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Weddings & Children
Children in the Wedding Party
My 2 year old son is supposed to be a ring bearer (along with another
5 year old cousin) in a wedding. However, we can not seem to get him
to even try on the tux. We went to get him fitted and he was
screaming and flailing when we tried the jacket and the pants. We
couldn't even get them on. He is very particular, in general, about
the clothes he wears so this isn't too surprising. Any thoughts on
how to possibly get him to wear this tux? Or should we just pull him
out of the wedding?
2 is pretty young to demand he wear something like a tux. How about a t-shirt that
has a PICTURE of a tux on it? It would be cute, if the bride and groom have a sense of
My son was the same way for my sister's wedding. My sister was really cool about it;
she was more interested in him being in the wedding than in being properly dressed.
What worked for us is having my son dress like dad: both work black pants, white
button-down shirt and a red tie (or whatever color the bride & groom ask you for). My
son was happy to be dressed just like Daddy and that worked but we also brought
along a white (new!) polo shirt for him to wear just in case.
When my son was 3 he was supposed to be in my brother's
wedding. We were pretty sure that he wouldn't walk down the
aisle with the other kids, but made him wear the special suit
anyhow. We got little presents for him and my older son and
tried to prepare them for wearing the suits. In the end, my 3
year old screamed while my husband and I forced him into the
suit in spite of our prepping and promises of a present. He
screamed all the way to the wedding. But, once we got there he
was fine. He looked adorable and several years later I have
the cutest picture of him wearing the suit. P.S. A few months
later he had the chance to dress up for another wedding and he
loved wearing the suit!
Mom to a ''spirited'' dresser
When my son was the ring bearer at a wedding, we just bought him some nice khaki
pants and a new button down white shirt at the Gap. He looked so cute, no one minded
that he was not formal! Oh yeah, I think he had a clip on tie, which he thought was
This is an easy one. Pull him out of the wedding. If you can't
even get him to try the tux on, what are the chances he can get
through the ceremony without being disruptive? Save yourself
and the bride and groom a lot of tension and anxiety and just
acknowledge that he's too young.
just common sense
You are talking about a 2 year old here. Is there a way you can
allow him to still be the ring bearer with whatever clothes he
likes to wear? maybe relax the requirement a little, i.e., so
long it's not his swim-trunks and sandals, something sensible he
I want to be careful here to not misunderstand what you are
saying, but it is not clear what is more important to you -- for
the ring-bearer to be wearing a tuxedo, or for this particular
child to be the ring-bearer. It seems like you want the tuxedo,
and if you can't have that, someone else altogether.
Also, there is another possibility and it requires your good
judgment here. It could very well be that your 2 year old is not
ready for this role, regardless of the attire. In this case, you
have to find someone else, or just keep the ring on some table, a
participant's pocket, etc.
My guess is that you are going to get a lot of responses on this,
and I'll leave it at that.
How about if you find some pictures of wedding parties that
include a ring bearer an show him what the costume is? If you
frame it as a costume, maybe that will appeal to him more. I bet
a bridal shop has such photos. You might also ask the bride if
he could wear something else. Lastly, you could say now's not
the time. But check with the bride and groom, first.
My son was in a wedding when he was about 2 1/2. He had the same
reaction to the tux and we had the same thought about pulling him
out. We ended up talking with the bride and decided to 1)get him
a book called ''10 cool things about being a ring bearer'' and 2)
put him in a wagon to go down the aisle instead of expecting him
to walk. These things turned it around---he ended up being
excited to wear the tux and happy to be in the wedding.Hope they
work for you!
If your son is anything like one of my daughters, there is no
way to force him to wear what he doesn't like. The two things
that will very rarely work for my daughter are (1) ironing on a
monkey decal (or some other animal she likes) or (2) a bribe of
chocolate. Otherwise, even if we get it on she'll just rip it
off in about 20 seconds and run around naked.
Do you think it's reasonable to expect a 2 yo to wear a tux?
One of my son's is really tactilly(sp?) sensitive and would
NEVER submit to ''our choice'' of clothing for him.
WHat if he has a fit or doesn't feel like walking down the
aisle with the ring when it's time?
I know it would be adorable, but a 2 yo can't be depended on to
do what is expected at a particular time.
If it can't be a ''casual dress'' job for him, I''d suggest being
a hopefully cheery congregation member and watching the wedding
from the seats (or afar if behavior calls for).
Good luck on your decision and outcome
mom of 2 boys, now older
My 2 cents (since you asked)--if your child is not going to enjoy
wearing a tux, why push it? Two is the age of ''no''and testing
limits, not the age of being well-behaved n large crowds under
pressure. I would say two is young to expect quiet
compliance--it's not ''age appropriate.'' I had casually dressed
and rowdy children as guests at my wedding (no ring-bearers) and
that was just fine, much better than tantrums. Let your kid be
the toddler he is and say ''thanks but no thanks.'' You'll all
enjoy the wedding more.
Emily L., not Emily Post
I think this is a sign that your son is too young for what is
expected of him. Pull out before it is too late and everyone
(including your son) is mortified because he doesn't want to
comply during the ceremony.
Have the Best Man Hold the Ring
Hey, he's only 2 years old! He shouldn't be forced to wear a tux!
Maybe you can find a simple but suitable outfit instead.
Talk to the bride and groom, and ask them if they'd prefer to have
your son in the wedding without a tux, or not at all. Then do
whatever they pick.
He's two years old -- he doesn't know that people think it's an honor to be part of a
wedding. And there's no way that any 2 year old would.
If he really dislikes the tux than can be 100% sure that the wedding will be a really
stressful event. He will be cranky and you will be stressed. What's the pleasure in
Tell the marrying couple that you appreciate that they thought of him to be a part of
their special day but that he's too young.
I would never have considered putting either of my children at
age two in a wedding unless the bride was the most laid back
person on the planet...and even then I probably wouldn't
have...in my own wedding, kids were invited to the wedding and
reception, but I made it very clear that I did not care if they
screamed through the wedding or up chucked on my dress at the
reception -- even though it came from Pricilla's of
Boston...Trust me, it wouldn't have been ideal, but hey...kids
are a part of life...That said, I did not ask any of my young
niece to be my flower girl or a young cousin to be ring bearer.
If there was one thing I wish I could have changed about my amazing wedding, it
would be to not try to get my 3 year old son to wear a tux. Just trying it on at the
rental place should have given us a clue. It was like he was allergic to the fabric, he
refused to try it on so we approximated the size. At the wedding I could hear him
wailing while I was putting on my wedding gown. Needless to say, he wore his holy
jeans during the ceremony.
Here are a few ideas before pulling the little one out of the
festivities: 1) if your child particularly looks up to dad, have
dad put a tux (or part of one) on and say that they can match
each other and look alike, 2) read books where the character is
wearing a tux (like a penguin or perhaps babar?) and say that
this is a fun suit where he can look like a penguin/character, 3)
is he close to either one of the couple getting married? (this
was a huge incentive for my daughter who wanted to be good for my
brother and his wife-to-be), or 4) consider an alternative to a
tux for little ones like the little boy dress shorts with knee
socks. My brother wore a white outfit like this with white
suspenders and a pressed white shortsleeved shirt to a wedding
and looked precious (and very traditional). His outfit could
still complement the 5-year-old cousin. Of course this would
need to be approved by the couple to be married! Bonus: On a
different day, I would practice walking with him down the aisle
and talking with him about what a special day it will be. Make
it fun and (not to be a behaviorist) but give him a treat (like
playing on the playground) afterwards. Good luck!
son was a ring bearer for my older sisters wedding. He also
didn't want to wear the tux. I didn't know what to do till the
day of. The whole party got together to get readdy and take
pictures at this bed and breakfast. He sord of got into the
rythim of ''every ones getting ready so i will too''. We got lucky
i suppose.I dont know why but once he saw his dad in his tux and
he heard all the ooos and awwws he wanted the attention too. Try
having a dress rehersal at home. Maybe showing him pictures of
other kids with their tuxs.OH maybe he will like the
shoes.The ''click''that the hard soles make on the ground might
grab his curriosity.Our son loved that part. Oh watch out for
rolling rings. Our son dropped the rings twice!it was so funny.-
good luck and really...try to enjoy your self.
