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I Didn't Invite Her Kids - But She Doesn't Care!

Dear Olivia,

Can you please provide a delicate way to for me deal with a friend who added her two children to the reply card to attend our wedding? We didn't invite children. I really hate to be rude, but we don't want children at our wedding. - Clair


Let's get one thing straight: you are really not the one being rude here! A wedding is a very intimate - and, yes, expensive - day and it is up to the couple to decide whether to include kids.

Young 'uns, adorable as they may be, can be unpredictable and require a lot of attention! That's before we talk kids' menus and special seating. You may not want to see booster seats in a sea of carefully selected chivari chairs. Plus, have you seen the way kids commandeer the dance floor?

Wedding etiquette dictates that, if kids' names are not on the invites, they're not invited (so far, so logical, right?). At least she put their names on the reply card, rather than just showing up with them! Now you have time for a proper defense.

  • Give her a call and let her know you're over the moon that she and her husband can make it, but that your wedding is adults only. I’m sure you love her children a lot, but that doesn’t mean you want them running around during your ceremony and reception. This would be unfair and/or annoying to you and your fiancé - not to mention those parents who left their kids home for the evening. She should understand and, given the amount of time that invitations go out before a wedding, have ample time to arrange for childcare. If she gives you an ultimatum that they can’t come without the kids, let her know you would be so disappointed if she couldn’t be there.
  • Stick to your guns. Hey, you can’t please everyone and it’s YOUR day! If it's super important to you that she be there and you're willing to be flexible, see if the venue can provide a children’s room with babysitters and activities (but beware: this will be an added expense). If you're having a destination wedding, find out if the venue offers childcare. Oftentimes, hotels have a list of preferred and licensed babysitters that can watch children in their hotel rooms. Parents can go and check on their children as they please.
  • If she's uncomfortable leaving her children with a stranger, she can bring a babysitter or nanny to the hotel. 

Your friend should really understand your position and realize you have a lot on your plate as you prepare for your big day. You and your fiancé have the final say on including children at your wedding. One day you'll have children of your own that may or may not be invited to a wedding. This experience will allow you to put yourself in the bride and groom’s shoes and be understanding if your children cannot attend. Hey, you may be thrilled to have a night out without them!


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