|In or Out?|
Photo: Liz Coopersmith
Our wedding is in March and we're sending out the invitations this month, before Thanksgiving. My fiance and I are kind of arguing about whether we should let our guests bring their children to the wedding. When we went to his cousin's wedding in August, someone's baby cried through the whole ceremony, and I watched his sister and brother-in law spend the the reception chasing after his two-year old nephew. I really don't want that kind of chaos at my wedding, but my fiance is afraid he's going to get in trouble with his family if we say "No kids." His best man has a baby, too. I think the parents appreciate the break , and they can find a babysitter and enjoy the evening. What should we do?
Kids are tricky. People can - and will - get huffy if you tell them what they can and cannot do with their children. But, you have the right to have the kind of wedding atmosphere you want. But then again, so does your fiance, and it sounds like he doesn't want to have to explain why his sister and his best friend have to pay for babysitters.
My go-to-advice with kids is the same as the advice I give about everything else. Do what you want, figure out how to make it work. In you case, however, I'll reverse that: Talk about different scenarios for making either option work , and then base your ultimate decision on what you're most comfortable with doing, and that gets you both closer to the wedding you want. He doesn't want any heat from his side of the aisle and you want a peaceful day:
1. Write some version of "Adults Only Wedding and Reception" on your invitation.
2. Talk directly to the friends and family that would be affected and tell them you're not having kids at your wedding. Try and avoid the phrase, "Don't want." Definitely add that you hope that they will be able to attend anyway.
3. Some guest will miss the memo on this, and will RSVP for their children and/or ask about accommodations for them. This. Will. Happen.You will have to remind them that you're not hosting children, and you hope that they will stay be able to attend.
4. Some guests will "miss" the memo or ignore it, won't RSVP for their children, and will bring them anyway. You have to be okay with that. No, they won't do that, you're thinking. Yeah, they will. Can't find a babysitter, they're bringing food for them, and they'll keep a close eye on them!
We're not talking about a lot of people in options 3 & 4, but there will be at least a couple, and you're going to have to deal.
5. If you're having flower girls and ring bearers, you can make them an exception, and you don't have to explain that to anyone. For one thing, it will be pretty obvious.
1. Provide a babysitting service at your wedding venue, and mention it on your invitation. Parents can drop children off at the beginning of the ceremony, with an option of visiting them throughout the wedding and reception. Some parents will end up bringing their kids into the reception with them, anyway, at some point.
2. Talk to your friends and family individually who have small babies, specifically about the wedding ceremony, and you know, their crying babies. You can't assume they'll consider this on their own, and sit where they can leave easily.
3. Ask a friend or wedding party member to act as an usher and seat families with small children and babies in the back of the ceremony.
4. Ask your friends and family with kids if their child will need a high chair, a separate chair, or a meal. This, of course, will depend on how old the child is, but don't assume. A baby might be too young for a high chair, but their carrier can (and probably should) go on another chair. A ten year old might be too picky to eat steak or have allergies, so his parents are bringing a meal for them. You'll have to accommodate them, one way or another, but it is is a bit of extra legwork.
5. Be okay with having kids at your wedding. Ultimately, their parents are responsible for them, and there is only so far you can manage that. If you've said "Yes," then you've got to stick with that, and let the chips fall where they may.
See you at the end of the aisle,
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