2 is pretty young to expect much ''cooperation'' if he's sensitive
anyway. Is it more important to the wedding couple that he be in
the wedding, or that the ring bearer wear a tux? Perhaps another
outfit would be acceptable. On the other hand, depending on your
son, maybe reading stories and watching videos with ring bearers
will help him get into it - or not.
There are many times you need to force an issue, but you really
should choose your battles. Your boy doesn't want to do this. I
say pull him out of the wedding.
I would feel your son out. Then I would let the bride know
what's going on and let her make the last call. He's probably
very special to her and adorable, but it sounds like it might be
a case of, ''Where was the ringbearer?'' You just never know with
2 year olds, they are so young, he might refuse on the wedding
day or he might simply rise to the occassion. Don't forget that
in addition to the tux, the audience/guests add an element of
stagefright to the whole scenario. My son was ringbearer when
he was 4 and that was a very good age. A bit nervous but got
his bearings quite independently.
A family member recently asked if our daughter could be the flower
girl in their wedding. She'll be 2.5 at the time of the wedding, which
will be pretty mellow and in a park. We of course would like for this
to happen for the family, but have concerns about it really happening,
mainly because she gets shy in front of big groups (while having lots
of energy and spunk otherwise). I realize that ultimately it depends
on the child, but does anyone have stories of children on the younger
end being flower girls, or advice for us before we make the decision?
Or strategies for helping this be an experience that is enjoyable and
works for all involved (we thought of telling the couple one of us
will likely walk with her).
to flower or not to flower?
My niece was a flower girl in our wedding at age 2.5 and walked with her
and it worked out perfectly. Three weeks later, she was the flower girl
relative's wedding and was supposed to go alone and there was a major
(at least the dress got good use!). I think that'll be fine if the bride
and groom are
relaxed and are able to adapt to your daughter's mood (go alone, go with
not go at all if she can't handle it). If they have a rigid picture in
their head of her
walking down the aisle by herself, smiling sweetly while gently tossing
and nothing else will do... that might not work out so well. But if
they're able to be
flexible, it should work out.
My son was a ''ring bearer'' 2 months shy of his 3rd birthday. I
was also a bridesmaid. He sounds like you (shy/outgoing). I
don't think he would have done it if I hadn't walked with him
(which was always the plan). He also carried his security sippy
cup with him. (The pictures are funny of that one.)
Two months later he was a ring bearer and walked with the flower
girl hand-in-hand. Lots of coaching and parents stationed
strategically along the way (''Go find Mommy at the front!'') helped.
One parent in back ~ one parent in front ~ and someone else
caring for your other kids. Also, be TOTALLY WILLING to have it
not happen if she has a meltdown day-of. I would be interested
to know if the wedding will be nap time or bed time for her???
Something to consider...
ringer bearer mommy
We had my husband's barely 3 year old niece as a flower girl at
our wedding, who was also fairly shy in groups. She did fine,
altho it definitely helped that her grandma (my husband's mom)
accompanied her down the aisle. And her parents sat in the
front row as an incentive to keep her moving forward. I think
we tried to include her in the very informal rehearsal we did
the day before, but I don't think that was so critical. We were
prepared for her to drop out at the last minute, but glad that
she didn't, as she was so adorable and sweet.
flower girl fan
At our wedding we had a 2.5-year-old flower girl with her 4.5-
year-old sister. The younger girl was very boisterous and
outgoing, and we thought she would do fine. We did formal
pictures beforehand and she was great. At our ceremony,
however, she took one look down the aisle and wouldn't go.
Actually, it was very sweet and didn't ruin anything for us!
But she was pretty spooked and her parents (who were with her
up until she would have walked down the aisle) had to take her
outside and missed part of the ceremony. It was just too much
for her. If you do go forward, I would think about everything
you can do to make her comfortable, and have a back-up plan
with caregiver in case she 'just says no.'
Not only does a lot depend on the child, I think even more
depends on the expectations and the attitude of the BRIDE.
When I got married, I had 3 kids in the wedding...a 7 year old
doing a reading (yes, really), a 4 yo ring bearer and an almost
3 yo flower girl. My hope was that they would make it down the
aisle and then it was up to them if they wanted to stand up
front or sit with their parents (mom's of all kids were
standing in front and Dad and grandparents's were on the aisles
in front row). But if anything went ''wrong'' that was OK too; I
figured that that is the only way you have funny stories after
the wedding is about the things that go ''wrong.''
It was part of the ''reader's'' job to walk down the aisle behind
the littler kids (his brother and cousin) and scoop them
towards the front (the 7yo really wanted to walk down the
aisle) and there was hard candy in the groom's pocket that they
were ''aiming'' for...
All went well and they were all adorable. Even if they hadn't
made it down the aisle, they were all beautifully dressed and
had a ball dancing in their fancy clothes and looked great in
HOWEVER, these same kids have also been in other weddings that
were much more stressful (mostly due to expectations of the
BRIDE) and all did not go as well.
an unsually mellow bride
My younger son was about the same age when my brother got
married. My sister-in-law wanted both of my boys to be ring
bearers. My little one was the same as you describe... some
shyness in big groups but otherwise outgoing. We just weren't
sure that he could do it. We offered to dress both boys for the
wedding but expressed our concern. Faced with the possibility of
a child throwing a tantrum in the middle of the wedding she
decided not to include him in the wedding party. Unfortunately,
all off the rest of us were in the wedding party. So, we dressed
our younger son in a tux also, but planned for him to sit with
our grandma. We got through the rehersal fine, but the day of
the wedding he saw the crowd and freaked. All he wanted was to
be with me, and he ended up walking down the aisle with me after
all. The experience seems to have been pretty traumatic... he
didn't really get over his stranger and performance anxiety
until he hit kindergarten.
shrinking violet's mom
My niece was a flower girl in my wedding the month after she turned two.
for fun; don't worry. She walked down the isle with my sister--her
was fine. We did not have the flower girl or the ring boy stand through
ceremony, though. Once they were down the isle, they sat in the front
their parents/grandparents, rather than having to endure standing in
It's fun, and if it does not work out, who cares? She'll have a pretty
dress, a pretty
basket with flowers, and everyone will love her regardless! Go for it.
Aunt of the flower girl
My daughter was 2.5 years old when she was a flower girl along
with her 2.5 year-old cousin. The wedding was small (35 or so
people) and outside -- ideal for kids. One of the best ways to
avoid melt-downs is to minimize the waiting time ''backstage''. At
this wedding, the ceremony organizer had the kids wait so long
that they had pulled all the orchids out of their carefully
arranged hair and had dumped the orchid petals out of the
color-coordinated pails they were supposed to carry. My daughter
did walk on her own, but without the pail and with her hands
clasped behind her back. The other 2.5 year old was carried by
her mother. I think they would have been fine if they didn't
have to wait. As for shyness, my daughter isn't particularly
shy, but being a flower girl can intimidate the boldest child.
