How to politely decline an invitation to an adults only wedding? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 09-20-2012, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Everyone. My husband and I have been invited to my cousin's wedding. It is talking place a mansion/castle estate, located up in the mountains on a huge, sprawling property. This venue is literally out in the middle of nowhere, so besides gas stations the closest town/hotel/any other sign of civilization is 2 hours away. We live 3 hours away. It sounds like so much fun, the scenery, the property, the chance to see my family and catch up (I haven't seen many of them in person in a long time) However it is an adults-only reception, as in no-one under the age of 18, including babies-in-arms. This was specifically stated with the invitation (NO EXCEPTIONS) in a very polite and eloquent way. The bride and groom do not want children. Ever. Everyone who knows them knows this. It is going to be an EXTREMELY formal, black-tie affair, complete with valet parking, waiters, a butler, an expensive sit-down formal dinner, ballroom dancing etc.

 

I have twin boys that turned 2 this summer, and will be 29 months old at the time of the wedding. They were exclusively breastfed until their first birthday, and still breastfeed at least 5 times a day (when they wake up, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed) and sometimes during the night, as we co-sleep. The longest I have ever been away from them is 3 hours and the longest my husband has been away from them is 9 hours. They are extra precious to us because we were told we could not have children and we were married for 12 years when I got pregnant, totally by surprise as we had never tried fertility treatments or drugs. Although we have not had a night out to ourselves since they were born and we would like to go very much, no one else has taken care of them besides one or both of us and we aren't ready or comfortable to leave them with anyone else for so long (we would have to leave early that morning and would not get back until after midnight)

 

Soon after the wedding the bride and groom will be going to do humanitarian work in the developing world for at least 2 years (that is how they met actually) they have asked that in lieu of cards or gifts guests make a donation to a charity of their choice. They don't have a house or any place to live, they live out of suitcases and when they go on their humanitarian mission everything they need will be provided so they have no use or need for money or possessions. Also at the wedding there will be a silent auction, with 100% of the proceeds going to a nearby children's hospital. They are very kind and giving people who do love children, they just don't want any of their own.

 

Now I completely and totally understand and respect their desire to have this kind of wedding, and I am not offended that my boys are not invited because I know it is not specifically against them. My cousin did send a very nice gift when they were born. I don't want this to turn into a children at weddings debate because that is not my issue. My problem is that I have no idea how to word a response without seeming like I'm hurt/offended/angry. Normally I would send a nice card or gift but since I can't do that this time I am at a loss as to what to do. I am hoping the wise members of this board, who are like minded and understand why I can't leave my boys yet, can offer me some advice.

 

Thank-you for taking the time to read this :) <3

~Audrey

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#2 of 24 Old 09-20-2012, 03:08 PM
 
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All RSVP cards I've ever seen just have a check box for "attending" or "regrets, not attending", and the reason why is not asked.  Just check "not attending", and if anyone asks, say you don't have anyone to watch the kids.  I'm sure that will be enough.

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#3 of 24 Old 09-20-2012, 03:11 PM
 
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I would be brief, but honest and just say that you are not able to leave your sons to attend the wedding as they are still nursing several times a day and as you have only left for very brief periods of time before.  Given their decision to have an adult only wedding, they should not be surprised that some friends and family will be unable to attend.  Given that they don't have kids themselves, they may not really "understand" but I am sure you won't be the only person declining the invite for this reason.

 

Good luck!


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#4 of 24 Old 09-20-2012, 03:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

I would be brief, but honest and just say that you are not able to leave your sons to attend the wedding as they are still nursing several times a day and as you have only left for very brief periods of time before.  Given their decision to have an adult only wedding, they should not be surprised that some friends and family will be unable to attend.  Given that they don't have kids themselves, they may not really "understand" but I am sure you won't be the only person declining the invite for this reason.

 

Good luck!

 

I wouldn't mention the nursing at all.  People who don't want to have kids are unlikely to understand extended nursing, and the OP might catch flak from her extended family for something that is totally no one else's business and not the entire reason for not attending the wedding anyway.

