My Children Aren't Welcome at Relative's Wedding! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if this is normal, as I've only attended a handful of weddings (including my own) in my life...
Ok, here's the story.

A close relative of mine is getting married. To make a long story short, I did not realize until now (which is the last day to RSVP) that only my dh's name and mine are on the invitation and not my two dc's names. Another family member pointed out to me that this means that my dc are not welcome. The wedding is out of town and is to last for a weekend. It is not personal; no children are 'allowed.'

I am shocked that my dc are not welcome, as this is the first time that we would be able to see some of our family in a long time. We are unable to travel much, usually.

Even though my dc are ten and 4.5, I still consider myself an AP mama. I just don't leave them for a weekend, ever.... not my style. Maybe in five years or so I'd consider doing that with a very trusted friend, but we don't have the option to do that right now and I don't even want to.

I guess that's what my question is. I feel like I don't want to go if my children cannot come, however, like I said, this would be the first time in a long time to see some dear family members and most-likely 'the last time' I would be able to see my 95 y/o grandmother, my dc's great-grandmother (and we haven't even seen her in years, either, due to an inability to travel to her).


I have to RSVP today! And here we've been saving up to travel there, thinking that we'd be going as long as we could financially afford the travel expenses. Just last night, we decided that it would be within our means, but we had to wait to RSVP at the last minute due to the $ reason. And today's that day!
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#2 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 12:57 PM
 
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it may be a misunderstanding...perhaps she didn't have that intention...you say someone else pointed out to you the meaning...perhaps they are wrong? go straight to the source.

i think you need to talk to the bride and groom and get it straight from them what this means and then express to them what you are feeling and that you do not want to leave your children for a weekend. and they need to know that you probably won't go if you have to leave your children. then let them deal with the ramifications if they don't want your kiddos to come. hard as that is...you are a mommy first, a relative of this couple second. and i think you should follow your feelings. i wouldn't leave my kiddos for something like that either.

another thought...if no kids are allowed, is it possible there are others in the same situation and maybe its just the ceremony the couple is concerned about? perhaps you can band together with the other families and pay for a (trusted) sitter to watch the kids during the ceremony, somewhere nearby, and then go pick them up to participate in the reception? i can't imagine they would care about having them at the reception. but then, i don't understand people excluding children at all from a family event...children are family too! geez.

tough situation. let us know how it goes!
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#3 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 12:58 PM
 
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#4 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 01:04 PM
 
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Well, having just had my wedding this past August, and now helping my mom plan her (2nd) wedding, I've had some pretty good debates over this issue.

I decided to invite kids to my wedding. I love kids, I don't mind them running around, crying, making noise, making a mess- that's what kids do. It was a pretty formal wedding but I loved to see them all dressed up and dancing around and I think a lot of them had a better time than the adults! I also think kids are a part of the family and I loved going to weddings when I was a child.

BUT. Some people really don't feel this way, for a variety of reasons, which can include;

1. They're not big "kid people". While I didn't mind the 7 yr olds whippping around the dance floor at light speed, a bride or groom who is a little more reserved might not appreciate it. They also might be worried about mess, noise, and behavior not suited for an adult event.
2. Sometimes they DO want *YOUR* kids to come, but Aunt Flo's five kids who are all monsters would have to be invited too, so they decide to just say no kids at all.
3. It can be a money issue. While many caterers offer a reduced price for chidren, it can still be expensive- I had chicken fingers and fries for the kids at my wedding and it still cost $20 a plate. So if there are 25 kids in the family, it can add up pretty quickly.
4. Sometimes the bride and groom have no problems with kids, but the other people who are helping to plan (read: pay) for the wedding really don't want them there. There were several children who weren't invited to my wedding because my mother specifically didn't want them there, which caused many fights between us, but in the end I couldn't afford to pay for them, so they didn't come.

With all that said, please don't take it personally. Once in a while an adult event is just that; an adult event, and people do have the right to do that. You, in turn, have the right to decline an invitation to such an event if it's uncomfortable for you.

