Wednesday, January 10, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL: PART III

The next issue links into a previous post about something I consider to be a "dirty word" in the world of wedding planning (not because it's a BAD thing, but it's bound to, at least for many brides, bring up controversy and certain issues--particularly among family members).

So what's the word? KIDS. The issue of inviting children is an issue in and of itself (and one which I've devoted much time trying to explain/resolve), but when you throw children of family members into the mix? There's potential for a world of tension.

For example, it's one thing if you decide to take a "NO KIDS" approach as a blanket rule for your guests. It gets tricky, though, when you have to consider those who are part of the familial relationship. So.... what about the kids of your fiance's sister? Or your closest cousin? What then? Although limiting children at an affair may be a step you are willing to take, it gets more difficult when you have to explain it to those who are actually linked to you in the family chain (ESPECIALLY if you have a relationship with those children--even if they are younger).

Take my friend Kelly, for example. Kelly's husband (Ben) had a close cousin with a young infant. Ben really wanted to allow said cousin to bring the infant to the ceremony and at least part of the reception. Kelly wasn't particularly thrilled with the concept, as she feared that a 10 month old at the ceremony would fuss, cry, or in some way distract from the nuptials. Personally, I don't think Kelly was being high maintenance--having children at a ceremony, in particular, is a risk. While some don't care about children behaving/remaining quiet during a wedding ceremony, Kelly, in fact, was concerned. Given that it was an evening, black tie affair, she didn't feel it was appropriate. In fact, Kelly had told Ben that she didn't want children at the event---those of family members or not.

So, what did Kelly propose, given that Ben felt strongly about the situation? She told him that she would be more than happy if the cousin's child attended the rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch--and she would pay for a babysitter for night while the cousin attended the event.

I think this was a fair solution. It makes sense to try and accommodate family members who want to bring children, particularly as they may be traveling to your event in order to be there. However, if you have a no kids policy, STICK TO YOUR GUNS. And don't feel like a bridezilla because you don't want kids at your wedding!

Of course, if you DO, that's great, too.

What I would say is to try and accommodate your family members to the extent that you can-- by offering to pay for a babysitter, or having them attend other events during the weekend where they won't be as disruptive, but they can still feel included in the festivities.

If you are honest with your family members about the presence of children at your wedding, and you are trying to accommodate them without killing yourself, that's the best you can do, in my opinion.

More familial intrigue to come! Stay tuned!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a younger sister (11 years old), so "No Kids" was not going to work for my fiance and I. But we were selective about what kids we did invite (close younger cousins, nephews and such). BUT we have recieved a couple of reply cards where the invitation was ONLY addressed to the parents and they have included children in their reply as attending. Any suggestions on how to hand this?

Katie

Baconsmom said...

I really don't feel it should be the bride or groom's responsibility to care for other people's children. As the mother of a toddler, I would never expect anyone else to make arrangements for my child, and I certainly wouldn't want to put that responsibility on the shoulders of a happy couple who have more than enough to do already.

If you simply cannot leave your child for a day or two, decline the invitation - but everyone else's lives do not revolve around your children, and your children are your responsibility along.

Amy said...

I got married 3 weeks ago, and a cousin of mine (close cousin, with a 3 year old) had a brilliant idea to have the church nursery open during the wedding ceremony. We had already decided to invite kids, and we hired two trustworthy teenage girls from church to work in the nursery during the ceremony. All my friends & family with small (potentially disruptive) children let their kids play there during the ceremony. It worked beautifully, as the kids had fun there, the parents were able to enjoy the ceremony worry-free and the kids got to come play, dance and have fun at the reception. We ended up hiring the 2 girls for the reception, too, to come and eat and help play with the kids. It was perfect, and we all had a great time, kids included!