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April 2013 Weddings

Kids or no kids... that is the question

Hi All - congrats on getting engaged! 10 months to go!!

My fiance and i are running into a little issue... kids at the wedding - from the beginning i said that i wanted this to be an adult only party, i feel like kids running around the dance floor changes the dynamic of the wedding.  Anyway, he is getting a lot of push back from his family saying that if we aren't inviting the kids then we aren't coming - he really wants his family there - SO with that we came up with hiring a babysitter - at our venue there is a room that we can designate the "kids room" there are board games, xbox, movies ect - the kids can come to the ceremony and cocktail hour but then when the reception is starting they will go upstairs (no kids in the tent).  Now I'm being told that this is also unacceptable and they aren't going to leave their children with a stranger. (note.  the distance from the tent to the room is maybe 100 ft)

Im not trying to be mean but in my opinion we offered a compromise and that still isn't enough.  I said that if they cant leave the kids at home and the babysitter is not ok either then dont come... if they really wanted to be there as much as we want them there then they would respect our wishes and either leave the kids at home or with the babysitter for 4 hours.

am i being mean?  what should i do?  is anyone else running into this issue?

Re: Kids or no kids... that is the question

  • vk2204vk2204 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 100 Love Its Name Dropper

    Hello! I think this was meant for the 2014 April board... but either way I will try and help!

    What type of relationship does your FI have with these kids? Is he their uncle, cousin, second cousin? Also how many kids in total?

    I have a very large family and we made the cutoff straight across the board. We invited first cousins only with the exception of the 4 kids that were in our wedding party.

    Does your FI not want these kids there? If he doesn't then HE needs to stand his ground with HIS family, not you. But if he really wants these kids there then you two need to compromise and decide on how you want to do this together. Personally, I wouldn't leave my kids in a 'wedding daycare' either regardless of how close it was to me.

  • @geese71 I think you're going to realize that your families are going to try to make a LOT of decisions about your wedding for you, and they're going to be really forceful about them.  The question you have to ask yourselves is: How much of a backbone do you have to stand up to them?  The issue of inviting children to the wedding will only be the first of many.  If you give in to them now, expect them to try and strong-arm you into giving in to all their demands, until eventually your wedding looks NOTHING like what you and your FI want.  It will look like something THEY want and YOU hate.  Keep that in mind when deciding when to give in to your families.

    That being said, we invited children to our wedding.  I am one of 6 siblings and we all have children.  I could no more exclude my 9 nieces and nephews than I could exclude my own parents.  Our family is very close and we do not leave people out based on their age.  I wouldn't leave out a 2 year old any more than I'd leave out a 92 year old.  Family is family, no matter how old they are.  So a 4 year old has a good time on the dance floor - so what?  Unless you're going for a black tie event, I don't see the issue.  Then again, it's TOTALLY up to you, and your guests need to be respectful of your decision.

    I am also a mother.  There have been MANY weddings we've been invited to that are adults only.  As someone on the outside, I will give you my perspective.  First of all, there's NO WAY I will leave my child with a complete stranger, even if it is 100 feet away.  I don't know that person's background, I don't know if he/she is capable of watching multiple children, and I don't know if there are going to be enough babysitters for the amount of children there.  (Each state has a law concerning the bare minimum number of adults needed to watch children.  In my state, it's 1 adult for 6 children, unless any of the children are under 2 years of age.  Then it drops down to 1 adult for every 4 children.)  Are you prepared to hire multiple sitters - at $12-$15/hour each- to accommodate the number of children that will be in that room?  I also know that my 5 year old is smart enough to undo the locks on a hotel room and walk out if she's bored or if she's hurt by another child, and she will come and try to find me.  If the sitter is overwhelmed or not paying attention, my 5 year old will be wandering alone, down the stairs, in the dark, and across a field searching for me and I'm not OK with that.  That's why I don't use "wedding reception sitters."  I'd rather stay home.  Most of the time, if we receive an adults-only wedding invite, we decline and send a gift.  If it's someone REALLY important to us, then one of us will attend alone while the other one stays home with our daughter.  A babysitter at $15/hour just makes attending an all-day event too costly and we don't have anyone nearby to watch our daughter for us for free.  Our daughter also goes to bed at 8:30 (which is why it's easier for us to decline late-night events.)  If we were to leave her in the babysitting room, she may fall asleep, then we'd have to wake her after a few hours' "nap" and take her home.  That nap would have refreshed her just enough to keep her awake and alert and bouncing all over the place until the sun came up, throwing off her entire schedule and causing us to be completely exhausted due to getting absolutely no sleep that night.  So yeah - we'd rather avoid that and we just decline.  I hope this helps you understand why some of your FI's relatives are saying they're not coming if they can't bring their children.  I don't think they're trying to be mean.  It just really IS more difficult to do pretty much everything in life when you have children, and to have restrictions put on you makes things so difficult that sometimes it's easier to just stay home.

    Unfortunately, if you choose an adults only wedding, you're going to have to accept the fact that some families may choose not to attend.  It's not because they don't care about you and your big day.  It's because having children complicates every aspect of your life, and sometimes it causes you to miss things you wish you could attend.  If those people are TRULY important to you and you HAVE to have them there, then welcome their children.  That's a choice only you and your FI can make. 

    As a final note, etiquette states that any infant who is being breast-fed is automatically invited, even if you are not inviting other children.  You cannot separate an infant who is 100% dependent on its mother for survival (who needs to eat every 1.5-2 hours) and trying to force a breastfed infant to take a bottle just to make your wedding easier on you can cause a major disruption in the breastfeeding pattern that the mother and child have set.  So expect any breastfeeding infants to show up, whether you invite them or not.  That's proper etiquette and commonly known among mothers and in the wedding etiquette world.  Etiquette-wise, it is also in poor taste to invite ANYONE to the ceremony but not the reception.  If you're not inviting children to the reception, then have their parents drop them off in the babysitting room as soon as they arrive. 

    Good luck with your decision!
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  • We invited all of our guests' kids to the wedding and provided babysitters.  I sent them all emails/fbook messages/phone calls explaining where the babysitters would be (upstairs) and that we were paying for them to be there.  Some of the parents were on the fence about using strangers so I encouraged them to feel out the situation for themselves and then make the decision.  Most of the parents ended up being grateful during some point through the night and left their kids with the babysitters.  I ended up getting a few thank you messages from them after the wedding.  It's funny how some of them seemed horrified at leaving their kids "with total strangers" and ended up doing it anyway.  I was just happy that they were happy and that they used the babysitters so I didn't end up wasting money on that service :-)

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  • Hi All 

    Thank you so much for your replies.  I really appreciate all the advice and feedback.  My FI and i discussed it and it looks like we are going to include the kids.  However i like the idea of having a babysitter onsite as an option.  We will have to check out the laws in Maryland regarding kid to adult ratio.  

    Thank you all again!

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