Just be prepared to carry her yourself, as I almost had to do.
One of Kevin Henkes's books (Lily's Big Day?) deals with being a
flower girl and might be helpful.
It depends on the child, it depends on the day, it depends on the
moment. I have seen 2-year-old flower girls acquit themselves
with aplomb. And I haven seen a 3-year-old flower girl have a
screaming meltdown just before the ceremony and eat all of the
blueberries from her blueberry/flower crown, staining her dress
and mouth. Her mom had to spend the entire wedding ceremony in
the basement, trying to hush her. A big drag, especially for mom.
Basically, your instinct is right on. Little kids participating in
weddings are always a
crapshoot. Is the bride ready for that? The day of, the little one may
doesn't want to do it. And you know how ''fun'' and easy it is to get a
2.5 yr old to
cooperate with something when they have decided not to. The best story
about this happened at my cousin's wedding. It is similar to what you
suggesting. His nephew was 2.5 and the ring bearer. At the point in
where he was supposed to participate, he totally balked. Before anyone
annoyed or impatient, or the flow of the ceremony was affected, his
dressed dad scooped him up and walked elegantly down the aisle whereupon
little son handed over the ring pillow with a smile. It was not what
was planned or
hoped for, but dad's quick thinking kept the occasion as lovely as ever.
I would say
to just be prepared to take similar action. And make sure the bride is
My daughter was a flower girl two months before she turned three.
Here is what we did:
1. Choose a dress (or outfit) that is comfortable to wear/move
in. Remember the comfort of shoes, socks/tights, etc. You don't
want her squirming with discomfort.
2. Practice ahead of time (will there be a rehearsal?)
3. I (as a bridesmaid) walked with her. In our case, there was a
set of steep stairs, so we did this for safety, but consider it
for comfort, too, if needed. If you aren't in the wedding party,
is there someone who she already knows who is? Even if she seems
able to do it by herself at rehearsal, come prepared (and
dressed) to change plans at the time if needed.
4. She was NOT expected to stay at the altar. After everyone
arrived in place, she was quietly escorted to the front row to
sit with her grandparents (since both parents were in the wedding
party). There, she got a soft toy to hold, and a small cup of
quiet snacks (such as cheese,cut-up grapes; NOT loud crunchy
This worked well in our case, but of course it will depend on
your child, and how well she knows the other people.
When I was about 3, I was a flower girl at my aunt's wedding, and
I remember feeling confused. My older sister (4!) did it with
me, though, so I just followed her example. Perhaps there could
be two flower girls - with the older one probably more capable.
My nephew was a ring bearer for us at that age and he did fine
except on the DVD you can hear him saying ''I wanna go home.'' I
think if the couple want a picture perfect situation, then they
need to bag it. If they are ok with going with whatever happens
(and no matter what people will think it's cute) then just do it
and let her do her thing or not do her thing. Just make sure if
the bride is a bridzilla type who will get mad if your little
angel turns into a little devil, then don't. Too much drama.
former laid back bride
My 3 yr old son was just in a wedding as the ''flower boy.''
Originally the bride wanted him to walk down solo, but we
decided it would be better for him to walk down with his dad as
he gets shy in front of crowds as well. He ended up walking
really slowly and trying to throw the petals one by one (we had
practiced prior to the ceremony and he did it right then, but
he was just nervous in front of all the people). Long story
short, he ended up breaking down and crying midway down the
aisle. Later people told us it really made the groom laugh and
provided some comic relief, so I guess it was all fine in the
end! My recommendation with this young age is to have them walk
down with an adult that they know well in case they get nervous
or freeze or whatever. I really doubt anyone would expect a
perfect performance from this age, so I am sure it will all
work out just fine.
Proud mama of the flower boy
My daughter was a flower girl at a wedding just before she was 2 years
accepted the offer only after making sure that everyone knew that if she
to do it when the time came, we would not force her. I (her mom) walked
and she simply held the basket while I threw flowers. It turned out
great and was
really sweet. I think keep the expectations low and see what happens! Is
Our daughter was a flower girl when she was just about 3 years
old at my sister's wedding. She is very outgoing but can get
shy around people she doesn't know so we were a little worried
at how she would be in front of 225 people. So we started
talking about it months ahead of time, reading books when we
could and then practicing at home. By the time she got her
dress, got to the wedding wedding site she was so excited to
have the real flowers and drop them down on the ground. It was
also helpful that I was the maid of honor so I was going right
after her down the aisle. The more you prep ahead of time for
it the better it will be.
Our neice was 2 1/2 when she was our flower girl. Our nephew,
the ringbearer was 5. We went into it knowing that they both
might not walk down the aisle when the 200 people turned to
look at them. She has always been very shy. Ours was at a park
like setting, at Deer Park, in Fairfax, so it was a casual
atmosphere. So as long as we had pictures with them, thats all
we expected. But they both did great. Our nephew held her
wrist and lead her down the aisle, he was able to stand next to
the guys, and she sat down next to her mom, one of our
bridesmaids. Congratulations, good luck,
I just got married last week and our flower girl was just 3 years
old and fairly shy. We prepped by showing her where she would
stand, and with whom (her mom officated our ceremony, so she
couldn't stand with her). We asked her how she wanted to do it
and let her pick out the basket she wanted to carry. We also
bought her a beautiful outfit and ballet slippers that she wanted
to wear that outfit so bad, she would have thrown flowers all day
long. Everything went off without a hitch, but it wasn't perfect.
She ended up dropped the flowers in big handfuls -- plop. plop.
plop -- it was hilarious to walk down the lawn with these big
piles of rose petals. Everyone laughed! It was great! We were
completely prepared for whatever might happen, a melt-down, a
bursts of extreme shyness, and were ready for our flower girl to
be absent if necessary, but she took her job seriously and did a
When I got married 22 years ago, my bride's nieces were 6 and 8
years old. I had a 2 1/2 year old niece, and I wanted her to
participate as a flower girl as well, so that my side of the
family was also in the ceremony.
What a mistake! My sister expected me to pay for the flower
girl dress. My niece was very excited and expressed an
interest in doing it. Like your daughter, my niece was a
pistol in small groups, but got a major case of shyness when it
was showtime. Her Mom coaxed her into making it through the
rehearsal, and we managed to get photographs for the wedding
album, but when it came time for the real thing, she was crying
and wouldn't let go of Mommy. My bride had been against it
from the start, feeling she would be too young to carry it
off. There was no way she was going to have my sister walk
down the aisle with my niece, so she was scrubbed from the
ceremony at the last minute. As you can imagine, this was one
more stressful event on an already stressful day.
My niece is now about to turn 25. She doesn't really remember
what happened, and when she saw the photo album,
she ''remembered'' that she had been a flower girl. We told her
what really happened, and we all laugh about it now. What my
niece remembers most is playing endlessly with her ''bride's
dress'' until it was in shreds.
If the family member who asked for your daughter to participate
is the bride, it might be a different story. If it was anyone
else who asked, I think the best course of action would be to
decline the honor, since you don't want to add any extra stress
to the wedding.
