Wedding Etiquette Forum

Kid Free Wedding

Last June when we started planning our wedding we decided to do a kid free wedding to help save cost. Plus in my opinion the kids don't need to be all the drinking, it is almost like taking kids to a bar. Our wedding is now 3 months away and my sister tells me I need to let my nephews come or my brother-in-law won't be coming because they can't find a babysitter. She has been giving me grief since day one about no kids coming and now I feel like she is putting me in a really bad position because if I stand by my decision I am the bad guy, but if I let them come I am caving in and going to make other guest upset because their kids couldn't come. I feel like she never tried to find a babysitter and she has had plenty of time and still has time, but she won't have it. Anyone else I wouldn't be so upset, but this is my sister and MOH. 

Re: Kid Free Wedding

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited July 2015
    I would tell her, "We'd love for you and BIL to be there, but our decision that the wedding is adults only is final and the subject is closed." If she keeps insisting that she and her husband can't and won't attend without their kids, I'd respond, "I'm sorry to hear that. We'll miss you."
    YogaSandy
  • rbanfie2 said:
    Last June when we started planning our wedding we decided to do a kid free wedding to help save cost. Plus in my opinion the kids don't need to be all the drinking, it is almost like taking kids to a bar. Our wedding is now 3 months away and my sister tells me I need to let my nephews come or my brother-in-law won't be coming because they can't find a babysitter. She has been giving me grief since day one about no kids coming and now I feel like she is putting me in a really bad position because if I stand by my decision I am the bad guy, but if I let them come I am caving in and going to make other guest upset because their kids couldn't come. I feel like she never tried to find a babysitter and she has had plenty of time and still has time, but she won't have it. Anyone else I wouldn't be so upset, but this is my sister and MOH. 
    You're perfectly within your rights to have a child-free wedding (although I wouldn't mention the silly "because BOOZE!" reason to anyone else), but other guests would understand immediate family members being an exception to the rule. So you can take the bolded concern out of your decision-making process.

    kimmiinthemitten
  • I should also mention her kids are 15 and 11. So it is not like she wouldn't feel comfortable leaving her toddlers with a babysitter. They are at the age of they are bad together and wont want to be there and playing on their phones the whole time and my BIL likes to yell at them over small things that aren't a big deal and I don't want that scene at my wedding, but I can't tell my sister that. I know every decision has a consequence, but it is just hard this is with my sister. 
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It's fine to not have minors at your wedding. However, as long as you are not splitting up a family, children are their own invitation, just like any adult. Thus, you can invite some children but not others- that is OK.

    I also doubt that you will even notice your nephews playing on their phones or your BIL getting after them. If he says something stupid, that only makes him look bad, not you.

    At my wedding, my aunt and grandma got in a tiff, to the point my dad intervened and told them to smarten up or leave. With people talking and music playing, I didn't notice a thing.

    No one is wrong in this situation, it's about choices, so it's up to you- you stick to your guns and say, "Sorry, but our guest list is final. We hope you can both still come", knowing they may not come (which is also within their right), or you let the two kids come so that BIL can be there.