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#5 of 24 Old 09-20-2012, 03:50 PM
 
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I wouldn't mention the nursing at all.  People who don't want to have kids are unlikely to understand extended nursing, and the OP might catch flak from her extended family for something that is totally no one else's business and not the entire reason for not attending the wedding anyway.

Fair point, I can just also see someone saying "What, your kids are 29mos old and you can't leave them overnight?"  The nursing gives some context.  But obviously OP knows her family best and what she is comfortable with. If the bride and groom do volunteer work in the developing world, they may likely be more familiar with extended breastfeeding than most North Americans and not see it as "outside the norm".  Again, OP will know best.


N, wife to my goofball K partners.gif and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013).  Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.

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#6 of 24 Old 09-20-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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I wouldn't mention the nursing at all either. Just send back the reply card saying that you regret that you are unable to attend. Make a nice donation to the charity they've mentioned. There's no need to do this immediately--the reply card and the gift are completely separate and there's no rule of etiquette that says you need to send a gift with the reply card. 

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#7 of 24 Old 09-20-2012, 06:44 PM
 
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I bet they won't be offended.  Even if you don't mention the nursing, they will most likely understand that you have little ones and are not always able to travel to events.  While I understand the comments that people have made saying your relatives may, or probably won't, understand your nursing choice (and I'm sure some people don't), not everyone who remains childless by choice is totally clueless or lacking in compassion.  They sound like very kind folks.  Like Bokonon mentioned, you could probably just check the "regrets" box, and could also, if you think it is warranted, include a small note wishing them joy on their special day, and explain in whatever way you feel comfortable with, why you cannot attend (or just leave it at well-wishes).  Then make whatever donation/gift you are able to.  If they truly don't want kids and have made choice to have a "no kids" reception, they will probably be glad that you respected their wishes, rather than being irritated at you for not going.


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#8 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 01:13 AM
 
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If you want to go (and I'm pointing this out because it sounds like you would like to), you have time now to start getting them used to someone who could watch them for the day. It's not going to hurt them or damage your nursing relationship of you're gone for a day.

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#9 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 02:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AudreyBlossom View Post
My problem is that I have no idea how to word a response without seeming like I'm hurt/offended/angry. Normally I would send a nice card or gift but since I can't do that this time I am at a loss as to what to do. I am hoping the wise members of this board, who are like minded and understand why I can't leave my boys yet, can offer me some advice.

 

Thank-you for taking the time to read this :) <3

~Audrey

 

Congratulations on your wedding! We are very honored that you invited us to join you on this special day.

We wish we could be there but regretfully won't be able to.

Best wishes and lots of love from all of us!

 

I think that is all you need to say.

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#10 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 05:40 AM
 
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I agree with onlyzombiecat. I'd congratulate them, express my regrets, and not say it's because of kids. Just say you're sorry you won't be able to make it.
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#11 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 06:34 AM
 
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You don't need to give a reason or an excuse.  Say you wish you could, congrats, best wishes, hope to see you sometime soon.

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#12 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 09:14 AM
 
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It's actually against etiquette to get into why when turning down an invite (or to ask why). You just respond politely that you regret that you will be unable to attend, and then later make a donation to the charity. 


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#13 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 10:22 AM
 
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I think it really depends on your relationship with them. Technically I don't think you should mention any reason on your RSVP card, but if you feel close enough to them, or that they will feel hurt/confused/offended if you say no without a reason, then I would just briefly state something like, "We'd love to attend but we are unable to due to childcare constraints." (Plus a congratulations etc.) I wouldn't go into the details, they might assume you couldn't get a sitter, or couldn't afford one, or aren't ready to leave them, or whatever they want to assume, but it doesn't really leave any room for debate, nor sound like a cop-out.

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#14 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 10:29 AM
 
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It's actually against etiquette to get into why when turning down an invite (or to ask why). You just respond politely that you regret that you will be unable to attend, and then later make a donation to the charity. 

^ I'm sure this is true, and it may be the easiest/best way to handle this.  I think it somewhat depends on how close you are with this cousin.  For example, I recently had to decline an invite to my sister's best friend's wedding.  This is a girl who is really part of our family, who I'm fairly close with, who has always attended important events like my baby shower, DS' first birthday, etc.