22nd Anniversary Groom
My daughter was a flower girl at 2.5, and it was wonderful! It
was wonderful because the couple was mellow and fun-loving and
they didn't have worries that anything was going to ''ruin'' the
wedding. The result was that my daughter walked up the isle with
a choice to sit in the front row or stand with the bridesmaids
(she chose to stand). She did freeze for a minute, but a
bridesmaid she bonded with coaxed her on. She had a splendid
time, and she still speaks of it fondly. Just make sure that the
couple doesn't think of your daughter as a wedding ''accessory''.
They need to let her be herself.
we had our niece as a flower girl at our wedding. she was just
over 2 at the time. we had thought that she would just walk by
herself but she was too distracted by the new surroundings so she
ended up walking with her mother (my sister). it was all the
same to us as we were just glad she could be part of the
festivities and none of the guests were any the wiser.
i had a young toddler at my wedding who walked down with his mom. it was
us. also, my son was almost 3 when he was a ring bearer and he walked
fast though) solo. each kid will react differently. it helped that we
read a book about
weddings & did a rehearsal.
I have advice from two different perspectives for you on this. First of
all, in my
wedding in a Catholic church I had a flower girl (my future niece) who
was nearly 3.
It was DISASTROUS, really. Granted, my niece is not known for her good
ability to listen to her parents and also, she had traveled to the
midwest from CA
the day before the wedding. The short version of the story is this: we
practiced for months and she knew exactly what to do. Her parents were
couple of the bridal party to enter so that if she freaked she could
easily just walk
down with them. When it was show time she walked 1/4 of the aisle then
running SCREAMING to her parents, then decided she wanted to walk WITH
my father and threw a tantrum because her parents and grandparents were
tell her why I couldn't carry her down the aisle with me. She proceeded
to be a
distraction the whole time, including sitting on my dress pulling my
during the VOWS (which was surprisingly more noticeable to me in the
than in the moment). I won't even start on the reception or the candle
you get the idea.
Now, I am on the other side. My sister is getting married in a month
and is the best
aunt to my daughter (16 months) and my niece (8 months). She wants them
the 'flower girls' but doesn't want them to repeat history. So her
solution was to buy
them the cute dresses and a 'ball' of flowers. Their fathers will carry
them down the
aisle (even though my daughter can walk). The plan is to give them the
right before they go down the aisle so they can be intrigued by it and
tear it to
shreds all throughout the (short) ceremony. My only concern is that
recently if I try
to carry my daughter when she wants to walk she ends up being carried
superman or something, trying to get down, so she may end up 'flying'
aisle, haha. I can't tell you yet how this situation will work out, but
it sounds like a
good idea to me. I think really you just have to know your daughter
and be honest
with yourself and the bride-to-be about what you think is the best way
to do it.
Bridesmaid and Wife of the escort of the flower girl
As a bride, our flower girl was 2.5 & slept through our whole
ceremony which was ok by me, but some brides might not be so
understanding. Your bride will have to understand that your 2.5
yr old might not be able to perform day of & you'd have to make
sure the bride is really & truly all right with that. As a
mother of a flower girl, now that's a different story. Our
daughter was a flower girl at 16 mos. It was fun, but it was a
casual beach wedding. I followed her & ended up dropping the
pedals myself & then had to keep her from picking them up.
Bride/Groom thought it was way cute. This past summer, our now
5 yrs old daughter was again a flower girl. It was a miserable
experience for us parents & somewhat for her. The rehearsal
took forever & even though I brought stuff to keep her busy, she
became board & very antsy. Day of pre-ceremony was just
painful. We were asked to arrive several hours before the
wedding, but then we weren't really needed. I had to entertain
her while keeping a very white dress from getting dirty. The
ceremony itself was great fun for our daughter & she was so cute
& preformed well. The post-ceremony photos were a total
nightmare. They took over 2 hours & my daughter was miserable
waiting around for the couple of photos where she was needed.
If you accept the flower girl gig, you need to really talk it
over with the bride so she fully understands the attention span
& unpredictability of a 2.5 yr old and be an advocate for your
child so that there is minimal waiting around time, especially
during the photos. Finally, we checked out EVERY pre-
school ''flower girl'' themed book from the library & read & re-
read them so that our daughter understood her role. They might
not be that helpful for such a youngster, but it couldn't hurt.
Flower girl question:
My daughter was a flower girl at a young age. Here is what I
would recommend: if you or the bride are going to stress out
about her being ''perfect,'' then don't do it. If this can be fun
and light and breezy, and the bride will allow you or someone
else to ''help'' her walk down the aisle and/or drop petals, go
My daughter was a flower girl last summer when she was 2.5, and
she did great- even dropped flower petals! It was also a
small, outside wedding. I think the important things are:
Talk a lot about how fun the wedding (big party) will be, and
practice what she will do (if anything besides walk). I stood
at the back and sent my daughter down the aisle, and her dad
was waiting in the front row, so it worked well. Also make
sure the bride and groom are ok with things not going exactly
If you need a dress, we have a beautiful one from David's
Bridal, all dry-cleaned with no stains just sitting in the
closet (with matching shoes!). If you're interested I can email
you the link and pictures. Good luck!
My kids have been asked to be a FLOWER GIRL & RING BEARER. My
daughter will be 9 years old at the time of the wedding (but
she's petit for her age.) My son, will be 6 years old. (Again,
small for his age.)
Are they too old for flower girl and ring bearer? Or could
they pass because of their smaller size? The bride-to-be said
they could as a different option, be in the wedding in another
capacity. The wedding is on an island, and I believe the
ceremony will be on the beach. So, rather informal, I take it.
My kids, especially my daughter, thinks it's a great idea to be
flower girl. And of course, I think it would be neat, but
don't know the protocol. If they are too old for such
positions, what are alternatives? Thank You for any advice!
Flower girl/Ring Bearer Mom
I was a flower girl at almost 9 (there were two of us, with the other
one about that
age, too). I enjoyed it--felt very special to get dressed up and have
my hair done
and participate in the wedding. Your daughter and son don't seem too
old in my
opinion--as in other wedding tasks, these roles are symbolic, and
anyone can toss
flower petals or carry a ring pillow. So I wouldn't worry about
whether they will
''pass''! If they are flower girl and ring bearer, it will be pretty
clear to everyone who
they are! However, I'd have said that if THEY feel too old, then I'd
Otherwise, the bride wants them (it's her wedding, so her decision as
to whether she
wants them) and they want to participate! Seems like an easy decision
Miss Manners says that the ''correct'' age for flower girls/ring
bearers is under about 8 years old. So your son is definitely
young enough, and your daughter is close. However, my opinion
is that, if the bride wants them in her wedding, then their age
doesn't matter. My sister had a 12-year-old ring bearer in her
wedding, because she wanted to include our cousin. He did
great and was thrilled to be included.
There are no official rules for weddings. You can have adult
flower girls and ring bearers, children, dogs or whatever
strikes your fancy. People create weddings that have
meaning for them and include people they wish to honor in
ways they can. Go with the flow and enjoy yourself.
While many people think of a 3 or 5 year old as the traditional
ring bearer and flower girl, it really doesn't matter. This is
an opportunity for your children to be a special part of this
wedding, and that's what really counts. Our ring bearer was an 8
year old nephew, and it was great. He was proud and all of us
were proud of him too.
