Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WHAT DO YOU MEAN my baby's not invited?


Dear ESB,

I am an avid reader of your blog (well, both blogs) and I'm currently engaged, set to be married in the fall.  I never thought I would have a reason to write to you, until I received the below email today. 

A bit of background: We have had a relatively painless wedding process, but had to make difficult decisions just like everyone else in the world who's planning a wedding. We love children and plan to have our own in a few years when the time is right. Despite our love for children, we decided to have a kid-free wedding, reasons for which I will not get into here. Earlier this year we addressed the Save the Dates (and will soon address the invitations) to include our adult friends and family. Recently, a friend with a toddler realized/understood that we would be having a child-free wedding and wrote this email to us below, which I thought you and your readers would enjoy:

Hey Future Husband and Wife,

Let me preface this email with saying that I know nothing can change at this point, nor am I asking it to. Also, my wife thinks this email is unnecessary. Nevertheless, I thought that you needed to know that I was very surprised to hear that you are having a child-free wedding. Since neither of you are parents (yet hint-hint) and since any ambiguity about the guest list could cause confusion, frustration, and embarrassment for family and friends on the big day, I felt it was necessary to encourage you to be MUCH more explicit about this decision in your invites or you may end up with lots of unexpected little ones. Not only would this confuse your caterer, but it would lead to lots of hurt and/or embarrassed parents.

To put things in to perspective for you, as a parent, just as I would expect my wife to join me at a wedding, I would expect that my child would be included in an invite. I have never heard of, nor dreamed of a child-free wedding, so when I read your save-the-date, I assumed that it included children. I believe this is a very common assumption among parents. Moreover, for some parents, it is not possible to leave a child, so prohibiting a child is effectively prohibiting that parent from joining you; these parents may assume that you know this and cannot possibly mean to exclude their child, since it would mean excluding them and you chose to send the invite. Also, there are some parents for whom excluding a child is simply insulting (for some, even more so than not being invited themselves); they will assume that you are not acting in a way that is insulting to them and assume that children are included.

Since few parents will approach the task of parsing of the invites with as much scrutiny as you have planned, I really suggest you make this policy much more explicit on the invites. People are already making plans to travel to your wedding location to join you on this special day, so they need to know this now – not whenever it reaches them through the grapevine. There is no need to inject additional ambiguity into the big day.  If you are not explicit, people will misunderstand, like we did, and you will have babies at the wedding. This will upset every other person who had to leave their child behind (and work through all of the logistics involved with that, which are not insignificant). On such a special day, there is no need to create a risk of sowing hate and discontent by soft selling a rather unique limitation on offspring.

Although I will not be able to celebrate with you because of this limitation, I really do hope you have a wonderful wedding. My wife is still planning to attend. Of course, we also miss seeing you at our regular dinners and hope you can make another appearance soon.

Best,

Your "Friend"

Jemima Kirke + Rafaella via The Glow

168 comments:

  1. When I did my wedding invitations, we listed exactly who was invited on the envelopes, including children, to save parents from this confusion. The fact that this clueless "friend" has never HEARD of a childless wedding is not encouraging.

    Why do some people think that YOUR wedding day is all about them and their convenience?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what we did too (or wrote "and family.") The letter is obnoxious (you've never heard of a childless wedding?) but I think the point to be very explicit is valid. I have learned both through my own wedding and being invited to others that no one seems to know invitation etiquette anymore and what is implied by who the invitation is addressed to! Once my husband got invited to a wedding and the invitation wasn't addressed to me, so I was like, I guess I am not invited? But my husb asked the groom (ugh, awkward!) and he was flabbergasted that we thought I might not be invited. But how was I to know? That is why there are the rules, people!

      Delete
    2. I had the same experience. live-in bf was invited to a wedding and the inner envelope only had his name on it so we assumed I wasn't invited. at the wedding the bride asked why I couldn't make it. HELLO! Address your invitations correctly!!!

      Delete
    3. yup. same experience. i wish people would err on the side of being obvious and explicit of how many folks are invited when sending out invites. etiquette rules are all over the place, honestly, so it's hard to tell who's invited unless it's obvious.

      Delete
    4. "Why do some people think that YOUR wedding day is all about them and their convenience?"

      Why do some people think THEIR wedding plans can and should create inconveniences that others should have to accommodate, come what may? The friend here is making a simple point that not everyone CAN leave their kids behind. Assuming they can, and that they should find a way to do so because of your oh-so-special big day -- that's really coming from a place of unbelievable privilege. Understand that no one is obligated to undergo personal hardships for the sake of a wedding, and that many will choose not to.

      Delete
    5. Let me guess that "Anonymous" is single and has never been married. As someone (male) who is 1 month away from the big day with my bride, I can say that in no way do I want children there. Love them, bring 'em all to a family picnic, but this ain't no family picnic. Months of preparation/meticulous planning/huge expenses so that things are just right/weeks of stress can all be immediately thrown out the window when that cute little baby that everyone adores lets out an ill-timed "goo-goo-gaa-gaa" and the entire audience's attention immediately shifts to that kid. Even if Mom high-tails it out of there (we are outdoors so to get of earshot would be a 1/4 mile sprint) the ceremony is essentially ruined. Just so that mom can show off her little bundle of joy. You get sitters for everything else, do it for the wedding. Or bring your checkbook and reimburse the couple for all their expenses that you just screwed up. Love the little ones!!! And if you are already married, how would you have liked it if your ceremony was interrupted by a crying fit? Here's the thing. Humans are programmed to protect our babies. So when a baby cry's/laughs we have no choice but to immediately center our focus on that child to make sure they are OK. 'Nuff rambling.

      Delete
  2. who hasn't gone to a child-free wedding and loved it? How on earth could you begin to have fun chasing around a 2 year old at a wedding?

    ReplyDelete
  3. "yet hint-hint"? Is this someone who prefers to only hang out with People Like Them who have the same logistical constraints?

    Maybe you can go back to their regular dinners once you have a baby of your own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But why would they want to? This guy sounds like a total dick.

      Delete
    2. the "yet hint-hint" comment was soooooo annoying

      Delete
  4. I'm so happy to see this post. My husband and I recently had an intimate evening wedding at Blue Hill Stone Barns with no kids. One of our guests (immediate family member) made a big fuss and declined our invitation. I'm happy we stuck to our "no kids" policy because having children present isn't appropriate at every event.

    ReplyDelete
  5. i would imagine that if these people automatically assume that any invitation to them includes their child, regardless the event or occasion, they will find themselves with more and more "friends" not making appearances at their regular dinners ...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, that email (and that type of attitude) makes my blood boil. Would love to know how you responded!?

    Reminds me of this blog, which I also love: http://www.stfuparentsblog.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the proper response was sending it to esb.

      Delete
    2. STFUParents was my first thought upon reading this as well. Can we request a crossover!?

      Delete
  7. it would just be IMPOSSIBLE!! for a parent to leave the child. IMPOSSIBLE!

    give me a f***ing break. (hint hint)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ha, I love that letter. I bet his wife proof-read it and kept saying 'mention again this is nothing to do with me and I am totally down with being kid-free for a night out'.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Passive aggressive much? He sounds like a twit.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Someone get this dude a copy of Miss Manners. The only people invited to an event are the people LISTED ON THE INVITATION.

