of moving forward, at the very LEAST. It would be, after all, the SIL’s choice to cut off contact – not the bride’s. And you can’t go through life fearing that someone will cut off contact with you because you choose to have an event (which is about you) your own way.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:25 pm
I don’t disagree that she’s unreasonable, but I’m pretty surprised how many of you would sever ties with family over this dumb issue.
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 1:39 pm
But it would be the SIL severing ties over it. They’ve laid out a bunch of different ways to make this scenario work and been very accomodating – so if the SIL doesn’t come that’s HER choice. We eventually had to give an ultimatum to Ethan’s Mom about our wedding. She was being such a c word and an emotional terrorist and everything was “well if you don’t do X we’re not coming” (Keep in mind they didn’t pay a dime for the wedding) so finally Ethan was like honestly then don’t come. We’re not going to beg you to attend our wedding. You got the invite you know when it is come if you want to. That’s what the bride should do here. Lay out all the ways she’s making it possible for the SIL and then quit discussing it. Send the invite and ask her if she is still planning on being a bridesmaid.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 3:08 pm
“We’re not going to beg you to attend our wedding.”
hallelujah… please high five Ethan for me 🙂
Monika March 21, 2013, 1:49 pm
I agree. When you are already being reasonable and accommodating, and that family member on the other hand is being SELFISH and UNreasonable, yes, that speaks VOLUMES about them. In no way could that be an isolated incident, and I would not feel too bad severing ties with that type of character.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 1:51 pm
But its not your sister. Its your husband’s sister. I think that’s why I’d be hesitant.
Monika March 21, 2013, 11:04 pm
His or mine, what’s the difference? Speaking from a personal perspective, my soon-to-be-hubs *himself* recognizes that a large part of his own family is a little messed up and told me long ago he will not allow those particular members to interfere with our personal life. It’s YOUR wedding, YOUR day. People should be going out of THEIR way for you.
Emily March 24, 2013, 6:23 pm
The fact that future SIL has 6 months and the marrying couple has even offered to pay for a babysitter shows that they are more than going out of their way to accommodate future SIL. On principle, this does seem like a case true entitlement by the future SIL. You never throw away family but this doesn’t seem to be throwing away family as other commenters have suggested, it seems to be setting appropriate boundaries. What the future SIL does from here is entirely her decision.
Coming from a family with a particular relative who refuses to respect boundaries I can say that even though standing my ground on things I felt were important sometimes meant I didn’t see my family, I always felt better when I held my ground on something that was important to me. This family member has learned the hard way that no amount of whining or manipulation will get her her way with me. Discuss this further with your fiance but depending on the family dynamic, it might be best to let him deal with setting boundaries with his sister. Only you two can decide what you are and are not willing to compromise on. In this case it sounds like you have tried to meet your future SIL more than halfway. I commend you.
Jenn December 23, 2013, 3:10 pm
I don’t think the SIL will permanently shut them out. People like that tend to need attention more than gratification and always come back for more.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 9:14 am
There is a small chance that the SIL has separation anxiety regarding her kids, but this honestly just sounds like a power play. DO NOT GIVE IN. I was MOH in a wedding where the very young flower girl SCREAMED throughout the vows because the mother didn’t want to leave the room and miss the vows. The result? No one heard the vows, probably not even the bride and groom. If this baby kicks a fuss at your wedding, it does not sound like the SIL will be considerate enough to mitigate the damage. So just say no. Frankly, I see the SIL skipping your wedding in protest as a bonus! But I understand why your husband doesn’t feel that way.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 9:19 am
I just realized that the baby hasn’t even been born yet: the LW said that the wedding is in 6 months and the baby will be 5 months old at the time of the wedding. Maybe the SIL is just super-stressed out from her last trimester of pregnancy.
othy March 21, 2013, 10:55 am
I was trying to do that math too. And how is the SIL ‘notorious for dumping her child off on other people while she goes off and enjoys the party’ if the kid isn’t even born yet?
jlyfsh March 21, 2013, 10:55 am
she has a three year old too…
othy March 21, 2013, 11:02 am
Ah, I read that as the LW’s daughter, not the SIL’s daughter.
Holly March 21, 2013, 11:48 am
The LW also states that the SIL’s 3 year old daughter will be in the wedding. I presume the SIL has a history of dumping off her daughter.
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 9:47 am
I was in a wedding where the flower girl was standing by the altar, which was in front of a giant window with a metal cross beam. The girl (I think she was 4 or 5? I’m terrible at judging kids age) managed to find a hole in the cross beam JUST big enough for her finger.
Which then got stuck. When she realized she couldn’t pull it out, she started to cry and her mother had to rush up from the audience and help her get her finger out then take her out of the room. I thought it was funny. I also thought THIS is why I’m not having children in my wedding.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 11:48 am
Also, it is really interesting how letters about weddings always create really long comment threads.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:16 am
Personally, I think it is a little harsh and selfish to tell your soon to be SIL she can not bring her newborn to your wedding. The child won’t even be 6 months old, what if she chooses to breast feed? I completely understand your concerns about dumping the child off on people and noise, but this is an infant. This is not a fight I would want to fight. Seriously consider if this is worth it to you to piss off someone who is about to become family.
kerrycontrary March 21, 2013, 9:27 am
I was thinking about the breastfeeding as well.
bethany March 21, 2013, 9:33 am
She can pump and have a babysitter feed the baby- one or 2 bottles isn’t going to kill it. Or if the babysitter is on site (like if it’s at a hotel or something), she can excuse herself every couple of hours if the baby needs to eat. It’s not that big of a deal.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:37 am
Some women choose not to pump and use bottles, they prefer breast exclusively.
bethany March 21, 2013, 9:45 am
If she wants to chose to not allow her baby to have 1 or 2 bottles of pumped milk at 6 months old, then that’s on her. She can choose not to be at the wedding.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:28 am
See, I feel like that is ostracising a woman for her decision to breastfeed exclusively. A woman who happens to be the sister of the groom and a bridesmaid and someone the LW is going to have to interact with FOREVER. It’s just not worth it to me to fight this battle.
bethany March 21, 2013, 10:43 am
It’s not that at all. If you’re going to exclusively breast feed, there are challenges that come along with it that you need to figure out how to deal with. Real life happens, and the world doesn’t stop because you’re breast feeding. If she is exclusively breast feeding, then get a baby sitter to come to the hotel or wherever the wedding is, and check in with them every couple of hours and feed the baby. It’s really not that difficult. People do it all the time.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:51 am
I think that option is just fine- the sitter at the same location, but I don’t think the LW should be so inflexible that the sister doesn’t come at all. To me, it’s not worth it to ban a baby (if the SIL wasn’t okay with the sitter in any sense) and have negative effects with in the new family forever. I’d rather just let the baby come. It’s really not THAT big of a deal considering a 3 year old is already going to be there- it’s not truly a child free wedding anywas.
TaraMonster March 21, 2013, 11:03 am
Seriously. My best friend has 8 month old twins. She was MOH at one of our oldest friends’ weddings just a month after they were born and this is exactly what she did. She (and the bride) knew when she accepted the invitation to be in the bridal party that there would be some logistical stuff to work out if she got pregnant (she was trying).
She also had to pump and dump at one point because she was producing so much (she’s a freaking milk factory- it’s INSANE how much she produces!). I went into the bathroom with her during the wedding to help her navigate getting the dress off and the pump on. As she was moaning at how awesome it felt to pump, she looked at me in the mirror and said, “I think we’ve just reached a new level in our friendship.” I was DYING. We’ve been friends since we were 8 and our parents used to stick us in the shower together after sports and girlscouts and shit, though. I heart her. 🙂
But ANYWAY. LW’s SIL needs a reality check. She’s not the first woman on the planet to navigate breast feeding.
pamplemousse March 21, 2013, 10:06 am
If she is “notorious” for dumping her baby off on other people while she parties, I can almost guarantee you she is not breastfeeding (at least not exclusively).
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 10:45 am
Some breastfed babies won’t take a bottle. My son would but my daughter wouldn’t so it wasn’t an option with her.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 11:10 am
Neither of my siblings would take a bottle either, not matter how early/how hard my mom tried. I have a friend who’s child is 8 months old and they just found a bottle she will take. Infants are finicky some times.
AmyP March 21, 2013, 11:34 am
Plus, some babies refuse the bottle. Also, around that age, a lot of babies get very negative about people who aren’t mommy (I once offered to sit a friend’s baby at that age and had to call for my friend to come get the baby, because the baby was freaking out). This baby hasn’t even been born yet. We have no idea what he or she is going to be like.
I hate the baby ring-bearer idea, but I think the SIL should be able to bring the baby. Infants aren’t at all like toddlers, and one infant is very different from another. I have a 5-month-old. She is very happy and I think she’d do very well at a wedding (although she’s lately started making distractingly loud happy noises at church). I could just carry her around all the time and she’d have a blast smiling at people. I’d be much more leery of a crawly baby, toddler or preschooler at a wedding.
The logistics of pumping are also tricky, even if the baby can be gotten to take a bottle. Breastfeeding is so much easier if it’s working.
AmyP March 21, 2013, 11:36 am
One more thing–if the baby’s coming to the wedding, the SIL should not be in the wedding party.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 12:07 pm
I agree. The SIL shouldn’t be in the wedding if the baby comes along.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 12:14 pm
The mother can also get very sore if she is normally breastfeeding at that time and the baby takes a bottle instead. That bottles worth of milk remains in the mother and she keeps making more and it begins to hurt. The mother gets more and more uncomfortable and there is no relief if you can’t either sneak off to feed the baby or sneak off to pump and dump. Also, if you’ve been pumping milk and storing it you are actually encouraging your body to make more milk than you are using so you are just that much more sore when you skip feeding the baby. I learned this the hard way. It sounds easy to pump a bottle and have someone feed it to the baby but it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
pamplemousse March 21, 2013, 1:07 pm
Further to my first comment, the LW wrote in her letter that one of her fears is that her mother-in-law will have to leave early to take the baby home. So that pretty much proves that the SIL is not exclusively breastfeeding (in addition to the LW’s comment about the SIL pawning the baby off on others).
AmyP March 21, 2013, 8:33 pm
Oh yes–it makes me get very edgy when I can feel myself filling up and know that I can’t get immediate relief. Also, there’s the whole mastitis possibility, which is very unpleasant and potentially dangerous. SIL is going to have to at least pump mid-way through this wedding, which means she’s going to have to bring a pump with her to the reception.
jlyfsh March 21, 2013, 9:46 am
even if she didn’t choose to pump, i would think there would be ways around this in terms of time. make it so she doesn’t have to get to the ceremony until last minute. make sure she has her pictures taken first so she can go back to the baby as soon as possible after, etc. if there is anywhere at the venue that could be made in to a temporary baby room for a baby-sitter explore that. but, it seems like there are options other than the baby comes or i don’t.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 9:29 am
Noise can be a real problem, though, particularly if no one is willing to promptly remove the infant. A toddler screamed through the entire vow exchange at my best friend’s wedding. The mother didn’t remove the child because *she* wanted to witness the vows. Not only did no one hear the vows, but it also ruined the filming of the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom were upset, as were the majority of the guests (who had traveled a long way to witness that special moment).
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:39 am
In all honesty, I think the 3 year old flower girl will end up being more of a problem then a 5 month old baby. In your example specifically it was a toddler being disruptive, not an infant.
Like I said, this isn’t a hill I would die on. If it’s one you would, that’s fine. I would not attend a wedding, regardless of who’s it was, if I was forbidden from bringing my 5 month old baby, that I most likely will never have left with a non-family sitter before.
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 10:14 am
You can’t RUIN a wedding this way. My parents wedding video is dark and fuzzy and the smoke detector goes off in the middle of the vows. It’s hilarious. We put it in sometimes just to laugh.
Did they start the day single and end as married people? Yes.
Did all their friends and family come and witness the marriage and party all night? Yes.
Therefore the wedding was not ruined and the video will be a funny thing to show their kids in 15 years. This is not worth getting upset over. And it’s not worth ruining family ties over.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 10:18 am
I just said the filming was ruined, not the wedding itself.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:40 am
How often do people watch their wedding videos? Really? My friends who got married 3 years a ago have watched their ceremony video ONCE, the weekend they returned from their honeymoon. I don’t know anyone else who has had a videographer and we’re not having one because I know I’ll never watch a video. A nephew crying mid-ceremony could lighten the mood a little and make things memorable. Plus you could tease the kid about it for YEARS to come.
WAPS March 21, 2013, 11:00 am
People get wedding videos for other reasons though. My BIL’s mother was in late stage MS at the time of my sister’s and his wedding and could not physically make it to the wedding, nor could my very elderly grandmother. A child crying through the entire video to the point where they could not hear the vows would have, yes, ruined the wedding video.
Addie Pray March 21, 2013, 11:03 am
There’s my favorite commenter, WAPS!!!!
