Sunday, January 14, 2007

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

I received any interesting comment the other day, in response to my post about family members--and the delicacies that come with inviting/not inviting their children.

"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 handle this?"

My response to this question certainly holds true in the case of family members who take it upon themselves to invite their children to your wedding--but it applies to other random wedding guests, too.

Honesty is always the best policy--and while one of your goals as a bride-to-be is to keep your guests in mind with respect to the wedding planning--you have to always remember that it's still "your wedding"--and guests should respect the decisions you DO end up making. If reply cards come back to you from wedding guests, which include children who were not invited, do a quick and to-the-point follow-up phone call. Explain to your guests that you are SO happy they will be able to attend, and while you would LOVE their children to be there, you unfortunately will not be able to accommodate them. If your fiance has a closer relationship to those guests, he should make the call. Explaining why you can't invite the kids? You can also shift blame on your budget, even if money isn't necessarily the reason for not inviting all children (what do your guests know? If you say it's a money thing, they can't really put up a fight.)

It's almost more difficult when the guests who do this type of things are also family members. There is that feeling that you cannot offend anyone--particularly those in the family bloodline. However, if you don't set the record straight sooner rather than later (and, say, wait a few weeks to talk to the family members in question), things may get even more hairy--if they make travel plans (say, booking 3 airline tickets instead of the 2 they would have done sans-child (if they could hire a baby-sitter), or even being able to find a babysitter in the first case.

The bottom line: guests can do strange things--even your close family members (or that of your fiance)--like sending reply cards back as +3 (mommy and daddy, with baby or small child in tow). Therefore, clear any confusion up earlier rather than later--so as not to further complicate the issue orinadvertently offend anyone.

Stay tuned!

2 comments:

Baconsmom said...

Pretty good advice, except for one thing: Never give a reason you can't accommodate someone. If you say money, people will offer to pay; if you say "no kids", people will wheedle for an exception. About the only thing that won't get an argument is the fire code, but even then, it's possible.

The best way to notify someone that they've filled out their card incorrectly is to make it seem that the invitation itself was unclear (even when it wasn't), and the bride and groom are so sorry, but they hope that the invited guests will still be able to attend. End of conversation.

Anonymous said...

When this happened to us (guests RSVP-ing with their uninvited children), we ended up using the "fire warden" excuse- We would say that the room was at safe capacity, and if there was one more living person inside, we would get in trouble with the fire warden, and everyone would be sent home. This was our last resort, as we had already tried the "Due to budget constraints" excuse (got berated for being too cheap), and the "We can't fit any more chairs/tables/pews in the room" (were told that babies/children are "so small that they HAVE to fit").