    kimmiinthemitten
  • banana468 said:
    You are OK to keep the event as kid free. You can call your sister's bluff and say that you'll miss seeing both her and her DH at the wedding due to a lack of sitter. You can also revise the guest list and make an exception for the children of your and your FI's siblings and that's more than fine too. But FFS please don't make the reason about having the adult wedding to avoid exposing kids to alcohol or comparing an open bar wedding to bringing kids to a bar. Then you begin to sound like you think you know better than your guests who already are parents (and just like those with wedding planning experience may know a thing or two more than someone who just announced an engagement, a parent may just know a thing kr two more than someone without kids). Beyond that, every event in my home is open bar and I have two kids. DDs birthday parties have plenty of booze and DS's baptism celebration killed several bottles of beer and wine. Somehow I'm still a functional parent even of I have a couple drinks and I'm not worried that DD is going to try to pull one over on me with a white Russian disguised as milk with coffee syrup in her soppy cup. Only you can decide if this is a hill worth dying on. Sometimes it's best to cave even if you're giving into petulance. It's still better than the grief and family political nightmare that could result. But please, whatever you choose, do it without acting condescending or sanctimonious.
    You mean act condescending as you just did. I am not trying to protect the innocent children from alcohol. I am just saying a wedding is more so like a bar than a birthday party or baptism. I want my guest to act like this is a night out and unwind without having to keep an eye on their children. If that is not what they want then fine with me don't come. You are missing the point though, the problem comes that this is my sister. I really truly hate that she is giving me an ultimatum and the way she is acting towards me with this. You are fine to have your opinion and not agreeing with a kids free wedding, however when I am the one paying and don't want to bend the rules for some and not others, you should respect the decision instead of being so aggressive about it. I don't know I guess I am painting myself to be a bad guy here, but oh well...  
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    If you don't want the kids to be there, then don't let anyone bring them and accept the fact that some people may not attend as a result. And taking kids to a wedding reception is not the same as taking them to a bar. That's ridiculous. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    [Deleted User]SP29
  • mollybarker11mollybarker11 member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited July 2015
    rbanfie2 said:
    banana468 said:
    You are OK to keep the event as kid free. [...] Only you can decide if this is a hill worth dying on. Sometimes it's best to cave even if you're giving into petulance. It's still better than the grief and family political nightmare that could result.
    [...] You are missing the point though, the problem comes that this is my sister. I really truly hate that she is giving me an ultimatum and the way she is acting towards me with this. You are fine to have your opinion and not agreeing with a kids free wedding, however when I am the one paying and don't want to bend the rules for some and not others, you should respect the decision instead of being so aggressive about it. I don't know I guess I am painting myself to be a bad guy here, but oh well...  
    If you read the parts of banana's post that weren't about the silly booze argument, you would see that she did address the problem of your petulant sister and does agree with a kids-free wedding.

    Anyway, you are right that your sister should respect your decision and not give you grief about it. However, since she has given you this ultimatum and put you in this rotten position, you have to make a choice. Here's how I see it based on what you've posted so far:

    A] give in and let your nephews come
    pros: you look gracious & accommodating, your sister is happy
    cons: boys misbehave / BIL yells at them (you likely wouldn't notice this as PPs mentioned), boys spend all night on their phones (so?), no one can unwind or get drunk because there are children present (wrong)

    B] stick to your guns and don't bend the rules
    pros: you get what you want
    cons: your sister is pissed at you

    Neither option is wrong, it's just a matter of deciding what's most important to you personally.

    [Deleted User]madamerwinSP29
  • rbanfie2 said:
    banana468 said:
    You are OK to keep the event as kid free. You can call your sister's bluff and say that you'll miss seeing both her and her DH at the wedding due to a lack of sitter. You can also revise the guest list and make an exception for the children of your and your FI's siblings and that's more than fine too. But FFS please don't make the reason about having the adult wedding to avoid exposing kids to alcohol or comparing an open bar wedding to bringing kids to a bar. Then you begin to sound like you think you know better than your guests who already are parents (and just like those with wedding planning experience may know a thing or two more than someone who just announced an engagement, a parent may just know a thing kr two more than someone without kids). Beyond that, every event in my home is open bar and I have two kids. DDs birthday parties have plenty of booze and DS's baptism celebration killed several bottles of beer and wine. Somehow I'm still a functional parent even of I have a couple drinks and I'm not worried that DD is going to try to pull one over on me with a white Russian disguised as milk with coffee syrup in her soppy cup. Only you can decide if this is a hill worth dying on. Sometimes it's best to cave even if you're giving into petulance. It's still better than the grief and family political nightmare that could result. But please, whatever you choose, do it without acting condescending or sanctimonious.
    You mean act condescending as you just did. I am not trying to protect the innocent children from alcohol. I am just saying a wedding is more so like a bar than a birthday party or baptism. I want my guest to act like this is a night out and unwind without having to keep an eye on their children. If that is not what they want then fine with me don't come. You are missing the point though, the problem comes that this is my sister. I really truly hate that she is giving me an ultimatum and the way she is acting towards me with this. You are fine to have your opinion and not agreeing with a kids free wedding, however when I am the one paying and don't want to bend the rules for some and not others, you should respect the decision instead of being so aggressive about it. I don't know I guess I am painting myself to be a bad guy here, but oh well...  


    *******
    No one is against you have a kid free wedding. The problem is your reasoning for having one. The booze thing is ridiculous. Your wedding is a party. That's all that it is and comparing it to a bar is absurd. Parents frequently take their kids to parties where alcohol is there and nobody cares. 4th of July cookouts, family reunions, graduation parties, pool parties, etc. And that's just the summer, never mind the other 9 months of the year.