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 11:29 am
I mean of course there are situations like this and Bagge’s friends…but they didn’t mention needing to video tape for a family member. Plus the baby is a family member so perhaps the ill family member would enjoy seeing/hearing the baby. I mean to each their own, but I would not pick this hill to die on. It’s not worth creating unnecessary pre-wedding stress.
WAPS March 21, 2013, 12:43 pm
I’m just saying that maybe we don’t know all the reasons why people do things, and we should try to give people the benefit of the doubt. It feels a lot like people are picking on the LW for being petty or inviting drama, whereas I think if she feels strongly about this (which she must if she wrote in about it) then who am I to say she’s wrong to feel manipulated? Wendy’s advice is perfect and non-judgmental in this case.
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 11:12 am
Ok ok, there are serious circumstances. And if that were the case and the mother wouldn’t step out with the baby, I would literally stop the officiant, walk over to the mother, and ask her to leave so we could get the recording.
But barring actual life and death, then it’s not that serious.
bagge72 March 21, 2013, 11:21 am
When one of my friends got married, they were doing a videographer for this reason, because his wife’s father was very old at the time, they actually had to switch it to a live video feed sent to the hospital where the brides father was, because he had gotten really sick the week of the wedding. This was tough for her, because he was in Indiana, and they were getting married in MA so she couldn’t even visit him, then he actually died two weeks later. They couldn’t postpone the wedding either, because her father was actually very old, he was in his late 70’s even though her other is only 50 now I believe.
bagge72 March 21, 2013, 11:12 am
My sisters watches hers a couple of times a year, because her daughters love to watch it. Everyone is different. We did not allow babies at our wedding either, and there were a couple of people that had very young babies, and they all figured it out without a problem. One of them we even had pump in the bridal sweet at the reception place while we were out getting pictures so she could have it for the baby, and they requested this before the wedding so we could get her permission to go back there. The SIL is making this a way bigger deal than it is, and grown-ups are very good at figuring things out, and the ones who can’t are just being dicks, for the sake of being a dick. Heck we didn’t have my sisters 9 month old there, but we had the 3 and the 6 year old in the wedding, and my sister was actually very happy to not have the baby there, because she wanted to enjoy herself.
landygirl March 21, 2013, 11:00 pm
If you’re Muriel Heslop you watch it constantly!
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 10:30 am
And I’m suggesting that even the filming isn’t ruined. A wedding video is something you watch what, twice? Unless it’s got something hilarious like a rogue smoke detector or screaming infant. Then you pull it out every thanksgiving to laugh and laugh.
The baby adds value to that video.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 11:01 am
The bride in my story is very Type A, so for her it was a big deal. I can definitely appreciate that others would find humor in it. That experience is partly why I’m not having my ceremony filmed, actually (well, and that I hate to listen to a recording of my own voice).
LadyinPurpleNotRed March 21, 2013, 9:30 am
If that (breastfeeding) was the thing, then the SIL could have said I can’t have a baby-sitter BECAUSE I’ll be breastfeeding and not use the “I have no one to watch my baby” reason.
Anna March 21, 2013, 9:31 am
I think it’s the bride’s right not to have babies at her wedding, and especially not to be required to include a baby in the bridal party. 5 months is too young to be a ring bearer. And, like Wendy said, if she allows one baby, it will be offensive to any other wedding guests who have babies and are not allowed to bring them. Some places are just not baby-friendly. If she’s breastfeeding, she can pump a few bottles before she goes and give them to the babysitter that the LW offered to pay for.
If it were me, I wouldn’t want babies or small children at my wedding because it’s not a kids’ birthday party. It’s going to be an adult party where adults are free to do as they please, and these types of situations don’t seem appropriate for children. If you allow everyone to bring their kids, then what happens when the uptight parents get angry that their kids are witnessing people drinking, smoking, dancing, grinding, etc? Better to just avoid the situation IMO, unless you are planning a completely dry religious wedding.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:36 am
I disagree that it would be offensive to allow one baby, the grooms sister’s baby. And they are already allowing a 3 year old to come (which can be just as disruptive if not even more disruptive then an infant) so they can’t agrue they aren’t allowing children.
Some women do not want to pump and use a bottle, they exclusively use the breast. I know quite a few people who’ve never used a bottle to feed their child.
kerrycontrary March 21, 2013, 9:41 am
I could also see the SIL getting upset over “How dare you tell me how to feed my child”. While pumping is a reasonable suggestion, we’ve often discussed how you shouldn’t tell a woman how to feed a child.
jlyfsh March 21, 2013, 9:41 am
yeah but the other baby is her sister or brother’s (she said niece). what does it say to cave to one sibling and not the other.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 10:48 am
I’m surprised you think that. I do think it would be offensive (to people who get offended about those sorts of things) to allow some or a few, but not all.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:58 am
I think it is different when it is a- the immediate family of the couple (ie siblings) and b- a bridal party memeber- these aren’t just “guests” these are the people nearest and dearest to your heart. This woman is standing up with you as a member of your wedding party, it’s different than say a co-worker who is invited to be polite.
And they are at least one child (the 3 year old) to come but not others which I think is BEYOND rude. Allowing the 3 year old to come because she will be “so cute as a flower girl!!!” and then making a freaking mountain out of a mole hill over this baby is ridiculous. Either both of your SILs kids or none at all in my world.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 11:17 am
My daughter was a flower girl in my bf’s sister’s wedding and was the only kid invited. A cousin asked to bring her baby and was told she can’t. Who do you think came up to me at the wedding and said ‘oh I see YOUR child was allowed to come.’ I felt awkward, and obviously its not my fault, but it will piss people off. I even told his sister to please not have her in the wedding or attending just out of obligation or thinking I’d be pissed.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 11:34 am
I mean people are going to comment on what you do (and don’t do) at your wedding regardless of your choices. I would just rather make my sister or SIL happy then a cousin or friend or co-worker.
And I do think bridal party members get “special” treatment as they are going above and beyond a traditional guest. It might not be the norm but that’s my opinion.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 11:36 am
Ok, but what if say every bridesmaid has 3 children under the age of 5? I agree that if its a coworker, then whatever, but there’s surely a good chance this isn’t the only bridal party member with a child.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 11:45 am
I mean yeah, that’s a different hurdle. But it’s not mentioned here. If you have 10 children to bridal party members maybe you should re-think the no children rule at your wedding.
I just can not fathom picking a huge fight with my SIL over this. I just can’t. So, I’d let the baby come, even if it meant I had to have a weird/uncomfortable convo with a friend or co-worker or cousin about why their baby wasn’t invited. It’s just not a fight I would fight.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:09 pm
To be fair, the whole breast pump argument wasn’t mentioned either.
I’m in agreement with you, as well as Addie below. I’d just let the baby come. Get the f over yourself, your ability to be the RULEMAKER OF YOUR TERRIBLY SPECIAL DAY, and just let the baby come. Or don’t because you don’t really give 2 shits whether your new husband still has a sister.
bagge72 March 21, 2013, 11:24 am
This whole breastfeeding thing is a made up issue, and was never said in the letter, so I don’t know why people are bringing this up. The SIL said she couldn’t find a babysitter, and that is why she couldn’t go.
kerrycontrary March 21, 2013, 9:39 am
I get what your saying about the no children at weddings thing. A lot of people chose to do this. But in my experience, most people with children (or at least one of the parents) takes the children home 1-2 hours before the reception ends just because the kids are tired. And people tend to get drunker/more inappropriate towards the end of the reception. Plus I honestly don’t know of anyone ever bitching about their children witnessing such things at a wedding (but Anna I know your experience could be different due to your conservative family).
Anna March 21, 2013, 10:09 am
You must know some great people. Throughout my childhood, we were not allowed to associate with my mom’s side of the family much because they drank. We would go to my grandma’s house for Christmas but never stayed longer than an hour because my mom was rushing us to the car the minute one beer was opened. Obviously their ridiculous “raise your child in a cave” technique worked because I drink all the time.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 10:49 am
I’ve seen this the majority of the time too. Kids leaving after the food is finished. I’ve actually done it myself, like had my parents pick her up and I stay.
camorzilla March 21, 2013, 9:43 am
The SIL can pump bottles beforehand for the sitter that the bride and groom are paying for. It’s selfish to insist the child be in the wedding. You may not have enough balls to stand up to people, but I hope this bride does.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:50 am
I have plenty of balls, thank you. I just choose not to ruin relationships with my family over things that are trivial.
Some people don’t use bottles at all.
LadyinPurpleNotRed March 21, 2013, 9:52 am
But if something this trivial is going to ruin a family relationship they LW and her husband will be walking on eggshells forever…it will happen sooner or later.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:54 am
I disagree. This is an infant. There is a 3 year old invited. (I do think it’s nuts that the SIL is pushing for the baby to be in the wedding.) It seems like the LW is picking and choosing which kids can come, or creating arbitrary age cut offs and I too would be pissed.
Amber March 21, 2013, 10:08 am
It’s not arbitrary when the only child invited is the bride’s own child.
Amber March 21, 2013, 10:12 am
Nevermind, read it wrong…
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:14 am
It’s not the bride and grooms child. “We are already having her three-year-old daughter as our flower girl.” her being the key word.
Firestar March 21, 2013, 11:32 am
Actually it seems like the SIL is picking and choosing that all of her children are in attendance.
camorzilla March 21, 2013, 9:53 am
I didn’t realize someone’s wedding was trivial. Thanks for that clarification. And the SIL is the one ruining relationships by being so selfish and demanding.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:00 am
I don’t think the wedding is trivial, I think picking a fight over your SILs infant is trivial. I do not think it’s selfish to want your 5 month old baby with you. (I do think the 5 month old participating in the wedding is a little much.)
iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 10:06 am
It is trivial. So trivial that the SIL should make alternate arrangements from one of the thousand options we’ve listed on this thread.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 10:53 am
Of course SIL is being unreasonable, but the more comments I read, I’m with GG. Just suck it up and let the baby go. Its not worth it.
Firestar March 21, 2013, 11:40 am
A lawyer turning her back on the value of precedent? Shocking! Living under the constant threat of someone throwing a hissy fit when she doesn’t get her way is no way to live. A wedding can be a clean start for all relationships going forward. If the brother has always given in the sister maybe now is the time for her to realize it won’t be like this for the rest of their lives and everyone should act like a reasonable adult.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 11:47 am
Haha! I may be naive, but really what’s SIL going to do in the future that will make this decision so bad? Throw a fit over where Christmas will be? Big deal, If she pulls this shit again, tell her to F off. I would give her this one shot though. I just think, how many opportunities will SIL have to keep this going?
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 12:37 pm
Endless! There are endless opportunities for entitled brats to be self absorbed. You clearly have never had to deal with this or you’d realize people that want to can make ANY situation about them. It is mindblowing.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:38 pm
So deal with that then. I don’t think giving in once, the first time ever asked to, is the worst idea ever.
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 12:46 pm
Okay but which time do you set boundaries? The SIL has thousands of options of ways she can not be a pain in the ass. Even IF she is breast feeding (which is a huge if – it wasn’t mentioned) she can pump ahead of time, have a babysitter she trusts on site that she has 6 months to figure out. The only thing worse than a bride that is unreasonable is a parent that is unreasonable about an event where they should be more than happy to be accommodating and IS NOT ABOUT THEM.
Trust me if you don’t set boundaries early on you’re screwed.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:50 pm
The second time. Simple as that.
theattack March 21, 2013, 12:54 pm
For someone as self-absorbed as the FSIL, I’m certain this sort of behavior has happened many times before already.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 9:49 am
I agree with you GG, I was able to have breastfeeding at my wedding for one person who was very gracious and discrete about it… But that’s not what the sister is asking for.
She hasn’t even given birth yet and she’s already pushing for her child to be in the wedding. Not attend, not be nearby because she plans/hopes to breastfeed, BE THE RING BEARER. And then she’s thrown a childish tantrum in response to some fairly reasonable alternatives. Draw the line in the sand now, she sounds awful if this is how she treats her brother on his wedding day.
Lynn March 21, 2013, 10:13 am
Totally agree GG. I wouldn’t fight this battle.
Riefer March 21, 2013, 10:46 am
I agree too. Doesn’t seem worth it. I didn’t want kids at my wedding either, but it’s hard to say no when your siblings are travelling from out of town with their kids. Eventually I said that my siblings’ and my husband’s siblings’ kids could come. No one else even tried to bring their kids, except for one couple who unexpectedly showed up with their newborn because their sitter cancelled on them, and I was fine with that (they were also very apologetic about it). It’s just not worth the bad blood that it’ll cause to stand your ground on this one.