But maybe you could still bring the kids with you for the weekend and just not bring them to the actual ceremony and reception? If you're staying at a hotel, could you bring a babysitter and have them watched while you're at the wedding?

the bottom line is if you don't feel good about leaving them then you're not going to have a good time at the wedding, so if it's too stressful then don't go.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#5 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 01:07 PM
 
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It's common for kids not to be invited to weddings. They could disturb the ceremony and it's extra expense at the reception for the hosts.
I agree with the pp. Try to find a babysitter for your kids. If you can't then you'll have to decline. I wouldn't contact the hosts and ask them to find you a babysitter or ask if your kids can come, though. They have enough to do and it puts them in an awkward situation.
When I got married a couple we invited actually included their small kids in the RSVP. We had only invited them, but they wrote in their kids names. It was very uncomfortable. We were really worried about their disturbing the ceremony and because we had to add them to the reception it affected the total number of guests we could invite. Remember, people can only invite so many people because of space limitations or money. This couple ended up not bringing their kids (I think their parents clued them in that it wasn't appropriate) but it was very frustrating for us, affected our wedding plans and made us feel disrespected.
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#6 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 01:09 PM
 
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If you want to make the trip to see family, why not go ahead and just skip the wedding? You can make arrangements to see who you want to see at breakfasts, lunch or at a nearby park and explain to anyone who asks that you just aren't comfortable leaving the kids while you're so far from home but that you didn't want to miss the chance to celebrate with the family anyway.

Go...have a fun weekend!
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#7 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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My sister got married last summer and was faced with this very difficult decision. She really wanted to invite kids because our older sister has three wonderful children. But her BIL's three kids are absolute monsters. They even considered just not inviting BIL's kids, but feared causing a family feud. Their wedding was on a boat and they could only invite 100 people, which was really pushing it to begin with. Their original list was 150 people (including kids) and 120 without kids, so they still would have to shave off 20 people even with out inviting kids. And the boat charged full price for kids meals, as well, even if the kid was only 2 years old. So in the end, she regretfully decided not to invite the kids. Everything worked out fine and a lot of the parents were able to get together and hire a few sitters for the evening. I definitely would not take it personally that your children are not invited. It's hard when you're dealing with maximum capacity and deciding between whether to invite your cousin's two year old or an old friend from high school...

Jenn, future midwife, mama to 2 sweet girls (6/05) and (5/07). 
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#8 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 01:51 PM
 
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I would call your relative having the wedding and tell them exactly what you told us and see what they have to say about it.

Mother of 3, welcomed a new baby girl July 2011

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#9 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 01:55 PM
 
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I would call and ask. I thought it was proper etiquette to state "adult only" on the invites if there is to be no kiddos. it's not clear, so I would make sure. I know I did not put the kids name on our wedding invitations for my SIL and BIL and they were more than welcome to come

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#10 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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I would send my regrets, explaining that there is no way for you to leave your children for that long and that you're so disappointed to miss it. If it's important enough for the bride to have you there, she will call and say "come anyway, with the kids".
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#11 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 02:13 PM
 
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The people who are getting married certainly have the right to say "no children" just as you have the right to politely decline the invite.

I see both sides of this. Yet it always makes me sad when children aren't invited to events like this as it's a special family time.
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#12 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 02:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalupamom
If you want to make the trip to see family, why not go ahead and just skip the wedding? You can make arrangements to see who you want to see at breakfasts, lunch or at a nearby park and explain to anyone who asks that you just aren't comfortable leaving the kids while you're so far from home but that you didn't want to miss the chance to celebrate with the family anyway.

Go...have a fun weekend!
Excellent advice!!

Quote:
I would call your relative having the wedding and tell them exactly what you told us and see what they have to say about it.
I would NOT do this at all. Etiquette states that only the people’s names of the invites are the ones invited. They obviously knew that plus you heard thru others that all children are not invited. Why challenge the bride (or groom) and put them on the defensive? It is their right to decide who comes to the wedding regardless of the reason (safety, money, not kid people, etc) It is your right to decide whether to attend or not. I know that I would be royally PO’d to be asked to make an exception. Plus how do they explain that to other parents??

Pardon me while I puke.gif

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#13 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 02:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbowmoon
I would call and ask. I thought it was proper etiquette to state "adult only" on the invites if there is to be no kiddos. it's not clear, so I would make sure. I know I did not put the kids name on our wedding invitations for my SIL and BIL and they were more than welcome to come
No, proper etiquette is that ONLY the people whose NAMES are on the invitation are invited. If the invitation inculdes children, it will either state the names of the children or, for a less formal event, the words "XXXXX and Family."