 

I didn't feel comfortable with a "regrets only" approach, given our relationship - it just seemed too cold and too much like a brush-off.  Also, I had asked if it would be adults only, and she mentioned that she knew this could be an issue for us.  This opened the way for me to tell her kindly that I would love to come, but DS (17 months) is still nursing during his naps, and would need me.  I congratulated her, wished her all the best, told her I knew she would be a beautiful bride, etc.

 

I also used the same dash of self-deprecation that gets me out of lots of sticky spots with people who may not be on board with our choices (e.g. "I know it seems a lil odd, but it's just how baby kid rolls!"). 

 

So, I do think it's possible to mention your kids and your close-knit, nursing relationship with them if you feel the relationship with your cousin warrants it.  Otherwise, by all means, you are good to go with simply declining politely. thumb.gif

 

eta - If you do mention nursing, etc. I would resist the urge to go into a lengthy explanation defending your parenting style - just simply and succinctly state it as a fact, and let the focus be on well wishes.


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#15 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 10:50 AM
 
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All RSVP cards I've ever seen just have a check box for "attending" or "regrets, not attending", and the reason why is not asked.  Just check "not attending", and if anyone asks, say you don't have anyone to watch the kids.  I'm sure that will be enough.


Yep. I'd do that. No need to create any drama.
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#16 of 24 Old 09-21-2012, 06:26 PM
 
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If you want to go (and I'm pointing this out because it sounds like you would like to), you have time now to start getting them used to someone who could watch them for the day. It's not going to hurt them or damage your nursing relationship of you're gone for a day.

I agree with this. My dd stayed overnight with my parents when she was two and my husband came back from deployment it did nothing to our relationship nursing or otherwise. If you don't want to go then just check the box and don't give a reason because it really isn't a big deal for a stay at home parent to not attend adult only things. If you say you don't want to leave them because you treasure them that implies that the rest of the family members who leave their children don't treasure their kids and you will probably face criticism because of your inability to separate from them. If you say it is because of nursing you will probably face criticism for both reasons.
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#17 of 24 Old 09-24-2012, 06:10 AM
 
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If you want to go (and I'm pointing this out because it sounds like you would like to), you have time now to start getting them used to someone who could watch them for the day. It's not going to hurt them or damage your nursing relationship of you're gone for a day.

 

 

This was my first thought. 2 years old is definitely old enough to leave them with a friend, relative, or sitter. You can work up to leaving them for a whole day including bedtime, and talk about it with them beforehand so they are prepared. Another option would be to book an extra hotel room and bring someone like a sitter or friend with you out there ~they obviously wouldn't go to the wedding, but stay with your kids in the nearby hotel while you are at the wedding, and if things got ugly you could go back to the hotel room and nurse them, help get them to sleep, etc.

 

And I agree if you don't go you don't need to give a reason. They will probably figure it out and there may even be other guests with kids, also not attending for similar reasons.


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#18 of 24 Old 09-25-2012, 09:42 AM
 
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If an RSVP card is included mark the area for regrets. Send them a gift or make a donation to the charity of their choice if you like. You don't need to provide an explanation.

 

If no RSVP card is included, which would be in keeping with the style of the wedding, then write a short note that you are sorry that you aren't able to attend. You do not need to state a reason. Send them a gift or make a donation to the charity of their choice if you like.

 

Personally I do both while rolling my eyes at the rudeness of people who write no exceptions on invitations and direct gifts but that is also not required. =)

 

But OP, It sounds like you both would like to go and perhaps even need to go. It is really, really okay to plan ahead for a special time away from your kids. They will be fine. Your nursing relationship will be fine. And this might be a great chance to find a reliable sitter or family member or can provide you and your DH some much needed time as adults.