I would say no to the ringbearer idea though, that’s ridiculous. And if the SIL’s husband is also in the wedding party, then I would insist on having a sitter for during the ceremony and reception (and would offer to pay). Basically I wouldn’t have gotten into this situation in the first place though, because I’d want my family to be comfortable and happy at my wedding. They’re your guests, not your audience.
bethany March 21, 2013, 9:26 am
And I’m so glad my wedding is over. All these letters give me wedding anxiety. Everyone out there, just elope. Seriously.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:29 am
Seriously. I can’t WAIT until mine is over.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 9:31 am
Lol, so true. My wedding is in two weeks, and I’m trying to keep relaxed, but it’s hard!
bethany March 21, 2013, 9:34 am
Pamplemousse Rose March 21, 2013, 9:54 am
I think we discovered a while ago that we have the same date… All the best in your last few weeks!!
Desiree March 21, 2013, 10:20 am
And to you as well!!! In a few weeks we will both be married, no matter how the day-of goes, so all’s well that ends well.
bagge72 March 21, 2013, 11:33 am
This is all very true! There is a good chance something stupid will happen a day or two before the wedding, but when the wedding day gets here, you don’t even care about whatever it was, and you have an awesome time!
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 11:38 am
And this is excatly why I say let the infant come! The potential ramifications of pissing your SIL (and maybe her parenst, your in-laws) off over this are not worth it to me. You’re not going to notice that day for more than maybe 10 minutes if they baby is there or not.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 9:34 am
Word! I’m having flashbacks myself and can’t really respond
theattack March 21, 2013, 10:08 am
IMO, the worst part about wedding planning is family. I find that no matter how calm or easy-going I am, family always starts drama about the wedding.
Ladybug March 21, 2013, 12:43 pm
Completely OT here, but HOLY SHIT that kitten is adorable!
MJ March 21, 2013, 9:30 am
Let her bring the kid. Don’t let him be a ringbearer. (She might want him in that role so she can hold him during the ceremony if she is a bridesmaid.)
See what kind of accommodations you can work out. It’s not worth the hassle nor the severing of a relationship.
Fabelle March 21, 2013, 9:31 am
I don’t even know what to say about this—yeah, I mean, it definitely sounds like the sister is being demanding, but then again, I personally think it’s weird that her 3-year old can come, but her second child (the arriving baby) can’t? What’s the difference between a 3-year-old and a baby? (I know, I know, A LOT, but still)
I think the sister mayyy have reacted better if it was just a blanket no-children-at-all rule?
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:41 am
That confused me too. One of the children can come, but not the other? The toddler who is potentially more vocal and definitely more moble? It’s rude to me.
Fabelle March 21, 2013, 10:30 am
Okay, glad to have you agree GG, because I felt like maybe I didn’t know what I was talking about, haha. (And I thought people might be like, “Oh, but a baby and a toddler are TOTALLY different things!” but I see most are not saying that?)
I do think that while the SIL ~could~ be a manipulative, overly demanding person, the situation is becoming exacerbated by the fact only one of her children will be invited.
LW—is your niece the only only potential baby guest? I say maybe invite her, & the SIL’s baby (but don’t have a 5-month old be the ring-bearer. I mean, how is that even going to be possible?)
Riefer March 21, 2013, 10:47 am
They are totally different. A toddler is worse if you’re looking for a calm, peaceful wedding. A 5-month-old, unless it’s really colicky or something, will probably just mostly sleep through it.
Fabelle March 21, 2013, 11:07 am
No, I see most are saying that—but I thought maybe they would say the opposite? I had no idea, really, but common sense dictates that yeah, a toddler would be much more of a handful (which is why I don’t get the no babies rule)
camorzilla March 21, 2013, 9:46 am
I think what people are also glossing over is the fact the her fiance also feels like his sister is being manipulative and doesn’t want to give in to her.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 10:15 am
Yes, it would be one thing if her fiance was pushing for her to be inclusive – but even he thinks she’s being manipulative and doesn’t want to change their plans. Most of us would dream to have a significant other with that kind of clarity about their own family, and willingness to stick by his soon to be wife.
If nothing else YEAH SOON TO BE HUSBAND FOR NOT AUTO CAVING!!!! 🙂
EricaSwagger March 21, 2013, 10:28 am
Seriously. I’m SO GLAD he’s not on his sister’s side with this.
I feel like a lot of these letters are like “My SO’s family member is doing (crazy thing) and my SO is not helping me/is on their side/is otherwise making me feel like old family is more important than new family!”
FossilChick March 21, 2013, 10:18 am
But the fiance is also torn on the matter and doesn’t seem willing to hold the line. If the fiance won’t take charge of the situation and dictate the terms to his own family, the blame is definitely going to fall on the LW if the SIL rallies the family behind her.
iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 9:46 am
Confession time – I hate weddings without kids because there is nothing I enjoy more than dancing with little kids. When I’ve had a few too many wines all adults need to assume I no longer care to interact with them and they can find me on the dance floor with the 4 year olds. This rule also applies to parties that have dogs.
But yeah LW don’t give in. I regret the times I gave in to my in laws during wedding planning because shockingly my kindness was mistaken for weakness and we still have occasional power struggles. Get this battle over with now and you will save yourself years of mini future battles.
artsygirl March 21, 2013, 9:48 am
It sounds like children are allowed – the SIL’s daughter is the flower girl. It just a moratorium on infants since they are harder to control and are much more likely to get loud and fussy.
FossilChick March 21, 2013, 10:23 am
I really think the LW might be falling into a trap on the “infants are harder to control and more likely to get loud” by banning the infant and allowing the 3-year-old. A 5-month-old can be quickly taken away from the wedding and soothed with the entire bag of supplies that accompany a baby. A 3-year-old who missed her nap to be in the ceremony and has been sugared up on cake and juice and up past her bedtime is a totally different animal.
bittergaymark March 21, 2013, 1:48 pm
The can also SCREAM for hours and hours on end. Trust me. I KNOW.
Janie4 March 21, 2013, 3:39 pm
Except the LW is saying the sister won’t take the baby away if it cries, and will make the MIL do it. She’s saying the baby’s mom won’t take responsibility. I think the LW has to hold the line here.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 11:00 am
Actually, the five month old is generally easier to handle and better behaved. They can’t yet crawl or walk and are used to spending their time in one spot. The toddler is used to moving and many toddlers move nonstop. The toddler is also in the wedding and depending on her personality may be terrified and end up crying.
Kzinti March 21, 2013, 7:26 pm
Since the child hasn’t been born yet, it is premature to try to determine whether the kid will have the temperament to be a sweet angel or will scream the whole time. There is no way to generalize about such things. What *is* known is that the people who are throwing the event do not want any children except the flower girl at the wedding. They should definitely make this a clear part of the invitation, and ONLY have the SIL in the wedding party if she has agreed to this. If not, then just invite the adults and the three-year old, and, if they decline, so be it.
artsygirl March 21, 2013, 9:46 am
WWS – my husband and I hired onsite professional baby sitters for our wedding but that was mainly because of the number of children (I have 40+ cousin and they are all baby making machines). No one demanded that I allow the children to attend and in fact despite telling people that a babysitter would be available, many people left children at home because they wanted a mini vacation.
jlyfsh March 21, 2013, 9:54 am
i’ve been to plenty of weddings where the only children in attendance were the flower girl/ring bearer. it’s the bride and grooms choice. and despite it being his sister, once you break the rule for one, you do basically come across to others as if i complain enough they’ll make an exception for me too. no kids/no babies means just that. i don’t really know to tell you what to do other than offer to have a baby sitter for her and even maybe find other ways to make it extremely convenient for her. find a way for her to get to the venue at the last minute possible, make sure she can leave the ceremony in time to go and check on him, perhaps there is a place that the baby-sitter can set up at the venue you don’t know about.
really though this sounds more like your husband’s fight than yours. and if he doesn’t want to cave in, then it’s his call. it’s his family he’s willing to piss off to do this. i would tell him that you support his decision in this. and with that i would make sure like wendy said her dress was ordered but be ready to eat the cost if your husband decides to fight her on this and she isn’t willing to compromise.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 9:56 am
I really can’t stand people. That’s all I got today.
iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 10:04 am
Seriously. Bittergaymark my words – if the bride gives in to this power struggle now she will be in for a lifetime of bowing down to unreasonable crazy self absorbed SIL bullshit.
(Am I allowed to say bittergaymark my words?)
iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 10:05 am
Oh and just to continue AP’s theory – I bet the husband is the younger sibling and the sister is just used to getting her way.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 10:19 am
Yes to everything IWTSS! You can totally use the magic phrase by the way… it suits the situation personally.
Younger or older sib… I bet the sister has gotten used to being the center of attention with the only grandchild and doesn’t like having to share the spotlight. Making her unborn child the ring bearer is such an obvious play for attention… totally jumps the shark and she is wrong.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 10:20 am
Not enough coffee, wedding flashbacks and my bet is over 100 comments by 11am… I’m exhausted.
Addie Pray March 21, 2013, 2:39 pm
DEFINITELY, IWANNA! Good call. See? The eldest blow. Hahaha.
Lianne March 21, 2013, 10:14 am
Yes, LOVE it.
Amanda March 21, 2013, 10:46 am
bittergaymark March 21, 2013, 2:10 pm
Yes, you are… (You and you alone._ 🙂 Mainly because in this instant you are so beyond right.
Lianne March 21, 2013, 10:02 am
I say if the rule is no babies, then the rule is no babies. I hate that people think they have the right to a say in other people’s weddings. It annoys me beyond belief.
Also, the 3 year old can go because the 3 year old is in the wedding. The bride is NOT allowing HER infant neice to go…it’s her – and her fiance’s perogative and they shouldn’t be bullied by ANYONE.
Amybelle March 21, 2013, 10:11 am
If you don’t want noisy fussy children ruining your wedding, do not have a 3 year old flower girl. A baby is easy to quiet with a bottle or pacifier, and easily taken outside for a bit if that doesn’t work. A 3 year old is mobile, loud, and won’t listen to reason…who is the bigger risk here? It is rude to tell your immediate family member that one of their children is welcome and the other is not (because they are acting in your wedding and therefore of use to you!) The SIL probably suggested the ring bearer thing to try to get bridezilla to allow her infant to come. I don’t think you have to bend over backwards to cater to the needs of every guest, however, immediate family is different than some 2nd cousin or roommate from college. Is it that big of a deal to have your fiance’s sisters baby in addition to her 3 year old? Lighten up and be glad you have family and babies to invite to your wedding, you’ll be a happier person for it. Which sounds more fun, “family and friends of all ages celebrating your marriage” or “a formal ceremony of adults only except for the one child that will be an accessory in the wedding party, and ongoing resentment from a close family member”?
Lindsay March 21, 2013, 10:16 am
Who’d even want to have to watch their 5-month-old and a 3-year-old at a wedding? Also, I think the idea of an infant being the ring bearer is really dumb. That’s all I have to say about this.
Amanda March 21, 2013, 10:21 am
If I read this correctly, at your wedding in 6 months your SIL’s baby will be 5 months old, so your SIL must still be pregnant. Personally, I would not make a decision until after her baby is born. Your SIL may be hormone-crazy, so just leave it until she gives birth. If after the birth she is still acting like a child, then tell her you will miss her at your wedding, but you can’t have babies in attendance. Wendy is right; setting boundaries with crazy and/or toxic relatives is necessary for a happy and peaceful life (I am definitely speaking from experience).
Riefer March 21, 2013, 11:01 am
She’ll probably still be hormone-crazy after the birth for a while, unfortunately. Especially if she’s breastfeeding.
theattack March 21, 2013, 10:22 am
I cannot stand when adults use their children as bargaining tools. Grow the F up. If you had a child, it’s your responsibility to make arrangements for them and to realize that your children can’t just go anywhere and do anything you want them to. If you have an issue with leaving your kid for a few hours, I’m sorry, but you have a real problem, and your kids are probably going to turn into crazy teenagers that you can’t control because you can’t back off of them. Loosen up, realize that your kid is 99.99999999999% not going to die if you leave them with an experienced sitter, and stop being an asshole to the people in your life that are otherwise nice enough to put up with your shit.
iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 10:24 am
theattack March 21, 2013, 10:36 am
Whoo… Okay, now I’m a little more calm.
LW, you are laying out several options and letting your FSIL make a choice. She’s probably bluffing about skipping the wedding anyway, but it is not your fault if she does. There’s no reason for you and your fiance to bend over backwards for her so that he can have her there. The fact is that if she doesn’t come to the wedding, she is the one that chose that, and you had nothing to do with it. She has plenty of other options. If she chooses to stay home from her brother’s wedding over this, she’s the one pushing you guys away. She’s the one abandoning her brother. She’s the one choosing self-righteousness over being a reasonable adult. You have nothing to do with her decision to come or not to come, and if she backs out over this, that reflects on HER, not either of you.