    *ahem* Sorry about that. He made me rage-y.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I tried to have a no-children wedding and it didn't work. People were not respectful, brought their babies anyway, and even asked to stay at our house the week of the wedding. Lesson? People (yes, even your guests) are assholes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG I had some out of town guests ask if they could stay at our house too! They seriously wanted to come home with us following the wedding! Because, you know, there's no reason why a bride and a groom would want to be alone on their wedding night!

      Delete
  12. Ok, literally any etiquette source, be it web site, advice column, a big o'l book, etc. will tell you that the only people invited to a wedding are the ones with their names on the invitation. It has been this way forever and probably will continue to be, since there is no other non-awkward way to invite some people and not others. I'm surprised that these people didn't run into this concept when planning their own wedding?!?!?! Since they're such experts...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the problem is that the only people who ever read up on etiquette are the people who are planning a wedding, not the people who attend them!

      Delete
    2. Seriously! Addressing the envelope "Mr and Mrs Smith" (or whatever) makes it clear that it's the parents... would it be better (clearer, to this guy) if the envelope said "Mr and Mrs Smith but please FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NOT YOUR KIDS!" How is the bride supposed to make this more clear?

      Delete
  13. While I am totally cool with kid free weddings, I just have to say that the kids at my wedding were the best part. We didn't have any toddlers or any pouty adolescents, which could have been why.

    But seriously, wouldn't you want to leave the kid? Have a couple of cocktails and take a cab home? Sounds like this asshole needs a night out.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This guy is a complete ass. Some parents need to learn a valuable lesson: THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU AND YOUR KID(S).

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hmm. The message is bitter, but it seems like it comes from a place of genuine confusion over wedding etiquette. If you felt like indulging these friends, help arrange a baby sitter at some hotel or another (which you don't have to pay for!), and then send an email to all your guests who are parents. That would clarify the invitee list and also give an assist to those who would otherwise want to come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the writer/recipient of this letter, and while it may be coming from a place of genuine confusion, I can assure you this man has a plethora of child care options, all of which he is choosing not to avail himself of.

      Delete
    2. I agree that a great way to "clarify" your preference about no children at the wedding is to send out a short email to the guests who are parents who may be confused (the RSVPs may help your figure out who they are) saying that, for anyone who needs childcare options in your city for the night of the wedding, you can recommend the following babysitters (or you have arranged for childcare at X location for $x/hour/child). That should get the point across, and you are actually being helpful.

      Delete
  16. Every parent I know would prefer to have a night off from the kids.

    However, the emailer mentioned travel, and if this is a destination wedding and the couple is expecting the guests to either leave their children at home for the weekend or bring them and find childcare at the venue, I can somewhat understand the difficulty. Not that excuses the email, which was ridiculous (how can he urge her to be more explicit on the invitation when the invitations have obviously already gone out?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure the invites hadn't gone out. Only the save the dates.

      Delete
    2. Oops, you're right.

      Delete
  17. This dad is totally out of line with the e-mail. I'm embarrassed for his wife.

    That being said, everyone always says that etiquette thing about "names on the invites are the only ones invited." Alas, not everyone follows this, including people planning the wedding. I've traveled far and shown up solo without my partner only to have the bride ask why he didn't come.

    So yeah, in a perf world only assholes don't follow etiquette rules. In the real world, a wedding invite that states clearly states how many seats have been reserved for a well-meaning guest can help a lot. If you haven't done your invites yet, make it clear that 2 (husb and wife) are invited, and no kids, on them. At least the well-meaning guests (not this e-mail dad) will respect your wishes without drama.

    ReplyDelete
  18. this sounds like the kind of person who brings an infant or toddler to the midnight showing of a movie.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This may not be poplular, but I'm going to stand up for the guy. First - yes, the email is inappropriate and needless. Yes, of course, there are childless weddings and it's the right of anyone to have such. But things are different when you have children. If the wedding is in your town, then it's not so hard to go to a childfree wedding. But if you have to travel it can be nearly impossible to attend. Unless you want to be without your children for an extended time. Some may not want to. Plus, a lot of people see their children as extensions of themselves and any perceived affront to their children is an affront to them. Also there is a reason people with children tend to hang out with other people with children. They get what life is like with children. By all means, have a child free wedding. Enjoy it. Be very explicit on the invitations - most people don't know the rules of etiquette. But remember, not everyone is going to agree with you. And just as you wouldn't like to be bothered about your choice, others shouldn't be ridiculed just because they don't agree. Not everyone is an a**hole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that attending a distant wedding without your child can be difficult, and it may be grounds for a parent to decline that invitation, but I think this falls under the category of Your Guests Are Grown Ass People - they can make that decision for themselves. Come, don't come - that is up to each guest. I think it is out of line for a guest to ask or expect a couple to change their wedding plans to accomodate the guest. If attending is just too difficult, don't come. But don't harass the bride about it. Couples planning weddings can't please everyone. They just have to make the best decisions for their circumstances and go with it. Whatever it is, some guests won't like it, and some may not even come, but that just comes with wedding planning. I don't think the dad is out of line for not attending - I think he is out of line for trying to make the couple feel bad about their choice.

      Delete
    2. Can you please clarify how one is expected to be explicit on an invitation as to who is *not* invited?

      On our response cards, we had a line that said "___ of ___ attending", and we filled in the 2nd blank with how many were invited total, and the person responding could fill in the 1st blank with how many were going to come. Do you mean something like this? I'm trying to figure out how else one can explicitly state who is and is not invited without seeming rude.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. The letter writer can make a choice. However, he will be mocked for his childish (ha) and unnecessary email to the bride who made her choice without a fuss.

      Delete
    5. ^jwhittz I would find that helpful. Other people might ignore it, and cross out your number, but i've gotten invites that did NOT list that, instead just listed a "__ number attending" and ended up being confusing to everyone. Because like it or not, not everything follows the "name on invite = only name invited" rule.

      Delete
    6. @anon 1:32 So far, so good, but we only have about 1/5 of the responses right now. We're having a child-free wedding, too, so we shall see. We certainly haven't explicitly stated anything about not having kids in attendance on the website or anything (I would find that to be rude.) If people are confused, they're welcome to ask a question in a polite manner.
      What is it about weddings that brings out the idiot in people?

      Delete
    7. This might not be a popular reply, but: if a destination thing requires travel, and you can't bring your children, and you can't leave them alone, then you don't go.

      People don't go to weddings all the time for logistical issues - money, time off work, conflicting priorities, previous plans... Your children are not invited to a specific event. If that means you can't go, then you can't go. Send your regrets. Why it becomes someone else's responsibility to figure out how you can manage conflicting obligations...

      (Disclaimer: am getting married in a week. Have been dealing with this sort of thing all day. Actually had one person (whose kid IS invited) complain that "the wedding is ending too late for *child*" LEAVE EARLIER, THEN.)

