You're Invited to an Event. Your Kids Are Not. Do You Go?

Might I hijack the thread a little to ask a related question? I’ve heard of and met a very few people who *never *go out without their children. They generally say that if you want to go out without children then you should never have had them in the first place. Do any dopers relate to that? Or can anyone explain it? It’s not a mindset with which I am familiar but I’ve never felt it was polite to question people directly.

I have no kids of my own, but had a grad school classmate with twist on this perspective: he and his wife didn’t expect the kids to be invited everywhere, but the net result was that they rarely went anywhere as a couple. Why? Well, the only people they trusted to babysit the kids were the grandparents, and neither set lived closer than five hours away. To the best of my knowledge, they kept up this for at least 15 years (from the birth of their elder daughter to when their younger son was 11). To me it sounded a little nutty/paranoid, but it wasn’t my place to tell him so.

Anyone who’s been in a LTR or marriage during grad school will know how important it is to make time away from work (or any other distraction/obligation) and put some focus on keeping the relationship alive and happy. I know my classmate went through at least one major rough patch with his wife, because she was ticked at the amount of time he put in at work. If I’d been in his place, I’m not sure that I’d feel there was much of a bond left after all that time feeling disconnected.

No, I can’t relate. In fact, I think this mindset actually does the kids a disservice. Generally speaking, if you have a strong, happy marriage, the kids are going to be happier. Part of having a happy marriage is doing some things as a couple, not as parents. Plus, who wants to find out that once their kids are grown and gone that they don’t have a marriage any more?

I have no kids but I was one of those people hosting a no-kids wedding recently.

No one told us they were annoyed about it. In fact most everyone we talked to were happy about getting the chance to have a night out and leave the little ones at home.

There were two main reasons for our decision -

  1. We didn’t want a pack of screaming kids running around the reception venue, which was a reasonable classy place.

  2. The cost, we were trying to keep a lid on attendance numbers, both from a cost perspective and becasue our venue had a maximum number of guests, and just on my families side, if kids were invited there is suddenly at least 12 extra table places needed and to be paid for. Whcih is 12 less friends we could have invited to the wedding.

Particularly when my kids were young (the baby is now 11), I just lived for events that my kids were not invited to. Adult conversation! Adult beverages! Getting a sentence out with no interruptions! Or anyway, not the kind of interruptions that involved getting out paper towels and Murphy’s Oil.

Now, if the event was something lasting for days (destination wedding, for instance), that would be different. In fact we passed up the wedding of a relation because it took place in Thailand. But not just because we had kids–because we didn’t want to go to Thailand, didn’t have passports, didn’t have an extra $8000 lying around…

I can’t hire a babysitter, because I can’t find one qualified to care for a child with special needs. So on those no-kids invitations, my husband might attend, but I’ll be home with the kids. It doesn’t offend us in any way, and I would love to get away from the kids, but it just isn’t going to happen.* So either we decline, or he attends solo. It’s not a matter of finances, or that I demand my children be welcome wherever I am; my kids are a handful, and I don’t blame anyone for not wanting children who may or may not behave at their event. Hell, some days I don’t want my kids in my house, let alone at a wedding or reception…

*Except for one night of our recent vacation, when we found a professional nanny-for-hire, who had 20 years of experience with special-needs children. She was wonderful.

Who can explain crazy? Seriously… you shouldn’t have kids if you don’t want to completely give up any semblance of an adult social life? That’s insane.

Besides, I’m pretty sure that you’re not doing your kids any favors that way. I’m firmly of the opinion that kids should be taught as soon as possible that the world does not, in fact, revolve around them. Why wait for someone else to make that clear to them? Save them the embarrassment.

Hey, I love taking my kids places. How else are they going to find out about adult situations, manners, etc? Besides, they’re little adults in training. Cut them some slack now and again and let them stay up till midnight with the adults.

If the kids aren’t invited though, you can NOT take them. Period. Rules are rules. But I would seriously question the rationality of the person who decided unilaterally that zero kids were allowed. I mean, come on. Were you not a kid once upon a time and wanted to attend some grown-up functions with your parents? Isn’t this normal? Isn’t the exclusion of kids a very, very, selfish act?

Inherently more selfish than wishing to impose kids on people who don’t want them around? No.


Oh! wipes tears of laughter off her cheeks, Oh, that was a good one.

A) Those assumptions are completely foreign to me. Of course arranging a babysitter is difficult and financially burdensome. But, okay, okay, pretending I was in that sort of reality, then no, I wouldn’t hesitate to leave. Partly because:

B) It is difficult and it *is *burdensome, and I do it anyway! Sweet lawd, I love my kids to the world’s end, but a Mama’s got to take a break sometime! That being said, I’m not sure a stodgy ol’ “grownups only” wedding is the way I want to spend the one night out every month that my husband and I can afford a babysitter for.

Really, it would depend on the person getting married and how much I wanted to be there. (And how many other people I would know and how much fun I thought it would be.)

It’s been over forty years, and he recently died, but I still remember my cousin Jon’s wedding.

Children were at the wedding ceremony (I was ringbearer, my sister & cousin were flowergirls, etc.), but it was in church and we all knew how to behave in church.

But children were NOT invited to the reception & other events afterwards. Instead, the groom’s father had arranged for some teenage chaperons to take us all to a nearby amusement park for the rest of the day. We had an incredible time riding the rides, watching the shows, eating hot dogs & cotton candy, etc. Possibly the adults had just as much fun at their adults-only reception with no kids to worry about, but I doubt it.

Many years later, my uncle (the Grooms’ father) mentioned that he had saved money on the deal – the cost of sending all the kids to the amusement park for the day was less than it would have cost to have them as guests at the catered dinner & reception.