Addie Pray March 21, 2013, 10:28 am
I haven’t read the other comments but for the, I dunno, second time ever I am going to respectfully disagree with Wendy: LW, who the fuck cares, let your SIL bring the dumb baby. So he cries and shits his onesie? The SIL or her hubby (barf, hate that word, but it felt appropriate) can step out with him. And if she dumps the baby off on your fiance’ s mom? Well, that sucks for her! She shouldn’t let that happen, but, meh, that’s what grandmothers do. You’ll do it to her one day I’m sure. At the end of the day, at the end of your life, when the world ends…. who cares? You are going to have a blast at your wedding with all your friends and family! You will be so busy having fun, that that little nugget isn’t going to be on your radar one bit. Have a good time, relax, visit with all your friends, take a shot for me, fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 10:35 am
I think this is really the most key point: “You will be so busy having fun, that that little nugget isn’t going to be on your radar one bit.”
99% of what goes on at your wedding you will never see or hear about. This is an awful lot of drama to go through for something that WILL NOT matter.
Addie Pray March 21, 2013, 10:55 am
Yes, people like to create drama. So someone says, “Hey, I thought you said no babies?” She can reply, “we did, but that one wouldn’t listen, the nerve. Ok, come on, let’s get a drink and gossip about how so and so totally did it!” And I bet around 11 pm the LW will say “hey, where’s SIL and the baby?” And someone will say, “oh they left like 2 hours ago.” Haha – her night will be unphased!
Wendy (not Wendy) March 21, 2013, 10:34 am
I have tons of sympathy for the bride–this is not an easy situation–but one thing she said rubbed me the wrong way. “we had no intention of having any babies or really any other children at the wedding (including my own niece who will be six months old at the time of the wedding).”
Perhaps it wasn’t meant this way, but the implication is this: “I’m not even having my OWN niece”–as if this child who will be related to the bride by blood is somehow a little more special or involved than the other baby. The other baby will be the bride’s niece or nephew, the groom’s by “blood”, and there should be no difference between the two. “My sister’s baby isn’t coming either” is the more appropriate response.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 10:59 am
I think its a great point actually. I bet someone would’ve asked by now ‘but what if it were YOUR niece’
jlyfsh March 21, 2013, 11:03 am
i don’t know i think we might be reading too much in to the word own, if she had harped on it i would say other wise. but, it sounds like she was just saying no other babies allowed including my sibling’s kid, so i have people i’m close to i’m enforcing the rule with as well. not just that she was being a stickler because it’s wasn’t her family.
Mandy March 21, 2013, 12:21 pm
I agree with jlyfsh on this one. It’s not like she’s purposefully shutting out this ONE infant, she’s emphasizing that it’s all of them. I don’t see anything wrong with drawing attention to the fact that her own flesh and blood isn’t even invited – that seems like emphasis, and, to me, makes it even less important that she acquiesce to her obnoxious SIL.
EricaSwagger March 21, 2013, 9:38 am
People are so obnoxious.
I will never understand why wedding guests think they can dictate what goes on at a wedding. As the LW said, its HER wedding that SHE is paying for — She shouldn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want or explain herself to anyone.
It’s absolutely ridiculous that the SIL is being such a brat, and frankly, if she doesn’t want to go to the wedding over this little detail, then I say good. I wouldn’t want her there anyway.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 9:45 am
She’s not just a guest though, this is the SISTER of the groom and a bridesmaid. She doesn’t have to do anything she wants but she’ll undoubtedly be burning some major bridges. It’s hardly a little detail, bringing your child or not.
EricaSwagger March 21, 2013, 10:07 am
It’s little! A sitter for one night, that the SIL doesn’t even have to pay for. Why is she making it such a big deal?
When you’re told “No babies at our wedding, sorry,” you say “Oh, no babies at your wedding? That’s no problem — thanks for giving me 6 months notice to find a sitter!” And then you move on.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:10 am
But some people aren’t okay with leaving their infant with a sitter they don’t know. It’s not that simple for some people.
bethany March 21, 2013, 10:15 am
They have 6 months to find a person they’re comfortable with. It really isn’t that big of a deal.
iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 10:17 am
Yeah well some people are a pain in the ass by nature and the rest of us are just supposed to bend to their whim? I mean of course the SIL is making this all about her and her “comfort”. Selfish aldkd*%#
atlimbo March 21, 2013, 12:38 pm
*slow clap* Well done, IWTTTS
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 10:17 am
That I totally understand, but 6 months is plenty of time to find one you’re comfortable with, even if its a friend or family member (of the husband’s).
iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 10:23 am
And I’m sorry – but if you can’t be away from your child for 5 hours after spending 6 months conducting (I’m assuming the SIL will do) FBI background checks on potential baby-sitters and nanny caming a teddy bear you need therapy. Do you know kids used to ride in cars without seat belts on? And I rode my bike without a helmet? I am still alive to tell the tale. Helicopter parents can go fuck themselves.
bethany March 21, 2013, 10:29 am
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:31 am
Some children, even infants, have seperation anxiety. Some parents have seperation anxiety. Sure maybe therapy is warrented but in this situation it is not worth it to me to pick this fight. And I think it is even ruder that one child (the 3 year old) can come but the infant can not. Either all children or NO children at all.
bethany March 21, 2013, 10:47 am
I’m sorry, but if you can’t leave your kid for a couple of hours to go to a wedding, then you have a problem. ESPECIALLY if there is a babysitter ON SITE that you’ve had 6 months to get comfortable with. No one is suggesting they leave the baby in another state with a person they don’t know. Literally, the baby will be in another room in the same building as the mother. If someone couldn’t handle that then I wouldn’t want them at my wedding, family or not.
Riefer March 21, 2013, 10:55 am
No one said the baby will be in the same building. We don’t have any details on that. I was invited to a wedding this summer, no kids allowed. My baby that I’m currently expecting will be 3 months old at that time. The wedding is 3 hours away, and I’m going to decline. It’s going to be hard to find a sitter in that town because I don’t know anyone who lives there (the bride doesn’t live there either, it’s a bit of a “destination” wedding), and I don’t want to leave my newborn overnight. I guess my final option would be to go, leave early, and drive the 3 hours back home that same night. But I wouldn’t enjoy it, and I’d be stressed, so what’s the point? I’ll send a nice gift and congratulate her the next time I see her.
Of course I wouldn’t throw a hissy fit either, the SIL is being immature. But if I were the SIL and my brother’s fiance said I couldn’t bring the baby, then I would strongly consider pulling out of the wedding as well. I wouldn’t do this manipulative crap, but I wouldn’t think it’s very nice of them. I’d be polite about it though, and just say thank you, but I don’t think I can make it then.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 11:59 am
I agree with you. Sometimes there is no good solution so you just do the best you can.
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 12:58 pm
Holy shit how did I miss this. Did you just say some infants have separation anxiety?! Have you ever been around children? Of course they don’t like being away from their primary parent! This is why early on you leave them with “strangers” (strangers to the baby) so that they get used to the fact that primary will come back and they can chill the fuck out. Holy shit I can’t believe you’re putting adult issues onto an infant. What now? Does the baby not want to come because of the social pressure? Is the baby socially awkward and therefore needs to have a xanax some days too? I mean seriously. Infants with separation anxiety. a;kdfka*
theattack March 21, 2013, 1:09 pm
I so much agree with this. My soon-to-be BIL and his wife have a baby who will be a year and a half by our wedding in May. We wanted her to be our flower girl, but they think she would be too scared of the guests (which is why they wouldn’t let her go inside at another family wedding in the fall). They still won’t let anyone hold her or touch her because she cries. That’s right – her grandparents have never been allowed to hold their grandchild. They shelter her from everything she’s afraid of, so she’s not learning that it’s safe. She’s scared of public bathrooms, so they plan their schedules very meticulously so she’s never out of the house long enough to ever have to go to the bathroom. Every time they give in to her cries, they’re just teaching her that she’s right – there IS something to be scared of when grandma touches her, or mom has to go potty in the store. Children don’t grow up that way. They grow into young adults who are too phobic of everything to function in the world. Maybe I’m just mean, but babies need to be exposed to things that overwhelm them so they can learn it’s okay. And parents need to get the fuck over it because it’s not about them.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 2:06 pm
It’s one thing to not leave a baby with a total stranger and quite another to never let a grandparent touch them. They are very different things. If she cries over touch that easily I have to wonder if there isn’t a problem like autism.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 1:09 pm
Some infants and children are easy going and essentially carefree. Others are not. It’s not “putting adult issues on a baby”. It’s something that is real. Per my parents, as a child I would go to anyone. Litterly my mom says you could hand me to anyone, like the cashier at the gas station anyone. My brother- you couldn’t even hand him to my dad, let alone a stranger with out him hyperventalating. It’s just a difference in children. My brother is 17 now and has no issues, but in those early years it was mom or melt down- no matter what they did. I know many other children who have acted like me and many who have acted like my brother.
Sonia March 21, 2013, 12:51 pm
I think allowing the 3 year old is a compromise the LW is making; plus the “ban” on kids extends to her own sister (she says herself that her niece is 6 months old and not attending) which I think goes to show that someone else involved is OK with it and that’s why it’s frustrating to deal with the nutty SIL. I agree with Wendy on this one because it sounds like its more than just about the baby, it’s about the control the SIL is trying to exert to get her way. It’s one thing if she was legitimately trying to put things in place (getting a sitter, etc) but history has already shown that she dumps her first kid off on others, she sees the whole scope of what the SIL does, and I think if that means she’s not in the wedding that’s on her, and no one else. She wants to be the exception but her daughter in the wedding IS the exception. I think it’s about as gracious as you can get.
Letters like these remind my why I want to elope.
Anna March 21, 2013, 10:33 am
LOL! I love it!! And I agree. I remember riding in the FRONT seat of my mom’s station wagon when I was 5 or 6 with just the regular seat belt. Nowadays they want all kids in booster seats and in the back seat until they’re 8 or a certain height (which if they’re my kids they will probably be short). I’ve never owned a bicycle helmet in my life. I drank water straight from the hose. The way society dictates that children should be raised now, it’s no wonder that people in their late 20’s and 30’s are still living with their parents and don’t know how to be independent.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 10:56 am
Oh those crazy ass parents wanting their kids in booster seats and helmets! Safety, pssh! Throw caution to the wind I say!
Amanda March 21, 2013, 10:40 am
Seriously, I don’t understand the mentality to raise your child in a bubble. How are kids supposed to be functioning adults if they don’t have some independence as children to explore the world?
bittergaymark March 21, 2013, 1:46 pm
FIND A FUCKING SITTER SHE KNOWS THEN.
Jesus Age Christ, this spoilt twat has over six fucking months to find a sitter already. People like this make me fucking ill as they are often the most fucked up parents anyway. GIve it a rest already and stop being such jackasses about your irritating baby. Really. Newsflash. At the end of the day — nobody cares. Frankly, I’d tell tell the sisterinlaw to go fuck herself only she probably knock herself up again as these types always breed like rats.
jnsunique March 21, 2013, 10:42 am
I recently attended a wedding 500 miles from my home with my 2-month-old daughter. My cousin did not want any babies at her wedding, which I completely understood, but I was anxious about leaving my newborn child with someone I didn’t know in a strange town. Not bringing her at all wasn’t an option – my family (mom, sisters, mother’s sister, etc) wanted to see her. The bride ended up hiring the sitters for my daughter and her sister’s 18-month-old. The sitters weren’t great (my baby was only fed 1/2 as much as she should have been, and the toddler was still awake at 11 when the wedding ended), but what helped a lot is that the sitters were upstairs in the same hotel as the reception, so I could check on the baby periodically if I wanted. I didn’t end up checking very often, but it just helped to know that she was so close. Obviously a setup like this isn’t possible in every venue, but if it is possible, it’s a great idea.
bethany March 21, 2013, 10:50 am
Thank you for being awesome.
I’m sure the bride and groom were so happy that you were able to be with them on their wedding day. It makes me so happy to see/hear about people who don’t expect the world to stop just because they have a baby, and instead find a way to integrate their child into the world.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 11:04 am
That is a really awesome solution. My MOH might need to bring her 2 y/o to my wedding in two weeks, and I am thinking about doing exactly this to help her/her family enjoy the evening more.
Kate B. March 21, 2013, 10:51 am
Haven’t read all the comments yet, but I totally agree with Wendy. Don’t cave in to this woman, if you do, the door will be wide open for her to whine and complain about everything to get her way for the rest of your life. How old is she anyway? Do adults really behave like this? You wouldn’t let a child get away with it, would you? If she insists on not coming to the wedding because her child can’t be the ring bear (Ring bearer! What nerve!) then just say, “We’re sorry you can’t come. We’ll miss you.” and leave it at that. Everytime I read one of these letters, eloping sounds better and better.
Girafe March 21, 2013, 11:01 am
Story sharing time!
My best friend got married this past October and his pregnant SIL displayed this type of behaviour. Now, babies were very much welcome at the wedding and reception but she chose to act like a total psycho.