      Delete
    8. jwhitzz, depending on how much you care whether you actually end up with a completely child-free wedding, you may want to put something on your website. As demonstrated by this post, parents be crazy. If it isn't made crystal clear to them that their kid isn't invited, some people will just show up with kids in tow anyway. If that happens, you're pretty much stuck with them all night, so it may be easier to just add a tab to your website that says "childcare" and then post a note on that page explaining that you are having a child-free wedding, but here is a list of child care options in the area. List alongside travel and hotel information, this seems very appropriate.

      Delete
    9. @Ros it might not be popular but it's the RIGHT answer. (If you only need childcare *during* the wedding/reception at the destination a simple email to the bride asking if there are any other parents who might want to share childcare wouldn't be crazy. This? Ew.)

      My fiance had to have a discussion with his sister who assumed that the "no kids" did not apply to her and her brood just last week... I totally feel you on this.

      Delete
    10. I did what jwhittz did, because listing the name still leaves room for people assume you mean their kids too (as silly as that seems to me). I found that saying " we have reserved ___ seats in your honor" worked out just fine. We also stated that it was an adult reception ... caution! people getting drunk!! ;)

      Delete
    11. @Ros Your comment should be a "duh" but apparently not for so many people.

      Delete
    12. For who-is-invited confusion, I decided to personally print my RSVP cards so I could write real names on each invite (or a blank with Guest____) and know exactly who was coming and the guests would know exactly who was invited. As for everyone being so outraged about what A**es people are because they don't know etiquette I have to mention that etiquette is regional. Sure there are certain books out there which give general etiquette rules, but those are still completely adapted to regions. Example, my husband is from Mexico and many of the rules (must have hand-written, mailed thank you cards) don't apply (the postal system hardly works so no one would get the thank you cards you just stuck in the mail). Even within the US, these "rules" are extremely flexible. I grew up in the midwest and had never been to/heard of a kids free wedding until I got engaged and started reading wedding blogs. And if I had told my guests in my small town that kids weren't invited I'm sure the reaction would have been much worse than this guys. And if I hadn't told the guests and just assumed they knew what the working on the envelope said, my guess is not a single parent would have figured it out. So yeah, my family doesn't read Miss Manners or wedding blogs and they don't know all the "rules". My guess is this guy didn't either and just wanted to tell the bride how confused he was.

      Delete
    13. @Ambi It's really not something I want to address on the website, as that opens it up for questioning/debate (at least in my family). We also don't have that many guests with young children, and those who do have them are aware of the situation.
      We have other crazy going on with the wedding (Word on parents be crazy--as in our MOMS), so this isn't stressing us out too much.

      Delete
  20. I feel your pain. We explicitly explain to some similarly flabbergasted parents that our sit-down dinner at an elegant, indoor (read: "boring" by kid standards, IMO) venue was for adults only ... only to have them threaten not to come, and then return their RSVP with the note "+ 2 children"

    Ima bout ready to throw out my previous offer to pay for babysitters to stay with their kids at a nearby hotel and hire a bouncer instead.

    ReplyDelete
  21. don't get angry, team! read the scary parent-email the way i always do: while listening to this.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Question for the angry mob:

    We're not inviting kids to our wedding, but nursing infants strike me as an obvious exception. Three of my friends will have brand-new babies by the time of the wedding. If they're going to come, babies will be in tow.

    So q: If I address envelopes to adults only, will it be obvious to those concerned that nursing infants are welcome, or do I need to state this explicitly?

    I'm assuming they'd get a sitter for older kids, but would bring along the wee one by necessity. That's where it could get a bit tricky when it comes to addressing envelopes. "Mr & Mrs X & baby [but not toddler]" could look a little weird...

    Protocol advice welcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I got a letter, even as a nursing mom, and it was just addressed to my husband and me I would assume that none of our kids (even the wee one) were invited. I think the best way to handle this would be to reach out to the few nursing moms you're inviting and let them know that you're making a no-kids exception for the baby. I think a quick phone call or a small note in the invite would do it. Interested to hear how others would handle this.

      Delete
    2. I would just call/email them and state this directly.

      Delete
    3. I would address the invitations to the adults only, then personally call your friends and explain that, while you are having an adults-only wedding, you know that they are nursing and may not be able to leave their babies for extended periods, so if they need to bring the infants to the wedding, that would be fine. They may not even want to bring them. And if you put the parents' names on the invitations and the infant's name, but not the older kids, I think they might be confused and maybe even a bit insulted (What's wrong with Little Jimmy? Does she think he can't behave? Why exclude him?) Explain to them that there is an overall no-kids policy, but that you are making an exception, so they don't think you're singling out their older kid.

      Delete
    4. I saw an invitation for nearly this exact situation. The invitation was addressed only to the parents, and the couple included a note that said something like--while we are having a child-free evening, we understand that nursing newborns are a special case. We'd love to be able celebrate with you at our wedding, so please feel free to bring your new baby along.

      If you only have 3 potential babies to deal with, maybe something like this wouldn't be too much a hassle? And a handwritten note shows you at least put thought into it.

      Delete
    5. Ummmm, am I the only one who thinks this is a terrible idea? I've never actually been to a no kids wedding (and am very pro breast-feeding), but only inviting tiny children that are going to distract their parents the whole time (most likely by screaming, not sleeping on any sort of a schedule, etc) seems like an awful experience. And I would be really mad if I had to leave my 10-yr-old Jane at home and then sit at the ceremony next to an infant.

      Delete
    6. Sarah I am curious if you are a mother?

      I think "babes in arms" only is VERY common.

      I think it would be GREAT to personally let the families know that babes in arms are welcome. (Though I DO think it would be rude to exclude a bottle fed baby of the same age).

      Delete
    7. @jamie: excellent point to which I think a lot of well meaning people might not be aware (I certainly wouldn't have been in the pre-kiddo days)

      (ooh. Might this be the mythical crossover point in the Internet venn diagram of crazy between 'wedding planning' and 'lactation'?!)

      Delete
    8. i'm kind of with Sarah T on this a bit too, i admit. what does one do when said babies screech? "PS, babes in arms are welcome, but if they get loud, please leave immediately." i don't think it's monstrous to want a wedding without the possibility of loud, random interruptions.

      Delete
    9. Most mothers of infants that I know are very used to getting up and removing themselves and the infant from any situation where the screeching isn't appropriate. They do it all the time at church and restaurants and such. So, I personally think that if you tell a friend that you are having a child-free wedding, but are making an exception to accomodate the fact that she is nursing, she will understand that this isn't the kind of event where a screeching baby would be considered adorable and can just be talked over - she will very likely be more sensitive about the screeching than anyone else is, anyway. I have always found my mom-friends to be more worried about the disruption their babies are causing than anyone else is, and they are very quick to make an exit. Only the mom can really know if she should bring the baby so that she can nurse, but be prepared to step out or even leave if necessary, or if the better option might be to leave the baby with a sitter for a very short time while she makes a quick appearance, or maybe she might decide not to come. But I say give her the option and trust her to make the choice.