    Secondly, telling your guests "I don't want your kids there because I want to give you a chance to have a night off" suggests that 1) you know how to raise their kids better than they do and 2) you don't think they are capable of taking a night off on their own. Just because a couple invites children to a wedding doesn't mean the parents have to take them. Plus, believe it or not, some parents actually like hanging out with their kids, even at big fancy events like a wedding. 

    Your sister is wrong to try and pressure you into inviting the nephew and if you don't want your nephew there, that's totally okay. But by not inviting kids you have to accept that some guests may not come, and that's totally okay, too. 
    image
    SP29
  • You're perfectly within etiquette to have a kid free wedding. I did. Wouldn't change a thing!

    And you're not "the bad guy" because you say no. It sounds like you've been clear from the beginning and the rules haven't changed. No kids. So stand your ground with confidence. You are not in the wrong.

    Do not mention the alcohol or the kids "should be old enough to stay home" or whatever. Once you inch into that territory, you open yourself to argument. Just a simple, "I'm sorry sis, we can't make an exception. I hope you can find a sitter, but if not we will miss BIL." Rinse, repeat as necessary.
    *********************************************************************************

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    [Deleted User]SP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    scribe95 said:

    I honestly have been to only a few kid free weddings and all of them allowed their nieces and nephews to come as immediate family. No one had a problem with that at all. It is a natural exception and if I were your sister I would probably be a little irked. I mean they aren't even young kids. One is a teenager and one is 11. This is not a hill I would die on at all. I would not jeopardize my relationship with my sibling due to this.

    Whether or not you would die on this hill is irrelevant. The OP's sister can be as irked as she wants. It's still not up to her whether or not her kid can attend, and it's also not the OP's responsibility to solve her babysitting problem for her.

    Something everyone who chooses to be a parent has to accept is that there will be times in your lives when you are invited to things but your children are not. They may well include the weddings and special events of your siblings and other close relatives and friends. Trying to bludgeon invitations for your children for these events by threatening not to attend yourselves and threatening your relationships with these people is irresponsible, immature, and inappropriate. But adults-only invitations to you aren't any of those things.
    particuliersylphekimmiinthemittenSP29
  • scribe95 said:

    I honestly have been to only a few kid free weddings and all of them allowed their nieces and nephews to come as immediate family. No one had a problem with that at all. It is a natural exception and if I were your sister I would probably be a little irked. I mean they aren't even young kids. One is a teenager and one is 11. This is not a hill I would die on at all. I would not jeopardize my relationship with my sibling due to this.

    I can see what you're saying about not dying on this hill, but the sister has zero standing for feeling irked. She is the one who's being rude by asking if the kids can comes....after OP has specifically said no kids.

    And if the sister decides that the relationship is somehow impacted, that's on her
    *********************************************************************************

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    Jen4948kimmiinthemittenSP29dreamsinpink
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    AddieCake said:
    I think it's relevant that Scribe wouldn't die on this hill. All of us around here, when offering advice or opinions, do exactly that: offer advice and opinions. She says this isn't a hill she would die on as a way to support her position on the issue. That certainly is relevant.
    I agree.  

    I only had my nieces and nephews at my wedding.  It's pretty standard in our circles too.   It would not be a hill I would die on either.

    But if it is one the OP wants to die on, it's her choice.   If the sister is irked.   That is her choice.  It's her feelings.  She can feel anyway she wants.  If BIL can't make it do to babysitting.  Well that is the consequence of the choice.

    While complete within my rights to exclude my nieces and nephews it would not go down well in my family  AT ALL.   Not that I even considered the option.  I like my nieces and nephews.  If they were adults they would have been invited on their own. They were not invited simply as an extension of my siblings like kids of friends would have been.  








    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. 
    hellohkb[Deleted User]
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited July 2015
    lyndausvi said:
    AddieCake said:
    I think it's relevant that Scribe wouldn't die on this hill. All of us around here, when offering advice or opinions, do exactly that: offer advice and opinions. She says this isn't a hill she would die on as a way to support her position on the issue. That certainly is relevant.
    I agree.  

    I only had my nieces and nephews at my wedding.  It's pretty standard in our circles too.   It would not be a hill I would die on either.