My friends brother was the Best Man (SIL’s husband) and therefore was busy with his duties all day. SIL decided it was a good time to have a fit and be upset at him for leaving her home alone to care for their toddler while he was out partying. She showed up at the wedding reception and stayed all but 30 minutes then left to go home. Then she stayed on the phone with her husband all night (he was on a couch in the lobby during the entire reception missing out on the fun).
Nobody has figured out why the SIL decided to be such a damn bitch on her BIL’s wedding day, and perhaps we’ll never know… but I have to commend my best friend for not getting involved in the situation and enjoying his day regardless. She is the “princess” type….
So I agree with Wendy. This sister sounds like she just wants it to be all about her. When will people realize that weddings are about the people getting married, and they can do whatever they damn well please. Nobody is forcing anybody to attend a wedding – and if you don’t like the way something is planned, then stay home!
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 11:08 am
I totally hate the idea that a wedding is about the people getting married. It is, but it’s also about the joining of two families and making the statement to the community.
Being a good host is about making your guests comfortable, not the other way around.
The wedding industry is so wrapped up in the “it’s the bride’s day,” and that’s why people get crazy. So let’s banish the crazy and recognize that even your wedding is not just about you but also about anyone you choose to include. If you want it to be just about you, then you need to go to the courthouse all by yourselves.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 11:15 am
I hate that mentality too. I approach my reception as a thank you to my guests for witnessing our ceremony and their love and support of our relationship. Not as a day for me to just get my way and stomp all over the people I love.
Fabelle March 21, 2013, 11:18 am
Yeah, I think I agree. If someone wants it to be ~*~<3THEIR DAY<3~*~ then maybe just go elope, so you & your future spouse are the only people you'll need to accommodate?
Girafe March 21, 2013, 11:33 am
I agree with all of your points. I’m sorry that I didn’t make myself clear.
I do agree that hosting a wedding & reception is about saying thanks to the guests and joining two families together. I’m not saying I believe that couples can get away with being selfish jerks when they chose to host a wedding with guests versus eloping.
I will clarify my opinion with this: when plans are made by the bride and groom to accommodate most, and there is a guest (family member or otherwise) who demands an exception for their status…that’s when it starts to get delicate to navigate. I realize that there is no right/wrong answer that will universally please everybody when it comes to hosting a wedding (as we’ve seen time and time again here on DW). But it is also true that some people are never happy no matter how much you bend for them…. take, take, take mentality.
painted_lady March 21, 2013, 4:00 pm
And there are people who take a situation that happens to be about someone else (at least primarily, anyway) and do something that ensures it will be at least partially about them. My dad is notorious for throwing big temper tantrums on other people’s birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, etc. Like he gets mad at my mom for wanting to go to a restaurant on her birthday they don’t go to often – but have gone to – because she hasn’t told him how to get there, even though he’s been there and never asks directions on days when it’s not about someone who isn’t him. Or my MFA graduation, he yelled at me because there was traffic and he couldn’t find a parking spot. He doesn’t even realize he does it, but I am honestly terrified of the shit he’s going to pull at my wedding.
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 10:07 am
First I want to say we had 18 children at our wedding, all cousins plus one groomsman’s 5 month old. Our wedding was in the evening (6pm central time, but most of the kids came from eastern time so it was an hour later to them… it ended at 10:30 which was probably way past most of their bedtimes) and was a formal affair. We could have easily justified making it kid-free, but we wanted all the parents to have the best chance of coming and knew that it would be if they had the choice to bring their kids.
The kids had a GREAT time at the wedding, and I did not hear or see any temper tantrums. This could be because I was too busy having an awesome time at my wedding, or it could be because they didn’t throw any. Honestly, as a bride, so many things will happen that never make it to you because other people will HANDLE it and insulate you from crap. There are some adorable pictures of the groomsman and his wife slow dancing and she’s got the baby sleeping on her shoulder while they sway. SO CUTE. (And I don’t even really like kids. What other people find cute I usually find annoying.) Their baby slept through the entire wedding and never made a peep.
I am honestly firmly on the side that you should invite children to these kinds of things. People make it out like it’s going to ruin the wedding, which is wayy overdramatic. A crying baby in the middle of the vows, in the unlikely event that happens, still doesn’t RUIN the wedding.
All that said, I also don’t think the baby should be IN the wedding, mostly because the SIL is pulling a power play and should not win. But having this standoff with her where she decides not to come to the wedding will hurt your fiance and is not the hill to die on.
If you’re firmly set in not having kids at the ceremony, then I say get an on-site babysitter to keep track of the kid during the ceremony and take it away if it starts to cry. And for the reception, it’s your SIL’s problem if she wants to spend the whole wedding dealing with the kid. You can keep the babysitter on standby so that if she decides the kid needs to go to bed but tries to make your MIL do it, the babysitter is there to do it instead.
I also think that if you’re worried about people getting upset they couldn’t bring their kid, you can use the baby’s age as an excuse. “[Baby] is too young to stay home without his mother all night, I’m so glad your kids are past that age so you can party all night with us!”
Amybelle March 21, 2013, 10:14 am
kerrycontrary March 21, 2013, 10:20 am
Yeh..I think I’m just going to have kids at my wedding when I get married because I’m too lazy to argue with everyone about it. There’s a bajillion little kids in my extended family, fighting that battle would just take too much effort.
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 10:26 am
Funnily I had to fight the opposite battle. My mom thought that a wedding was no place for kids and wanted me not to invite any. She said we didn’t even have a relationship with most of the kids.
I told her that we wouldn’t even know my dad’s 2 cousins from California (might as well be Mars when you live in south Florida) save for the fact that they both invited our whole family to their weddings 15ish years ago. As a little girl, I thought going to their weddings was the coolest thing. I wanted to pass that along.
SpaceySteph March 21, 2013, 10:23 am
I totally agree with GG about the toddler being more likely to cause trouble (as in the story I posted above about the 4 year old flower girl getting her finger stuck in a hole during the ceremony… a baby would never do THAT!) so if this were really about NO KIDS then it’s kinda stupid to have a flower girl. Seems more like the LW is trying to pull a power play of her own against the SIL by dictating “this kid yes, this kid no” to her.
…But I hate the idea of a flower girl anyways. Way to turn a kid into a prop.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 10:27 am
Yes, yes yes!!! 2, 3 and 4 year olds are INFITILY harder to controll then an infant who just wants a bottle/breast/pacifier and to be bounced!!
MISS MJ March 21, 2013, 11:11 am
The LW’s future sister-in-law is obnoxious. “I’m not gonna be in your wedding if I cannot bring my 5-month old and he isn’t the ring bearer and I don’t care if you don’t want babies at your wedding, because it’s really just all about meeeeeeee!” Fucking hell. There is nothing more self-absorbed than parents who don’t get that just because they have children, those children are not welcome everywhere. Adults-only means adults-only. Yes, even for you and your kids. This is not a difficult concept. And, if you seriously cannot go one evening without your baby for whatever reason, then sit at home. Don’t expect everyone else to bend to your issues. You are not special just because you procreated. Your needs, wants, issues and desires don’t matter more than anybody else’s and they sure as shit don’t matter more than the BRIDE AND GROOM’S at their WEDDING. I seriously cannot believe this is even up for debate. The SIL is a self-absorbed, manipulative brat, and everyone, even her brother the groom knows it. Fuck her.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 11:23 am
“Adults-only means adults-only.” BUT IT’S NOT!!! the 3 year old is invited. NOT an adult.
Firestar March 21, 2013, 11:29 am
…but “no babies” is clear enough. It means no babies.
jlyfsh March 21, 2013, 11:33 am
the 3 year old isn’t invited as a guest, she’s a flower girl. and they seem to have been very across the board with children in general. only flower girl/ring bearer, no other kids.
Desiree March 21, 2013, 11:45 am
I think that it is pretty common to do “no children except the members of the bridal party.” That might be why the SIL is insisting on the 5-month old being the ring-bearer.
Amybelle March 21, 2013, 11:09 pm
The SIL is also the mother of the 3 year old flower girl, I would not like being told that one if my children was allowed to come to the wedding but the other must be left with a sitter.
Firestar March 21, 2013, 11:27 am
There really isn’t anything to say except I’m so sorry – we’ll miss you.
Listen, you either give in to emotional blackmail or you don’t. May I suggest you don’t…it will just act as a precedent for the rest of your lives…and I’ve never been a fan of marching to someone else’s drum beat or walking on eggshells for all of eternity.
If she wants her baby as a ring-bearer – who can’t yet walk – then she can renew her vows and wait for him to crawl down the aisle to her.
ele4phant March 21, 2013, 11:45 am
You know, if we were just talking about letting the baby come, I’d say just let it slide and let him come. I mean you’re already applying the no child policy unevenly already (and honestly I feel the three year old is more likely to cause disruptions than an infant) and it IS difficult logistically for mothers to be away from infants, so it’s a nice concession for you to make.
However, the issue is not the baby, it’s her bullying behavior. You gave her some reasonable options (ie finding and paying for the sitter) and shes still throwing a tantrum. It would be understandable if she still didn’t feel comfortable coming without the baby and declined still, but her reaction is extreme and WAY out of line. If you cave to her now, that precedent will be set forever for her to bully you into getting her way. Today it’s about getting her infant in your wedding, tomorrow it’s hosting thanksgiving every year with no exceptions. Are you ready to face a lifetime of these power play? If not stand your ground now. Just make sure you and hubs are on the same page. Good luck.
Mandy March 21, 2013, 12:23 pm
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 11:46 am
My mom’s family is very large and has always invited every member of the family to weddings so every wedding has small children as guests. None of the weddings has ever had a problem caused by small children.
This is your wedding so you can do what you like and make whatever rules you like and the people you invite are also free to attend or not attend. So if not attending is what works for your future SIL then don’t be upset if she doesn’t attend.
I do think that if you have a no child rule then you have to really mean no children. As it is you are including the one child that you are using in the wedding. As a parent I have to say that just feels like you are using a child as a cute prop or otherwise she wouldn’t be there either and I don’t think it is nice to use children. The three year old in the wedding is the one likely to cry and cause trouble. A hungry toddler will have a melt down and so will a tired toddler and so will a scared toddler, even toddlers that are normally pleasant. You start combing two or three of these and you have a real mess with a hysterical screaming fit. Also, small children in a strange location don’t know where the bathroom is and are more apt to have an accident if someone isn’t making sure to run them through the bathroom.
As a parent I wouldn’t leave my child with a stranger. For one thing it scares the child and then afterward they are clingy. Not for a bit but for days and weeks and sometimes a month or more and it isn’t worth putting yourself through that clinginess just so that you can spend a few hours at a wedding. So I would leave my children with people they knew and were comfortable with but not a total stranger. If the wedding is in a town where the SIL lives then she should be able to find a friend to take care of her baby but if she is traveling away from home then the only people she knows at the venue will be family members who will also be wedding guests. As a parent it can be a no win situation. No matter what you do you lose so you might as well choose the option that makes you most comfortable.
The idea that the baby could be a ring bearer is over the top and obnoxious. I don’t know how she could envision that working.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 11:55 am
Have you guys seen this video?
Sheryl March 21, 2013, 11:56 am
first, i would try to talk to your fiance’s mother — see if she can run interference, and get the sister to realize she is being unreasonable (and warn her that she is not caring for the baby during the wedding). If that doesn’t work, then try to compromise — as difficult as the sister is being, I get that its important to have an only sibling there.
I would try to say she can bring the baby, BUT the sister and the baby will only be as attendees, not a part of the wedding party. The baby/sister is not to be in the wedding pictures as anything else besides a regular family member, and if there is a blow out during the ceremony, the sister should take care of it without having to leave the bride’s side (or requiring a mother of the groom to leave– who I think is more important than the sister) during a ceremony and distract everyone (I’m not buying there is NOWHERE for a baby to go — they will probably have a car, right?) Also, at this point, even if she backs out which she might do anyway, you won’t have wasted cost of bridesmaid stuff on her.
If she doesn’t agree to any type of compromise, then throw up your hands and say you did what you could and accept if she doesn’t come, it was all her inability to compromise. I absolutely don’t think the baby should be the ring bearer.
Only options are:
1. be a bridesmaid, leave baby with sitter (also — why can’t her husband watch the baby while she attends the wedding? the sister has the direct relationship, not the husband)
2. baby & sister attend only as normal guests
3. baby & sister stay home
Also– for the record, I don’t think you are being unreasonable in your original stance in the first place, but sometimes difficult people require compromise to keep the peace.
Friend of Beagles March 21, 2013, 11:58 am
WWS, totally. Guess what, SIL and SIL apologists? It’s not the SIL’s wedding! She does not get to dictate the terms. I’ve been to weddings that included kids (in the wedding and as guests): Sometimes the kids added to the proceedings and sometimes they were not so charming. What you did at your wedding and what you would do at your wedding have absolutely no bearing here, because again, this is not your wedding. The LW and her fiance have legitimate reasons for not having kids and infants at the wedding. All that being said, it’s the fiance’s sister and he has to make the final decision about how firmly to draw the line. Their request is not unreasonable, and it’s very nice of them to offer to pay for the sitter.
