Etiquette

Inviting children on fiance's side but not mine?

I have watched the posts for a while, but this is first time asking a question myself. Apologies in advance for its length.

Situation: 
Our wedding is Jan 2018. Both our families are large and close-knit. We agreed that in order to share this experience with all our loved ones, we will more than likely be having what you would classify as a "big wedding" (200-250ish).  That being said, we still have a budget and appropriate size limit on our venue that we have to consider.

At first we thought about having a "no children" wedding.  We were defining children as anyone under the age of 18.

After some discussions with my future mother-in-law and fiance we agreed that my fiance's nieces and nephews will be in the wedding and therefore invited to the reception. Also his 1st cousins (same ages as his nieces and nephews), whom all call him uncle, will also be invited. (his aunt and uncle had children later in life so its not a traditional cousin-cousin relationship). That gives us a total of 10 kids on his side (ages 14-4).

I have no nieces and nephews on my side of the family. I'm the "baby" of the 1st cousins, therefore the next set of kids are actually my 2nd cousins. Although I love them and enjoy seeing them at family events, I do not have the same type of relationship with my cousins' children as my fiance has with his cousins. There are a total of 6 kids on my side (all under the age of 7).

None of our friends' children will be invited.

We want to make a clear "rule" to be fair to everyone. I preface this next statement that I do not mean to sound harsh, however I'm also concerned about the number of kids (16 or 2 tables-worth ) that will make up our total number and essentially "shift" some of our close friends and other family from the guest list.  We're past the point of going back to the "no kids rule".

Question: Is it appropriate to have the children on my fiance's side of the family invited (nieces, nephews and first cousins), but not my side (2nd cousins)?  Should I just deal with it and focus on other important matters?

I understand this is a touchy subject for a lot of people. Thank you in advanced for your advice. 

Re: Inviting children on fiance's side but not mine?

  • I think it's fine. You don't have a rule though, in the sense that you shouldn't tell anyone this rule. You invite who you invite, anyone else who asks should just be told that their children were not invited. People might be mad but do you care if your second cousins are mad?
    charlotte989875SP29short+sassyPrettyGirlLost
  • When you are making up a guest list you are free to choose whoever you want to invite.  The idea of inviting in circles is often suggested to reduce the drama that can sometimes be caused by families.  Circles do not have to be the same for both sides, (although again it can reduce drama when they are). In your case, you are inviting within circles.  The children included on your FIs side are first cousins, while your side would be second cousins.  Children of friends would be a different circle also.

    I think family dynamics would come into play here though.  If you don't think any/much drama would be caused by excluded second cousins you are fine.  But if you think there will be a massive fall out if your family got to the wedding and saw any children then maybe you should reconsider (even though you are within your right to not invite them). 

    TL;DR I think you are fine unless you think more drama than you want to deal with would result.
    SP29short+sassyPrettyGirlLost
  • auriannaaurianna
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    What you are talking about are very logical circles: Nieces/Nephews and first cousin. If you'd had those on your side you might have considered inviting them too.
    So don't think of it as a groom's side vs bride's side. Think of it as siblings' kids/first cousins circles.

    There is nothing wrong with this plan.

    Now, it's just natural that some people will get their noses out of joint if their kids aren't invited. That's just life. But you're not inviting them is not wrong or an etiquette breach.

    You do not need to broadcast this rule. Just address invitations to the people who are invited (perhaps add the whole "2 seats have been reserved in your honor" thing to get the point across).

    If someone writes in their kids or asks you if their kids are invited just telling them the invitation was just for them.
    IF they press you on why or at the wedding ask why some kids where there (which would be rude of them to ask), you can tell them you couldn't accommodate any children except nieces, nephews and first cousins.
    InLoveInQueensSP29short+sassyPrettyGirlLost
  • eileenrobeileenrob
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    As long as SO's of guests are invited, you may invite whoever you'd like.  It's fine to not invite children, or only children in the WP/that you're close to.
    I'm a touch confused that the six children on your side would "shift" the guest list as you said, especially when it doesn't seem like you have a hard number of invitees yet, and instead a range (200-250).  Again, totally fine to not invite your second cousins, just an observation.  


  • I have watched the posts for a while, but this is first time asking a question myself. Apologies in advance for its length.

    Situation: 
    Our wedding is Jan 2018. Both our families are large and close-knit. We agreed that in order to share this experience with all our loved ones, we will more than likely be having what you would classify as a "big wedding" (200-250ish).  That being said, we still have a budget and appropriate size limit on our venue that we have to consider.

    At first we thought about having a "no children" wedding.  We were defining children as anyone under the age of 18.

    After some discussions with my future mother-in-law and fiance we agreed that my fiance's nieces and nephews will be in the wedding and therefore invited to the reception. Also his 1st cousins (same ages as his nieces and nephews), whom all call him uncle, will also be invited. (his aunt and uncle had children later in life so its not a traditional cousin-cousin relationship). That gives us a total of 10 kids on his side (ages 14-4).

