Wedding Etiquette Forum

How do I not offend parents?

I have a large family and am close to many of my cousins, but my groom is not close to his extended family and wants a small wedding. The only compromise I can think of is to not have children at the wedding or reception, but I know that one of my aunts did not go to her own brother's wedding because there was no kids. My groom is also not willing to pay for care, how do I not offend my family and friends that have children?

Answers

  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    There is nothing offensive about having a child free wedding. Unfortunately, some people feel thier children should be wanted everywhere and there is no way to keep them from getting offended. Deciding not to invite children probably means that some people won't come but there isn't anything you can do about it.

    If you wanted to invite some kids most people do so in circles. Like only children on immediate family, only out of town children, etc. But this also can upset people when they see that some kids were invited but not their own. Again it's not against etiquette but people still might get upset and there isn't much you can do about.


    PrettyGirlLost
  • Jdoe37 said:
    I have a large family and am close to many of my cousins, but my groom is not close to his extended family and wants a small wedding. The only compromise I can think of is to not have children at the wedding or reception, but I know that one of my aunts did not go to her own brother's wedding because there was no kids. My groom is also not willing to pay for care, how do I not offend my family and friends that have children?

    You definitely are not obligated to pay for childcare, so your groom is right.

    Not inviting children to the wedding is perfectly fine. If guests get offended, that's their problem. Please try not to worry about it. If people give you a hard time, just simply state that you are unable to accomodate children.

    Honestly, IMHO, some people are overly into their kids. If they can't take one night away to go to your wedding, then that's too bad. Tell them you're sorry that they are unable to attend and you'll miss them at the wedding.

    harper0813painterlt
  • Jdoe37 said:
    I have a large family and am close to many of my cousins, but my groom is not close to his extended family and wants a small wedding. The only compromise I can think of is to not have children at the wedding or reception, but I know that one of my aunts did not go to her own brother's wedding because there was no kids. My groom is also not willing to pay for care, how do I not offend my family and friends that have children?
    It sounds like you and your groom have come to a compromise that makes you both happy - he gets a relatively small wedding and you get your closest extended family. If your aunt and uncle choose not to attend for this reason, it's on them. You've reached out and invited them and they declined. Stick with the compromise you made with your groom - that's what's important. You are not breaching etiquette by having an adults only wedding/reception. I had adults only. I got mostly positive responses (e.g. "can't wait for some adult time!) and only a few negative (e.g. "wait, so Suzie's not invited? but.... but why?").

    Follow xcaly's advice on addressing the invitations and not including "adults only" anywhere. For me, it was helpful to put on my RSVP cards:

    ____ # attending ceremony
    ____ # attending reception

    So I could figure out if people assumed their kids were invited and follow up with them.
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • Why was your aunt so offended? Was it because her previous snowflake couldn't come or was it because there more to it then that?

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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I had an aunt and uncle not attend my brother's wedding two years ago because children under 16 were not invited. They were very rude about it, insisting that their children would feel left out (because they had attended other weddings before) and that their children were mature enough that it was okay that they were under 16.

    The wedding was still awesome.

    Bottom line:
    1) It is completely acceptable to not invite children to your wedding
    2) You will probably upset some people, and some people might choose not to attend
    3) You do not have to provide childcare for children of guests
    Anniversary
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • We're not having children attend for the same reason.  There is nothing wrong this!  For the most part children don't really want to be there, anyway.  They'd much rather be at a sleep over eating pizza. 
    Your groom is right, while it's nice to get a sitter for people, it's not your responsibility!  You can't please everyone, and stick to your guns, if you make exceptions then others will be upset.  They're not your kids, hopefully the parents know how to get a sitter.  If they don't, I feel bad for their social life.
  • I'm not allowing children and I've been quite surprised at the lack of comments/complaints made to me and my fiancé about that...  I think some parents do want a night away.


    [Deleted User]
  • I think as long as you don't split up families (i.e., invite an over-18 sibling, but not inviting an under-16 sibling in the same family), you're not doing anything wrong etiquette-wise. 

    Some people will probably get offended, but that's on them, not on you. We are inviting all of FFIL's first cousins and their husbands (six couples, 12 people in total), but none of their kids (the kids plus their plus-ones would be another 28 people). So far, no one has said anything to us about it.

    As PPs said, you don't list on the invites "no children." Invitations should only indicate who is invited, not who isn't. Address the envelopes to the people who are invited only, and then if people try to add additional guests, call them and explain that it's for Joe and Sally only, not Joe, Sally and their three kids.


    Anniversary

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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • Some parents may be offended and not come. That's OK. You aren't doing anything wrong. You can't control how other people react!

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  • Some of my closest cousins have multiple children (4 in one family, twins in the other).  Plus there are other little ones scattered around in the rest of the guest list.  My FI and I love these kids. That said, my FI and I are having a "no children" wedding.  We love our families, but we recognize that it doesn't mean we have to host their children too.  For us, it's simply not in the budget and it's not what we envisioned for our day.  It's one night away and I think a lot of them are looking forward to some freedom for an evening! 

  • Thanks everyone for the input, it has been very encouraging.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Just invite those whom you want to invite.  Don't worry about whether or not they are "offended."  If they choose not to accept your invitation because their kids are not included, it does not reflect on you.
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