Wedding Etiquette Forum

RSVP with children

Hi Everyone!

I know this topic has been beaten to death so I apologize in advance. My FI and I decided (over 10 months ago) that we would not be able to accommodate children at our wedding. If we did, there would be over 40 children present and due to budgetary (and patience) constraints, it was just not feasible. I informed my entire extended family of this (several of whom have small children) and everyone was very understanding and respectful of our decision.

However, we have now received several RSVPs with children who were not included on the invitation. They are all from my FI's family (I have never met them) so it should be up to him or my FMIL/FFIL. His parents are not happy about our decision and have made the process difficult, so the onus is now on us. What is the best way to go about doing this so we do not offend people or hurt their feelings while remaining firm in our decision?

Thank you in advance!
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Re: RSVP with children

  • Your FI. Esp if your FILs haven't been supportive of it. You have no way of knowing whether they'll actually make the call and be firm in their answer of no children. 
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    OurWildKingdom
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree your FI should be making the phone calls to his side of the family. I wouldn't want to leave this up to your ILs, as you really have no idea what they'll say- whether they will support you and say no, or tell their family to just bring the kids and then put it on you to figure it out.

    I also strongly agree that you do not explain yourselves to anyone. Your simple response is, "I am sorry cousin Jane, but the invitation was only for you and Frank, we are unable to accommodate little Susie and Johnny. We look forward to seeing you there!". If you explain yourself (budget, space, guest list, etc), you open yourself up to people thinking they can come up with a solution to the "problem" (which there really isn't). As Jen said, guests may start giving you solutions such as, "but they won't eat much!/ he'll share off my plate/ I'll only bring them to the ceremony/ they'll be so well behaved!/ little Susie wants to see you in your wedding dress!/can they come if someone else declines?/ etc".

    Do be prepared that some of your guests may then decline to come. That is their decision to make, and you should graciously accept the decline, but do not feel guilty or obligated to accommodate if you weren't planning on it in the first place- "I am sorry to hear that Jane, we'll miss you".
    OurWildKingdom[Deleted User]ernursejPrettyGirlLost
  • Thanks for the great advice! My FILs have talked about setting up childcare for out of town guests who want to bring their children. However, they want to rent a room directly across from the ballroom where our reception will be. I think that opens up the possibility for a lot of "oh, well little Cindy just wanted to see the bride's dress" or "Billy was crying so I'm just bringing him in for a minute" and children running into the reception looking for their parents, etc.
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Thanks for the great advice! My FILs have talked about setting up childcare for out of town guests who want to bring their children. However, they want to rent a room directly across from the ballroom where our reception will be. I think that opens up the possibility for a lot of "oh, well little Cindy just wanted to see the bride's dress" or "Billy was crying so I'm just bringing him in for a minute" and children running into the reception looking for their parents, etc.
    I think you're wise to consider that. Did you bring that up to your FILs?
  • @OurWildKingdom I did, as did my FI but it was not what they wanted to hear so they ignored us and still insist on renting the room.
  • @SP29 hahaha this is great. My point exactly but they are very stubborn and sometimes it is difficult to get through to them. Thank goodness for these boards... You are the only sane people.
    SP29[Deleted User]kimmiinthemitten
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @SP29 hahaha this is great. My point exactly but they are very stubborn and sometimes it is difficult to get through to them. Thank goodness for these boards... You are the only sane people.
    OK- who is paying for the reception?
    holyguacamole79
  • @SP29 my parents are paying for everything but the alcohol and they support our "no kids" rule.
    [Deleted User]OurWildKingdom
  • @SP29 I have already informed the reception coordinator that no one other than myself and my mother will be allowed to make changes.
    Each time he reminds the FIL's, they act like they have never heard "no children at our wedding" before and get offended and defensive all over again.
    SP29Jen4948InLoveInQueens
  • I agree with PPs that says that your FI should be the one to do the calling. And you will have people who are upset and may decline because of it but it is ultimately your wedding so stick to your guns if a child-less wedding is what you want.

    I am going to follow this thread closely as I have a feeling I may be in the same situation when my RSVPs begin rolling in. My future SIL will be bringing her two children ( 1.5 years and 3 months) due to them being the ring bearers but we have made it clear on everyones invitation who exactly is invited (making it clear that the invite is for Mr. and Mrs. John Doe instead of the Doe Family).