    I have no nieces and nephews on my side of the family. I'm the "baby" of the 1st cousins, therefore the next set of kids are actually my 2nd cousins. Although I love them and enjoy seeing them at family events, I do not have the same type of relationship with my cousins' children as my fiance has with his cousins. There are a total of 6 kids on my side (all under the age of 7).

    None of our friends' children will be invited.

    We want to make a clear "rule" to be fair to everyone. I preface this next statement that I do not mean to sound harsh, however I'm also concerned about the number of kids (16 or 2 tables-worth ) that will make up our total number and essentially "shift" some of our close friends and other family from the guest list.  We're past the point of going back to the "no kids rule".

    Question: Is it appropriate to have the children on my fiance's side of the family invited (nieces, nephews and first cousins), but not my side (2nd cousins)?  Should I just deal with it and focus on other important matters?

    I understand this is a touchy subject for a lot of people. Thank you in advanced for your advice. 


    To answer your question: yes, it is appropriate and fine by etiquette standards. 

    Per etiquette, you can invite whoever you want to your wedding as long as you include SOs (e.g. your sister's boyfriend) and don't split families (e.g. invite the 15 year old, but not the 7 year old in the same family). Children are not guaranteed an invite just because their parents are.

    However, there are family dynamics/politics to consider. You're talking about 6 extra kids. Out of a 250 person guest list. If you think it'll be a big deal, it's not a hill I would personally die on. But then again, I had a kid free wedding and 6 fun adults > 6 children....all day long. You know your family best and can make the call.
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    eileenrobSP29short+sassyPrettyGirlLost
  • I should say that another thing to consider is out of town guests. If your cousins are traveling and have young kids who aren't invited to the wedding, they probably won't come. And if they do come and they see that kids on your FI's side were invited, you might get some sneers. Not saying it's right - an invitation is not a summons and they can either accept as is or decline...but it's just something to consider.
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    SP29
  • Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the comments and confirmation that etiquette-wise I'll be OK. We have a few more months before invitations will be sent out so I'll "feel out" the family dynamics between now and then. 

    One thing I've learned in this process and reading the discussions is that we'll never make EVERYONE happy. Ultimately, I just need to worry about the amazing man that I'm marrying :smile:
  • OP, unrelated but you may want to change your username to something besides your names just for privacy reasons! These are international boards.
  • @ahoywedding good catch - thank you 
    ahoywedding


  • Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the comments and confirmation that etiquette-wise I'll be OK. We have a few more months before invitations will be sent out so I'll "feel out" the family dynamics between now and then. 

    One thing I've learned in this process and reading the discussions is that we'll never make EVERYONE happy. Ultimately, I just need to worry about the amazing man that I'm marrying :smile:


    I know you weren't asking for feedback on this, but since this is an etiquette board, I had to mention it... regarding the bolded, if your wedding is in January 2017, the very earliest invitations would be sent out would be November. 
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • @southernbelle0915 thanks, you're right. "A few months" probably didn't accurately reflect when we're sending out invites. It'll be late-October/November time frame for the invites. 
    southernbelle0915short+sassy
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Another thing I want to point out is that the nieces/nephews who are in the wedding MUST be invited to the reception. I agree with PPs about the circles thing and you are fine to invite your FI's first cousins and not your second cousins.
  • We invited in a similar way. Niece and nephew in the wedding and this obviously invited along with my first cousins (my moms sisters are 9 and 12 years younger than her). No second cousins or friends children and it all worked fine. 
  • @kaos16

    I read the whole thread all ready to smugly explain how cousins work (irrational pet peeve when people get this wrong, sorry all!). You beat me by 10 minutes! Your second cousins are your parents first cousins' children, so depending on your family dynamics, may be a circle you invite before you invite your first cousins once removed.
    redoryxkelleyandjoshkraftPrettyGirlLost
  • @aurianna, thank you so much for that excellent explanation!  Especially with the examples.  I've always heard the first/second cousin vs. first cousin once removed, but was never sure if those were two different ways to say the same thing or were actually different relations.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    kelleyandjoshkraft
  • Thanks everyone for advice regarding invites...and I learned something new regarding relationship-title of my cousins!  
    auriannaInLoveInQueens
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    A little late to the party.   As others have said, it's perfectly okay to invite in circles.  I did the same, only invited my nieces and nephews (DH didn't have any at the time).  I would have invited any minor 1st cousins had we had any.

    I would try and NOT tell people you are having a kid free wedding.   Your not, so don't even pretend otherwise.  You are simply inviting family up to and including first cousins.  Just happens the some of them on your DH's side are minors.

    In my social group this is totally normal.  If a guest can't see the difference between your future niece and a co-worker's kid, well then that's on them.  You don't owe them an explanation, but you have a good one with, we invited all our first cousins regardless of age.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    short+sassyPrettyGirlLostInLoveInQueens
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