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Mommy Dearest: Bringing Baby to Wedding

Mommy Dearest,

A friend is getting married and I'm not sure if my kids are invited to the wedding.

My husband and I already responded that we will be attending, but are having a hard time finding a sitter. Is it okay to ask the bride if we can bring them?

— Wondering About Weddings

To read the response from Mommy Dearest,


Wondering About Weddings,

There is one way to tell if your children are welcome. If the invitation was addressed to "The Smith Family," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Family" or "John, Mary, Michael and Ann Smith" then your kids are on the guest list. If the envelope was addressed to just "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" or "John and Mary Smith" they are not.

Additionally, some varieties of response cards have a space to indicate "number invited" and then you fill in "number attending." Obviously, the number of the latter should never exceed the initial one.

In an extreme circumstance, you might feel comfortable asking the bride or groom if you can bring your wee one to their wedding, but more often than not it's better to just decline the invitation and include an honest explanation.

Aside from the fact that weddings are expensive, it's the couple's special day and they don't need to be put on the spot.

— Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.

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Join The Conversation
Herbienj1 Herbienj1 8 years
My situation is a bit different. My brother and his wife have 4 of them a four month old. My brother and the other 3 kids are in the wedding...but my fiance does not think its appropriate for a 4 month old to be at the ceremony/reception...especially a Saturday night formal affair. Originally they were going to get a sitter, but we have just learned recently that she is now coming. Now I am caught in the middle? Any help?
Daisy888 Daisy888 8 years
I am in the middle of the exact same thing! Scenario: Cousin's wife is a total... you know. I write "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" on the invitation. She responds with them plus baby. (One year old). We have a space issue, not a baby issue, so I gracefully explain that my fiance has 10 children on his side and we can not fit everyone's kids in the venue. (Fire code issue- we thought adults were more important!) Her response? She can not find a sitter at such short notice! (Two months in advance!) I then offer her a sitter I already have lined up for the other babies. She says "her precious" can NOT be left with a stranger... Fair enough. I encourage her to bring baby to ceremony- more room there- but just not to the reception. She says she needs to take more time to sort things out. A month goes by and she simply responds that the three of them will attend the ceremony, but no one will attend the reception. I politely say, thank you very much see you then... (Meanwhile, I imagine my cousin sad in the background as she's typing furiously)... P.S. Did I mention I went to her wedding, spent $100 on a gift and did not receive a thank you card for almost a year? Talk about a no-manners diva! Good riddance!
ecleader ecleader 9 years
I'm facing a similar situation with my upcoming nuptuals. What it finally came down to was my fiance and I sitting down and looking at our budget. When we counted how many folks we are inviting (110) and realized that if all of them attended there would be 34 children, almost all of them under the age of 4, we gasped! The bulk of our budget has gone to our reception. It is being held in an historic mansion and the catering guidelines are very specific: Children ages 2 and up are charged as a full meal. As you can imagine, this would make our bill skyrocket. Not to mention the venue is filled with antiques and doesn't have a separate "kids room" (which we considered trying) but they DO have a pricey addendum on the contract about broken items in the home. We haven't finished the invitations yet, but they're going to discreetly (but specifically) say something to the effect of: Guests 12 years of age and older graciously invited. The caveat to all of this is that there ARE some kids invited and they are immediate family only (long family history kind of story--don't ask!. This includes my brother's two, ages 7 and 5 but they're across the country and have already said they're not coming. It also includes my fiance's sis-in-law w/two kids; ages 10 and 7. The seven year old has some serious behavioral issues and my finace and I dread his being there, but one hobgoblin vs. 34 is a reasonable compromise. Bleh. Why does this have to be so complicated?
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I am in this situation right now. My cousin is getting married next month and my littlest will be 4 months by then. The invite says Adult Reception, plus the wedding starts at 6pm. My mom and grandma are so up in arms over this. My sister in law is so upset that she's not going to the wedding and even refused to go to the shower where my 12 year old niece was invited. I think it is my cousins right to not have an evening full of potentially cranky kids. I liked mini_pixie's suggestion if you feel you must ask.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
