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You Asked: Do Kids and Weddings Mix?

Dear Sugar--

I'm getting married in a week and I never believed in all of those Bridezilla stories, monster-in-laws and such that happen prior to the wedding. That is until yesterday when my soon to be Mother-in-law called me to ask me why I had not invited her grandchildren.

My fiancé's brother has 4 children, 1-12 years old, and to be honest we didn't think it would be a good idea since our wedding is a very small intimate affair with just close family members. I was flabbergasted and angry at her for basically bullying me into saying it wasn't a big deal if they came (even though I had already given the caterer the final count and all the seats were assigned). I only changed my mind because she would really love to have her grandchildren there and it's something my fiancé would want because they're his nieces and nephews - even though he never even mentioned we should make sure the children were there.

After consulting about this with him, we both agreed there really was no need for them to be there (their mother is not invited). Plus, you know how kids can get loud and moody and whatnot. But I still didn't have the courage to let them know we simply couldn't invite them considering the Wedding is in 6 days! I also feel like a jerk for not considering them. So I wrote my Fiance's brother an e-mail pretty much apologizing and hoping there were no feelings hurt. Am I being selfish? What would you guys have done? It's hard to focus on your "Happy day" when you're trying to make everyone else happy. We should have just eloped!

--Barbara, the Stressed Out Bride

To see DEARSUGAR's answer,

Dear Barbara, the Stressed Out Bride--

Since your wedding is only 6 days away (wow - that's so exciting!), my best advice is to just let everything go. Your decisions have already been made and there's no way you can please everyone. This special day is all about what you and your fiancé want - an intimate gathering of your close family members. That means you can't invite everyone and your family will have to understand that. If you really wanted the kids there, you would have thought of them when you were making out the guest list.

You might think about having a second reception or a casual party, inviting the people who didn't come to your wedding. Have a less expensive BBQ or brunch, many couples do this, including the children, and continue celebrating! Let your mother-in-law be in charge of something, like the decorations or the invitations - it'll make her feel special and keep her busy and out of your hair.

You are in no way being selfish here. This is your wedding and you get to choose how you want to celebrate it. Your mother-in-law can see her grandchildren another time, so on your wedding day, she can focus on spending time with the two of you. Good luck and congrats Barbara!