The OP is perfectly within her rights to decline this invitation, but it would be horribly rude of her to tell the bride why she is declining. OP, if you feel you can't go, then say so, but just leave it at "we regret we will be unable to attend" and send a nice gift. DO NOT say "Well, if the kids aren't invited, we're not coming." That's rude, rude, rude, rude.
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#14 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 02:25 PM
 
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Maybe I am just grouchy today, but I would call and inquire to see if it was okay to bring the children. It isn't rude in my opinion. I would fully expect the bride to ask why you decline if you do decline because your children are not invited. I wouldn't be surprised if they hadn't checked with Emily Post on how to send invitations. It possible that they would like the family to attend.

Technically, when an invitation is issued and only has Mr. and Mrs. So and so and not Mr. and Mrs. So and so and family, then it generally does mean that the parents are the only ones invited.

Again, I would make a gentle inquiry and base my attendance on the answer received.
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#15 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 02:26 PM
 
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Great advive bri276, I agree. I also agree with chalupamom...why not take the weekend to see the relatives you really want to see, and skip the wedding? Around here, many people bring their children to wedding ceremonies even when not invited to the reception. I think some people believe their children aren't included in the reception due to cost or alcohol consumption and think it is perfectly acceptable to attend the ceremony as a family. May be worth an inquiry if you're not sure.

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#16 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 02:40 PM
 
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Yep, only people whose names are on the invitation are invited. I wouldn't call the bride or groom. They have enough to think about. Maybe you could call the mother of the bride or somebody close and ask them if they know someone there who could babysit for the night, that your kids could meet the day before to get to know each other?

When I was planning my wedding (we did not marry in the end, but I did plan :LOL ) it was a tough decision: there are around 30-35 kids in my family and dh's close family. It would have been very expensive to have them all there (we were on a TIGHT budget, that's why we didn't marry..), but at the same time, we wanted them there and didn't want to exclude some and invite others. Don't take it personnal.
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#17 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 02:45 PM
 
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I'd decline the wedding, and then visit before or after, that way you can see all the relatives you want to see without having to be separated.

I kind of get sad at the whole adults only thing. I get the other side of the debate, but imo kids are a part of our lives, kwim?

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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#18 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 03:08 PM
 
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For my first wedding, we had no children simply because it was too expensive. We had large families, and at $20 per child it added a huge amount of money to the cost, about $1000. Also, we had some really horribly behaved kids in the family, and saying n to some and yes to others was far ruder than a blanket statement about children.

My second wedding we had about 4 children attend . Much smaller.

Weddings are expensive and stressful. Accept the fact that no children means just that, for everyone. Far more fair than saying "aunt x can bring her 2, but uncle y can't bring his, and cousin rita can bring hers" etc.
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#19 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 03:15 PM
 
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If you decide to call the engaged couple, be sure to do it gently. Calling to clarify whether or not the children are invited is appropriate, as long as it's done tactfully and in a non-threatening way. I don't think it's rude to say "Sorry, but we're not comfortable leaving our children for the entire weekend, or with leaving them with a strange babysitter during the wedding. I'd still love to come in for the weekend and see everybody. Can you tell me the name of the hotel where the other out of town relatives will be staying?"

When I had my first wedding, I was already in a TTC/AP mode of thinking. I couldn't imagine inviting a family from out of town and NOT including their children. I was actually surprised that my cousin decided to leave her baby with her in-laws rather than bring him along. The only children I decided not to invite were local cousins that I wasn't very close with- and none of them had infants.

My second wedding was extremely small (just the 6 1/2 of us at the ceremony and 13 1/2 at a restaurant afterwards.)

