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Etiquette Around "No-Kids Wedding"

This topic has been a very stressful one for us.  Ideally, we'd like to have a no-kids wedding, but it's causing friction. My fiancé would like to invite her 15-year-old first cousin, and I would like to invite my 1 year-old direct niece. 

Finacé's Opinion: Cousin should come since they're so close, but niece should not be invited and (we'd pay for a babysitter) to avoid the baby crying during the ceremony and my sister and brother-in-law (who are in the wedding party) being distracted all day.

My Opinion: We should invite both the cousin and niece or neither of them.  I'm not sure how I could explain to my sister that we made an exception to the rule, but that it was for my SO's first cousin, and not her kid.

Re: Etiquette Around "No-Kids Wedding"

  • Think of it this way - don't do anything your older self potentially with kids would cringe at...  And I say this in kindness - Like a lot of that description.  Just remember to avoid giving out the parenting advice, like who to use for a sitter or remotely suggesting to Sister and BIL that their child is a/could be a distraction from you/FI on your wedding day.  I can tell you now that conversation would land like a lead balloon and would have potential for long-term rifts if not done properly.

    Generally, kids of your siblings get a "free pass" on being invited when others aren't, however, if you choose to not have invite their 1yo, remember that it's possible one or the other will not be able to be in the WP nor attend because finding sitters for that long is difficult on the best of days, and even if they do, one or both may need to leave early to pick them up/relieve the sitter.  Also, since it's a sibling wedding, the "family options" likely are going to be in attendance so that means non-family sitter which can be impossible for some families.  It's not about you, it's about their responsibility to their 1yo child, and by having a childless wedding, you are choosing to accept that the parents on your guest list have to make logistical decisions and those decisions have nothing to do with you.  As a courtesy, it's nice to know in advance if you've got OOT guests that the kids won't be invited.  Also, knotties before you have used a "A seat has been reserved in _____'s Honour" type thing on the RSVP especially if you have potential for etiquette-challenged guests who won't get the hint that "Only the names on the invitation/inner envelope are invited".  You'll also need to be ready to make/receive some phone calls, always remember, if a guest is sticking their neck out to confirm rather than assume, that this is a good thing even if they whine they can't bring their 8 kids and are incredibly disappointed they won't be able to attend because of no sitter.  

    As for the cousin, she's 15, they're close, go ahead and invite the 15yo.  That said - DO NOT break up families.  If the 15yo has a 14 and/or 17 yo sibling, don't invite only the 15yo and not the sibling(s).  From the tone of your post, I'm guessing the 15yo is one that would be considered for a role in the day if the opportunity arose, not that it would be the case, however this isn't something to get stressed out about unless the 15yo is the oldest of 12 siblings...  

    Make your decisions and stand firm.  

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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Kids aren't an all or none thing. Also, your family and her family may have different priorities. Both sides should be respected. If you want your one year old niece at your wedding, ask her parents if there is a babysitter you can hire (also provide the same meal as the guests) to help out during the ceremony and meal. Hopefully, you aren't having a head table so the parents, one year old, and babysitter should be able to sit at the same table.

    If your fi is close with the one fifteen year old cousin, she should be able to invite her to the wedding. If the cousin has siblings, they should also be invited. Some families invite in circles, so all or none first cousins, to avoid hurt feelings. But that is your fi's family and her decision.

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