      Delete
    10. @SarahT @Lauren, honestly I find babies under one to be much easier in terms of guests than toddlers. Yes, they cry, but parents are usually pretty sensitive about that and leave the room the second they start crying. But they don't walk, they don't eat (hence no worries about catering), they almost never need a high chair (so no worries about table seating), and the littler ones barely need to be entertained. I've seen plenty of parents party until midnight while their baby slept calmly in a moby wrap the whole night long.

      And if a woman is solely breast feeding and her baby doesn't take a bottle (which many breast fed babies refuse to do) she literally has no choice but to either not come or bring the baby. She doesn't have babysitting as an option. So, I think telling breastfeeding moms they can bring their kids is the most considerate option, and very possibly the only way said breastfeeding mom could attend.

      Delete
    11. totally @ruchi. AND it is really recommended that breastfeeding is WELL established before a bottle is introduced, which can sometimes take a while.

      and i second @ruchi and @ambi in response to lmo. (@kidchamp)

      as a mom, a guest at weddings, and a photographer at weddings, i am VERY used to seeing a parent standing at the back of the aisle gently bopping a baby up and down, ready to sprint if need be.

      the myth the babies just cry all the time and for no reason and without response is sad. sometimes true, i guess, which is even sadder.

      this has come up in previous ESB posts on the matter. yeah, if your friends are idiots and can't figure out that if their baby is about to CRY that they need to step away, then surely don't invite them.

      Delete
    12. and i don't think it is monstrous to want to eliminate that risk. as with everything, you have to weigh the pros and cons. EI be willing to accept that a mother of a very young infant may choose not to come.

      Delete
    13. @unfounddoor RIGHT? i am a little afraid ESB is going to bust me for talking lactation on her blog

      Delete
    14. @jamie i was just formulating a tweet....

      Delete
  23. Ugh. The self-righteous attitude and the use of "ironic" inverted commas are upsetting me. The emailer is a dick, all other issues aside.

    ReplyDelete
  24. We had kids at my wedding, enough for one kids table. They had the time of their lives, it made the families closer and generated some of the best pictures. Actually my favorite part of any wedding is seeing a child on the dance floor. Usually by themselves, and lifting their dress above their head.

    Although I agree the note is absurd, I think sometimes we need perspective that children can be well-behaved, and add something to the event. They are not always a negative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, but there are valid reasons for choosing a child-free event, and if that is what the couple chooses, it should be respected.

      Delete
    2. Agree with anon 1:41 PM

      Delete
  25. Whoa. Culture shock much? I am a US American living in Germany and.... Yeah, I totally agree with the emailer. Totally. Viewing children as somehow not part of the family is a very American phenomenon, also the idea that there are "adult" events and "child friendly" ones. I am clearly in the minority, ut this astounds me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As an American, I view children as part of the family, but I don't think that anyone is required to invite the whole family to a wedding.

      Delete
    2. I'm not attacking, just honestly curious - how would Germans approach an event that is, for example, a very formal dinner at a venue where children could easily break or destroy things, which will occur much later in the evening than most children stay up, and where young children would probably have a difficult time sitting still for hours at the table? For example, a dinner event at a very upscale restaurant with food that may be challenging for a child, where the emphasis (and price per plate) may be based on great wine or alcohol, and where people are expected to behave quite formally - in that situation, would children still be included? Would they simply be expected to behave like an adult and sit quietly? Or is this type of event off limits simply because it does not accomodate children?

      Delete
    3. Disagree completely. First of all, who has ever heard an American call herself a "US American"? Second, there is no where in the world where children are allowed in every social setting no matter what.

      I grew up in the UK, and live in the states now, and I don't think little children should be frolicking everywhere, getting things sticky.

      If I invited friends out for a drink after work, would they think to bring their child? Of course not. What about my very expensive screams bring your brats?

      Delete
    4. A bit off topic - but since you raised it - I haven't heard the specific term "US American," but the term "American" can refer to someone from anywhere in the Americas, so "US American" actually seems like a helpful term because it's more specific. As someone from New Mexico and who has spent a lot of time in Latin America, I usually just say "I'm from the US," but I would never say "I'm American" to mean the same thing, because in many places outside the US, it doesn't.

      Delete
    5. Jmo is right. I think it's awesome to say US American when you're abroad, because it annoys the crap out of our fellow Americans from other American countries that people from the US have claimed the title "American!"

      But... "I'm from the US" works just as well.

      Delete
    6. Right. "Canadian American" here.

      We were going to have kids at our wedding, but then we started tallying our friends' and cousins' kids. We stopped counting at 50. That would've been more than 25% of the total guest list. Nobody would want to be at that wedding, not even us.

      So, kidless wedding it is.

      Delete
    7. Aussie here. Child free weddings are (to me) the most common form. It's not about viewing children as 'outside fo the family' but about understanding that some people want an adults only evening.

      Delete
    8. US American... well it's a term we expats use because as it turns out, there are Canadian Americans, and Mexican Americans. Hey who knew - there are even South Americans!

      Anyhoo all I'm saying is, in Germany kids are always invited to the wedding. It's a family event! Two people joining their lives to form a new family! It's considered to be kid-friendly. And yeah.. the notion that alcohol consumption brands a celebration no-kid? Very "US".

      And about "kid centric"... don't you think it's much more ridiculous to feel that kids can't participate normally in an event without entertainment or babysitters or whatnot?

      Interestingly, most Germany weddings go until 4-5am. Of course the kids don't stay that long, they are put to bed and the rest of us get get drunk and dance it up if we like!

      Just another perspective...

      Delete
  26. I'm gonna be super uncool and say that I hate kid free / no kids allowed weddings.

    AND I DON'T HAVE ANY.

    Hell, I don't even LIKE kids or babies.

    But to leave out half of a family just seems rude to me. We're planning our wedding and about a third of our guest list is under 18.

    It's just never made sense to me why people think weddings are ADULTS ONLY. "Your vows are SO fancy they can only be heard by the ears of the grown."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I kind of have to agree with this. Also don't have children and may never have children, but I understand how parents wouldn't want to go to an event without the family. I also understand that parents wouldn't naturally assume that just because the invite doesn't say "& family" that kids aren't invited. I actually have this problem with the husband all the time, but about our dog.

      Me: I don't think Gunner is invited.
      H: What? Of course he's invited?
      Me: But the email invite didn't mention him.
      H: Only because he doesn't have an email address.
      Me: Well you need to check.

      And you know, 90% of the time he is invited. So glad we had both kids and dogs at our wedding.

      Delete
    2. Hahahaha, I have that conversation with my husband from time to time. I tell him every time, if we don't bring the dog everyone is going to ask why she didn't come. Sometimes they tell us we have to go back and get her.

      Delete
    3. What?! I love my dog, but I would never in a million years assume she was invited to ANYTHING other than a vet appointment. And if I were hosting a party and someone just showed up with their dog, we'd have words about it.

      I understand that children are part of the family (as are dogs), but why does that mean they are automatically invited to every event? If you got an invite to a friend's cocktail party, would you assume that you could also bring your parents? Your siblings? No, the invitation went to you.

