In Defense of Brides Who Don't Want Your Kid at Their Wedding


kids at weddingThere's nothing like planning a wedding to make a girl just want to give up and elope already. The fights with the in-laws over the seating chart, the fights with the bridesmaids over the dresses, and then there are the fights with the moms.

I'm not talking about the mom of the groom or the mom of the bride (though those two will certainly give your stress level a run for its money), I'm talking about all the moms you invite to the wedding (hereinafter Mom Guests). The ones who, for some inexplicable reason, think that your wedding is all about them. The ones who you will piss off beyond belief if you deign to do the unthinkable: Throw a child-free wedding (CFW).

You will rue the day you decided on a CFW. 

That's right, I said rue.

Did I mention elopement?

Seriously, engaged ladies, if you're thinking of a CFW, you might just as well elope. Because by the time your Mom Guests (also known as your BFFs) are through with you, you're going to wish you never got married. Because you'll never want to have kids ... because you don't want to turn into a Mom Guest and give someone else a really hard time about what's supposed to be one of the happiest days of their lives.

But in keeping with the spirit of these Mom Guests, let's forget all about you and focus on them. Because if you haven't figured it out yet (but trust me, you will) your wedding day is  ALL. ABOUT. THEM.

So you ... you there, Mom Guest, might I have a word? I want to let you in on a little secret.

I know this is really, really (really) hard to hear, but the Bride isn't revolving her entire wedding around you or even, probably, any of it. THE BRIDE ISN'T REVOLVING HER ENTIRE WEDDING AROUND YOU. No siree. She isn't. In fact, here's what else she's not doing.

1. She's not scheduling her wedding for when it's most collectively convenient for all her guests. Like say, around when her second cousin has his annual golf weekend with his college buddies, or, say, around when you, Dear Mom Guest, have to attend your kid's soccer tournament. (It's okay, take a deep breath.) She's scheduling her wedding for her favorite month or a date that means something to her and her fiance. Your kid's soccer schedule really has nothing to do with it. I promise.

2. She's not planning a "destination" wedding just so you have to deal with getting a babysitter. She's planning on having her Big Day in the Bahamas or Italy or New Orleans or in her own hometown (gasp!) or wherever it is that you don't personally live because that's WHERE SHE WANTS IT. You and your babysitter issues didn't even cross her mind when she decided in third grade where she was going to get married. She probably didn't even know you then. So if you want to go to the wedding (you know, because she's your friend, cousin, sister), get a babysitter to come to your home. Bring a babysitter with you to the destination. Call all the other Mom Guests and chip in to hire a local babysitter to watch the kids in one of the hotel rooms. Go to the wedding solo and have your husband/boyfriend/partner babysit the kids. There are plenty of options. If you choose not to exercise them, that's your problem not the bride's. A destination wedding doesn't make someone even close to being a Bridezilla. It certainly creates a lot of Mom Guest-zillas though.

3. She's not expecting you to call her and ask if you can bring your kids (whose names don't appear on the invitation) to the wedding. Note the word "not." Seriously. She's not. So don't. Under any circumstances. No matter how close you are. Just don't. Seriously. Put down the phone.

4. She's not planning a CFW because she 'hates" kids. In fact, she probably adores them. Might even be planning to push out a few of her own some day. Her CFW should not be taken as an affront to kids everywhere. So don't turn it into one. Maybe the bride simply doesn't think her dream wedding -- an 8 pm  to midnight black-tie cocktail party in a rented high-priced mansion -- is a good place for kids. But what does she know? She's not even a mom yet. (Really Mom Guest? Really? She "hates" kids? Come. Fucking. On.)

5. She's not thinking about you. At all. I know this is the one that might be hardest for you to hear. But the bride is thrilled to be engaged and getting married. She's in love. She's found the man/woman of her dreams and is planning the wedding of her dreams. She's doing what makes her happy. Your happiness is irrelevant and it should be. If you can't get a babysitter or make it to the wedding for another kid-related reason, just check off the little box on the wedding invite that says "Will Not Attend." It's that easy.

This is the Bride's day not yours. Be a good friend, let her have it, and leave your kid at home. After all, it wasn't so long ago that you yourself were young and in love and planning your very own CFW.

(And to you, Dear Bride, make a note to self to remember all this when you find yourself in the position of Mom Guest. The bride will thank you.)