When it comes to newborns and nursing, I decline the invitation and explain why. I don't automatically bring my child, even if they're tiny and won't take up a seat. I've never had someone not answer with "Oh please, feel free to bring him!" but I never assume.
shopper90210 shopper90210 9 years
I can't believe how rude people are. If it doesn't say and family then your spawn are not invited. Its not your wedding get a sitter or don't go!
runningesq runningesq 9 years
This must be the third of fourth question I've seen on Sugar asking if it's okay for the invitee to bring her boyfriend/ her baby/ etc.!
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
at our wedding we hired a couple of sitters and had a kids room set up at the reception with things to do like coloring, videos, and there were kid snacks and a kids dinner for them. i didn't care if the kids wanted to be a the reception but i wanted them to have the option of the other room. the only time i brought a child to a wedding that wasn't invited was when i was breastfeeding and the baby was about a month old. we sat in the back of the church so we could leave if there was an issue (there wasn't) and stayed about an hour and a half at the reception (i left to feed the baby when necessary). i think that's about as far as "okay" goes in bringing an invited guest because the baby can't be away from you for very long at that age and they aren't taking up a seat at a table. dear's right, the invitation says it all.
lawchick lawchick 9 years
We had a kid free wedding (it was at an art museum and at night - not a kid friendly environment). I addressed the invitations accordingly and also noted "adults only" on our wedding website. I did have a couple of friends who couldn't make it because they had a baby and couldn't or didn't want to get a sitter - that was kind of sad, but no one has any hard feelings about it. I have a few young cousins and we provided a babysitter for them at my mom's house during the wedding. We had a little cake for them so they would feel included (not that they cared!). I think that is great advice above - asking if they can recommend a sitter - of course, only ask if you would seriously conisder going to the wedding and using a sitter.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
we wanted a kid free wedding, but my kids were in the wedding so it was rough excluding other kids in the family. One of my husband's brothers had 4 kids at the time...all under 8...all complete monsters(I kid you not!). I did not want them there at all. I know that sounds terrible but you just don't know these kids. I am sure my cake would have ended up on the floor smashed if they had come. We politely asked them to find a babysitter if they could. They managed to find one, but did leave the reception early which we did not mind. My husband's sister did bring her 2 youngest, which we felt bad about since she knew we were hoping for having a kid free zone, but luckily both kids were so well behaved. Her daughter was 4 at the time and played with my daughter very nicely. Her son sat quietly on her lap the entire time and he was only 2. It all worked out ok in the end. I would feel ok asking the bride(if she is a close friend or is family) about recommending a babysitter or just decline the invitation.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I agree, if she's not on the invite, it's rude to ask if she can go. That's the way of telling parents their children aren't invited. A previous poster does have a very polite way of mentioning it, by asking if the bride/groom can recommend any babysitters. That leaves the opening for them to say it's ok to bring them, offer a sitter or simply say no, they have no ideas.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
lots of weddings are kid-free, not kid-friendly if it didn't say "and family" then she's definitely not invited, and i wouldn't suggest would be awkward if she was the only child there
mini_pixie mini_pixie 9 years
I was recently put in this position, myself, for my uncle's out of town wedding. Since it's my uncle, we definitely feel an obligation to be there, but my daughter was not listed on the invite. Because my daughter is 2, the wedding is 5 hours away, and my parents will also be attending, there was no option to leave her behind and make the trip without her. After asking my mom's opinion, I called my uncle and asked him in a non-confrontational way to confirm she was not invited. Basically I said something like "Since Juliette wasn't on the invite, I wanted to find out from you if you could recommend a babysitter during the ceremony and reception" This way, he could let me know if I was really supposed to bring her, and if not I could find arrangements for her to be taken care of. It worked out pretty well, I think, helping everyone get what they wanted from the situation without having to feel put on the spot.
CJaneTyp CJaneTyp 9 years
Yeah people really don't seem to know wedding etiquette at all. I sent out my invitations and clearly addressed them to MR AND MRS so and so or Mary Smith or whatever and I have gotten responses ranging from people INFORMING me that they would be bringing a child or asking if they could bring a baby. At 7pm. Urgh.
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