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Etiquette

Not your typical 'kids at the wedding' question

So we are getting to the point where we are firming up the guest list officially and I've got a bit of a conundrum. Let me preface this by saying that child-free weddings are non-existant in my circle and I have nothing against having kids at the wedding.

The issue is that our reception venue, being a bar, has to follow provincial liquor laws meaning that all minors have to be off the premises by 9. As our reception starts at 6:30 this means they could be there for part of the reception but not all of it (we have the space until 2).

I know that from an etiquette stand point it's not appropriate to invite someone to something when they aren't welcome to attend the whole thing, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in my circle who knows these etiquette rules (God bless their cash-bar loving hearts), so I'm worried excluding the children completely would come off more rude in this case, since as I said no one has ever not had them at their wedding.

Thoughts? Also, if I do decide to invite them, how do I convey the part about them having to leave to their parents? (Of course I understand that in doing this I can't expect the parents to stay after their children can't)

Re: Not your typical 'kids at the wedding' question

  • Are you having your reception at a restaurant? I know in Ontario, this is a law for restaurants. 

    As it’s a venue issue, you could get away with not inviting anyone under 18/19 depending on the age of majority in your province.
  • I agree that I would invite the children (if that was your plan anyway) and include a line somewhere that the venue does not allow minors after 9pm.
    eileenrobshort+sassy
  • Contact those with children, advising them of this ordinance.  If holding the the reception near a hotel where most guests will be staying, maybe hire a babysitter(s) to watch the children.  They can be excused for a movie and "fun night", letting the adults party on!
  • @MariePoppy has the best wording. Since it's the law in your province, it may not be a surprise to your friends and family either, so they may already have made arrangements.

    If you'd like to offer a babysitter for after 9, I think it would be okay to let the parents know that via word of mouth and also make sure they know you'd love for their kids to attend until 9. You could gauge interest in that before you arrange the sitter or put up any money for it.
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    IDK, as a host, I wouldn't want to take responsibility for babysitting services or referrals. As a parent, when my kids were young, I wouldn't have wanted to leave the kids with a sitter I didn't know. I would leave it up to the parents to brainstorm their own solutions. 
                
    sparklepants41charlotte989875eileenrobTrixieJess
  • IDK, as a host, I wouldn't want to take responsibility for babysitting services or referrals. As a parent, when my kids were young, I wouldn't have wanted to leave the kids with a sitter I didn't know. I would leave it up to the parents to brainstorm their own solutions. 
    We don't have kids, so when we got married we didn't really know sitting services. People figured it out on their own; they got in touch with in-town family members with kids, brought sitters, or something else. But my experience was similar to this; parents preferred to work it out on their own with people they trusted. 
  • IDK, as a host, I wouldn't want to take responsibility for babysitting services or referrals. As a parent, when my kids were young, I wouldn't have wanted to leave the kids with a sitter I didn't know. I would leave it up to the parents to brainstorm their own solutions. 
    You're right, I've just seen it brought up before in threads so I figured I'd throw it out there. I don't have kids, and the people who didn't want to bring their children to our wedding figured out childcare on their own. It's probably a know your crowd thing, and something to run by the parents before you'd make a commitment to it.
    MairePoppyshort+sassy
  • IDK, as a host, I wouldn't want to take responsibility for babysitting services or referrals. As a parent, when my kids were young, I wouldn't have wanted to leave the kids with a sitter I didn't know. I would leave it up to the parents to brainstorm their own solutions. 
    I think it is ok to help if you can/the parents want it with babysitting. When DD was a flower girl in a relative's wedding, DS1 was a toddler. They arranged for a babysitter from their church to watch him for us during the rehearsal dinner and the reception. I very much appreciated that. Maybe since it was a close relative doing the arranging I felt confident with that. We wouldn't have had any other options for babysitters at the time.
    MairePoppyshort+sassycharlotte989875ahoywedding
  • IDK, as a host, I wouldn't want to take responsibility for babysitting services or referrals. As a parent, when my kids were young, I wouldn't have wanted to leave the kids with a sitter I didn't know. I would leave it up to the parents to brainstorm their own solutions. 
    Agreed, and I think expect most parents will just leave at 9 with their kids. 
    MairePoppy
  • banana468 said:
    To add - I'd hope that the main things of the event are over by 9.   Please don't do cake cutting or big dances after 9PM.   Keep the party going but I'd like to think that if you chose a place that has guests leaving at 9 then they won't feel like they left before portions of the meal are served. 
    To be fair, if OP’s wedding is similar to weddings that I’ve been to, by 9:00, that’s when the party starts. Literally, the tables get pushed back and the DJ turns the music way up. 
    charlotte989875
  • One question: what will the venue do if the kids are still there after 9pm? As in, who is going to actually enforce this rule?

    As others have said, I think you should go ahead and invite the kids with very clear wording on an insert (and/or maybe also on the bottom of the response card) and on the website that used the proposed wording along the lines of "Children are welcome to attend the reception until 9 p.m. as per Provencename statutes." I also agree that all the "wedding stuff" needs to be done before 9pm--dinner over, all the toasts and dances done, cake cut, dessert served with enough time to eat it, etc. Basically, it's perfect if at 9pm the music is turned up and it's dancing-only as of 9pm. 
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited January 2
    When my kids were young, there were things I couldn't do, such as stay out all night with the children in a bar. I didn't expect everyone else to forgo the fun because I had kids.