Still, it's perfectly acceptable for a couple to decide not to invite children to their wedding, and it's perfectly acceptable for you to decline the invitation for whatever reason.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#20 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 03:34 PM
 
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It seems standard practice today not to invite children to a wedding. I recently posted a topic on here about being a bridesmaid in my friends wedding and she is 100% adamat about not having kids at her wedding. I posted on here asking about a way to word the invitations as her and us bridesmaids hand made them. One solution no one mentioned was for the whole family to go(since it's out of town) but only you attend the wedding while your husband watches the kids. That way you can see your family, your kids are not at the wedding but will be in town to see family before/after. We had no children at my wedding either, my brother in law and his wife had an eight month old at the time of the wedding. They brought along her parents to watch the baby during the wedding. My BIL did not stay long but they still came and it worked out great. I would not take it personal as I've been to many weddings in the last year and most did not have children. I think alot has to do with the money issue as already stated. Things are SO expensive the food the video etc.....Good luck!
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#21 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 03:38 PM
 
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Some halls and hotels actually state *no children*. Really.

When I got married (in the US), I had the same issue. Aside from the hotel issue, most of my friends have lg. families and yes, it really adds up. In Israel (where I was living), it is common for kids to be included and I miss that my kids don't get to see many weddings here. But there, an adult plate is in the $10 range :LOL .

At my wedding, we had the ceremony (which was outside) and first dancing open to kids and the meal was 'adults only'. Some people went home, but most made arrangements for the kids to be transported to babysitters. I had one relative that was angry, and what could I say? "Sorry you can't be with us" - that was about it!
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#22 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 03:45 PM
 
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At my wedding, I did not invite children, because the hall was soo packed already from just the adults, there would have been not a single spot left to seat children (big wedding in a small hall). This could be a reason for not inviting children as well, if it is a particulary large guest list already with just the adults.

One family didn't "understand" that their children (4 of them) were not invited, and instead of inquiring (which would have put my in a difficult spot I am sure) brought them anyways. It was a tense situation made worse at the reception when the middle daughter broke my cake topper as the cake was being cut

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#23 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 04:01 PM
 
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I would call and ask too. When I got married, kids were definately welcome but on the invitations I just wrote the parents names, not because they werent invited but only cause their was so much space on the envelope. LOL

Desiree

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#24 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 04:18 PM
 
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I am attending my cousins wedding in May where children are also not invited. In her case, however, I think it is purely a finacial issue. My Aunt did say that when they tallied up the number of kids it ended up being 40 kids or something. At 75 dollars a person (this food better be good!!) it just added up to too much. But they are a little elitist and she made some horrible remark about having to have a buffet (why not, we did at our wedding and it was good) or having to have the receptoin in a backyard.

I am irritated (since I'm driving 6 hours to be there) that they can't come. So what we are doing it this: I'm going alone. My dh is staying at home with my boys. I get to go to the wedding, my kids will have a blast with Daddy and I'm just not going to stress about it.
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#25 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 04:19 PM
 
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It's very common that people do not invite children. There are always many reasons to this and alot of times people think it's just because they believe children will need too much attention, be wild etc. However, Another way to think about it is.. It could possibly be an easy way to cut down the guest list. It doesn't always have to be about the kids but about could be more about finances.

I think about this because I am getting married in september. I am including children on the invites and everything. I welcome children there. However, I have had my moments when I look at my guest list of 240 people how easily it could be cut down if I removed children. I would never do it but it has run across my mind.

A bride and groom has the right to ask for what they want. If they only put yours and your hubbys name on it so be it. If you can't make it you can't make it. Doesn't mean you can't go and visit family.

I would not call them and ask them about it. Wedding planning is very stressful and not everyone feels good about removing children from the guest list.
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#26 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 05:16 PM
 
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The bride and groom are throwing the party and they have the right to invite anyone they want. The names of the invited individuals are on the invitation. It is very common not to invite children and I totally support anyone who wants to have an adults-only wedding.

That said, a wedding invitation shouldn't be confused with a command performance. The invitee has the right to determine whether or not they want to attend, and excuses aren't necessary. I've declined several wedding invitations because my kids weren't invited. I don't think there should be hard feelings either way.
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#27 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicity
It could possibly be an easy way to cut down the guest list. It doesn't always have to be about the kids but about could be more about finances.
That's what it was for me.

It's common for children not to be invited, but I say call and tell them why you can't come if you feel comfortable doing so. My sister didn't really want children at her wedding this past January, but I told her in advance I was bringing mine. She knew I was anyway because we were flying cross country, and my older daughter was in the wedding party. If I could have left the toddler with a babysitter, I might have actually done that, but the cousins were all at the wedding too. My sister wanted her nieces and nephews there, just not a bunch of other children, but I swear, people went out of their way to bring children that weren't theirs. Since the dinner was not a buffet and she paid by the plate, I'm not sure how the price worked out.