      Delete
    4. I agree! Kids are one thing, but I certainly don't think people should assume that their DOGS are invited everywhere they go. I have a friend who sometimes calls to ask if his dog is invited to all kinds of events, and to be honest, usually he ISN'T, but often people feel bad and let him come anyway. I'm sure some social circles roll with more dogs, but in my experience 90% of the time dogs ARE NOT invited.

      Delete
    5. Anon 2:38 here. To be clear, I don't bring my dog to EVERY social event. Most of our friends in our city are crazy about animals. There are 3 different homes where if we are invited, our dog is invited unless otherwise specified, and if we DON'T bring the dog there are words had about it. I don't think we've ever asked if we could bring our dog, the invitation was extended and now it is the norm.

      Delete
    6. I also need to specify that I always make sure we ask before bringing the dog. As I said, 90% of the time it's fine. 10% it's not. I mainly just raised the point to be absurd -- as in, if my well-educated, extremely nice (you'll have to take my word for it) husband assumes dogs are invited (because no, he's never read an etiquette book, newspaper, column, etc -- has your husband?) then I think it's very reasonable that the letter-writer assumed his kids were invited. And many other guests would too. You have to be explicit.

      Delete
  27. this is hands-down the most stressful about planning a wedding for me. i come from a giant irish catholic family with literally dozens of kids in my extended family and the thought of expanding our guest list to include 30 - 40 kids that i don't really know that well makes my brain hurt. just another point in favor of elopement i guess!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, and I think one thing that hasn't really been discussed here is the expense of hosting children and the fact that that expense may not be worth it - for example, if you have a pricey plated dinner and your venue plans to charge you per person, regardless of age, you may not want to shell out $50 for a 5-year-old to to pick at the meal. If you have 30-40 little kids in this situation, money may very well be a factor. If you'd enjoy the evening more without kids, and you can't bring yourself to spend significantly more just to accomodate them, I do not see why you can't just choose not to have children at your wedding. It isn't everyone's preference, but it also isn't their wedding.

      Delete
    2. Ambi, I agree that there are reasons why you might choose not to have children at your wedding. I still think that the letter writer's main point was that you need to advertise that decision everywhere. Also that he doesn't like you for putting money ahead of his presence (cause I do believe that there are many reasons why not inviting children = basically not inviting both of their parents. Also in some locations their daycare bill is going to be over $50, just saying)

      Delete
    3. my friends who were wed recently included a note to families that babies/very young children who did not require their own seat or plate of food were invited to come. i thought that was very nice and reasonable.

      Delete
    4. Sarah, I think that it is pretty much understood that money is a limitation for most if not all weddings. If money wasn't an object, every bride and groom could invite every single friend they ever had and no one would be left out. But I think most people understand that even though they're friends with the couple, if they didn't get an invite to the wedding it is because the couple had to make choices and cuts and that no one is able to invite everyone they want. Same goes for kids. I may love your kid and find him adorable and be so happy for you, but if I can only afford (or accomodate for other reasons) X number of people, I am probably going to choose my adult friend with whom I have a stronger history and who will actually enjoy and remember the wedding rather than cut her and invite your child.

      Delete
    5. Ambi, I guess this is cultural. In my small town Midwestern home, it would be like you were basically not inviting the parents if you didn't invite their kids. Because most parents would refuse to get a babysitter for a wedding (in part because most of them wouldn't have previously heard of a no kids wedding, and would be upset by it). So while people understand you are restricted by budget, it would be like instead of limiting the guest list by how close you are with guests, you limited it by whether said guests had to decided to procreate.

      Delete
  28. The people hosting the party can make whatever rules they want because it's THEIR party. And receivers of a specific invite are free to accept or decline. Boom.

    I personally love kids/babies at weddings because they are adorable.

    For my RSVP (whatever the names were on the envelope), I specified how many seats were reserved for them and I included a line where the invitee could specify how many people were coming.

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's also crazy that this guy would rather make his wife travel out of town and spend a whole weekend ALONE than spend a weekend together with her. And all that just to prove a point! I feel really sorry for his wife.

    ReplyDelete
  30. on a non-saxophone-music related note, friends got married a few weeks ago at an adults-only location (a five-story former private house full of staircases and antiques), and their invite conveyed that fairly successfully, i think:

    One point of note: the venue is most decidedly NOT kid friendly (you’ll see what we mean), ergo we must gently request that the little ‘uns sit this one out. If you are traveling in from out-of-town with kids in tow, we are more than happy to help organize babysitting services to come to your hotel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. see. i was invited to an event like this when H was tiny. it would have been great if they could have made a "babes in arms" exception, as i would have just strapped him on to me and he would have slept through the whole thing. instead, ben went and i stayed home. (oh, the isolation of having a newborn.) I mean, it was not that big of a deal. i TOTALLY understand that it was my choice to be pretty attached to my baby and not hire a sitter for my small infant. and i am TOTALLY down with it being your event and you should invite whoever you please. i just sometimes dont understand WHY.

      Delete
    2. I am planning my wedding and would prefer it to be child-free, but I have to admit I also struggle to find a really good reason WHY. What really is the big deal, unless it's a venue issue? Do caterers charge for kids under 5? (I don't know, but would like to know.) Am I just worried about distractions/noise? That seems selfish and antithetical to the gracious spirit I would hope to have as a host.

      Convince me why it's legit to not want a few little kids at the festivities!

      Delete
    3. one reason, at the risk of sounding like a big jerk? so that one's guests can be present, active participants in the event. once kids are mobile (that is, not babes in arms) and too little to entertain and/or take care of themselves, their parents' number-one job (whenever they're present) is to parent them. i think it's reasonable, on the day of one's wedding, to ask friends and loved ones to give something else the majority of their attention for a few hours.

      Delete
    4. Despite my stance in these comments, I am actually choosing to have kiddos at my wedding (although most of my friends have already informed me that they will be getting a sitter and enjoying a night out without babies). But my sister is having a very expensive wedding at a venue that will charge per person, regardless of age. Her wedding and reception are going to be rather late in the evening and will be formal. People will be sitting down to dinner with good wine and conversation rather than a dance band and lively partying. In this situation she feels like kids would be both an unnecessary expense and a distraction to the type of atmosphere she is trying to create. It isn't what I am choosing, but I totally respect her right to throw the type of party that she wants.

      Delete
    5. Lauren, I competely agree. I was just in a wedding where the maid of honor had her three young sons in tow all day. She obviously had her hands full with them and really wasn't mentally present at all during the ceremony she was giving her kids the eye to make them stay in their seats rather than really listening to the vows, she missed photos because she was feeding and changing babies, she spent the entire reception trying to manage her children rather than socializing or dancing and she ended up having to leave early when her kids got fussy. The bride had a "kid-friendly" wedding and would never have chosen to tell people not to bring their kids, but she was honestly disappointed that her best friend was so distracted on her wedding day that they never really had any quality time together.

      Delete
    6. @Mary Anne also: ppl with kids leave eaaaaaaaaaaaarly, which is a major bummer.

      Delete
    7. i don't even think you need to have a reason.