I’d think more people ought to arrange this for their weddings.

I used to know a couple like this. But they were selfish, arrogant know-it-alls who thought that the rules did not apply to them and that no one else in the entire world could properly care for their children.

They were invited (as I was) to a written invitation party that clearly said “no kids” and that the party ended at 4pm SHARP because the hosts had to be somewhere else. The selfish morons showed up, with their kids, at 4:05pm. Then just smiled and acted like the hosts should be happy to see them.

Of course, these were the same losers who couldn’t grasp why their 2.5 year old was throwing a tantrum at 11:20pm, but were more than happy to lecture me about how I knew nothing about children and should never dare to tell them how to raise their kids, because I innocently suggested that the kid was tired and should maybe go to bed.

Um, no I’m not bitter. Why do you ask?
Sane and rational people have no problems with the idea of leaving their kids with a sitter when the invite says “no kids”.

This is exactly what I experienced in the last two out of three weddings I’ve been at.

The problem is not with the babies/young children, it is with the clueless parents who do not take them the hell OUT when they start screaming or acting up.

Do not be offended. It prob’ly ain’t directed at you. But if the invite is restricted this way, you certainly don’t have to feel any pain at not going if it just won’t work out. Believe me, they WILL understand, and you are not obligated.

((Full disclosure, our daughter is having a wedding in 15 days and we have been all through this, beginning to end, who might be offended, what if the ceremony is ruined by screaming infants/running toddlers, etc. I fully understand where you’re coming from, just try to think of it from their side and don’t feel bad if you can’t make it under those conditions. They won’t be offended…they are trying to avoid the above))

Heck yes. I love my kids, but some events are for adults only, and as we’re adults, there’s no reason we should skip them.

Package deal? Not by a long shot.

Huh. Well, I guess I’ll cast the lone dissenting vote here. I have few enough chances to see my kids, and want to spend as much time as I can with them when I’m not working. If it’s something my wife and I are doing together, the kids will be there too. Or we won’t be there. :shrug:. I deal with adults all week, and to my mind, they’re overrated.

And specific to weddings: it may be part of my being in an Asian environment now, but I would feel kind of weird about a wedding wherein the bride and groom forbade children at the ceremony–I’m guessing it would be pretty bad mojo for themselves and disrespectful to the wedding guests who are, after all, giving a lot of money to the newlyweds before and during the ceremony.

Well, asian weddings must be different. Most weddings I’ve been involved with, the bride/groom/parents paid out way more than the cash & presents they got from guests. Usually one of the first fights between (soon-to-be) in-laws is over the need to restrict the number of guests to keep costs down.

Western custom dictates that whoever is explicitly mentioned on the wedding invite is allowed to attend. Thus, “insert your name here” plus “partner or a friend” is OK.

“Insert your name here” and when they fail to mention your kids’ names means that the sprogs are not invited. T’is cool. Kids are not welcome everywhere, nor would they be particularly enamoured by an old fart wedding anyway!!

I was at a wedding last month. The attending babies and toddlers seemed to react to the silent moments as their cue to start fussing and crying. As if they found the silence ominous. So the vows, the exchanging of rings, and the song that was performed live by the brides friend, all were drowned by the babies loud crying. If it had been my wedding, I wouldn’t have liked it. No disaster, but something I would have preferred to avoid.

I guess the parents didn’t take the children out of the ceremony in time, probably because they themselves wanted to attend the cerremony. And they wouln’t have wanted to make a fuss by standing up and shuffle 'scuse me-'scuse me-whispering out of the aisles. And I also guess that the parents were more used to their babies fussing then I am, being childless person.

The best compromise, IMHO, would be to have the children attend the reception, but have them babysitted during the thirty minutes of the actual ceremony.

Will go, have gone…hell, this was the arrangement at our wedding, I’d sure as heck do my friends & family the same courtesy. Now, My sister had a “with kids” ceremony & reception, but it was a lunch, and the church had one of those glassed soundproof kid’s rooms at the back, with piped-in sound. I was happy to take the kid there.

But otherwise, even if it didn’t say “no kids” or said “kids welcome”, I’m more likely to arrange a babysitter, just for the chance for me and wife to party down, maybe dance a little. Hell, we go out to movies and dinner as often as we can, without kid. Weddings are even more worth the effort, IMO.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise to them that their kids might make noise! My husband and I have taken our now 1 year old to several weddings and events over the last year (only when she is explicitly invited of course!) but prior to attending, we always have a Plan. Where will we sit to ensure most discreet removal if necessary (we always scope the room and/or request of the usher that we be seated near the back, by a door, and at the end of a row if possible)? Who will be The Remover, and who will stay? Where will we find each other afterwards? We always bring quiet distractions to try to avoid fussing in the first place, but obviously it’s not always avoidable, so we are always prepared to handle it, and we get her out at the first sign of restlessness, not when she reaches full scream mode.

That said, she’s at an age now where she is squirmy and chatty and full of beans, but really still too young to understand that sometimes she needs to be quiet and still. So now, even when she is invited, we often find a sitter anyway, or decline. It’s fun for us to have a night out and fun for her to have a night with someone new to play with. However, as someone else mentioned, when I was exclusively nursing I did expect to take her wherever I went, and if she wasn’t welcome, I didn’t go.

Kids were more than welcome at our wedding, but every couple we invited who had kids (who were invited by name on the invitation) chose to get a sitter so they could come and have adult-fun, so we ended up with no kids at all. And it was fun, but I was disappointed. I think kids at weddings are great, but I don’t mind when other people prefer to have their own weddings kidless.