Image via endbradley/Flickr

weddings, child care


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ellio... elliottjane

I can't even explain to you how happy I am that you wrote this! My fiance and I are currently planning our wedding, and when i dropped the bomb to a select few friends of mine that we were having a child free wedding, you'd think I'd just spit in their faces! Even the ones without kids were offended. We have a daughter together, and of course she'll be there for the wedding part, as will children that we feel that need to be there, but once the reception starts, children OUT! My mom always told me, if your name isn't on the invitation, you're NOT invited. Some people think that if the parents names are on the invite, the children are to be assumed as invited. *tsk*tsk

nonmember avatar Carla

I had a CFW and do not regret it one bit. I didn't want crying or noise during the ceremony, messy eaters in the historic building that I paid a small fortune to use, or my biggest reception pet peeve, kids on the dance floor. I only put adult names on the invitations. I had my family & close friends help me spread the word to those that were asking. I didn't hear if anyone was offended & I really didn't care!! Thanks for the article!

nonmember avatar Carla

I had a CFW and do not regret it one bit. I didn't want crying or noise during the ceremony, messy eaters in the historic building that I paid a small fortune to use, or my biggest reception pet peeve, kids on the dance floor. I only put adult names on the invitations. I had my family & close friends help me spread the word to those that were asking. I didn't hear if anyone was offended & I really didn't care!! Thanks for the article!

Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

I'm glad you wrote this as a different perspective for those whose children weren't allowed. My best friend invited my husband and I to her wedding with NO mention whatsoever that our two girls were not allowed. So when I called about 2 or 3 weeks before the date to ask her what would be acceptable dress for them, she dropped the bomb on me. I explained to her that I respected her decision but unfortunately could not make the wedding then as we 1. Don't have a baby sitter (his family & mine live states away and we are a four person family on one small salary so we couldn't afford to trial run a sitter that close to the date) and 2. I was breast feeding my youngest at the time since she was still a baby and could not travel that far without her, and I wasn't pumping as it wasn't physically possible for me. She ended up not inviting me to the bridal shower or bachelorette parties and got extremely nasty with me. I explained to her that if she didn't want my children there then I should have known that up front in the beginning. What if I had showed up at the church with them thinking everything was fine? She would have turned us away. So, for all future brides to be, please please give a fair heads up if you don't want your friends or family members children at your wedding! We will respect your wishes and understand, well hopefully we all will.

Ohmys... Ohmyskittles

I hate it when mothers bring their kids anyway, despite the invite saying clearly the wedding is child free. Your kid isn't any more special then the other mothers, they don't get to come. I don't care how great of a friend to the bride you are, she doesn't want your kids there. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU BRING A KID TO A WEDDING ANYWAY, even if you were allowed to? You have to sit still and be quite during the walk down the do the exact opposite. You think it's cute that your kid said something loudly during the vow exchange. The bride didn't. AND IF YOU DO bring your kid even if it's a CFW, don't be surprised when you are glared at by the happy couple and pretty much every other guest because you think your special.

nonmember avatar Guest

How the invite is addressed indicates who is invited. "Smith Family" means kids are welcome, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" means Mr. and Mrs. Smith and no one else. In defense of Lovin, I allowed my out of town family to bring their one year old as I didn't expect them to leave him behind or to find a local babysitter that they have never met before.

aayah aayah

ok, but my own sister decided to have a CFW when my daughter was still a small infant. she was exclusively breastfed and would not take a bottle no matter how hard i tried. my sister still wouldn't let her come and said it was about seating... uh, hello? baby sits on my lap. oh well, i missed my sister's wedding. and unfortunately ruined me and my sister's relationship! 

nonmember avatar teach

So glad you wrote this! I love kids...have one of my own, I teach them and generally think they are the greatest thing ever. However, I am dumbfounded by this idea that if I child is unwelcome at a certain event that the people excluding them are child-haters or selfish. The reality is there are just some places and events that should be for adults only.....weddings if the bride deems it, movies rated PG-13 and after 9pm (seriously irate at parents for this one....a 3 year old at a Violent movie? Really?, bars, etc. etc.). I was at the dog park once with my dog and a parent had their small child in the park and was getting angry at people and their dogs for being too rowdy around the a place designated for dogs with a no one under 12 sign, right next to the playground designated for children. Children are amazing and wonderful and deserve respect, but as parents we need to use our common sense and not act like the world should revolve around them. Grocery stores, planes, restaurants with high chairs (if it has one=kid friendly in my book), sidewalks, parks, malls, etc. etc are all places where kids are welcome. Lets not complain about the handful of places that are not.

Melis... Melissa042807

We had a semi-child-free-wedding (only children of immediate family and wedding party, otherwise nobody under sixteen please-and-thank-you for multiple reasons), and I wondered if we should say something on the invitation about it. My mom assured me over and over again, "You just put only the names of the individuals invited on the invitation. They'll get it." Uh, no, they didn't. The first people to RSVP included their two kids. Cue awkard phone call. Fortunately my mom made that one. It was her fault anyway for telling me "Oh, they'll get it!" LOL

I have a good friend getting married out of state soon and her wedding will be child-free and I totally respect that. There are other reasons I can't go but my 2 year old isn't one of them. If I wanted to go badly enough I'd figure it out. If I couldn't, well, it is what it is. Her day. Not mine. I got to call the shots for my wedding. Other brides get to do the same. 

Melis... Melissa042807

***I should clarify - I WANT to go to my friend's wedding, but there are circumstances beyond my control that prevent me from traveling right now. 

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