Of course, it's even worse when adults show up at the last minute which is what happened with my ILs with the rehearsal dinner they were paying for. They had to cough up another $12,000 when a lot more adults showed up that weren't supposed to be there. It was a really high priced wedding and no kids were allowed. I had planned to go and maybe just skip the wedding altogether to stay in the hotel with my kids, but my DH didn't think it was worth it. He had to go because he was a groomsman, but I just stayed home. The people who flew over from China did take their children to the wedding. I think they were supposed to use hotel babysitters, but I guess they didn't want to. My dh and I knew that we didn't want to use hotel babysitters, so we just stayed home. I was really sad about it--I wanted to go just to see people--but it wasn't allowed. I really don't think it was about the price, though.

I have mixed emotions about the whole thing.
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#28 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 05:22 PM
 
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To me, marriage, and the wedding that starts it, is about family. To not have the children of the family there is a foreign concept to me, and thankfully, to the rest of my relatives.

If the place is too expensive to include children or doesn't welcome them, I'd be finding another place. It's the people that matter, the joy of sharing such a momentous event, not the picture perfectness of a particular location. To rank that above the family members is to seriously misplace one's priorities IMO.

That said, they invited whom they invited. You need to find out if they also followed through on proper etiquette and have made arrangements for the out-of-town guests including providing information, at the very extreme least, about local childcare possibilities. Did they arrange for a room at the reception location where the children can play and be watched over by responsible trusted friends, or relatives in turns, while the party is going on? Or do they have their heads completely in the sand regarding the existance of their younger relatives and the fact that children are not just toys to be shelved at adults' convenience?

"What will you do once you know?"
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#29 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 05:38 PM
 
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I would say don't take it personally. Go if you can arrange some kind of child care, or some get-togethers with relatives, or don't go if it's too complicated. It's not about you and your family. Most people getting married don't have any kids yet so they don't really understand about not wanting to leave them with any random sitter, for one thing. For another, it can be extremely stressful for a bride and groom trying to accommodate what all their guests might want. Not all guests are difficult about it, of course, but enough of them are that the couple can end up feeling like they have to just decide for themselves what THEY want and let other people accept or decline as they may. I recall for my first wedding that we had a limited number of dates we could choose from, due to location/job/schedule issues, and just counting our closest family (parents/aunts/uncles/siblings) there was no one date that worked for everyone. We ended up picking the date that worked best for us personally but exDH's uncle was like mortally offended. There really wasn't anything we could do short of just not getting married that would have accommodated everyone. That and other guest issues ended up being so stressful that for a long time I went around saying that a wedding was the worst possible way to start a marriage. Our marriage didn't last anyway but when I married again a few years later DH and I eloped. I said there was no way on earth I would go through that again.
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#30 of 80 Old 04-11-2005, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the replies and various perspectives.

No, I'm not expecting anything, I understand there are reasons... In this case, this is the reason I'm getting:

The relative of mine in this situation is the groom, not the bride (who's family I've never met). He is my first cousin, but our relationship is more like a brother/sister relationship. His mother, my aunt, is the one who clarified to my brother and I about the names on the invitation. . .

The groom is a behind-the-scenes celebrity (a movie writer, etc.) and there are several other celebrity-status folks who're directly involved. So they're trying to be 'controlling' about things so as to prevent anything unexpected, and I guess they think that children, in general, can cause things that are *out of control* (noise concerns, etc.).

I know they can do whatever they want, of course, but I can't help but feel disappointed. I guess I'm coming from the place that family should always come first, especially because $ is not an issue here.

I haven't heard back from the groom yet (left a message a couple of hours ago). I don't want him to feel hurt so of course I will tread lightly in our up-coming conversation. But, yes, I do need to have clarification from him directly so I can make sense of this. Maybe he'll be ok with them being at the reception, etc. and not the ceremony, in which case my dh could take the children to the park during that time. I don't want him to feel put-upon, he's a sweetie, but I do feel the need to communicate with him about it. We are close enough that this should be ok, even if it isn't the standard thing to do.
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