I am a day-of wedding coordinator. Your children are not too old to be
ring-bearer and flower girl. I've never even heard of age being an
issue. If the
bride and groom want them to be the ring-bearer and flower girl (and
don't have a problem with them being ring-bearer and flower girl), what
matter how old they are? I am quite certain that NObody is going to be
checking the ages of the people in the bridal party to make sure they
''right.'' Sound as if your kids *want* to do it, so I say, let them
I've never heard of any hard and fast rules regarding the age of
flower girls at a wedding. If the bride doesn't have a problem
with it, then you shouldn't worry about it. I would just be
honored that the bride thought so highly of my children as to
want to include them in her most special day. I had three
flower girls at my wedding because I wanted to include all of my
nieces in the ceremony. Not traditional, but they certainly
added to the specialness of the day!
When I was a child, my brother and I were in my couisin's
wedding. He was a ring bearer (2 years younger than me) and I
was called a ''junior bridesmaid.'' I'm sure my cousin came up
with that so that I could be included, and I still remember that
I felt like a ''big girl.'' I would say follow the lead of the
bride, but this might be an option to consider.
9 and 6 sound like the *perfect* ages to do this. I don't WHY
it has become so popular for people to push children much too
small to do such a ''job'' (and it is a job) when they are likely
not going to understand what to do and almost invariably are
too shy or scared to walk down the aisle without mommy. OK, so
they look adorable at age 2, but it is a very rare under-6-year
old who can do this. Your kids will look adorable, too, and
will be able to participate (and remember) being in an
important ceremony. Furthermore, I don't believe I've ever
heard it be against protocol to have any pre-pubescent child
participate in the ceremony as ring-bearer or flower girl. So
encourage them to do it, and have fun!!!
No, they are absolutly not too old! I know ten and eleven year
olds who were flower girls and ring bearers who were nine,
almost ten. Besides, it was the bride and grooms choice to
Children are too old to be flower girls and ring bearers when
they themselves declare themselves to be, and not before! If
your 9-year-old would enjoy being a flower girl, that's great!
If, however, she thinks she's a bit too grownup for that, she
could be designated a junior bridesmaid. The only real
difference is that she would more likely be dressed in a girl's
version of the same gown the bride's adult female attendants
wear rather than in a white or ivory dress, and would carry a
bouquet rather than a basket of petals. (And in fact, if it's
an informal wedding, the bride may not care all that much what
your daughter wears either way.)
I rather doubt your young son much cares what they call him, so
really the decision of whether he's a ringbearer or a junior
usher/groomsman amounts to whether the bride and groom would
like him to carry a ring pillow or not.
Frankly, a 6 year old and a 9 year old are going to be much more
able to cope with the organization required to be part of a
service than younger kids would be. There is no ''protocol'' on
ring-bearers and flower girls, except that they should be too
young to get married themselves!
I'd say relax, thank the bride for inviting your kids to be part
of the occasion, don't worry about trying to make the
kids ''pass'' for a younger age, and just make sure they
understand that they're not there to be the center of
Children Not Invited to the Wedding
I'm due with my second child in mid-February. My husband's
younger brother ''David'' is getting married at the beginning of
April in a lavishly over-planned wedding in Washington DC. He has
asked my husband to be his best man, and my son, who will be
barely 3 by then, to be the ring bearer. When we announced that
we were pregnant with our second child, David's fiance, ''Anne'',
was clearly disturbed and has been dropping hints about the
child-less nature of the celebration since.
Without any room for discussion or question, Anne and her family
have requested (relayed through David) that our infant-to-be be
absent from both the ceremony and reception. This makes me, as a
generally attachment-oriented mother, conflicted.I realize that
babies are often not welcome at events like this, but as an
attachment-oriented mother I'm also concerned about planning on
leaving an infant (whose age or needs at the time I don't even
know yet!) for what could be a long stretch of time. Anne has
already booked a sitter for our room through the hotel's service,
against our explicit wishes (we would prefer to use a relative or
friend.) Our son, the ring bearer, is apparently welcome at both
events, but I'm more nervous about his unpredictability during
such an orchestrated event than I am about the baby. I'm also
concerned that my husband's role as best man will leave me solely
in charge of wrangling my energetic little ring bearer and
navigating the particulars of training a sitter, while trying to
stay presentable...and disappearing to pump or nurse every hour
I know the event is six months away, but we talk about it almost
every day. It is so outside our comfort level to be part of
something so ridiculously lavish, and to plan ANYTHING this far
in advance, nevermind with a baby on the way. I'd love to hear
from other parents if this kind of situation (flight, hotel,
wedding, being presentable) is even manageable with a 6-8 week
old and older child, as well as any advice you might have for
setting up expectations for ring-bearer behavior for our 3-year
old, and, finally, some place to find expensive-looking (but not
costing) post-partum evening wear if I do go through with this!
How would you feel about having your husband go on his own?
Clearly it is important for him to be the best man, but the
ring-bearer strikes me as a less important function, and your
needs as a new mom definitely need to be considered. You don't
know how you'll feel in April, nor how your new baby will be
doing. It just doesn't seem to mesh with your life path right
now to take off for a big celebration with your energetic boy and
a new baby. I would hope that there would be some understanding
about this; people get WAY carried away with their weddings,
IMHO. If you can manage to be on your own with the baby and son
(or on your own with a friend to help) then I would let hubby go
with your blessing.
first things first
I would seriously consider sending your husband on his own.
Taking a VERY young baby on an airplane in the middle of cold
and flu season seems extremely risky. Almost three or barely
three is too young to be a ring bearer (imho) especially if the
bride and groom have very set visions of how this thing is
going to go. It might create some hard feelings, but I would
just say ''I'm so so sad to miss your wedding but we are just
not comfortable taking an infant on a plane so early, and
sending little joe w/o mom will not work given hubbies best man
Oh my! My sister-in-law was in nearly the same boat as you
when we got married (baby born Jan 17, wedding May 9)...and it
never crossed our minds for them to leave the baby behind. We
got married at the Awahnee in Yosemite...so sorta formal. Our
niece was perfect (not a sound that I heard, though I would not
have minded any) and was the hit of the reception!
As far as young ringbearers...we had my other nieces and
nephews in the wedding...3.2 yo flower girl, 4.5 yo ring bearer
and 7.4 yo ''reader.'' We did a few things:
1. No expectations that they would ''perform''
perfectly...whatever happened happened (yet they were great)
2. My husband had a little candy in his pocket that they got
when they made it down the aisle (candy=target)
3. All three of them went down together...it was part of my
oldest nephews ''job'' to help the little ones down the
aisle..the pictures are hilarious as you see him herding them
(we were outside...so it wasn't a perfectly formed aisle as you
would have in a church)
4. My little niece knew she could stand up front with her mom
and me, or go sit with her dad (he was on the aisle in the
second row) or grandparents (very easy to reach); my little
nephew had the same set up (Mom was up front as MOH) and Dad
was on aisle across for other Dad. My older nephew ended up
standing at the end of the line of groomsmen (there were only 2
of them...so he made 3)...which we hadn't intended, but was
great how it worked out
Oh, also I went to a wedding while nursing my little one
(though he was invited to wedding and reception). We opted to
leave the kids at the hotel for the wedding since it was a full
Catholic mass (my husband's parents kindly came with us as they
lived nearby to watch the kids during the ceremony).
Unfortunately, I made a bad choice on my dress...no front
buttons or zip and tightish fitting waist...so I had to go
upstairs (reception was at the hotel where we stayed) and take
the whole thing off to nurse my son. So, would recommend dress
you don't have to fully remove! Would also recommend staying
as close to reception as possible so you can just go nurse and
not have to deal with pumping too (though I had to do that at
another wedding where my older son was not invited; had to pump
in a portable bathroom; yuck!!! had to pump and dump; boy did
I hate wasting milk like that!!)
