Advice please

S - posted on 09/09/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )




My sister in law is getting married next month. My mother in law called to tell me that our toddler daughter is not welcome at the reception. She told me that the couples wants an adult only reception and do not want children there. I can understand not wanting everyone's children there, but this is their only grandchild/niece. I feel so badly because my daughter is family, but not being included. We live out of state and do not often see them, so I just assumed they would welcome the chance to see their grandchild. I am very hurt by their request. Throughout the process of the wedding, I have been repeatedly told not to bring her to functions. My mother in law asked me not to bring her to the bridal shower as she said it would take the spotlight off of the bride. I am just appalled at what they are saying. Mind you, this is the same woman who practically berated me that I must bring my daughter to a another family members wedding when she was exactly one week old. I would like to hear some unbiased opinions to see I am wrong or justified in my feelings. Thoughtful insight and past experience is very much appreciated! Thanks!


Teresa - posted on 09/10/2009




I think you should take your daughter to the park or somewhere fun and blow off the reception. If someone asks where you were just say you were enjoying your daughters company since no one wanted to enjoy your daughter with you!

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I can't explain why your MIL would expect you to bring an infant to a wedding but I definitely can relate to your SIL. I don't know if your SIL / FBIL have kids but you need to remember, this is THEIR wedding. You had the opportunity to have yours, this is their turn and no matter what YOU think they should do, you need to remember, this is NOT your wedding. I'm sure they would be more than happy for you to pay for the event if you would like to dictate the how / when / where of their wedding but if you aren't paying for it, you need to be less appalled and more gracious.

We planned a formal, dinner at 8pm wedding and there were those who were upset that we didn't include children. We did tell people that we would arrange & pay for childcare for anyone that wanted it (no one took us up on it). My husband and I wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us, not every demand that every person that was or wasn't invited might make of us (and there were many). Not everyone enjoys children and not everyone wants to risk a toddler running through their wedding, screaming out or any number of things. I have a toddler who is very well behaved and despite her going to a number of events, I cannot always predict or control her behavior; some days she behaves beautifully and others, not so much. I would never assume that she was invited to a wedding, nor would I be offended if she was not included on the invite.

I'm not sure why people feel so entitled when it comes to other people's weddings. Your daughter likely would not enjoy the event, nor will she remember it. Why don't you arrange a sitter (or ask your MIL / SIL too -- you can't be the only out-of-towner with this issue), go to the wedding and have a wonderful night out with your husband rather than focusing on your hurt feelings about someone else's wedding.

Really, I'm sure the bride & groom have enough stress with everyone else's demands that they don't need a relative freaking out on them too.

* I'm going to add, it is NOT rude of her to have an adult-only event. It IS rude to expect the rules should change for you. I realize the word rude has been mis-used for a number of years now by many but it basically means ill-mannered & lacking grace. It would be rude to invite children but not include yours. Not inviting children in general, is not rude. EXPECTING that exceptions should be made for your child and feeling entitlement in regards to an event that you are not hosting, is lacking grace. The mis-use of the word rude is a personal pet peeve. I'm sorry for the rant.

April - posted on 09/10/2009




I've never been in this situation, but I think I agree with the others! I understand why they would want to limit the children, but she is their niece, and should be an exception to the "no kids" policy. Just out of curiosity, where did they expect you to keep her while at the reception? If all the adults are at the reception, who will babysit? I don't think they are trying to disrespect YOU, I just don't think they understand what kind of position they are putting you (and their other guests with children) in. If it were me, I would explain how you're feeling, and if they still don't want your daughter there, then don't go. You're husband can go (its his family right?)

In my family, we get scolded if we DON'T bring kids. Weddings, funerals, and the occational holiday is the only time you get to see a lot of your family... why are they making it this difficult!

Erica - posted on 09/17/2012




This is not a hard question to answer for me. It's a no go. I could see if the wedding was in the same city BUT not out of state especially if the whole family is going to be at the wedding. Who is left that you trust to care for your child? As a single parent this is a much easier thing for me to decide. I just wouldn't go. Plain and simple. With you having a husband and this being his family, you could just send your husband to go and represent your family since it is his family in the first place. I don't care what anyone else says. It is rude to ask a family member to not invite another family member no matter the age. Kids remember a lot more than you think. I keep hearing this over and over...remember it's the bride's day....and the point is to have your family witness the I can see friend's bad kids having to stay home but your ONLY niece? That is what another poster said is her pet peeve but too bad....RUDE! Even when I didn't have kids I was understanding enough to realize how difficult it was for parents to find ways to care for their kids. Brides as a whole are selfish no doubt...they will have to do without something or something is going to go wrong. I'd rather take the chance and have my family around me...all my family on such a special day. I guess I was just an unselfish kind of bride when I got married. Weddings without kids are the most boring and less memorable I have ever had the displeasure to attend.

Jen - posted on 09/09/2009




I just got married in May and we also wanted to limit the amount of children. I mostly just didn't want my friend to bring her two boys because they are very whiny and they don't listen. Anyway I really just wanted to limit the kids under 2, but knew it would be harder for people traveling out of town and our own daughter was 17 months at the time lol. We ended up only having about 7 kids and our daughter was the only one under 2.

However, for the reason of taking the attention off of the bride is not a good reason. Also if you have to travel then they really should just get over it. In my opinion they're going about it the wrong way and I can see it is really upsetting you. I would try to explain to them that you would really like to come, but if you can't bring your daughter than you will be unable to attend. You can see if that will help them change their mind, if not I wouldn't want to attend a wedding in which they're being rude.

