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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