      Delete
    8. "i think it's reasonable, on the day of one's wedding, to ask friends and loved ones to give something else the majority of their attention for a few hours." after a certain age, lauren, yes. :)

      Delete
    9. To answer Mary Anne:

      We asked our caterer about kid rates. 13 and under are a reduced rate. 5 and under are free.

      So, for our wedding, having kids isn't a money issue and not a big deal.

      If you're considering it and want kids there, ask! A lot of caterers will have different rates. It doesn't make sense to charge the same amount for a baby that will eat maybe 3 bites or a kid that will eat maybe half the plate of an adult.

      Delete
    10. I think kids can often change the atmosphere of a wedding. That age between 3 and 10 or so when they are all chasing each other and yelling and running around? Ugh. It's not universal but I've seen it a ton.

      Also: sometimes there's a lot of booze. I don't want to be around a bunch of kids while I'm drunk (it's sort of the same type of thing as how I won't "friend" my cousin's kids on Facebook).

      We actually had some kids at our wedding, but not a lot. We sort of discouraged people from bringing them if they were going to be staying in the cabins, so most of our friends with babies/toddlers left them behind*. My cousin brought her baby for the ceremony and reception and I think 2 of my other cousins brought their kids - like, 13, 11, 10 and 9 or something. It was no big deal.

      * Our best couple-friends hadn't yet spent a night away from their year-old son when our wedding came and didn't want to leave him for both Friday and Saturday. They missed the BEST time Friday and their son was (obviously) totally fine staying with her mom Saturday. :(

      Delete
    11. yes yes and yes to you all. great stuff, people!

      Delete
  31. oh god i hope she only responds with a link to this dear esb post so everyone else can back up what an asshole he is

    ReplyDelete
  32. It doesn't matter if you are *shocked* that kids-free events take place. It is not your wedding and you have no right to "educate" anyone on how they should throw their party. Don't like it? Can't get a sitter? Kindly send your regrets and get over it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Would you take your child to a cocktail party? (the only answer here should be NO). Do all parents naturally assume that every party they are invited to includes their children?? NO.

    We had a mostly childless wedding (nursing infant), but we hired some nannies and rented a hotel suite in a child friendly hotel close to the museum we got married at. We provided little good bags, and provided toys and had a computer at both our venue and the hotel so any parent that wanted to Skype call could to check in. I know this might seem excessive and while I think most adults should be capable of finding child care for an evening - we had out of town guests and wanted them to be able to enjoy the event without the added cost and stress of finding out of town nannies. *we used a service.

    We received an outpouring of gratitude for being understanding and providing couples a night out on us.

    (It cost us $1200, for 2 nannies, hotel suite, food for kiddos and toys - not in everyone's budget I know, but I'm sure you could get it done for cheaper.)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have a baby and yeah, you do have to occasionally sit out events for the sake of your kid, and that's fine, but I don't really approve of the kind of parenting that CAN'T be separate from the child for an evening or even a weekend-- either from some sort of deep unbreakable bond/fear the child will break when removed from your presence or because they won't be able to behave without you/they won't be able to behave *with* you, but you know no one else will tolerate them.

    That said, we had a significant number of kids at our wedding. Generally, their food is cheaper, they sit with their parents so they stay pretty well in line, and they think the dancing is crazy good fun.

    Also... as a parent, it seems more fun go to a wedding without your small fry, unless it's a family wedding.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This letter is absurd. I just recently got married, and am also the mother of a two year old. I think it is perfectly acceptable to not invite children to your wedding. Our policy was no kids with a few exceptions for immediate family (our daughter, nephews, and a few close cousins). Nobody seemed offended. We addressed the invitations just to the Parents, not the entire family. Nobody was confused.
    I think this email is really insensitive and rude. This wedding should be about you and your fiance, not this guy and his kid. I think providing a nanny is a nice idea, but it's not reasonable to expect special treatment from the bride and groom. Maybe this guy forgets just how much is involved in planning a wedding!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I had absolutely no problem announcing to friends, family, and on our website that children under twelve were not welcome. and gasp, this even included my sister's kids.
    it's your party, you get to invite who you want, the end.

    also I love the "regular dinners" comment. I'm sure they're a blast!

    ReplyDelete
  37. The writer of that letter seems like a total douche-canoe the whole "you don't have a baby... YET! Hint-hint" makes my vagina shrivel. I hate that crap so much. My current answer to people who ask questions such as "so... are you trying?" is "Are you asking if I am having unprotected sex?" Anyway, I digress.

    I didn't have a child-free wedding, in fact quite the opposite, but that's because our venue was child-appropriate and we had friends traveling a long way to be there. HOWEVER, I totally understand that some weddings aren't like that and I would never assume (if I had children) that my hypothetical children were invited if they weren't included on the invitation.

    Actually, a few of our friends called us after invitations went out and said "I know you included our kids, but we'd like to use this an excuse to leave them at home".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I have already been informed by many friends that, whatever type of wedding we have and regardless of whether kids are invited, they will not be bringing their little ones because they'd prefer to enjoy the evening without having to parent the whole time. I hope that by putting the kids names or "and family" on the invitations, we won't make anyone feel like they need to bring their kids if they don't want to.

      Delete
  38. "just as I would expect my wife to join me at a wedding, I would expect that my child would be included in an invite..."??? Really? Giving your kids the same status as adults for adult events? Blah. I feel sorry for this couple. I would think they might appreciate a fun night as a couple at a classy event. Their loss.

    I have lots of friends who are married with kids and some of them behave like this while others do not. Some of my friends brought their toddlers to my bachelorette party (which was a lingerie-themed cocktail party). I didn't care, but it made me realize that these friends really don't like to be separated from their kids no matter how limiting it might be socially.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bachelorette party??? you are joking. people are so dumb.

      Delete
  39. This is just a symptom of our severely child-o-centric society. People have lost their minds. We had a child-free wedding, and one couple still brought their baby (at least it didn't scream through the ceremony).
    Where do people get off trying to tell others who the guest list should and shouldn't include? Yeesh. Also, the assumption this couple will soon have kids...heinous.
    Personally I'd be glad that douche...uh, I mean dude couldn't attend. What an ass.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree about the severe child-o-centric society comment. I love kids but come on people, they don't rule this world!

      Delete
  40. Our extended family is huge, so understandably my brother and his wife decided to have a no-kids wedding (besides their own and my sister's). One of my cousins threw a huge hissy fit about it, wouldn't let up about how "impossible" it would be to come without her nine-year-old, and finally my brother caved. You know what? She didn't even show up to the reception, so my brother and his wife had to eat the cost for her AND her daughter's dinners. Obnoxious.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Perhaps do what we do in Australia, and write the peoples names ON THE INVITATION. What's up with 'You are invited...'?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what we do in the US too, but some people are dense.

      Delete
  42. Some parents who bring their kids to weddings, don't actually parent during the reception and kids feed off of each others energy and become holy terrors. I used to work in the industry, kids LOVE to run around, once kids managed to knock over the cake table! Also putting their fingers in the cake/sweets is also common. Not all venues provide a "child's meal", so sometimes the kid has to endure tapenade, salmon tartare, beef wellington, etc. when all they want are some chicken nuggets.