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Jessica - posted on 09/21/2012




It sounds like you in-laws are having a little jealousy issues. I would not go to the wedding without my child. You are not just a friend you are family and that is the randchild/niece. I could see if you were just a friend and they were doing a kid free wedding (which I never understood) but this is just rediculous! How would your daughter take away from the bride? She wouldn't! Your family should be making her a part of the big day not pretending she isn't there. At my wedding I think there were as many kids as there were adults, and it was so much fun. There was still plenty of attention for me and the kids. I even had my flower girls dress in beautiful white gowns similar to my dress. Its a family/friend event and I wanted everyone involved. Again I would not go and I would tell them why. I would state that if my daughter is not welcome then I feel I am not welcome. She is a part of you and they need to realize that!

Bethany - posted on 09/08/2012




if and when i get married (been engaged for 3 yrs and have a 2.5 yr old with may partner) i will be inviting friends/family and their children how ever i also plan for a very simple ceremony and our reception will be a hugely informal affair and it will be up to parents to watch take care of their own kids my child on the other hand shouldnt be a problem as im sure all parents brothers / sil and others will keep him in line, but as for your situation it is your sil wedding and as you seem to have been told/ reminded by mil maybe you could ask her in an indirect way as in ring and say we would love to come but as i understand our daughter (not your niece as this will just inflame the situation) will need to be cared for do you have any suggestions as to who what where i could get her cared for? and i believe that she will give one of 2 responses and then you will have an answer, ie thats not necessary she is more than welcome or i will get back to you, take it from there, but remember it is her day and she may not share the same close family need that you do just ask it cant hurt and you can then make an informed decision

Gaye - posted on 09/08/2012




S.K, perhaps they think that your child is not well behaved??? I would go and ask your mother in law very nicely as to why, as one thing I have learnt is that miss understandings can easily happen, and if not sorted our it can cause an unecessary rift in a family for years..

If your child is a naughty child I sure can understand, but if she is a good child then one has to wonder why they do not want to see her???.. I would take mother in law out for coffee, somewhere the children can play, just you and her and chat about it with her.

It is scary being the mother in law of a son, as each of your in laws are different and daughter in laws are also feeling even more insecure, but by gently talking about things with her can save a lot of unecessary hurt.

I ofetn take my daughter in laws and son in law out for coffee and shopping, just us and no one else... we chat, laugh and just get to know each other...

Jade - posted on 09/11/2009




i wouldnt attend the wedding as it is a moral issue, If my child isn't welcome then i feel that i am not welcome. children have their moments but your family should be happy to see your child as you said they are family.

Rachael - posted on 09/10/2009




Unfortunately this is a hard topic. I have known people who did not want children at their functions and while they make a good point as to why they do not want children, they do not have children and do not realize what kind of burden it is to find a sitter. I say that you should let her know that if your child cannot come then you will not be there. Especially if it is out of state, surely she would understand that you would bring your child with you while travelling.

Felicia - posted on 09/10/2009




Okay, I am going to share my experience and take it the other direction. I was invited to my cousin's wedding a couple of years ago. I, too, live out of state and my daughter was the only child of her generation. It is a pretty small family and she was a big deal to our family. Just a couple of weeks before the wedding, I found out that kids were not invited- all kids. I, too, was very upset and hurt by it. Because she was our first and we didn't know who to trust our "baby" with, my husband volunteered to stay back. It turned out that the reception was not at all an atmosphere for a child. The setting was dark and romantic, mostly hig-top tables and very crowded. I did see that another couple brought their daughter, about the same age as mine, and they seemed very uncomfortable and I believe they left (or at least the child did). All said and done, I was glad not to have brought her. I know that it is hurtful, but there really may be some reasons behind it that have nothing to do with you or your daughter.

As far as the other functions go (showers, etc), your mother-in-law may just be trying to "watch out" for the interest of the bride, even if she doesn't know what that really is and may be over-reacting. You might try to find out if other children are attending these functions and make your decision based on that.

Good luck!

Amber - posted on 09/10/2009




I feel like these women, if they don't want your daughter, they don't want you!! I understand not wanting a lot of kids there...but family is family! You aren't some friend with unruly kids...this is thier niece!! ask them how they would feel if the situation was reversed...have you actually talked to your sister in law? maybe she could shed some light on why it is such a big deal for your daughter not to come... family is family, we're to love them as is no matter what...and sometimes that means acting a little rude yourself to make sure your heard...hope this helps!

Julie - posted on 09/09/2009




Ooh that's a tough one. I can competly understand how you feel, and I would feel the same. However, to play devil's advotic here for a moment, if it is the couples wish that it be an adult only reception, then you have to respect that. You don't have to like it, but you do have to repect it. You do have the choice not to go, me being as stubborn as I am that would be the route I would probably go. I'm so sorry it really is a tough one. I wish you the best of luck.

Cheri - posted on 09/09/2009




Could mom-in-law be bi-polar? My mom used to do and say things like this to me all the time until I let go. We don't talk much anymore but are cordial when we do. I finally got to the point where I would ask EVERYONE to every function "Are my kids invited?" If they were not invited, I wouldn't go, plain and simple (I had 72 special needs foster kids over 10 years).

It's not the only solution, just mine. I write articles for moms that are published online, if you'd like to get some ideas at search Cheri Majors, M.S.

God bless,


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