    I hope everything works out in your favor and that your wedding day is amazing :)

    Knottie32263219
  • Thanks for all of your help everyone! :)  I'm really glad I posted- it makes me feel like I'm not making outrageous demands (which is what it has felt like until this point) and simply asking that our decision as a couple be respected. I'm giving everyone who RSVP'd with children the benefit of the doubt because not everyone understands wedding etiquette. It's just a frustrating situation. 
    OurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom[Deleted User]
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited April 2016
    Thanks for all of your help everyone! :)  I'm really glad I posted- it makes me feel like I'm not making outrageous demands (which is what it has felt like until this point) and simply asking that our decision as a couple be respected. I'm giving everyone who RSVP'd with children the benefit of the doubt because not everyone understands wedding etiquette. It's just a frustrating situation. 
    It's not just wedding etiquette that holds that unlisted guests (including children) are not invited - it's etiquette in general.

    Sadly, there are people who think that because they have kids, the kids are invited whenever and wherever they are, because 1) no one has told them otherwise and 2) everyone they've previously encountered accommodated their children for whatever reason.

    It can blow to have to be the first person to tell them otherwise, but everyone can benefit from it.
    Knottie32263219ernursej
  • I agree that the childcare room is a bad idea, particularly if it appears to be provided by the bride and groom. I also understand that in the OP’s case the FILs have no say on the reception and should not / can not expect to make changes to the reception. However can the bride and groom really tell the FILs that they are not allowed to rent a completely separate room at the same hotel and provide a baby sitter for other members of their family? This seems to encroach on telling other adults what they can and can’t do.

    OurWildKingdomYogaSandy
  • Just out of curiosity, did your FI warn his side of the family in advance that children are not invited the same way you told your side of the family?

    Obviously, it shouldn't matter  because whoever is listed on the envelope are the only people invited, but you mentioned that your family was totally OK with it...maybe if his side of the family knew in advance, they would not have RSVP'd with kids? 
    OurWildKingdom
  • The reception is not at a hotel. It is an event center. I think it is ridiculous to rent a space that is literally 5 feet away from the reception and say that children are not allowed to enter. It's actually more unfair to the children and parents- the kids can hear and see everyone having fun without them and the parents know their children are right across the hall and are not allowed to be with them? That's almost cruel.
  • @JeeGooDowster Good point. My FI and I thought my FILs had made it clear to that side of the family but now we actually think they have been secretly telling people that they can bring their kids and hoping we wouldn't say anything.
  • I have no qualms with them providing childcare. I completely support that decision. Just not AT the reception, where we have made it clear that children are not invited.
  • Thanks for all of your help everyone! :)  I'm really glad I posted- it makes me feel like I'm not making outrageous demands (which is what it has felt like until this point) and simply asking that our decision as a couple be respected. I'm giving everyone who RSVP'd with children the benefit of the doubt because not everyone understands wedding etiquette. It's just a frustrating situation. 
    You're not making outrageous demands.  I am glad you're being nice about giving these guests the benefit of the doubt...Also, they may not even be aware of it, not just because of lack of etiquette, but  because your in-laws might be telling them otherwise.

    On another note, which I'm sure I'm going to get shit for, I'm not an advocate of "childcare" services during a wedding.  As a parent, I wouldn't accept the babysitting.  Although this seems like a nice gesture, I would rather find one on my own that I can trust than rely on some random "babysitter" the bride and groom found just to keep kids away from the reception.  And if I can't find one that day, sorry, I will not be attending....Guests may end up declining, which is OK too and you should be OK with that as well.

    Just stay firm with who is invited to the wedding and stay firm on who you can accommodate. Once you inform the guests, just mention that you had already discussed this with your in-laws so that there will be no room for interpretation.

    Good luck!!
    Knottie32263219OurWildKingdomYogaSandy
  • Thanks @JeeGooDowster ! I totally understand people not wanting to leave their children with a stranger. I think offering it as a courtesy is a nice gesture though and shows people that you are trying to be considerate.
  • I have no qualms with them providing childcare. I completely support that decision. Just not AT the reception, where we have made it clear that children are not invited.
    Hi.  Welcome.  Just so you know, the 'reply' button doesn't do what you think it should do.  If you want to reply to a specific post, use the 'quote' button instead.  Happy planning.
  • adk19 said:
    I have no qualms with them providing childcare. I completely support that decision. Just not AT the reception, where we have made it clear that children are not invited.
    Hi.  Welcome.  Just so you know, the 'reply' button doesn't do what you think it should do.  If you want to reply to a specific post, use the 'quote' button instead.  Happy planning.
    I was trying to figure that out! Thanks! :) 
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Thanks @JeeGooDowster ! I totally understand people not wanting to leave their children with a stranger. I think offering it as a courtesy is a nice gesture though and shows people that you are trying to be considerate.
    Sort of, but what it mostly shows them is that you don't understand anything about being a parent - if you're going to be truly considerate with something "extra", you should actually find out what considerations your guests need. Otherwise, skip it. No one's going to use the childcare, and really very few people, if any, are going to appreciate that you have it, so it is not worth your time/money/effort.
    JeeGooDowstergeebee908
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