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Children at Weddings
|This is probably the stickiest subject when it comes to inviting guests. Should children be invited? Can I exclude my fiance's demon nephew? What do I do about parents who will not be responsible for their children at the reception? Here are some real-life questions and answers to help you navigate this delicate situation. |
My Sister-in-Law has asked that my 6 year old daughter be the flower girl in her upcoming wedding. However, she has now asked the she not attend the rehearsal dinner or reception as there will be no children allowed. She will allow the 10 and 12 year old junior bridesmaids to attend both. We are spending a considerable amount of money on the flower-girl dress and accessories AND my daughter is SO excited about her "job." Is this within reason for her to ask that the flower girl not attend either function? My daughter is well behaved and the additional plate charge at the wedding in not an issue with this wedding. Thank you. Tamara
Hi Tamara, Hmmmm. I can't think of any event that can potentially strain family relationships more than weddings. The question is "Is this within reason for her to ask that the FG not attend either function?" Well, it is her party, so she has every RIGHT to un-invite her niece to the festivities. However, it isn't very gracious. A bride's nightmare could be small children running around the dance floor, sticking fingers in the food and making a scene. Obviously, that isn't what your daughter would do. So here you are with a family dilemma. Assuming SIL is your husbands sister, is it possible that he can speak with her, or what about speaking to your mother-in-law? If you have had a good relationship with sister-in-law prior to this, could you suggest that your daughter attend the meal and cake cutting, but leave prior to the dancing.
Here is your opportunity to handle this situation with grace and good manners. Just remember that long after the ceremony, you will still be family, so let that guide your words and actions.
FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: I adore my inlaws and am very close with them all. I would feel very comfortable talking with the bride directly. I have yet to do so, as I was concerned I would stress her and perhaps that my feelings were a bit dated. I remember once upon a time that if you were not having children at the wedding you simply did not have a FG and RB, or they would be the ONLY ones allowed. I thought perhaps she asked my daughter to be the FG before she decided no children and was uncomforable asking her not to attend the day at all. Do I address this with my SIL? Should I just be gracious and bite my lip and do as she asks? Not to mention, how to I explain to my daughter that she is not allowed to attend the party that she has participated in the excitement about?
Answer: Well that makes it easy! Just talk to the bride as a sister-in-law. "I understand your reasoning, and also that you don't want other friends whose children were not invited, to have hurt feelings, but (daughter) is in the wedding party, so it would not look like a selected invite. I know how much you love her and wouldn't want her to be hurt and feel left out. Can we perhaps work something out?"
Kids can get bored and whiney, especially late after an exciting evening, (yes, even our perfect little angels!). You may want to have an activity kit for her. On our site, www.graciousbridal.com, we have coloring activity books for wedding receptions that are popular. Even a game boy or a puzzle would do the trick. At a recent destination wedding I attended was a room adjacent to the reception that had a big screen TV, lots of kid-friendly snacks and a selection of Disney movies that kept the rug-rats occupied while their parents danced the night away. The only children invited were related to the couple, so it was a manageable crowd. I'm sure that if your sister-in-law gives it some thought, there will be a viable solution. Regards, Brenda
Hello Brenda. My granddaughter is having a formal wedding and does not want any children there. Her fiance has a 6 year old nephew and the fiance's parents are insisting he be at the wedding and also I believe in it. How can we diplomatically explain why we do not wish for him to attend. He is spoiled and not well behaved and will surely spoil the celebration. Also if she has to invite this nephew of her fiancee then that involves 9 other children from 2 to 11 that are her nieces and nephews.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Whew! This is one of those sticky situations. Let's work off of the assumption that the bride and/or her family is hosting (paying for) the wedding--because should the fiance's family have any financial involvement, then they can exercise their say in the guest list. First, there is no diplomatic way to explain that he is spoiled and ill-mannered; therefore, I would approach it with a different tack. Explain that it is not personal but if children are invited, that would open up 10 additional guests at a considerable cost, head count for food, etc., or babysitting provided in another room. Perhaps indicating that you have been to some recent weddings where children wanted to be children, running around the dance floor, poking fingers in the cake, etc., and that is not the environment that you want for your wedding.
Another suggestion is if the grooms family is hosting the rehearsal dinner, perhaps that is where they would like the children to be invited - it is less formal and gives an opportunity for the children to visit with family members.
If all else fails, and Terrible Tommy must come, then I would recommend having a sitter or a teenage girl be in charge of the children. If you can rent a room at the hotel or venue and have videos and kid friendly snacks it would be even better. One of our popular items is a wedding coloring and activity book that keeps kids occupied during the reception festivities.
That being said, sometimes the most poignant moments at a wedding are with children, and a discreet talk (plea) to his parents about your concerns may be all that is necessary.
How and where do we state that the wedding and reception are for invited guests only - no children? Thank you. Michael
Well, Michael, that falls under word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, there really aren't provisions in an invitation to remind guests not to bring children. The envelope however, is a dead giveaway. Be sure to address the outer envelope to the invited guests. Added insurance is the inner envelope, formally addressed as Mr. and Mrs. Johnson; or informally addressed as John and Karen Johnson. Note, that children aren't mentioned on either envelope. Of course there are those individuals who still don't get it - you know who they are. These are the ones for whom you "put the word out". Let your mom, an aunt, a mutual friend casually mention to them that no children are invited - "I know Kristy and Michael thought about whether to invite children, but because of (you fill in the blank), they decided to have an adult only wedding." Now they have been informed. But don't be surprised if you still see a child or two at the wedding - some people think rules never apply to their precious angels! Best of luck.
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