Caris March 21, 2013, 12:02 pm
Tell her no babies means no babies. End of story. If she doesn’t like it, then that’s too bad.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 12:13 pm
You would damage your relationship with your husbands sister for this? Being totally serious- is it worth it to you to create this rift over a 5 month old attending your wedding?
Friend of Beagles March 21, 2013, 12:18 pm
She’s being an emotional terrorist. Why should they provide positive reinforcement by giving her what she wants? Like Wendy said, the precedents get set now.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:24 pm
Honestly, what could she possibly pull in the future that can’t just be dealt with then?
I wonder how you guys are with your families. I would think keeping the peace is more important than this.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 12:26 pm
Right?? It’s like 5 hours of your life. Maybe one day. I’d rather deal with other people’s bs and “set precedents” on any day other than my wedding day.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:27 pm
But GG, its MY WEDDING, IF EVERYTHING ISN’T EXACTLY THE WAY I WANT IT THE WORLD WILL STOP SPINNING
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 12:39 pm
OMGGGGGG. fuck that, I’d rather keep up positive relationships with my family (even if they are being a little bat shit crazy) then add ANY more stress to my wedding plannin plate right now. You want to bring obnoxious little kid? Go right ahead. I can not bear to stress myself out about insignificant details like this letter right now. I have bigger problems like how much booze to buy to keep everyone white-girl-wasted until the wee hours of the morning. SIL and her babes will be gone long before that.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:40 pm
ele4phant March 21, 2013, 12:45 pm
I don’t know – what COULDN’T she pull in the future? Getting demanding about holidays? What about if the LW is pregnant and SIL tries to make it about her in some way (maybe she’d be the type who’d demand to be in the delivery room, or maybe she’d be the type who gets all crazy jealous she and her children aren’t the focus for once). Point is, there is a potential lifetime of conflicts, and the longer she gets her way the harder it will be to change the pattern.
The wedding is just one day, yes, and the presence of a baby is also not a big deal, but setting the expectation that if the SIL makes a big enough fuss she gets her way IS a big deal. Sometimes a day of fighting in the short term is worth it for peace in the long term.
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 12:47 pm
Sometimes a day of fighting in the short term is worth it for peace in the long term.
YES. There are seriously no limits to the shit people can pull when they are entitled and used to getting their way. The rules don’t apply to these people because they’re important! I mean she has a BABY! No one EVER gets babysitters for a 5 month old! What an atrocious thought.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:48 pm
I say just deal with that when it comes then. This is a one time deal.
ele4phant March 21, 2013, 12:54 pm
But the longer is goes on, the harder it will be to deal with it. That’s why it’s better to deal with it now. And are the stakes really lower if its who gets to host Christmas, or who gets to be the godmother? I don’t think so. You want to curb this behavior before it becomes entrenched.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 1:01 pm
It’s just a difference of opinion. I don’t think our (my fiance and my) wedding day is the day to be starting family precedents. Nor do I think me, the “new” person in the family, should be starting them…on my wedding day. Fight this fight at Christmas or $th of July or what ever. I’m just not interested in fighting this family fight on our day.
And, this SIL’s behavior is probably already entrenched. Like since childhood. One valiant stand at your wedding is not going to fix anything.
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 1:02 pm
Okay so now does she have to invite her other niece as well – the 6th month old? Because up to this point the only kid allowed is the one IN the wedding. Or does she branch out to allowing all kids? What about the people that were told no kids except the flower girl and then see a bunch of kids?
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 1:13 pm
Oh then let the damn baby be the ring bearer. Her sister seems to be fine with leaving her kid at home…so why would she suddenly ask? Tell the other guests it’s wedding party only or she showed up the day of with her kid. I don’t fucking know. I just know I wouldn’t banish my SIL over wanting to bring her kid.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 1:04 pm
I would give a one time pass. You are committing to every event in the future.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 1:07 pm
Oops. You are NOT committing to agreeing with SIL at every future event.
ele4phant March 21, 2013, 1:32 pm
I guess it is a agree to disagree. You may not commit to letting her get her way in the future, but I feel if the SIL sees she can use this behavior once to get her way it would be rational for her to assume it will work the next time too. Maybe in your opinion the wedding is too important to start the fight, but in my opinion the next struggle will be over something potentially “too important” to fight during too. If it wasn’t a big deal, it wouldn’t be worth raising as an issue. Nobody WANTS to fight with family, but you also don’t want to get walked on the rest of your life. At some point it’ll have to happen, and it’ll probably me a painful and messy no matter what, so why not just take care of it now?
Friend of Beagles March 21, 2013, 1:15 pm
True story: My brother and his wife had no kids at their wedding. I left my baby with a sitter–and everything turned out fine! I was even nursing, so I looked like I had a breast augmentation by the end, but I digress. Here’s the thing: I didn’t expect them to make special accommodations for me, because their wedding wasn’t about me, it was about them. I deal with my family members just fine–no feuds, erm, ever–so I’m not sure why you would like to cast me at the bad guy for advocating that the crazy-in-love kids have their day.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 1:18 pm
That’s how normal people should act, of course.
I’m not casting you as the bad guy. I’m just surprised at how many of the commenters would risk their husband losing his sister over this.
theattack March 21, 2013, 1:22 pm
I don’t think of it as the LW taking a risk of her husband losing his sister. It has nothign to do with what the LW does or doesn’t do. The SIL is the one choosing to back out. She’s the one taking the risk of losing her brother.
Friend of Beagles March 21, 2013, 1:28 pm
I said it’s the fiance’s decision but agreed they were justified in being taken aback by the demands put on them. SIL is out of line; future hubby gets to decide what to do about it.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 1:29 pm
You’re right, but we know SIL is irrational so its pretty possible she will cut off ties or have some major, forever issue over this, so I say let the sane couple be the bigger people and let her bring the baby.
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 1:34 pm
No! Sane people get sick of being the bigger person. I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve been the bigger person and it does not give me warm and fuzzies inside knowing how mature I am. Instead it makes me feel like I got walked all over. BAH.
theattack March 21, 2013, 1:42 pm
For real. Everyone despises the problem person in my family, which is unfortunate. If someone had stood up to her in the very beginning, she might have stopped the crap and had good relationships with her family. All this does is breed resentment, and I don’t want to be the one with that in my heart. I’ll put that on the person who’s petty enough to make a big deal out of it.
theattack March 21, 2013, 1:38 pm
I can understand why someone would do this. I really would.
But I have an aunt who pulls crap like this all the time, and it never stops. It starts with “A wedding isn’t worth losing family over” and then turns into something new every month. “A chess pie isn’t worth losing family over.” “A borrowed antique baby crib isn’t worth losing family over.” “One rude comment isn’t worth losing family over.”
It never ends. If you say no to a bigger issue first, like the wedding, then it might put a stop to it. But if you say yes to something big, it will start in on small things. The small things are harder to justify standing up to, because they’re not important enough to cause trouble over. You either end up looking like the crazy person because you finally put your foot down over something really small and caused a family issue, or you end up giving into their stupid crap forever. You have to say no the moment you have something big enough to say no to, and I think this is it.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 3:29 pm
If you can’t stand up for yourself on your own wedding day, when you are spending your own money… you won’t have a chance for any future mixed/holiday/whatever events. I mean the sister is dictating who should be in her future SILs wedding party!?! What about her taking the high road and not throwing a tantrum!?!
I’m so happy I drew some lines in the sand with my Future-ILs during wedding planning… makes life so much easier now that they don’t assume I will end up doing whatever they want. Best precedent to set EVER 😉
Amanda March 21, 2013, 4:40 pm
WTAS. I cannot agree more with this.
Temperance March 21, 2013, 10:48 pm
So, I tried to be the bigger person with my in-laws, and they humiliated me at my wedding and then deleted me off Facebook when we got home. Being the bigger person fucking sucks.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 12:24 pm
So then yes, you would damage the relationship with your SIL over this.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 12:38 pm
I see the SIL and the bride both being equally obnoxious. Both are determined to have it all their own way and neither seems to want to compromise. I feel sorry for the groom. Since the bride is the bride she does get the final say and the SIL will have to live with it but neither is exemplary here.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 3:31 pm
Where does the notion that they are both equally obnoxious come from?
It sounds like the bride and groom were on the exact same page, planned the type of event they want – agreed to not have babies – LW told her family and they accepted it. It’s the LWs fault that the groom’s family couldn’t be as considerate? The groom who thinks his sister is being manipulative?? I feel sorry for the groom too, must suck to be related to such a controlling bitch.
Today's LW March 21, 2013, 3:37 pm
No. The SIL is jeopardizing her relationship with her family by being a brat who is expects special treatment and won’t accept no. Don’t make the LW responsible for the consequences of the SIL’s bullshit.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 3:42 pm
I agree your SIL is being a wack-o here. I personally would choose to take the high road and let her bring the baby to keep the peace, because I do not want to create extra stress for myself as my own wedding day is fast approaching. You are welcome to choose what ever you want.
Seems to me you have bigger issues with your SIL than simply her baby attending your wedding.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 3:43 pm
wGGs. I agree with your last part especially.
NOT Today's LW March 21, 2013, 3:54 pm
Oops! I’m not Today’s LW. I was a previous one and my phone still had the wrong name. Point still stands, though. Don’t give in to this stuff. It only gets worse. And it’s not the LW fault if the SIL reacts poorly.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 4:11 pm
hahahaha. I also thought it was weird you spoke int he 3rd person.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 4:17 pm
I never said it was the LWs fault, just that I can control my actions and what I would personally do. People are going to act how people are going to act. I choose to minimize the drama, especially on my wedding day with my in-laws.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 3:42 pm
But you can’t help how she reacts. You can help the way you do though, by just letting it go so your future husband doesn’t lose his sister or make every future get together bad.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 3:50 pm
How does her family feel about this situation? Many, many families will take the side of their relative over others and she has been a member of her family since she was born. It just depends on the particular family but it may jeopardize your relationship with the family instead of hers.
LadyinPurpleNotRed March 21, 2013, 4:28 pm
The groom has been too…he’s with the LW on this issue and not his sister.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 4:01 pm
You sound like you loathe your future SIL and the anger goes much deeper than the baby situation.
I find it odd that you identify yourself as the letter writer and then refer to yourself in the third person. I’m not criticizing it, I just find it odd.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 4:10 pm
Yup, yup, yup. You don’t usually use words like “brat” and “bullshit” if there aren’t bigger, deep seeded issues going on.
Older and (hopefully) wiser March 21, 2013, 12:05 pm
The SIL said the issue was babysitting. But that’s been solved, right? So if the SIL is still unhappy, there’s another issue. And no one knows what it is. Is it not wanting to leave the infant with someone outside of the family? Not wanting to be away from the baby? A nursing issue? Or feeling shut out in some way? We don’t know.I would try opening my heart to her, find out what she’s feeling and tell her how I felt. Then decide.
sarolabelle March 21, 2013, 11:24 am
LW, if I were in this situation this is what I would do.
Baby can’t come but I would hire a sitter dedicated to those kids set up at a neutral place (grandma’s house, hotel room) that will watch the kids. Your SIL can then leave early if she wishes.
I would phrase it like this “I’d love to have you in the wedding so we decided to hire this sitter to watch all the kids (including my niece) at so-and-so’s house” during the service and wedding. You can drop the baby off there at such and such time the day of the wedding. If this doesn’t work then I’m sorry and we’ll miss you.”
Lots of event wedding nanny’s:
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania area:
bethany March 21, 2013, 11:31 am
I actually used to work for a Nanny Agency (as a recruiter), and we provided nannies for situations like this all the time. It’s a great solution.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:03 pm
I don’t think I’m helicopter-y, but I wouldn’t leave my baby with one of those. That’s not to say I didn’t have plenty of other options, but I can see why some parents wouldn’t be comfortable with using this option.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 12:07 pm
I will not be comfortable leaving my infant with someone from a website. I’m hardly comfortable leaving my cat with my soon to be in laws for the weekend. I don’t think that will make me a helicopter parent- maybe if the kid was 5 or 6, but not an infant.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 12:33 pm
I wouldn’t leave my baby that way either.
kerrycontrary March 21, 2013, 12:34 pm
Agreed. My SIL wanted to do this for her wedding to my brother, and he said no way. I feel bad because we shot her down mid-conversation, but we know that my family members wouldn’t be OK with it. In my family we only use family members as babysitters (no hired sitters). It’s just the way things are.
Northern Mermaid March 21, 2013, 2:08 pm
Man you guys,
I don’t have any children, but I am a professional babysitter while I finish my degree. Both families that I take care of found me off of….drumroll please…Craigslist. I posted an ad on Craigslist, had an interview and have been caring for two families regularly and a third off and on. I’m a “stranger from the internet” and I’m not some evil child napping demon who wants to have babies for snacks. I’m a graduate student trying to survive off of student loans.