    I would say the full meal should be served prior to 9 pm. The couple could have their first dance and cut the first slice of cake before dinner and have the caterer plate it while everyone is eating for quick service afterwards. Any other spotlight dances and toasts could be done after 9. The reception starts at 6:30. If they try to cram dinner, dessert, toasts, spotlight dances and ,God forbid, the bouquet and garter tosses, the parents will never be able to get out of their seats to introduce their children to Aunt Simone and Uncle Roland and to chat with their cousins or have one dance with their SOs. 

    @MandyMost - I wouldn't want to find out what the venue might do if the children aren't removed before 9. Their liquor license is at stake, so they probably would be forced to close the bar or even shut the party down.  
                
  • When my kids were young, there were things I couldn't do, such as stay out all night with the children in a bar. I didn't expect everyone else to forgo the fun because I had kids.

    I would say the full meal should be served prior to 9 pm. The couple could have their first dance and cut the first slice of cake before dinner and have the caterer plate it while everyone is eating for quick service afterwards. Any other spotlight dances and toasts could be done after 9. The reception starts at 6:30. If they try to cram dinner, dessert, toasts, spotlight dances and ,God forbid, the bouquet and garter tosses, the parents will never be able to get out of their seats to introduce their children to Aunt Simone and Uncle Roland and to chat with their cousins or have one dance with their SOs. 

    @MandyMost - I wouldn't want to find out what the venue might do if the children aren't removed before 9. Their liquor license is at stake, so they probably would be forced to close the bar or even shut the party down.  
    I didn't see the 6:30 time.   You're right that's close.  I think if they do cocktails til 7:30 and then entrance / spotlight dances at 7:30 until 7:45 then the couple can make their way to tables and toasts can happen while guests eat a salad course.   While the guests are eating salad / dinner the bride and groom can cut the cake.   

    Then again, if the reception start time isn't until 6:30 hopefully most parents are paying attention and will plan accordingly.   I probably wouldn't bring either kid to a wedding with that start time because it flirts with their temper / bedtimes. 
    ahoyweddingMairePoppy
  • When my kids were young, there were things I couldn't do, such as stay out all night with the children in a bar. I didn't expect everyone else to forgo the fun because I had kids.

    I would say the full meal should be served prior to 9 pm. The couple could have their first dance and cut the first slice of cake before dinner and have the caterer plate it while everyone is eating for quick service afterwards. Any other spotlight dances and toasts could be done after 9. The reception starts at 6:30. If they try to cram dinner, dessert, toasts, spotlight dances and ,God forbid, the bouquet and garter tosses, the parents will never be able to get out of their seats to introduce their children to Aunt Simone and Uncle Roland and to chat with their cousins or have one dance with their SOs. 

    @MandyMost - I wouldn't want to find out what the venue might do if the children aren't removed before 9. Their liquor license is at stake, so they probably would be forced to close the bar or even shut the party down.  

    You're right, I didn't notice the 6:30pm start time. I don't know how you can really fit everything in, in that time. Here's a proposed timeline:

    6:30-7:30 cocktail hour
    7:30-7:45 guests seated and any "intros" that need to be done (note: I did no intros at my wedding, and I've never been at a wedding where I was like "Yay! Intros!" so you can skip this if you'd like)
    7:45-7:50 toasts (toasts are not speeches, you can have 2 people give a toast that's a max of 2 minutes each, here)
    8-9pm dinner served; table visits
    9-9:15pm cake cutting and first dance
    9:15-9:20 any other spotlight dances, dance floor opened
    10pm cake served (need time for caterer to cut and plate after cake cutting)
    10:30pm--earliest reasonable time to expect people to leave without feeling like they're being kicked out


  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited January 3
    I'd skip cocktail hour and the photo session, serve an appetizer at the tables and get on with the meal asap. Somehow, the whole meal must be served with time to eat before the kids have to leave. Or move the whole wedding up an hour.

                
    sparklepants41ahoyweddingMandyMost
  • MandyMost said:
    One question: what will the venue do if the kids are still there after 9pm? As in, who is going to actually enforce this rule?

    As others have said, I think you should go ahead and invite the kids with very clear wording on an insert (and/or maybe also on the bottom of the response card) and on the website that used the proposed wording along the lines of "Children are welcome to attend the reception until 9 p.m. as per Provencename statutes." I also agree that all the "wedding stuff" needs to be done before 9pm--dinner over, all the toasts and dances done, cake cut, dessert served with enough time to eat it, etc. Basically, it's perfect if at 9pm the music is turned up and it's dancing-only as of 9pm. 
    I know when I worked in venues as this, we politely asked people to leave with minors. In our area, they have a group of By-Law officers who go around to venues and bars checking ID and liquor licenses, they will do it during weddings too. 
    charlotte989875
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