    Conversely, some kids are well behaved and when the music starts they become the life of the party. It's your gamble to take. But I prefer adult only receptions.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Stop sowing hate and discontent with your evil child-hating wedding, jeez.

    Can you revoke his invitation? That's what I'd do!

    ReplyDelete
  44. It's kinda bad how much I love this, what a douche this guy is. I'm laughing my butt off! Bless you dear writer, bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I can't imagine living with a guy that:

    1. Writes like this
    2. Gets all riled up over a wedding invitation
    3. Has stepped-in as an etiquette expert
    4. Thinks it's his business to (hint hint) and tells the bride how to act
    5. Has the time to devote to such a long email
    6. Really just wants to be in a pulpit preaching or become the parent of the bride and groom

    ReplyDelete
  46. A couple I know got married in May and had a no kid policy. College friends of theirs (who are nuts and think that the world revolves around their child) were outraged and refused to go to the wedding.

    On the day of the wedding, they posted photos on FB of them and their kid at a different wedding where he was invited to, with the caption "[kid's name] loves weddings and is great at them!!"

    I love the internet. Also, maybe the letter-writer is related.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeez...! Some people are just down right nuts.

      Delete
  47. I think we've covered all of our bases here, but I just have to chime in. We had a no-kids wedding and even asked our flower girl to leave after her duties were done. (I realize this was a bit of a dick move... long story). Her mom, my now sister-in-law, made a huge stink about it leading up to the wedding, threatening not to come. But she came around, and we had an adorable flower girl and a happy sister-in-law. After the ceremony and cocktail hour, the flower girl and her dad got to go somewhere where she could be a kid and he could watch sports and drink beer. Both were happy campers and all she remembers about the wedding was how much fun it was dressing up and being a flower girl.

    It's YOUR day and you get to invite who you want (or in my case, plus everyone your parents have ever met, like their personal trainers...), and if you don't want the kids/family vibe, good for you, and parents can either get on board and have a fun and much-deserved night away from the kiddos, or not come.

    ReplyDelete
  48. My parents lived in the UK when my brother was born in the eary 80s. They said dogs were welcome more places than children. If it were still that way, I'd happily consider relocating. It's ridiculous how children have become like sacred cows and are the focal point of everything (and motherhood the pinnacle of all life achievements... SEE those stupid PG& E ads). And on top of the rest, kids don't even want to be their themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I am the person who has ulimited patience and kindness for the poor mother who has to handle her crying baby on a plane while strangers give her death stares, because I understand that sometimes you just can't help it - at times you have to take your baby places and you can't just ask a baby to please be quiet and considerate, it doesn't work like that. But at the same time, I have very little patience for parents who choose to bring their kids to innapropriate places and then expect everyone else to find the child as adorable as they do. There are just some places and events that are not kid-friendly, and there is really no good reason to bring your baby. For example, if we are spending a lot of money for a very nice meal at an upscale restaurant (most likely for a special occassion, since this is not something we can often afford), it really does irritate me when the evening is strained by a crying toddler at the next table. Same goes for the theater, a cocktail party, etc. I know I sound cold-hearted, but I really do love kids (I've been a teacher and a nanny and am not getting certified as a foster parent), but at the same time, I value my adult time too. So many of my friends with kids have told me that they hate it when they go to the trouble and expense to get a sitter and go out on a nice date only to be seated next to someone else's misbehaving child.

      Delete
    2. Sorry for the rant. I'm done. This shit just drives me crazy.

      Delete
    3. You don't sound cold-hearted, you sound reasonable...but crazy people like this letter writer make you think you're being cold-hearted when you're not and THAT'S the problem!

      Delete
  49. So proud to have suggested the photo. Jemima is just so damn gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha but wasn't i supposed to deface it? i couldn't bear to.

      Delete
  50. Thanks. By the way, that should read "now getting certified" not "not getting certified." One little typo changes the entire meaning of the sentence.

    ReplyDelete
  51. This guy sounds like a jackass. Everyone knows that the people addressed on the invite are those invited. If you don't include the kids' names or say, "The Jones Family", then everyone knows it's just "mr. & mrs. Jones" or "Mr. Jones & Guest." Frankly, it's your perogative to have a childfree wedding, and most parents are happy to have a break from the little ones. People who don't understand should get over it. I had a childfree wedding and didn't hear a single complaint about it. Mine was an event for adults. Some weddings are kid friendly- word to that, but if it's not what you want, then by all means, rock on sans kids.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I am, admittedly, childless, but I also live in New Orleans where there are number of "child-free" activities and all my friends with children appreciate the time away. Also, it was my impression that if you have children, you take on the fiscal responsibility of caring for them while you also continue to live you life. For example, paying for babysitters. I think this gentleman needs a reality check.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I am, admittedly, childless, but I also live in New Orleans where there are number of "child-free" activities and all my friends with children appreciate the time away. Also, it was my impression that if you have children, you take on the fiscal responsibility of caring for them while you also continue to live you life. For example, paying for babysitters. I think this gentleman needs a reality check.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Never commented before, loooove this site. I'm from Amsterdam, The netherlands. Most of my friends aren't married (neither am I). We (The Dutch) don't include our kids in everything. My friends and I all have kids and when my best friend got married (the 1 friend that did ;-) we all had them with us at the ceremony but then had them picked up after the cake by our parents so we could party all night long.

    ReplyDelete
  55. We just had a "child-free wedding" in New Orleans. About 95% of the people invited do not live in New Orleans, and most of those 95% have kids IN ANOTHER CITY. They didn't complain and they didn't get all passive aggressive. Guess what they did? 105 of the 150 invited guests made the trip to one of the best cities in the world WITHOUT their kids and they were happy to do it. The only two couples who brought their kids brought a babysitter. What a myopic view of the world to think that your way is the only acceptable way. Ick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FYI, this is the wedding I have wanted for years. I don't mean that generally - I mean that I have been intending to have a child-free destination wedding in New Orleans since my boyfriend and I first vacationed there three years ago. I've mentioned it to my friends, and they are all completely down with leaving the babies with grandma for a weekend (or, in some cases, bringing them and getting a sitter). Sadly, for logistical reasons (his brother is having a destination wedding two months before ours that will be both extremely expensive for guests and will obviously include the exact same family members that we would be inviting to ours - so we're probably going to have to nix the NOLA idea and get married here at home).

      Anyway, just wanted to say that mentioning cities like New Orleans or Las Vegas really drives home the point to me that some weddings just aren't appropriate for children!

      Delete
    2. Hello, Ambi (that was my above comment). Aw, it's sad you have to abandon your dream New Orleans wedding b/c it really is such a wonderful place to get married (among a million other things). Are you able to move your wedding to another time of the year, like 6 months later? I'm telling you, it'll be worth it. Best week ever. Good luck!