One of my families has a toddler and an infant, and I often go to events with their mom because both kids get over stimulated and break down, even if mom is the one carting them around, especially the infant. She also just hires me to watch them both when her husband is in town and they want a grown up night out. The kids are used to me now, but when I first started working for them, there were lots of fits and tantrums, and now we’re all over it.
If a mom with a three year old doesn’t have a sitter she trusts already, that’s really too bad. She should go find one, and use it for the wedding. The LW doesn’t mention travel, so I’m going to take it with a grain of salt that this is all taking place where they both live.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 2:10 pm
Lol, no one thinks you are an evil kidnapper. Just many people aren’t comfortable leaving their babies with people they don’t know (prior to interviewing them for a babysitting job). My sister does what you do also, I don’t think she’s out to steal all the babies. But there are crazies out there and many parents just aren’t willing to take the chance. Many are totally less paranoid and fine leaving a baby with someone they vetted.
jlyfsh March 21, 2013, 2:13 pm
the LW isn’t picking a stranger out she’s asking the SIL to find one and offering to pay for it. and she has 6 months, it’s not like the LW is telling the SIL to find one in 2 hours.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 2:15 pm
Oh I know. I said above that many great options (and plenty of time) have been layed out. I just thought it was worth mentioning that some people may not feel like ‘oh, problem immediately solved’ when someone offers an internet listing of sitters.
Northern Mermaid March 21, 2013, 2:22 pm
Oh for sure. SIL, really should try to find a sitter she likes and is comfortable with. There are lots of really good people out there looking for childcare work right now. Plus, having a babysitter on call has got to be a lifesaver.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 2:29 pm
Whether that is easy depends on whether the wedding is where the SIL lives or where she has friends or relatives. Six months is irrelevant if it is at a distance and you’ll never meet the person before arriving for the wedding. If it is a distance then it is a stranger, even if you’ve had six months to pick them. If it is where the SIL is living she should have good friends who could watch the baby during the wedding and it should be no problem. We don’t know which situation this is. I doubt the cost of the babysitter is the problem. I’m assuming that it is due to leaving the baby with a stranger that is the problem.
Maybe the bride could bring a good friend or a relative from her husbands side of the family to watch the baby during the wedding and the bride could pay for the travel and room of the babysitter that is brought along for the trip.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 2:32 pm
My parents did something similar to your suggestion. My step-dad’s mom came to a semi-destination wedding with us (my parents and the three kids) with the plan of grandma watching the kids in the hotel room while mom and dad partied downstairs. Thanks to my brothers meltdowns and dare I say seperation anxiety- my mom ended up missing most of the reception to nurse and take care of my flipping out brother.
jlyfsh March 21, 2013, 2:37 pm
There was no mention of distance in the letter, it sounds like there is no travel. It does sound like the groom’s family isn’t close by which is why they aren’t an option. She has 6 months to find someone and test them out, that’s seriously not enough time?
And if you’re right and it is long distance, which you would think the SIL would have brought up and the LW would have mentioned, then yes that’s an excellent option.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 2:17 pm
I don’t think all internet babysitters are crazy. I have gotten a few babysitting jobs off of care.com myself. But some people wouldn’t be comfortable leaving such a small baby with a sitter or any kind, let alone someone they have olny met once at most. I’m 99% sure I will be one of those people.
Northern Mermaid March 21, 2013, 2:35 pm
I started taking care of the infant in the equation when she was 3 months old. It’s totally all about the parent, but I tend to err on the side of “If you have a kid that you don’t want to leave with a babysitter, you stay home.” The mom I work for breastfeeds/pumps, and coming from a long term babysitter’s perspective, for the most part, it can be pretty flexible to have a child. Babies aren’t raised by just their parents, ever, anywhere in the world. I really do think of myself as part of the proverbial “village” that is helping raise the kids I take care of.
Buuuuut. I’m not a parent, and probably won’t be one. SIL really just needs to deal. If she wants to be in the ceremony, she can hire a sitter for the hour or two she needs to be there, pack up the toddler and head home. Or her husband can stay home. Lots of options.
sobriquet March 21, 2013, 12:24 pm
I am completely unable to give unbiased advice right now. I am so anti-SIL’s right now I could throw something. Selifish future-SIL’s at that. I’m tired of the WASPy world telling us that we should simply give in to this kind of selfish, immature behavior just to keep the peace. At your own wedding, no less! Wendy’s right. You have to set a precedent that her behavior is not okay. Grown women throwing temper tantrums is about the most pathetic thing I have experienced. I’m a firm believer that if a grown adult is acting like a child, they should be treated like a child. Let her know that you hope she can work it out and find a way to come to your wedding, but if not, you’ll miss her. Leave it at that.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:25 pm
Are you guys engaged? Did I miss that?
Fabelle March 21, 2013, 12:51 pm
Aw sobriquet, it’s been one SIL problem after another lately on DW 😀
CatsMeow March 21, 2013, 12:58 pm
I can’t give unbiased advice because I don’t really like weddings. Or babies. I’m like a defective woman.
Just Max March 21, 2013, 6:56 pm
You are not a defective woman. You are a woman who doesn’t like weddings or babies. 🙂
Evil Charity March 21, 2013, 12:40 pm
I’m a breastfeeding mom and have three weddings to attend this summer. I expect that my baby will be invited to all, but if she isn’t, we will politely decline the invitations and that will be that. I work and spend enough time with my pump and away from my baby as it is. When I’m not working I want to be with my baby and husband. Also, as a woman with a relatively low mild supply, I have to either pump or feed my baby regularly and cannot skip a feeding. Let me tell you, feeding my baby is about one hundred times better than strapping on this damn pump. So, it may not be as simple as just pumping in advance and giving the baby bottles.
I do think that if you’re going to have a child-free wedding, it should be just that. Allowing one child to attend is part of what is causing all of this discord. Of course, it’s the bride and groom’s wedding and they should do as they please…and, be prepared for any fallout since this SIL isn’t afraid to throw a tantrum.
CatsMeow March 21, 2013, 12:56 pm
EVIL CHARITY! Is your name, like, a reference to Passions? Like, when Charity was Evil/Zombie Charity?
(Does anyone else remember Passions? I loved the shit out of that show).
Trixy Minx March 21, 2013, 1:11 pm
Haha I remember Passions! My sister loved days of our lives and I loved Passions.
Evil Charity March 21, 2013, 2:51 pm
Yep! I’ve been using this alias for about ten years and you may be the third person to get the reference. Gold star for you.
CatsMeow March 21, 2013, 3:17 pm
WOO HOO! That made my day. For real.
Grilledcheesecalliope March 21, 2013, 3:30 pm
Oh. Em gee. I was almost convinced I made that show up in my head. I miss Tabitha.
Taylor March 21, 2013, 1:00 pm
I disagree that a wedding has to be open to all children, or no children. There are reasons select young people would be included without opening the door to everyone’s. I had my very well behaved 10 year old cousin and an 8 year old flower girl at my wedding. We had a lot of out-of-towners, and for them, I offered a baby-sitter at the hotel (which no-one took me up on). People in town I expected would find sitters (which they all did). If everyone with children had brought them, it would have been an extra 50 kids, our venue wouldn’t have been able to seat them, and it wasn’t that kind of party. That being said, we did get the polite “no’s” and totally respected that.
Anyway, the SIL sounds like a pain in the ass. Who demands that a child be an attendant?
CatsMeow March 21, 2013, 12:49 pm
Well, DW, it’s decided. I am never having a wedding. Ever.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 12:52 pm
Would you say never, ever, ever. Like, never?
CatsMeow March 21, 2013, 1:01 pm
These letters stress me out and I’m not even remotely involved!
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 1:21 pm
I would love it if both of my kids eloped or had small destination weddings.
AKchic_ March 21, 2013, 2:15 pm
*snort* It’s not hard to have the wedding you want if you’ve already established boundaries and have no problem in enforcing boundaries on your future in-laws.
People who insist on diplomacy and delicacy when handling future relatives or current ones just make it easier for such tantrums and power plays to happen.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 3:33 pm
People who insist on diplomacy and delicacy when handling future relatives or current ones just make it easier for such tantrums and power plays to happen.
LOVE… Can we get this on a t-shirt!?!
Also, so hard to be DWing the wedding comment section while March Madness is going on…
Trixy Minx March 21, 2013, 1:10 pm
I swear.. Wedding themed topics always gets the most comments!
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 1:40 pm
I blame GG.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 1:43 pm
Haha why? Because my opinion is 9 times out of 10 opposite of everyone else? Or because I hate working and comment way too much?
Iwannatalktosampson March 21, 2013, 1:44 pm
Both of those plus you’re wedding obsessed lately. 😉
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 1:49 pm
Haha. I’m so over wedding stuff it’s not even funny. 60ish days to go. Wendy seems to be having a huge influx of wedding letters compaired to last spring. Maybe I’m making that up.
AKchic_ March 21, 2013, 12:25 pm
I’m the type who would say “We will NOT be having your son as a ring-bearer, period. There will be no other children in attendance and if you feel that you can’t find a sitter in the 6 months we have until the wedding, which we have said we would pay for, then I’m sorry, but I am going to have to drop you from bridesmaid duties so you can take care of your son. We will miss you at the wedding and reception, but should you find a sitter in the next 6 months, please let us know so we can take care of the bill”.
Then I’d continue planning my wedding, without the future SIL in the bridal party. If anyone complains (i.e., the future MIL for cutting darling daughter and refusing her grandson), simply give the facts in a dry, calm manner and say that you know that being a bridesmaid can be a burden on some people, so you didn’t want to burden her any longer since she was having such a hard time with finding a sitter.
Yes, it’s turning the issue back to the FSIL, but she needs to learn to behave and a little shaming can go a long way sometimes.
bittergaymark March 21, 2013, 1:33 pm
Sometimes Wendy is SO right, it’s annoying. Here her final paragraph TOTALLY gets my goat as it literally steals the thunder of my otherwise brilliant and pithy THREE WORD gut response. Yes, three tiny words were going to be my entire response! So concise! So minimal! They literally popped into my head upon reading even just the headline… And oh so clever and wise! But Wendy — OF COURSE! — totally beat me to the punch, that fiendishly smart columnist.
Oh, well. Good think I like some musicals and so I believe in the power of reprises…
CALL HER BLUFF…
Sheila March 21, 2013, 1:39 pm
Be prepared: the SIL will probably agree to having a babysitter, then show up with the infant anyway. Because once she’s there and so is the baby, what are they going to do, toss them both out?
She sounds like such a pain to be around, I can’t imagine the holiday drama that is in store. I’m for going ahead and excluding her. Get the inevitable shunning started, and enjoy the wedding.
bittergaymark March 21, 2013, 2:08 pm
You know what? I would send both her and the brat packing. Either that, or I’d pretend glowingly to be thrilled and then — promptly and accidentally — drop the baby on its little head. Whoops.
I kid, I kid. Or do I? Who knows? Life is a great ongoing mystery. Discuss.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 1:47 pm
If you can’t decide on this, let your fiance. Its his sister after all.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 2:19 pm
This is probably the best advice so far. Let him decide because it is his family and he understands the situation the best, including the likely fallout. Ask him for his opinion and really listen to what he thinks without trying to tell him how he should think or feel about the situation.
mertlej March 21, 2013, 2:00 pm
I think that people are kind of glossing over one of LW’s concerns that, if this were me, would be pretty legit- she’s worried about her SIL dumping the baby on family members so she can go party. If she has a history of behaving this way, if family members have a history of giving into this self-centered behavior, I think its fair to assume that this situation would present itself at the wedding. If one person is going to cause so much drama, stress, discomfort, inconvenience, whatever, what is the point of accommodating her to the detriment of other family members?
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 2:02 pm
If some other guest is willing to watch the baby, that’s on them.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 2:04 pm
Isn’t it up to the person the SIL is dumping the baby onto to stand up for themselves? If grandma doesn’t want to watch the baby, she needs to say so. I, as the bride, don’t need to damage my relationship with my SIL to protect someone else from speaking up for themselves.
(I’m not the LW…just using I cause it made more sense.)
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 2:05 pm
Uh huh. Suuuure.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 2:09 pm
I’m not I promise!! We’re having the opposite of a fomarl wedding, practically a BBQ.
lets_be_honest March 21, 2013, 2:11 pm
Firestar March 21, 2013, 2:50 pm
So the guest should speak up for themselves – but the bride and groom shouldn’t? Absolutely draw a line in the sand…the next time…only do you REALLY want to lose your SIL over your baby shower? or Christmas? or anything else she decides she wants everyone to conform to her whim over? The answer will always be the same. And I get it if you are a peace-maker but it’s fantasy to believe the SIL will magically stop her “me show” in the future if she wouldn’t do it over a wedding.
