Parents of the 'Dope: Do You Decline a Wedding Invitation If It Specifies "No Kids"?

Hypothetical: you receive a wedding invitation from someone you genuinely like (and not someone from whom you got a “courtesy” invitation, like your boss’ son). The invitation states, politely but firmly, that children under the age of (whatever age at least one or more of your children are) are not invited. What do you do?

Assume that going to the wedding is not a major inconvenience (no need to buy tickets for a transcontinental flight, or whatever), and that finding a sitter is not a major inconvenience either.

Poll to follow.

BONUS QUESTION: In the abstract, do you think that sending out wedding invitations that ask that children stay home is in poor taste?

BONUS BONUS QUESTION: I’m not etiquette historian, so help me understand this: in the past (say, as recently as the 1950’s), was it commonplace to bring children to weddings? Or was it “understood” that kids didn’t go to weddings? Would an invitation specifically excluding kids been necessary, and/or in poor taste, back in The Day?

Their wedding, their rules. If they don’t want people bringing their kids, then that wish should be respected. So I would **not **“bring the kids anyway” as listed in Poll Option 1#.
I think I would still attend.

Please golly gosh give me a reason to find a babysitter, drink a lot of free booze, and dance. PLEASE.

I’d say it really depends on where the wedding is taking place. If it was local to us, local to Austin or Houston (where our parents live), then absolutely. We’d get our normal babysitter, or make a road trip and let the grandparents do the grandparental thing, while we went to the wedding.

If it was somewhere like say… Waco or Corpus, then we’d probably see if we could find a sitter, but if not, we’d sit the wedding out and just send a gift. It’s pretty rude to just bring your kids anyway even though the inviters have explicitly asked you not to.

If it’s in town, I’ll try to find a sitter. If it’s out of town, sorry, I’m not going through the effort and expense of depositing my kids with someone for three days so you can enjoy not having a whiny baby disturb your ceremony.

In the abstract, I think if you don’t want kids at your wedding, the least you can do is provide child care for your guests.

I can only go Back in The Day to the 1950s, when etiquette considered weddings (as opposed to receptions) to be “public events” open to everyone, and churches provided “crying rooms” or nursuries to which children could be safely banished.

I wish every wedding was kid free. I love my kids, and don’t mind kids in general, but this new thing that kids need to be front and center and included at all times makes me crazy.

Nothing bugs me more than trying to dance at a wedding, and not being able to all night because everyone has to stand in a circle around the two year old while she “dances” and the grownups coo about how cute she is.

My friend flipped her shit when her brother’s wedding invite came and it said “no kids.” “Why does everyone hate my kids?” “Woe is me!” “People hate me because I have kids!” “Why does my brother hate his niece and nephew so much?”

The reason for no kids had nothing to do with her, and a lot to do with her stepfather’s creepy, ill-behaved grandkids who live with the stepfather and mother-of-the-groom and would have been at the wedding if it weren’t for the “no kids” directive. But my friend was still sore.

To make matters worse, someone DID bring their (uninvited) kids and my friend spent half of the wedding sulking outside, and crying, and being super mad at her brother and his new wife for “letting” those other kids come and not hers.

It was the silliest, most childish way I’ve ever seen an adult act. Sheesh.

We had a “no kids” wedding. We made one exception - I had a first cousin who was, at the time, around 10. We didn’t send invitations specifically excluding kids, we communicated directly, well in advance of sending invitations, that the kids should be left at home.

If it offended anyone, I never heard about it. Possibly some people stayed away because of it, but I don’t know for sure (don’t really care, either). We’ve been invited to weddings since having kids of our own, and it would never occur to me to bring them. We’ve left them home every time, without exception.

To attempt to answer you bonus question, 50’s Dad would say: leave the kids at home. It’s a formal, dignified occasion, and I don’t want a bunch of kids around when I’m trying to enjoy a scotch and a dance with the little woman.

Never been to a “no kids” wedding.

Like others have said, whether I go or not would depend - for out of town weddings, you are asking for some serious hardship on my part (have to find someone to BOARD my kid with, being seperated from the kid for at least a couple of days) - so probably not. If in town, I would probably go.

As for ediquette, my understanding is that actually stating on the wedding invitation “no kids” is not considered proper - though stating “adults only” is.

Having “no kids” weddings certainly was not the norm in the past - though I don’t go back as far as the '50s (more the the '70s). Many saw the point of weddings as being to mingle the two families, kids and all; kids were typically found in all sorts of public settings, like churches and synagogues. Indeed, kids usually were included in the wedding as part of the ceremony, as flower-girls and ushers.

I’m assuming it is someone whose wedding I would want to attend. In that case, I’d make every effort to attend, it’s fine with me if they don’t want kids there. Kids generally don’t enjoy weddings anyway.