      Delete
  56. Wow, so many haters. It is not selfish to bring your kid - it is often NECESSARY or people can't come at all. We don't have relatives to look after our kid - lucky if you do but not everyone does! - and if I'm flying to your wedding, please don't also expect me to find an appropriate babysitter in a different city. If you truly want a kids-free wedding then it is kind and appropriate to help find/provide childcare in the hotel or destination. We had a wedding to attend cross-country that flip-flopped between no kids/kids allowed for close people and our fingers had to hover over the "Buy Tickets" button while they decided - and finally they decided to provide a babysitter for the ceremony. Very nice! But the ceremony was outside, in the afternoon, with boats and the public cruising by - still not sure what made it so "intimate" that kids couldn't go as you couldn't even hear the vows...a bit different from an evening cocktail wedding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about, it's up to the bride and groom whether they want kids at their wedding or not. It's not their job, nor their responsibility, to accommodate your kids and have their special day revolving around them, up to and including the ceremony you mentioned. And for the record, if you're calling "haters" the people who have manners, common decency and consideration for not only what's specified on the invitation but also what's polite practice then we have very different views on the definition of rude, my friend. PS: I realise it has been nearly 4 years since this original post but hopefully in that time you've had a bit more life experience and shrugged your entitlement complex off, along with that chip on your shoulder. Peace.

      Delete
  57. Indeed the letter was unnecessary. I would just simply not attend such a wedding. Since a wedding is a family-friends event I find it rude and very weird not to invite children. I understand that there some instances of parties where children are not welcome but a wedding? Oh..come on, you must be joking. Will the children bother you? It is not you who would have to watch them and take care of them. I can tell how much you "love" children. I am sure you would not come up with such a ridiculous idea once you have your own children.

    ReplyDelete
  58. This type of rude behavior that certain parents try to pull is extremely tacky! My venue is charging children the same price as an adult plate since we decided not to go with the open bar option. That is FIFTY dollars per plate, and so naturally we are having an adult only event. If parents are that selfish and opinionated that their child should be the exception, then they can stay home with their child as far as I'm concerned. Parents who think that the adult only event is unfair need to get a clue...it's not their wedding, it's the couple who is marrying and they have every right to decide whether or not children should be in attendance. After all, they are paying for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're tacky. Have a baby you need to breastfeed every four hours then try to decide how you're going to leave your little one and where you'll need to pump to avoid painful engorged breasts. Seriously there is life outside your wedding. When you have no kids you can't make exceptions without hurting someone. I'm sure if someone you really wanted there had a young child you'd be Ok with it.

      Delete
  59. What I would add here, however, is that I do find it cheeky when the bride and groom invite you but not your baby and then expect you to stay overnight and leave your baby for more than 24 hours. We had a friend who invited us but not our small baby, and then got a bit shirty that we wouldn't stay overnight. Yet as we explained, our baby was not invited and at such a young age, we're not comfortable being without our child for so long - it would be 12 hours whatever happens, what with the ceremony, meal and party. They are also childless, so cannot really comprehend the sense of feeling a parent has about being without their child for such a long period of time.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I'm married and planned my entire wedding. Children were invited and I believe that they make weddings better. They are always on the dances floor. I prefer a child without reservations than a drunk without inhibitions. That being said I labelled every invitation of child couples with the child's name. Some brought the kids some didn't. It was up to them. I feel if you plan on starting your own family in the future, put yourself in their shoes. Asking a mother of an infant to leave her child behind can be heartbreaking to her. I wanted my friends at the wedding so I made it possible for their attendance without any problems. If you want a perfect wedding you're in for a surprise. Nothing in life is perfect. Others thought mine was, but behind the scenes we had issues I only found out about after. Stop being bridezilla people. If it were your day you should do it without the big gathering as a couple. It is in fact a day for family and friends to celebrate with you.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Interesting stuff!

    By definition a wedding is a family affair...no one should be surprised nor offended by declined invitations when children (the most important members of any family) are seen as unwelcome. There have always been ways for kids to be attended to in the formal ceremony to minimize disruption. The "kid free" wedding world is of the same mythic quality of unending youth and beauty. What vanity!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Ok how about this, which causes even more drama. Due to seating limitations you invite some people's children and not others .. Then what!!!

    ReplyDelete
  63. We are planning on having an adults only wedding and im kind of dreading my families reaction. We arent having flower girls or ring bearers either. I know such a crazy notion. The fact is, we dont really like children, and we dont plan on having any. Its nothing against the happy parents out there but they just arent for us. So a child free wedding is a must for us. I am hoping to address that in the invites in a nice way, if there is one ha. All the comments have been very helpful

    ReplyDelete
  64. What an complete and utter rude and ignorant email that douchenozzle sent. Seriously, if you are that distraught over your precious little rugrats not attending a wedding, then simply act like the mature grown up you are and politely decline the invitation.
    I love kids too, I am a nanny! But I intend on having a child-free wedding because 1. the venue we are looking at is on the small side and we would rather sacrifice kids from the guest list than our adult close friends and 2. our wedding will be a more adult type event. We want our guests to relax, have fun, unwind with some drinks than making sure little Timmy is about to go run and stick his grubby little hands into the cake.
    I also think back to the four times I was a kid at a wedding, and from the three I remember: I hated it. I remember being so bored, having to sit there for long periods of time eating yucky grown up food and listen to boring speeches from people I don't know. The first wedding I went to that I don't remember I ruined for my mother. I was only three, and I was invited to my mother's cousin's wedding, and I was acting out, I was bored, I kept running around, so much so that mum wasn't enjoying herself because she was too busy making sure I didn't spill wine on the bride's gown than dancing and had to leave the wedding early to take a tired and grumpy me home. This was especially upsetting for my mum as she is an only child, and she looks to her elder cousin and as a sister they are that close. I don't want to subject my guests to that. The only exception we are making: bubs in arms, or young babies still breastfeeding or on the bottle.

    ReplyDelete
  65. This father's email regarding the couple's no kids request may have been irritatingly direct, among a few other flaws, including a patronizing tone of repronormativity, however his excellent point that wedding hosts should make their no kids requests VERY clear is one worth considering. There is nothing worse than everyone fully expecting a no-kids event, and those guests who are parents going to a lot of time, trouble and expense of securing childcare for their uninvited children, only to arrive at an adults only wedding wearing tuxedo and evening gown to find.... Little kids running around and babies bawling? Hell to the No. Be clear about it, couples! In cases such as this simply answer the dude's email, and be gracious about it!

    It's often necessary for adults to communicate their expectations in advance, and he was not wrong for clarifying because unfortunately, most folks do not know that the lack of "and family" and/or "and [kids' names]" might mean a no kids event.

    Even fewer folks know nor follow Miss Manners's old timey rule that historically, society weddings are not appropriate places for babies, but I digress.

    The fact that this couple chose to post their guest's private email message for the entire internet to see is really creepy and is actually the bigger etiquette offense than the fact of thie father's email. This couple should have had the guts to deal with him directly and handle their boundaries instead of passive aggressively punishing him in this anonymous forum where he cannot defend himself.

    It's fine if folks want to have no kids weddings, just as it is fine for parents to skip out on no kids weddings because of logistical difficulties. Everyone should do what is best for their own family. In this economy, nobody should take it personally if someone cannot afford the childcare and travel expenses to attend a "no kids" event.

    ReplyDelete