I don't know if any of these ideas will help; sorry to have all
this stress. Personally, I have no idea why people exclude
children from weddings...they should be a celebration of life,
including kids...but due to costs, I guess, they choose to have
more people of the ''grown up'' kind.
Good luck! Try not to stress too much, it is only one day.
Also, try to get the idea across to your soon to be SIL... it
is ok for things to go wrong at a wedding; that is where you
get your funny stories...if everything is storybook perfect,
great pics, but no funny stories!
You can't control what they want, but you can control what you
do. I would say, I respect your right to do this, but you are
creating a hardship for me. There is no way I'd feel comfortable
leaving my infant with a sitter in a strange hotel and city.
Perhaps if it was with a trusted relative and just for the
ceremony, but that's it. They won't understand this until they
have kids of your own. Maybe you have your husband and 3-year-old
go to the ceremony and you stay with your baby. Maybe hubby
brings the three year old back to you for the reception and he
can go be best man. Don't get mad. Let them do what they need to
do but you can respectfully decline. I think your sister-in-law
is trying to control too much and is not being considerate. In
fact, if I were in this situation, I would tell her it would be
better to have the hubby be best man, but leave the kids out.
Usually, if close relatives have children, the bride and groom
will allow them to be at the ceremony and reception. Sorry you
have to deal with this. Do what you need to do. If they don't
want the baby there, then mom can stay with the baby.
I used to work in the office of a catering company has a
planner. This type of situation came up often and since i was
a ''neutral'' party i always ended up talking to people about it.
It seems you want to make an effort to accomodate their over
the top wedding which is nice of you, and worth it for good
First i would call ''anne'', and thank her for being such a
caring aunt who booked a siter (never mind you said no to that)
but that, you are not comfortable leaving an infant with a
complete stranger. I am not over-protective and i would never
leave an infant with a hotel baby sitter..you never know who
the company is going to send and at that age it's just too
dangerous. Clearly she doesn't see that, and like most brides
she is completely self centered. But rather than inviting a
confrontation (that will only create issues at this point
because she won't hear it), i would just do the above thing.
Second, i would think about what YOU, as the mom, are
comfortable with. Now that i am a mom i realize that my first
allegiance is to my kid, not relatives. I don't think it's my
job to satisy everyone's needs for this and that...just make
sure my kids are all good. Maybe you could figure out where the
wedding is, and hire a relative or someone you know to stay
nearby so that you have constant acces to the baby without
anyone really seeing him/her? When at the church this person
could walk the baby around.
I would call my brother and say i am happy for his wedding but
completely stressed out because so many aspects are unknown in
advance with a baby.
I would appoint an aunt/cousin (someone not involved other than
as a guest) to keep an eye on your older one with you. It will
make it easier for you. And then if at the last minute you
don't feel like leaving your baby, have the sitter walk the
baby around during the ceremony then leave.
It is very sad when people make weddings into a production and
want it ''perfect''...because of course life isn't perfect.
Clearly Anne has no clue about kids. Usually people include
babies and not kids because they are more disturbing.
Oh and if you have a nice MIL or relative who leaves here and
whom you can afford to fly that's a great solution..that way
you get help all the way
Try to accomodate what you can but keep your eyes on what
I have a similar story from a Boston wedding of a brother in
law. In retrospect, I wished they had hired a sitter for any
kids/babies. My husband obviously wanted to be present and
involved in his brother's wedding. My son was about 2 and very
active. I took him to play on some play equipment near the
wedding and was never able to get him calmed down and back.
So...missed whole wedding. I recall a group sitter for the
reception. It still saddens me to have missed the wedding. At
the time I felt like I just wished I had stayed home, instead
of flown cross country to be a babysitter. If you, personally,
go, I would accept the offer of a professional sitter. My
experiences have been positive with doing this (bonded, etc.).
For a dress, either try a nice consignment shop in Piedmont
(Sophisticated Lady), Walnut Creek, etc. for a dress, maybe
with a matching long coat or try the sales at Macy's Walnut
Creek. Or, you could just let your husband fly with your son
and ''wing it'' on his own. I know this is hard for a mom to do,
but my husband actually was able to fly with the kids on his
own, and it worked with no disasters! The family should be
sympathetic that you have a new baby.
Been there, done that
Here is my take on your situation. You clearly disagree with
the way they are planning their wedding (calling it 'out of
control' 'over the top' and 'wacky'.) This is your opinion. I
personally prefer more intimate settings and more practical and
less fancy and more inclusive gatherings but again this is not
my wedding nor is it yours.
I cannot believe how aggravated you are about it all. The only
irritating thing I see is that the wife-to-be is bothered by
your having a baby at the wedding and reception. If you really
want to attend this wedding, here is what I would recommend.
Tell wife-to-be that you will have a newborn and that the
newborn will not be able to be in the hotel with the hired
sitter. (no wavering or waffling here-the baby has needs to be
fed by mom often and you are not comfortable leaving baby with
a stranger) If she has a problem with it, then don't go. Then
your husband can deal with the 3 yrs old ring bearer and any
fiascos that occur with that. Families being together at a
celebration don't have to be perfect---as a matter of fact if
the ring bearer does something like drop the ring or run away
crying,,,,,everyone will live,,,,and it will be a very cute
story in your family for years to come. Wife-to-be will learn
all about imperfection once she is married a few years and has
a baby. I hope you can relax a bit about this. Weddings are
supposed to be fun and if there is not way it can be any fun
for you I really think you and baby should stay home....
breathe in, breathe out
Wow. It's wonderful that you are so dedicated to your husband and
his family that you would even consider going. Is there any way
you can stay home without causing too many waves? Or is there any
way your husband can gently explain that an infant that old may
well sleep through the whole thing, and could be quickly whisked
out if it starts to cry? As far as the hotel sitter, I'm sure
''Anne'' meant well and thought she was ''taking care of it for
you''. And equally sure that she doesn't get parenting and small
I was in a somewhat similar situation with my last child
(except we weren't part of the wedding). My cousin was getting
married 6 weeks after my due date in Michigan. We had a 3 year
old at the time. My aunt was giving us very heavy pressure to
attend. It was a childless wedding, but my infant could attend,
since they are a very attachment parenting family. I agreed to
go. Sent a gift, bought the plane tickets, all set. When the
time came there was no way I was going. I was exhausted. I knew
I just couldn't do a cross country flight and wedding on no
At 6-8 weeks, you're still recovering. You're not getting any
sleep. I'm not sure you'll be up for a big party.
I'd recommend that you send your husband and son. Have another
relative be in charge of your son during the ceremony so that
your husband can be the best man. It's a family wedding so
there should be someone available to help (maybe a teenage
Believe it or not, you'll probably get more rest with the 3
year old out of the house even though you won't have your
husband to help out. Or you could even have a relative come and
help you during that time.
I know that a wedding is a special day and the bride and groom
should decide who they want to attend. But that doesn't mean
you have to attend. Graciously bow out saying it will be too
much with the infant, but the rest of the family will attend.
1. My first recommendation would be for you to recognize the
wedding isn't about you. It's about them and they're your
family since you married into it. Be supportive and kind. It is
not your place to judge how lavish their wedding should be.
They aren't asking you to pay for it.
