One bride’s request: Leave the kids at home
Advice columnist Carolyn Hax on dealing with friends who won’t attend a wedding because they can’t bring their children.
Adapted from a recent online discussion.
DEAR CAROLYN: After some discussion, my fiancé and I decided we did not want kids at our wedding — several of our friends are newish parents and we are JUST SO TIRED of having their kids be the center of the universe, disrupt plans all the time, and so on. We just wanted one time when we could enjoy our friends’ company in an adults-only way.
We indicated as much on our save-the-dates, and have since gotten responses from a few people close to us that they do not plan to come since they can’t bring their kids. Many of them are friends who live in town and could probably get sitters if they wanted to. That makes me think they have perceived my feelings about the heavy kid focus that’s taken over our group.
Fiancé thinks we should stay the course, but I’m now wondering whether we should backpedal and include kids. ... I’d rather cave on this than not have loved ones at our wedding. What do you think?
— Allow Kids?
DEAR ALLOW KIDS?: A couple of thoughts.
I would never boycott a no-kids wedding because my kids were excluded. I mean really — I’m nuts about my kids but a night of just adults? Sure. Plus, I can simultaneously find joy in children and grasp that not everyone blisses out around a bunch of squirmy people with volume-control issues. Who am I to scold them and say they “should” enjoy having kids around, or that weddings “should” include kids, or whatever else?
Even if I had a pro-kid view of weddings, it’s your wedding — your tablet to write upon, not mine and not your friends’ to write their pro-kid righteousness.
The one exception I might make is if I were nursing and tethered to Baby — but I’d talk to you about it without judging.
Anyway, this is all background for my answer: Sure, you can cave, but these friends are out of line.
That’s no surprise, though, right? Plenty of parents don’t expect “their kids [to] be the center of the universe, disrupt plans all the time, and so on” — but your friends apparently do. So they’re just being themselves, and will surely stay that way at and after your wedding.
It’s your call how you want to handle both the wedding and the long-term implications of friends with me-ist tendencies. Just be forewarned: The more of a stand you take, the more closely people will watch if you ever have kids.
It is easy for some people with kids to get a sitter — I do know some who have a regular one — but for others it can be hard.
Of course no parents who try and fail to find a sitter should be harrumphed for saying no, but that’s so not what’s happening here. These are responses to save-the-date cards — months in advance. In the event of extenuating circumstances (a special-needs child, say), surely the couple would know and understand, but otherwise the local refusals, at this stage, are statements of principle, and it’s a principle I find self-aggrandizing.