    But if it is one the OP wants to die on, it's her choice.   If the sister is irked.   That is her choice.  It's her feelings.  She can feel anyway she wants.  If BIL can't make it do to babysitting.  Well that is the consequence of the choice.

    While complete within my rights to exclude my nieces and nephews it would not go down well in my family  AT ALL.   Not that I even considered the option.  I like my nieces and nephews.  If they were adults they would have been invited on their own. They were not invited simply as an extension of my siblings like kids of friends would have been.  


    Scribe95 and others might not want to die on this hill, but their position is not supported by the etiquette of invitations, which holds that the hosts have the right to invite whom they wish and not invite whom they don't, provided they don't exclude SOs or split up minor siblings.  If they don't wish to invite children, then etiquette holds that that needs to be respected by parents of children who are not invited and not demand invitations for their children by claiming that the hosts' relationships with them will be "jeopardized" if they don't. 

    This position of "don't make it a hill to die on" ultimately seems to make people who have adults-only weddings or who don't invite whomever feel belittled and condescended to (and the OP indicates that she did feel that way when posters told her that) to tell them that they have to "own their decisions" when that's what the OP or whoever else makes such a decision has been doing all along.
    SP29
  • hellohkbhellohkb mod
    Moderator Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited July 2015
    lyndausvi said:
    AddieCake said:
    I think it's relevant that Scribe wouldn't die on this hill. All of us around here, when offering advice or opinions, do exactly that: offer advice and opinions. She says this isn't a hill she would die on as a way to support her position on the issue. That certainly is relevant.
    I agree.  

    I only had my nieces and nephews at my wedding.  It's pretty standard in our circles too.   It would not be a hill I would die on either.

    But if it is one the OP wants to die on, it's her choice.   If the sister is irked.   That is her choice.  It's her feelings.  She can feel anyway she wants.  If BIL can't make it do to babysitting.  Well that is the consequence of the choice.

    While complete within my rights to exclude my nieces and nephews it would not go down well in my family  AT ALL.   Not that I even considered the option.  I like my nieces and nephews.  If they were adults they would have been invited on their own. They were not invited simply as an extension of my siblings like kids of friends would have been.  


    I agree with Lynda. Our wedding if anything my wedding will be pretty kid friendly but I have no problem with kid free weddings and 99% of the weddings I've been to were kid free. There's nothing against etiquette that states you must invite all kids, though as mentioned, many people make an exception for nieces and nephews. If sister gets upset, let her. You still don't have to invite her kids. Finding a babysitter is not your problem.


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    SP29
  • The point is whether or not that's a battle worth picking.

    You can opt not to pick the battle simply to avoid a fight. I have no idea what kind of person the sister is. If she always gets her way and refuses to see that she's not always right I might die on this hill. But if this is the only issue she's brought up I might let it go.

    Let's not forget that this isn't a distant cousin asking about kids. It's the OP's sister. The relationship can be a big difference and issue.

    Then there's also the kind of children we are talking about. A good friend of mine DID die on this hill and in that instance I think it made perfect sense. The age of the kids, how well behaved they were (they weren't ), and the petulant mother refusing to ever go any way but hers were all among the reasons she didn't invite them.

    Only the OP can decide if it's worth it to die on this hill. She can be right but that may be no solace if the sister and the kids (who are old enough to understand what's going on) turn this into a cause for a rift.
    hellohkb
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited July 2015
    Had the sister said something like, "rbanfie2, H and I have a problem because we know you want your wedding to be child-free but we can't find babysitters for the kids," that would for me open the door to negotiation.  But that's not what happened here according to the OP.  Her sister said the OP "needs" to let them come or they aren't coming, making it clear that she doesn't give a fuck about the OP's feelings and leaving no room on her side for negotiation.  She's making it her hill to die on.  Being told that would be a hill to die on for me.
    mrsdee15kimmiinthemitten
  • Jen4948 said:

    Had the sister said something like, "rbanfie2, H and I have a problem because we know you want your wedding to be child-free but we can't find babysitters for the kids," that would for me open the door to negotiation.  But that's not what happened here according to the OP.  Her sister said the OP "needs" to let them come or they aren't coming, making it clear that she doesn't give a fuck about the OP's feelings and leaving no room on her side for negotiation.  Being told that would be a hill to die on for me.

    And that's fine. That's giving your opinion and sharing what you would do.