2. It's the norm that babies don't attend weddings and it's
hard to imagine a few hours away from the baby will cause any
harm whatsoever even if you are attachment parenting.
3. You need to recognize that being pregnant affects how you
react to things. It happens to the best of us but that's why
you need to get some perspective here. This wedding is a once
in a lifetime thing for your brother-in-law and fiance. Family
needs to be supportive.
4. You have every right to choose the babysitter but recognize
that the bride was being kind to find someone. It's more than
most people would have done. If you want someone else, get
someone else. Once you have, thank her for arranging a sitter
but let her know she can cancel it since you have someone else.
Also, if the reception is at a hotel, you could easily have the
sitter keep the baby in a room at the hotel so you could go up
and see the baby during the reception. You would only be away
from the baby completely during the wedding itself. Surely,
some family members will have a room at the hotel you could use
or you could just get a day rate from the hotel.
5. If you need help with the 3-year old at the
wedding/reception, ask family. They are all going to be there.
I would think Grandma would be thrilled to help.
6. Finally, it's really hard to be the bride. Cut her some
slack as she's under a lot of pressure. You don't want to be
watching the wedding video next year, hearing your baby crying
in the background ruining it. That'll stick for a long time.
Your post reads like you are using "attachment parenting" as an
excuse to express your judgment of their choices about their
wedding. Perhaps that isn't the case but solving this is pretty
easy if you put a little effort into it.
my two cents
There are two factors going on here..
1) How to handle wedding w/ newborn, father as best man, and tot
as ring bearer.
2) Your resentment about this fancy wedding.
Suggestions for 1: I was recently at my brother-in law's wedding
w/ 3 young kids, and my husband was best man. Yes, it was
challenging. Thus, I reached out to express my concerns in
advance and get help. in this case, my sister in law and mother
in law helped out a lot. i.e. get another family member to help
w/ your older son as ring bearer during the ceremony. Practice
it in advance together at the rehearsal. Also, ask hubby to
curtail his best man duties somewhat in order to assist you too.
If people know in advance, planning can be done to assist you.
Suggestions for 2: Throughout your post it is amply evident that
you resent your sister in law's choice of wedding style/rules.
But that is her choice and kiddy-free weddings are around more
often than we want. Yes, it's different from what we would
choose but still it's her day, her wedding, her life. If they're
funding it and not asking you to fund it, then that's their
business/choice and it's important that you respect their choice
too. Otherwise, you'll be resentful/angry at the wedding and
that causes rifts later on for what's going to be, hopefully, a
long-term family relationship. Best, Cassy
A 3 year old is way too young to have a role in such a highly
controlled, and over-orchestrated event. Yeah, the cuteness
factor is priceless, but they don't realize what could possibly
not go right. Anyway, you know about all this. They don't and
sadly they don't have any interest in knowing.
As a husband, I wonder: where is your husband in all of this? He
needs to advocate for you all the time when it comes to his
family and their dramas and expectations.
It sounds highly risky to try to accommodate such unreasonable
expectations. You and your husband need to decide what is doable,
and sane for you given what you'll be dealing with then. In and
of itself, traveling with an infant can be challenging but is
doable. But if you'll be dealing with such highly-controlled
expectations on the other end, you are better off staying home,
or at the hotel if you decide to go. Your husband will need to
decide if the whole stress of this on you both is worth the
highly scripted expectations put on him and his own family --
this is a no-brainer!
Get your husband to talk to his brother and try to get him to
realize that life will not stop for anyone just because they want
a machine-precision wedding. If his brother starts seeing that it
needs to be a negotiation and not a mandate, it might be doable
that you will go with the baby and figure out what works best for
you for the ceremony, and reception.
I was in a similar situation twice. Basically, the situation is
this: you can't force them to have a different wedding than they
want: if they want it adults-only, then adults-only it shall be.
But they can't force you to leave your child in a situation that
isn't comfortable for you, either. If you somehow gain your
children admittance, it will be uncomfortable for all. If you
leave them with a hotel sitter, you will probably feel uneasy. I
would suggest you either try, as politely and humbly as possible,
to explain that you will have to miss the wedding to stay with
the baby bcs you just aren't comfortable with a hotel sitter with
so young a baby; or, you could just use the sitter for the
ceremony itself, so you will be there to help with your
ring-bearer, and then take your son back to the hotel with you
and leave only your husband to attend the reception. It is also
possible that you could find someone who would be willing to miss
the ceremony to babysit for you if you aren't comfortable with
the hotel sitter, or you could possibly bring or find someone you
trust to babysit for you at the event. Or, you could decide you
really want to attend the reception and make your peace with a
hotel sitter-- this is perhaps more likely to work if the
reception is in the hotel. The other tip I would share is that
the bride and groom are unlikely to notice if you are absent
through much of the wedding & reception unless you are seated
formally at their table. I had to leave my sib's wedding when my
baby with the sitter got a fever, and I don't think they even
-Brides and New Moms Can Be a Little Nervous-- but that's OK!
Wow. This sounds like a rough situation, but here's what I
would do. Considering the newness of your infant and not
knowing his/her needs yet but knowing you'll be breastfeeding
and practicing attachment parenting, I would have to put my foot
down with the bride-to-be and insist that my infant be present.
I'd buy a beautiful sling ( http://www.attachedtobaby.com/Sakura-
Bloom-Essential-Silk-Baby-Sling-P70C1.aspx ), wear my baby and
excuse myself from the proceedings accordingly to care for both
infant and child. I think you are right to be concerned about
your 3 year old's ability to maintain throughout this long event
and maybe it would be a good idea to keep the sitter she's hired
in a holding pattern in the room so you can put both children
down when needed.
Good luck and stop stressing! At least it's not your crazy
That all sounds totally ridiculous, and a classic example of
someone without children thinking they 'understand' and what they
are asking is reasonable. I also am an attachment parent - I
think anyone who breast feeds is until the kid is at least 3/4
months old. There is NO WAY I would leave my 2 mth old child with
a stranger in a hotel room.
I don't really think flying with such a young child will be a
problem. Although it can cause some nasty ear infections post
flight (which would not be fun to deal with in DC) and will
doubtless be extremely stressful for you.
If they REALLY want your son to be ring bearer (which they only
want because it would be 'cute', not because they want your son)
then I would say it would make most sense for just your husband
and son to go. Yes then your husband would have to look after
your son. Putting things this way might actually make your
husband stand up for your wishes more, as it seems to me he's not
taking any responsiblity. Even if you do go he'll have to look
after your 3 yr old most of the time as you'll be feeding etc.
Whatever you do there will be upset or resentment on one or both
sides. But you really don't need more stress at this point in
Weddings mean little in comparison to a new child
If it were me, I'd draw the line. They don't want others to
control their wedding, and they should not expect to control your
personal participation. I would say (as a couple, with my
husband), that the husband and the 3 year old will participate.
As they do not want the infant at the event, I will choose to
stay with the infant. It is nice that you offer childcare, but
we do not need it for the baby. It is our choice as parents to
have our young infant with one of us, or close relatives or
friends, at this early stage in her/his life. This will require
that they assign someone to be the responsible adult for the 3
year old; someone other than the Dad, when the Dad is busy
getting ready for and participating in the wedding and getting
photos take. Perhaps another aunt or uncle or cousin (young
adult or older) that the 3 year old knows would be best.
