Wednesday, August 1, 2012
WHAT DO YOU MEAN my baby's not invited?
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.
Jemima Kirke + Rafaella via The Glow