    Many of us shared our thoughts and how we would handle ithe which is also completely relevant.
    AddieCakeMaggie0829
  • I thought I read sister would still come but brother in law would stay home with the kids? Did I read wrong?


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  • jacques27 said:
    rbanfie2 said:
    banana468 said:
    You are OK to keep the event as kid free. You can call your sister's bluff and say that you'll miss seeing both her and her DH at the wedding due to a lack of sitter. You can also revise the guest list and make an exception for the children of your and your FI's siblings and that's more than fine too. But FFS please don't make the reason about having the adult wedding to avoid exposing kids to alcohol or comparing an open bar wedding to bringing kids to a bar. Then you begin to sound like you think you know better than your guests who already are parents (and just like those with wedding planning experience may know a thing or two more than someone who just announced an engagement, a parent may just know a thing kr two more than someone without kids). Beyond that, every event in my home is open bar and I have two kids. DDs birthday parties have plenty of booze and DS's baptism celebration killed several bottles of beer and wine. Somehow I'm still a functional parent even of I have a couple drinks and I'm not worried that DD is going to try to pull one over on me with a white Russian disguised as milk with coffee syrup in her soppy cup. Only you can decide if this is a hill worth dying on. Sometimes it's best to cave even if you're giving into petulance. It's still better than the grief and family political nightmare that could result. But please, whatever you choose, do it without acting condescending or sanctimonious.
    You mean act condescending as you just did. I am not trying to protect the innocent children from alcohol. I am just saying a wedding is more so like a bar than a birthday party or baptism. I want my guest to act like this is a night out and unwind without having to keep an eye on their children. If that is not what they want then fine with me don't come. You are missing the point though, the problem comes that this is my sister. I really truly hate that she is giving me an ultimatum and the way she is acting towards me with this. You are fine to have your opinion and not agreeing with a kids free wedding, however when I am the one paying and don't want to bend the rules for some and not others, you should respect the decision instead of being so aggressive about it. I don't know I guess I am painting myself to be a bad guy here, but oh well...  
    I guess I'm not sure what it is you want from this community then?  We already told you that having a kid-free event is fine.  Are you just looking for more back-patting that your sister is being unreasonable?  Sure, it's a sucky attitude to have to try to force people to make exceptions for them, no doubt.  But maybe the part of it where she doesn't quite understand and feels like she can make an ultimatum is because the bolded above (and the oh noes there will be booze!) attitude are kinda sucky as well.  I see it here all the time - well I want my guests.  No, you want for you - don't pretend like you're making some magnanimous gesture to all parents by providing them a kid-free zone.  They are perfectly capable of hiring babysitters and having some adult-time all on their own for adult shenanigans of their own choosing if they felt like it.  Maybe if they were having adult time, they'd rather it be to a low key movie or shipping the kids off to their parents and having some sexy time - not getting dressed up in heels and suits eating luke-warm chicken and peeling fondant off cake.  And, some parents actually like their kids.  Like they actually enjoy being around them and hanging out and stuff.  It's weird, I know, but for some parents it's true.  By dictating the kids can't come so the parents can "have more fun" you're basically trying to parent for them.  If they think they'll have more fun without the kids, they'll leave them at home even if the kids are invited.

    The point being, kids free weddings are fine - but own it and admit that's it's for you and your preferences.  It's really not some altruistic gesture you're making here and for some parents may actually be more of a burden.  And when you try to make it some altruistic gesture on your part, you leave the door open for arguments like "But really, it's just so much easier for the kids to come with and I truly don't mind," whereas it's harder to argue against, "This is my preference and what we decided."

    ETA:  Also, regarding wanting them to have a carefree night, every single one of my friends with kids has their cell phones clutched to their hands whenever we go out sans kids.  They call to check in.  They call them to say goodnight.  Kids not being in their line of sight doesn't mean they aren't in full on parent mode all the time and just getting drunk and partying without a care in the world.
    This.

    We should copy paste parts of this for other non-kid brides. Its totally your choice and 100% within your right to declare "no kids" but do not try and fake martyr yourself by "giving" parents a night out.


    HeffalumphellohkbYogaSandySP29
  • aliwis000 said:
    Its totally your choice and 100% within your right to declare "no kids" but do not try and fake martyr yourself by "giving" parents a night out.


    QFT
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