GatorGirl March 21, 2013, 3:08 pm
I definitely think it’s a fantasy that the SIL will magically stop acting this way, but for me, our wedding day isn’t the day to fight this fight. Family dinners or Christmas or a kids birthday, maybe, but not our wedding. It’s our one wedding, I don’t want to make it a platform to pick a fight with someone.
MMcG March 21, 2013, 3:38 pm
That’s where I think we are opposite GG – I wouldn’t feel as comfortable making Christmas (where I’m already dealing with blending families anyway and is fraught enough with complications) or other family days the point where I make a stand, I would want it to be on the one day where I felt the most secure in my choices, particularly if my fiance and I are paying for it and already agreed to what we wanted. I’m not trying to pull a “it’s my day” mentality, I just think trying to navigate what is probably a minefield of the family bending over backwards for the sister will be WAY harder when you are trying to buck or compromise on years of family tradition.
Skyblossom March 21, 2013, 2:11 pm
Most grandparents that I know love holding their grandchildren. They love to show them off to other people and they love spending time with them. Unless the grandmother has specifically complained about having children dumped on her I would let her decide whether she feels bothered by helping with the baby during the wedding. This could be a legitimate issue or it might be nonexistent.
mandalee March 21, 2013, 2:02 pm
Let’s just say I’m glad I had my mostly kid-free wedding before my SIL got pregnant. Woo for missing out on what would have been similar to this knowing her track record.
LW, I’d stick to your guns. I work with kids, I love kids, and guess what? I firmly believe kids don’t have any place at formal weddings. I also dot n’t the idea that people can’t leave their kids, yes even babies with a sitter for a few hours, especially if it is a place where they can pop in and see how it’s going throughout the day.
Infants don’t have separation anxiety, they usually pick up on a lot of things in their environment so if the parents are the ones with that anxiety, they definitely pick up on that and that is what upsets them. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I’ve watched an overly anxious parent insist to me when I worked in day cares and as a babysitter that their child had so much “anxiety” and after a few minutes of crying the kid would be absolutely fine the rest of the day.
And I second (third or fourth?) the notion that you should not let your SIL bully you here. Believe me, it never ends and saying “okay” to her demands one time will set a habit you will never break. Take it from experience, just say no.
SGMcG March 21, 2013, 2:11 pm
This SIL is really too demanding – where is her husband in the picture? If he’s in the wedding too, maybe she views this as an opportunity for her family to get all formally dressed. However, she should do it at her own time, not during YOUR wedding. Also, who is she to dictate who is in the wedding party or not? A five-month old as a ringbearer?!? I’m sorry, but if you’re going to be in the wedding party as a ringbearer, one should have the ability to sit upright on their own and hold the freaking pillow where the rings are kept without assistance and/or a diaper change.
Betsy March 21, 2013, 2:30 pm
Despite offering babysitting arrangements numerous times for my husband’s cousin’s baby, they still showed up with the baby (~6 months old). I’m still a little peeved that they brought him, especially when he started to cry during a blessing and they did not take him outside. The photographers likely thought this baby was special to us since he was the only baby there, so there are many pictures of him. Three years later, I still get a little irritated when I see the pictures.
I think your fiance should deal with this one. Some people are going to do what they want, no matter how clearly you make your intentions known.
McLaughlane March 21, 2013, 2:50 pm
WWS, dude. 100%.
Also, this makes me SO glad my husband and I went to the courthouse to get married. Sooo much easier and so much less stressful.
Sue Jones March 21, 2013, 3:44 pm
My nieces had bat mitvahs when my son was very young. The services were 4 hours long (!!!!!) Luckily they were child friendly and had on-site daycare so their parents could enjoy (if that is the right word) a 4 hour service and be pulled out if need be. For the reception after my sister found a trustworthy sitter for my little guy. I think that perhaps a very reliable perhaps older sitter for both babies (your niece and SIL son) would be the kind thing to do so that they do not disrupt your wedding plans. And if SIL throws a hissy fit, then that is her problem. I also just have to say that I do wonder about having it at a very formal venue where you cannot have a sitter onsite. But at least you can have one nearby. IF she is the type who never ever leaves her baby, perhaps this will be the first time and she will just have to cope. At least a nice well equipt comfortable pumping room should be made available as nothing infuriated me more as a new mom than a situation where I could not nurse my child, and had to pump in a yucky place like a gross uncomfortable bathroom! And if you are planning on someday having kids, you will appreciate these things.
painted_lady March 21, 2013, 4:57 pm
Look, it doesn’t matter whether the LW doesn’t want babies there for reasons someone else finds ridiculous – maybe it’s not that she feels like infants are worse to deal with. Maybe she has an irrational fear of babies. Maybe she has a relative with a deathly allergy to poopy diapers. Maybe they’re throwing rocks instead of rice and she feels like someone with an infant is more likely to sue. Point is, she doesn’t want babies at the wedding – anyone’s babies – and she gets to have that if she wants. I won’t have babies or really small children at my house because they stress my dog out. I get to do that, whether people agree with me or not.
There are a whole lot of “what ifs” being thrown around, like, “What if the baby won’t take a bottle of breast milk? What if the baby has separation anxiety? What if the FSIL isn’t okay with leaving the baby with anyone at all ever and the only person she can find is a complete stranger off Craigslist?” There are six months in which the FSIL can find a babysitter – a family friend, a family member who doesn’t want to be at the wedding, a sitter she has time to interview and background check and have a trial run – and I bet if LW and fiancé are offering to pay for a babysitter of FSIL’s choosing she either lives close or they would also include travel as flying someone in would be prohibitively expensive for most people and they’re trying to be accommodating. At this point no one knows whether the baby will bottle feed or have separation anxiety, so all of FSIL’s fussing is based on her choices for the best way to raise her kid. And oh my god, absolutely do the best thing for your child, OF COURSE, but no one else is responsible for those choices. If you refuse to leave your child with a babysitter, then you don’t get to call the five-star restaurant and tell them they have to change the rules. If your kid starts screaming, it’s on you to get them out of the store/restaurant/movie in a timely manner, not on the other people to listen to it. Obviously there are exceptions, like airplanes and slow checks and being stuck without a ride in the rain or something, but when you have the chance to be considerate of others, it’s the thing to do. My parents still tell stories about half-eaten meals and intense movies they never got to finish because one of us started screaming. My mom missed a couple of weddings when I was tiny because she didn’t want to leave me with a sitter. And of course the couple understood, but my mom also understood that not everyone wants kids/babies around. Reasonable accommodations have been made; it’s not like they asked her to leave the baby outside when she got to the venue; they asked her to find a sitter six months in advance. Sometimes, if your world is regimented enough, then you forget that life isn’t that way.
And why is it so often that the person who draws a boundary is the one who is “ruining the relationship,” rather than the person who refuses to accept the boundary? Sure, the LW and fiancée might be willing to let the FSIL be really angry and walk away from the relationship over a few hours away from her baby, but the FSIL is the one throwing the tantrum and threatening not to be in the wedding. She’s willing to let that happen because she doesn’t want to play by the very reasonable rules. I would bet that if LW and fiancé heard, “I’m really sorry, guys, I’m just not comfortable leaving the baby at home, so I’m going to bow out of the wedding – take lots of pictures,” there wouldn’t be a tantrum.
Trixy Minx March 24, 2013, 7:23 pm
“And why is it so often that the person who draws a boundary is the one who is “ruining the relationship,” rather than the person who refuses to accept the boundary” <<<<<<<< THIS! Thank you, Painted!
Historigirl March 21, 2013, 6:43 pm
I’m late to the party on this, but it sounds like LW and her fiance initially didn’t want any children at all, then gave in on the fiance’s niece/SIL’s daughter to keep the peace. Then when they gave that inch, she took the proverbial mile by adding, “And I want my not-yet-born son to be the ring bearer.” The LW already kiboshed having another not-yet-born infant (if I’m reading correctly — her niece will be six months old at the wedding that’s six months away, which means the niece is either still in utero or was very recently born), and is looking for parity — how does she explain to her brother/sister why another infant is in the wedding and allowed to attend but their same-age child isn’t?
My fiance and I are getting married in October — about seven months from now. Between now and then, three sets of friends will be having babies. For two of them, it’s the first baby; for the third couple it’s baby number 5. We gave them all the option of bringing their children (and seating them at the end of the pews in the back of the church so they can make a quiet exit from the hour-long full Catholic Mass ceremony) if they wanted to. One first-time parents couple (my college roommate) is planning on bringing their baby. The other first-time parents couple is planning on dropping the kid off with her parents for the weekend so they can have a mini-vacation. The third couple, parents to baby number 5, are local to where we’re getting married and are also dropping the baby off with family for the day. But we gave them all the choice, and we did it because we know and love them and we know that they’ll whisk the baby out of the church if it starts to fuss, even if that means missing part of the ceremony.
It sounds to me like SIL is used to getting her own way, wants to make a point of things here, and is testing the limits. No five-month-old child wants to be a ring bearer, and frankly, no one wants to see that. It’s a baby, not a toy or a prop.
LW, my advice is to say to your SIL, “I’m sorry you’re having childcare issues. Clearly it would be easier for you if you weren’t so intimately involved in the wedding and can focus on your children. To make it easier for you, why don’t we just have you, BIL, niece and baby nephew attend as guests?” You’re calling her bluff that way. And if FMIL hasn’t already learned how to tell her daughter, “They’re your kids, you take care of them,” that is NOT your battle to fight. But drop the SIL and her daughter from your wedding, graciously, and have your fiance back you up on this. SIL still gets to come to the wedding, which is (allegedly) the most important part.
Rachel @ Reality Chick March 21, 2013, 6:04 pm
Really hard one. We said it was fine for babies and kids at the wedding (in a garden so they could run around) but the reception was adult only and everyone was cool – kids were picked up and the adults kicked on happily having a night off. Even my nieces and nephews who were in the bridal party weren’t at the actual wedding. We did have one couple with a newborn though but saying yes to one and no to everyone else made for a few awkward conversations 🙂
You just never CONSIDER this stuff until you’re planning a wedding and suddenly you feel like you’re taking crazy pills, people are asking you if they can bring friends (!!) or asking you to invite other people you hadn’t planned on inviting or if they can bring their three kids… Far out Brussel sprout it did my head in.
I agree with Wendy, stand your ground on this one!
landygirl March 21, 2013, 11:07 pm
This means we have to wait at least 6.5 months for an update to this letter.
6napkinburger March 22, 2013, 11:47 am
My mom told my aunt (her sister) not to bring her 2 year old to her (my mom’s) wedding and my aunt did anyway. That was 38 years ago, and it still pisses my mom off. Hold your ground or you’ll be pissed about it forever.
islandgirl33 March 22, 2013, 11:58 am
After reading or perusing most of the comments, I would say if you don’t want to start out by creating bad feelings with your husband’s family, can you put your SIL in a different role? For example, instead of being a bridesmaid (I think it’s bad to renege on an offer but I think she wants to carry the baby down the aisle and that’s why she asked for the baby to be a ring bearer and I don’t think that is a good idea), ask if she could help with the sign in or gift table? That way she can bring her baby (if this is a deal breaker for her to be there) and be out of the way. Also, during the ceremony, she can slip out if the baby starts to fuss. This way she is still part of the wedding but in a different role. Also as far as her pushing her kids off on other people to watch, well, you can’t do anything about that but hope these people will tell her no. After all, she wanted to bring her baby, then she can watch her baby. Since you are concerned about hurt feelings with your niece also being 6 months old, perhaps you can speak privately to the parents and ask what they would like to do. Or as others said, just nix children completely from the wedding and make it an adult-only affair. If she doesn’t want to attend her own brother’s wedding, then that’s being selfish. I know a lot of couples who only have one parent go because they have kids at home. This will be a no win situation unfortunately. Curious… how do your future in-laws feel about their daughter’s behavior?
AmyB140 March 22, 2013, 5:03 pm
My 3 week old niece was our “flower girl” – she wore a giant flower headband and her 10-year-old sister carried her down the aisle. It was the most precious part of the day for me and for her sister, her mother. I can’t IMAGINE not wanting my own niece or my husband’s siblings and nieces/nephews there. I understand no kids – she was the only baby there. But she’s not some rando, SHE’S MY NIECE.
BreezyA.M. March 25, 2013, 7:20 pm
I am really glad Mr AM and I have a strict non-negotiable policy of refusing all invites to weddings where children are banned*. (We do not disclose the reason, ever, and only his mom and my bff know of this policy in the meat world). It has made our lives so very much easier.
*we have this policy because of having numerous shitty times at weddings which were more stick up the butt coronations of pomp and circumstace than the joyous celebration of a new family. The common element in all these stage productions was a couple insisting on no kids at all period of any age – including one where THEIR OWN KIDS then ages 6&8 were banned.
Luckily in our experience most folks are very vocal about this very early on so we’ve never had to spill why, and both our own families would find it beyond gauche to not invite kids. I feel fortunate.