fab4 fab4 10 years
lolabella- those are some really good ideas for children at a wedding, but let's keep in mind 2 things:(1) Not all children are well-behaved during weddings and there is no way to predict which ones will be and which ones won't and (2) Not everyone has it in their wedding budget to include those great ideas that you mentioned. While some people look at a wedding as a celebration, there are others (me) that see it as an intimate, elegant event and a great opportunity to worship. If a child can sit through the service quietly and still, that's great. I'm not taking my chances, though.
Daylyn Daylyn 10 years
I think that it's your day, You do what you want and not let anyone tell you what to do. I see both sides, why you should invite kids and why you shouldn't, and either option is fine. Just do what makes you happy! :)
lolabella lolabella 10 years
a wedding is a family event and a celebration. children SHOULD be invited! if you're going to have such a stuffy affair that you refuse to invite children, why invite old people, then? ridiculous. (i'm saying that because my children have always attended weddings with me since birth and have never ... not even ONCE ... misbehaved at one. they know better!) the best reception i ever went to had THREE children's tables with activities and an art centre to create a special card for the bride and groom. they had waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more fun than any of the adults - and it was a posh evening wedding in a very chi-chi hotel! the pictures are amazing, and some of the most touching and gorgeous picture sets are of the bride & groom interacting with the little ones (and trust me, they weren't all cute kids). don't NOT invite children and then get pissy about it - especially from your own family members! create a special area away from the dance floor that the children can congregate and the parents can have a good time, too. have a special tv/dvd combo away from the bar where the kids can watch Nemo. your good planning can alleviate hurt feelings!
nycgirl nycgirl 10 years
We have 'spread the word' that children are not invited to our wedding, and I think it is fine. I don't want to hire a babysitter for $80/hr (only to have the kids cry and run out anyway) or pay $150/child for them to pick at adult food. It might be harder for out-of-town guests to leave their kids at home, but if it's local, I think it's completely rational to not want kids. I find parents who want to bring their kids don't spend the entire evening wanting to look after them!!
fab4 fab4 10 years
I agree with most of the comments. I personally thing it is rude when people bring small children to weddings, especially if there is childcare provided in the facility itself. That is a pretty good sign that the bride and groom prefer the children to not be in the ceremony. Children don't want to sit through a wedding, so why bring a screaming, squirmy child that would be much happier at home or in a nursery? As far as the reception goes, I think its up to the type of reception it is, and whether it is kid-friendly or not.
anotheranon anotheranon 10 years
I wish more marrying couples would invite little ones to their weddings. When I was a kid growing up in the 70's kids went to family weddings a lot more than they do now. A wedding is a public declaration and celebration of a new union, not just a chance to have black-tie or fancy party. If you want to have a adult party, by all means have one, but don't why dilute the meaning of marriage by doing it as a wedding reception, find some other occasion. If it means you need to budget accordingly, so be it, I do realize for most couples a wedding reception may be the only shot at a big gala type affair. Entertaining and distracting children just takes a little planning. One great wedding we went to at a university had antique chalk boards wheeled in for the kids to draw on. The bride personally delivered little goodie bags to the kids. She's an art teacher and loves kids, but this outreach could be done by someone close to the couple who likes kids. In a hotel or banquet setting, noisy kids could be tended to in another part of the facility as needed. Plan something for kids during the speeches, even if it means you have to hire someone to mind them. In the long run, I feel that including children at weddings is a show of maturity and thoughtfulness on the part of the new couple. Your reception is your first chance to show the world how you work as team within our society. To view it as only the bride's day to have it ALL her way, runs the risk of seeming shallow. FWIW this MIL was very inconsiderte for raising the issue too close to the wedding. Cheers!
Miggs0708 Miggs0708 10 years
As a mother, if you invite me to your wedding and it is specified adult only that is fine. We just do not go and that is our decision. It doesn't affect how we feel about the couple. I agree with everyone who said it is your decision. It is your day - it should be exactly how you want it. Do not let your MIL influence your choices for YOUR day. She had hers and now needs to understand that this is about what you want, not what she wants. I personally think it is super rude that she would even ask this close to the wedding assuming she could bully you into letting the kids come.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
First of all, no kid under the age of 12 even wants to go to a boring wedding! Not that your wedding is going to be boring, but when you were 10, weren't all weddings boring? Especially if you were the only kids and the adults were all just pinching your cheeks etc. I remember hating weddings with a passion when I was younger. The ceremony would feel like hours even when it was only like 15 minutes. But anyway, anyone who asks you to change something 6 days before your wedding deserves a resounding NO. Anyone who expects otherwise is the one being rude, not you. Take a deep breath and let this just slide right by. You are getting hitched in a week! How awesome is that? Best of luck!
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
no one should tell you who to invite to your wedding, this is your deal. i would probably just have told my mil that our plans unfortunately did not allow us to include everyone we would have wanted to include. having said that i find it VERY ODD that you would invite the husband but not the wife to the wedding. and, isn't the reason people get married to create a family? so it seems as if the actual ceremony should honor other examples of that in your husband to be's family of origin. in the end it's up to you. everyone is different and has to make thier own choices. good luck with that mil :(
SU3 SU3 10 years
I agree with all the above :) Dear had great advice. Lots of luck!! :)
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I am a certified wedding planner and let me tell you - you have every right to not invite children. Especially under the age of 13 if it is a black tie wedding. Typically, you can address that it is an adult reception on the invite. But since your wedding is so close, my advice to you is to call the parents and gently tell them that the wedding is not child friendly and you are looking out for their children’s best interest. (when you are really looking for yours.) If they protest and say their child is well behaved – then you might want to ask a bridesmaid or close family relative to see if the children are misbehaving while the parents are not watching. (This happens ALL the time during a wedding.) Have that designated person gently remind the parents to watch keep their children under control. I know that is harsh, but I did a wedding where the five year old “accidentally” wiped his chocolate covered face on the brides dress when they were dancing on the dance floor. Another option is to see if the reception hall or hotel has a small room or waiting area that can be rented out for the children. Hire a professional baby sitter to watch the children during the reception. You or the babysitter should provide games, toys, coloring books, snacks, juice, dvd's etc to play with. Have the parents bring comfy clothes to change in if they want towards the end of the night. Trust me, kids love this. This will allow the parents the freedom to enjoy the wedding and the kids and check on the kids when ever they want. Good Luck and I hope this help!
ash_marisa ash_marisa 10 years
Children do not really belong at the reception in my opinion. I actually find it very interesting that these people are even bothering you about it. It's much more commonplace not to invite children. Unless it is a very casual backyard sort of thing, it should just be adults (or older teenagers) only.
cubadog cubadog 10 years
I do not think children belong at weddings. I also think your MIL is competely out of line for asking if they could come. I am sure she asked your future husdand and he said no. I say stand your ground and have the wedding you planned!
sbgirl sbgirl 10 years
We had something similar happen to us. We had specifically not put the children's names on the wedding invitations because we wanted an adult only reception and frankly didn't have the space for everyone to bring their children. About a week before the wedding people started calling to see if it was okay if they brought their 2 yr old, etc... It was a very uncomfortable situation and I ended up telling them yes (and then rearranging the whole seating chart). Luckily - there are always people who don't show up to the wedding and there was extra room. Still I was totally stressed about it until I realized there was nothing I could do and just went with it. My MIL called me 3 days before the wedding to see if we could invite the single daughter of a friend of hers - so that the girl could meet my husband's eligible friends. I definitely said no to that one!
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