Going to the wedding will depend on my schedule and ability to find a babysitter, but the fact that they asked for it to be “no kids” doesn’t influence my decision. It’s a fine request. Desire to go and practical logistics (just like anything) are what will drive my decision.

If someone has a ‘no kids’ wedding, we politely decline the invitation. (This really should have been a poll option.)

When my wife and I got married, nearly a quarter-century back, we didn’t have much money, but we were still able to hire a babysitter and set aside a room where she could watch anyone’s kids who weren’t up to sitting still at the ceremony, or behaving themselves at the reception.

And AFAIAC, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 8 or 88, if you’re able to behave yourself at the ceremony, you get to see your relatives get married. No exceptions.

I’m not traveling to a destination to attend a wedding without my kids but if it’s local then I will get a sitter.

This actually happened to us and mutual family all set to attend a wedding not local to us. One family flew in from Alaska when we all learned that kids were not invited. Even though my MIL insisted they were. It didn’t say on the invitation. It was her sisters kid who was getting married. Since its a long drive all the family who planned to fly declined and opted to come to our house instead. My BIL ended up going with his kids who hung out in the lobby until the dance portion since they were not invited.

Nobody cared as far as I can tell and from the pictures it looked like a beautiful wedding that kids would spoil.

I’ve been to weddings with kids and weddings without kids. I’ve brought kids to weddings and I’ve left them with grandpa. Doesn’t bother me one way or the other. It’s your day, not mine.

Hell, even if the kids are invited, we’ll make a strong to find them a sitter, unless it’s a wedding where there will be other kids they know - cousins or such. Otherwise it’s just “parenting elsewhere.”

First of all, I follow what the host or hostess tells me either by phone or in the invitation. If it requires travel I wouldn’t choose to leave my daughter for two or more days. If it’s in town I would probably go.

That said, I think that not inviting children to a wedding is incredibly sad. There are really only two main times most families get together, weddings and funerals. Funerals are obviously not great for kids, but they often end up going just to see everybody. The mindset that turns a wedding into a formal dinner party rather than a bringing together of families just makes me sad. Just find a couple of babysitters! Nearly every venue has a room you can set up as a playroom.

When my Dad and Stepmom got married they had a no kids wedding. It caused a life-long rift between them and my sister-in-law. And I totally get it! Imagine having to sit there with your crying children trying to explain why they don’t get to see their Grandfather get married? I thought it was awful. But both Dad and Stepmom are very shallow appearance-oriented people, and a formal dinner was important to them. (These are people who have no photos of me in their house because I am overweight.)

But yes, an evening of dining and dancing and celebrating your happiness would be lovely, with or without the Celtling.

It’s a poll option: Send a gift (or a check) and your regards.

To my mind, the question comes from a difference over what a wedding is.

When I was growing up, at least for many, it was a ceremony to, essentially, formalize the union of two people, and also their whole families - so it was important to have the families attend (kids included).

Nowadays, it seems, it is by many considered foremost as a party, an occasion for the couple to express their individual tastes.

For some, this means it is foremost a time for individual expression - which can mean a party in a backyard under a canopy of dandilions, or alternatively a time for conspicuous consumption and obsession over details. Hence shows like ‘say yes to the dress’ and the like, and the huge explosion of the average cost of these events.

For those who see weddings as foremost a formalization of the connections between people and families, it would make no sense to exclude the kids; for those who see a wedding foremost as a party and expression of individual taste, of course it makes perfect sense - ‘our party, our rules’.

Formal weddings back in the day were often adults only, while more casual weddings often included kids. Very similar to now. I think the difference is that there were more codified ways of relying that information, such as the wedding being in the evening at a country club, which communicated NO KIDS and no one was confused by that. Afternoon wedding with the reception in the church basement? Sure, kids!

I like kids at a wedding, but I also like weddings with no kids.

If I am travelling to a wedding, no kids can still work out – I will bring my kid for a mini-vacation, and then for the actual wedding event, get a sitter (usually pooling with a few of the other guests). This is specially nice if it is winter, and the wedding is somewhere warm, like Florida.

The absolute worst, though (I will never stop complaining about this) is when I went to a wedding, very clearly adults only, and make arrangements for a sitter. It was out of town, so it was using a service to get a sitter, and then skipping out on some of the afternoon activities so that I could spend time with the sitter to make sure everything was clear (my daughter was a toddler at the time, so she needed more immediate supervising). Then, when I get to the wedding … several other families had brought their kids! I guess they had pitched a fit about kids not being included so the bride and groom had acquiesced. The whole wedding, people were asking where my daughter was, and saying it was a shame she wasn’t there to play with her relatives, who we hardly ever get to see, etc etc. OMG.

I wouldn’t want to bring my kids to a wedding. They would be bored out of their minds.