Thursday, June 25, 2009

Duck and cover: the kids issue

RSVPs are rolling in, and for some reason, last week I thought it would be a lot of fun to start playing around with a seating chart.

Fun. Ha. What on earth was I thinking?

Image from

The primary thing I'm worried about with the seating chart at the moment is the issue of kids. Months and months ago, Econo Boy and I decided to limit the guest list to ages 12 and over. Econo Boy's parents love kids, but in their social circle, no one invites children to weddings -- weddings are Adult Events, end of story. Upon hearing their reasoning, my dad, who has less than zero tolerance for the misbehavior of toddlers, jumped on the adults-only bandwagon so fast my head spun. (I have no idea how he survived our Terrible Twos.) So, with the major financial contributors strongly backing this option, no-kids-under-12 it was.

So far, no one has objected or been upset at having their young children left off the guest list -- at least, not that I know.

But now I'm looking at a version of a seating chart that has a couple with 2 young children who won't be there (ages 1 and 4) at a table with 2 older children who were invited (ages 12 and 14). Suddenly I'm worried the couple whose children aren't there will be upset that other children were invited, even with the obvious 10-year age difference. I'm also worried that people will get their noses out of joint when they see that some close friends of ours are bringing their 2-month-old baby. (But good grief, the kid is nursing and eats every 2 hours, and they're flying out for our wedding. Asking them to come sans baby would be insane.)

This is one area where I fear that the wedding blogosphere has overloaded me with information and opinions. I would never have fretted about this kind of stuff had I not read so many scary comments about people's reactions to kids/no kids.

And frankly, I'm still a little baffled at the strong feelings people have about bringing their kids to weddings -- some parents seem to feel entitled to bring their uninvited little ones because "weddings are about FAMILY and children are part of FAMILIES and if you don't invite FAMILIES your wedding is a SHAM and you are an awful bridezilla." Really? The marriage is fake and the couple (mostly the bride) is evil because they thought a late-night party with an open bar wasn't a great place for kids? Aren't we overstating things a tad? And when did the concept of "FAMILY" become a club you use to beat your loved ones into submission?

I can't help wondering if this is one of those areas where a vocal minority on the internet makes a particular problem or opinion seem much more common than it really is. What do you guys think? Is the kids/no kids battle overblown? Or are you finding yourself facing it at your weddings?


LPC said...

Oh heck. I'd just try to hide the little kids at a table with all adults. If you put them with the older kids mayhem may ensue.

Bride in Exile said...

LPC, aside from the baby, no little kids are going to come (at least as far as I know!). I'm more worried that our friends with the little kids will see the older ones and think "Hey, I had to get a babysitter, why did those kids get to come?"

Again, I'm probably overthinking this. Everyone will get that there's a big difference between a middle schooler and a pre-schooler ... right? I hope!

Laura said...

Being a very blunt and direct person I challenge anyone to "bring it" with respect to all children being uninvited at my own wedding. That being said, I think the people with young children will understand the obvious attendance of the older children. An age cut-off isn't uncommon at all and is totally ok for all of the very good reasons you stated. I wouldn't worry about it all. One thing you may want to consider is going a kid table instead of putting kids with the adults...if you know your kids well enough and you think they could be trusted alone at a table with possible open flames depending on centerpieces. But really seriously, I've seen people do really fun things with a "kids table" featuring coloring books and crayons, silly puddy, yo-yos and other simple dollor store items that will keep the kiddies entertained.

Just my thoughts - first time commenting but I've read your entire blog and enjoy it daily.

Anonymous said...

My only objection to childfree weddings is how often I've seen internet discussions of them veer towards being outright hateful of children. You sound like you're being totally sensible--I wouldn't sweat it!

Also here is something a friend shared with me when I got engaged right after her wedding last year--people will criticize you no matter what. Even if you try to please everyone, they still will. Think about it too much and you'll go crazy.

Bride in Exile said...

Laura, I'm so glad you enjoy my blog! I wish I had a bit more bluntness and a bit less of the wuss in me sometimes. I tend to apologize and worry about pleasing people a lot more than I should. And I love your ideas for the kids' table -- I would have had a *lot* more fun at weddings as a kid if someone had given me a coloring book or a yo-yo!

A., I completely get where you're coming from -- on occasion, the supporters of kid-free weddings make me cringe a little bit with their insistence that a crying baby will RUIN their wedding and distract attention when everyone knows 1000% of everyone's attention should be on the bride and groom and no one else matters. It makes it that much harder for people not inviting small children to explain their decision without sounding like jerks!

class-factotum said...

The age cutoff makes perfect sense, as does the logic of "nursing baby is attached to mom." If they want to whine, let them. It's your wedding, dammit. And if they ask, "why did those kids get to come," tell them.

Color Me Green said...

my sisters and i weren't invited to my uncle's second wedding and my parents were pissed about it (but then again they get pissed easily), which instilled in me a knee-jerk indignant reaction to think kids should be allowed at weddings. i was a flower girl at my uncle's first wedding, so it felt weird to be totally left out of his second. so it was interesting to me to hear your perspective, which raised all sort of new points that i never really thought about before - that not all wedding receptions are appropriate for children. i think you've made the right choice for your situation. don't worry yourself over it!

Bride in Exile said...

class-factotum, thanks for the common sense. I just pictured my friends with the 1-year-old and the 4-year-old demanding to know why their kids weren't invited, and I started laughing -- they are so not the type to get their noses out of joint that way!

Color Me Green, I sort of come from the opposite situation -- I threw my one and only childhood public temper tantrum at my uncle's wedding because I was bored silly, my parents kept telling me to "shush," the food was "gross" (i.e. not chicken fingers or PB&J), and my silly new aunt wouldn't let me take home the cake topper. After that, my brother and I used to beg to be left home from weddings!

I think if you're going to invite children, you need to take steps to make sure they're cared for and comfortable -- that there are fun things for them to do, such as coloring books or yo-yos like Laura suggested, and maybe a kids' room where they can crash if the evening goes on too late for them. What really annoys me is when little kids are dressed up and used as cute props at the ceremony and in the photos, and then ignored or left to run wild at the reception. They're guests too!

anna and the ring said...

Now I guess I'm lucky as there is a distinct lack of children associated with my guest list so it's not such an issue for me.

However, other friends with children love to be invited without children as it allows them to have a night alone and act like their adult selves.

Nursing mothers aside, I shall not be inviting children. I don't hate children. However, you do need one rule for everyone.

Anyhoo, if someone doesn't to come to my wedding because they can't bear to be separated from their little darlings, explain it to them the other way. Maybe the child will relish a night without them to begin to assert their own independence!!! Maybe not!