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#19 of 24 Old 09-25-2012, 11:52 AM
 
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I also get from the original post that you would like to attend. It sounds like you've made your decision to decline... but is this a decision you'll later regret? I agree that it all depends on your relationship with your cousin. If I was in your shoes, and it was an important life event of a family member, I would find a way to go. Your kids are now almost 2.5 and whereas I completely understand the attachment you share with them through a breastfeeding relationship, they most likely will be okay for a day! I had to leave my 14 month old nursling for a day for a family thing-- it was a different situation, as I was saying goodbye to a beloved uncle who was dying-- and I felt guilty as I had also never left my son before, but at the same time I am so happy I went. Would it be an option for you to go alone and leave the kids with your DH? I also think the idea of taking a sitter/friend with you and staying at a hotel is a great option.


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#20 of 24 Old 09-25-2012, 04:13 PM
 
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I'll add to the chorus that says that if you really want to go, its fine to leave the kids. I left my son around that age (he mightve already turned 2, i cant remember) to go to an out-of-town wedding. He spent the night with my mom. He was still nursing regularly and certainly to sleep, and it was fine. I think you shouldnt feel guilty if you really want to go (or perhaps, could one of you go? if leaving them with someone else is truly not an option?) If you feel that now is NOT the time to leave them and truly are happy to forego the wedding i dont think you should feel guilty about THAT either.


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#21 of 24 Old 09-25-2012, 07:47 PM
 
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I'd leave the kids and go :) But that's just me, and after two years with twins I bet Ill be dying for an adult only affair. Sounds like so.much.fun.  Anyway, I agree with other posters, just check "not attending". I'd make a donation, and if asked I'd say that Id love to attend an adult only wedding and it sounds like a blast, but it just wasnt possible for me at this time. 


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#22 of 24 Old 09-25-2012, 08:09 PM
 
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If you don't want to entertain working up to them being left with someone else, I'd travel all four of you, get a hotel near the venue, and then have your hub stay with the kids and you go to your cousin's wedding.

 

FWIW, I didn't leave my first born for more than a couple hours until I went into the hospital to have my second born (he was 2-1/2), and I was gone for 3 days.  He wasn't nursing at the time, but still. BIG adjustment.  DH brought him to visit, and stayed with him most of the time (my parents handled the actual birth time and when DH was with me initially), and he did FINE. 

 

I left my DD for the first time to go to a wedding of a special friend when she was 18 months old and still nursing about 5 times a day....and I even stayed overnight...and she was fine, too.  A little sad here or there, but my parents managed (though my mom did call me at 8am to say she had been up since 3 and was there any way I could get back sooner rather than later LOL).

 

Anyway, I think you should go to the wedding even if you go by yourself, because it sounds like you want to go (and I don't blame you, it sounds very special!!)  Going to functions by yourself can be a lot of fun. 


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#23 of 24 Old 09-26-2012, 06:46 PM
 
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I reread your OP and saw where the nearest hotel is 2 hrs away, but if you really, really want to go, but don't want to leave the kids there might be a way that you could go for a shorter time and have the kids nearby.

 

Some former older neighbors across the street used to have his son and the son's family come visit. Their house was small, so rather than stay with Grandad and Grandma the son and his family rented a small RV and parked it in the driveway and used that as home base. I don't know about the area where the wedding is, but it sounds like there might be some forest land or something nearby where the kids could run and play with dad or a babysitter while you go to the wedding and maybe an hour of the reception. It would be expensive, for sure, but if you really want to go that would be an option.

 

Otherwise I would just send some really sincere regrets and not get into the whys.


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#24 of 24 Old 09-30-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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By now I'm sure you've already RSVP'd. Like many posters have said, you don't have to give a reason. Perhaps you're just thinking about how it will come up in conversation with friends and family and you're not sure what to tell people? I'd just say something vague like "we just couldn't make it work for our family" then change the subject. That way anyone who presses the issue is just rude. It could be finances, childcare, work, doctor appointments... It could be anything.

But yeah, it also sounds like you want to go. If that's the case, try to work it out! Maybe RSVP with an explanation that you may need to change your plans at the last minute in case things don't work out. That's when it might make sense to explain that parents of young children simply can't plan for future events with as much certainty as child-free people. Clearly they will understand that, since I'm sure it's one reason they want to be child-free.
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