So the deal is they can have all four of you, or they can have
two of you (with awareness of need for someone to suprvise the
ring bearer). Once they meet the infant, and if the infant is a
quiet calm one, they may realize that as long as the baby is
feeding or sleeping, it will not have much impact at the
ceremony. They should not expect you, even if you do attend, to
be the one coralling the 3 year old, as you will be busy keeping
the infant content. If you do attend the wedding, just sit near
the back so that you can make a quick exit, if needed.
I found 2 piece outfits to be easier than dresses while nursing.
You could get a loose fitting washable top and an elegant
washable skirt. Bring a back-up outfit with you in case the baby
has a diaper accident or spits up. Also, bring a couple of way
cute washable outfits for the baby, in case the oh-so-adult
couple ends up letting the bundle of love attend.
Here is one web page for well-desinged maternity stuff. I bought
a dress form these folks years ago, and many of my friends got
great use out of it at many fancy events. Sorry I don't have it
anymore to give to you!
Wow, what a nightmare. Having a 3yo who is expected to be a
ringbearer at a fancy wedding is bad enough, but to have your
newborn be uninvited too! Not a good start for warm relationships
in your husband's family.
My suggestion is to go ahead and make the trip but plan to stay
out of the picture, in the background, rather than sitting in the
pews or at the dinner table. In Catholic churches there is often
a ''cry room'' where moms and young kids are able to (expected to)
go. If no cry room, look for a similar room that is nearby, but
not in everyone's line of sight/hearing. You will undoubtedly be
able to find a church/hotel staff member to help you with this.
Bring toys for the toddler. Frankly, this is where you would end
up even if the kids were invited - toddlers can't sit still long
enough to go through all the endless rituals of a wedding
ceremony and reception. And newborn behavior is impossible to
predict, as you said!
As for the ringbearer duties, recruit a baby-friendly relative to
hang out with you in the adjacent room during the ceremony. You
will almost certainly end up accompanying your son through his
ringbearer duties unless he is an unusually brave and extraverted
kid. (Warn your SIL.) Leave the newborn with your relative for
those 5 min of the ceremony, then head on out (past the pews) to
your campsite in the adjacent room. Then all 3 of you can relax.
The advantage of making your own ''kids' room'' is that your son
can still participate as the ringbearer to some degree, your
family can still be officially in attendance at your
brother-in-law's wedding, be in the pictures, etc., and when your
husband has a free moment re: his best-man duties he can take one
of the kids off your hands and show him/her off to relatives.
(Which is what family weddings are about anyway! Or should be!)
But for the rest of the time you can kick back out of sight,
breastfeed, watch your son play around on the couches in the
hotel's adjacent room, and not be anxious about whether your kids
are ''too much'' for such a wedding and whether your new
sister-in-law is unhappy. Don't be surprised if other parents of
young ones join you with great relief - this has happened to me
at several weddings! ''Nursing rooms'' and ''running-around rooms''
ALWAYS crop up when there are kids at weddings, whether the bride
and groom planned them or not.
(P.S. Choose a dress you can nurse in without having to take the
whole thing off!)
I wouldn't go. I would just send my husband alone. I can't
(1) flying across country with a newborn (especially for
something like a wedding)
(2) going to any very formal wedding 6-8 weeks postpartum
(3) leaving my newborn with someone I don't know. (Especially
With my 6 week old, I didn't go to a casual wedding an hour away
I would have a conversation with your pediatrician that goes
You: We are supposed to go to a wedding on the East Coast when
the baby is about a month old. Do you think it is a great idea
to take the baby on the plane and then to a wedding surrounded
by a bunch of people when s/he is that young?
Doctor: No, it isn't a great idea.
(Also, depending on how you want to play it, you might add
something about son flying, given it is the height of the flu
season and with swine flu going around.)
Then move on to the conversation your husband has with his
Husband: We talked to the pediatrician and s/he doesn't think it
is a great idea for the baby to come to the East coast for the
wedding. Of course that means wife and son will not be able
to go either. We just wanted to give you time to find another
ring bearer if you wanted one.
Brother: But we were counting on son!
Husband: I know you wanted him as a ring bearer, but I won't be
able to both watch him and be there for you so we wanted to let
you know in plenty of time to find someone else.
If it is important to your husband, he can bring your son, but
make sure that his brother knows that it will likely be a
disaster without you there. Presumably at the wedding and
reception there will be family and friends who can watch him,
but unless it really matters to your husband, I wouldn't send
the boy either.
Sounds like a nightmare
I just LOVED this post. I so miss these bridezilla stories. They always crack me up
though I am sure you are not laughing. It is clear your future sister-in-law has no
clue about kids because if she did, she would tell you to leave the 3 year old at home
and bring the 3 month old .
I don't know about your child, but we tried to have my 3 Y.O. son perform the ring-
bearing function at a wedding and I'll tell you who ended up being the ring-
So, as far as the hired babysitter, just say ''thank you.'' She can sit in the hallway
have no use for her. As far as the other stuff, if you need to excuse yourself to go
breastfeed and keep your mind at ease, go do that. Go for hours. Bridezilla will be so
wrapped up in her event, she will not even notice you are gone.
Sounds like your soon to be sister-in-law is exhibiting classic
bridezilla behavior. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, she
may mean well, but I'm guessing she doesn't have children or a
clue as to what it means to take care of them at an event like
That being said, we took my daughter to a wedding when she was
6 weeks old. At that age they are so portable! My husband or I
had her in a baby bjorn the whole time and it went swimmingly.
It was a formal affair (at Auberge du Soleil) but no one minded
and everyone gushed over her in fact (we dressed her in a cute
dress for the few minutes she was out of the carrier). She
basically just hung out or nursed periodically and was
content. When the band played, I hung out in a different room
so she wouldn't be exposed to loud music. People came out and
visited with me at their leisure. I gave the bride complete
carte blanche in advance that I wouldn't be at all offended if
she didn't want the baby there, but that meant I couldn't come,
and my hubby would go on his own (he was the closer friend of
the couple.) The bride was very classy about it and said if we
thought we could handle it, she was happy to have us. I was
fully prepared to pull the rip cord at any time if I felt the
baby or I was in an uncomfortable situation, or making anyone
else uncomfortable, but I had a nice time, and we stayed all
the way through to the end. We did bring a bassinet/pram thing
to put her in but didn't end up using it--she far preferred the
carrier on one of our chests.
As for the situation on the babysitter, I think a helper would
be a great idea, but I'd actually think more for the 3 yo. If
it is possible, I would hire someone to be in a room next door
to the wedding for him to be able to go take a break or get
some quiet playing in. She could obviously also help with the
baby too if you needed it. Personally that would be a lot more
helpful to me then a stranger sitting in a remote hotel room
watching a baby I would have to keep running back to every hour
or two. And I'm with you--if it is someone you know or even
came recommended by someone you know I might trust them more
then a hotel provided sitter.
Baby wearing guest
I feel bad for you. I understand wanting a child-free wedding.
But then why would you want a ring bearer? That's ridiculous.
And if you only want to invite a niece or nephew, that's fine.
But you can't invite one sibling and not the other. Tell Anne
to get her head checked. That's one of the dumbest ideas I've
ever heard of.
I'll tell you how to navigate this. Tell them you're not
coming. Your husband can go alone. If they can't tolerate the
presence of their baby nephew/niece, God help them with their
I have been in a very similar situation with a life long very
close family friend. During my pregnancy, her mother had made
it very clear to my mom that there would be no babies at this
wedding. My friend also told me this. They also arranged a
sitter (who was going to be watching several other children
too). My response was that I was sorry, but that I wouldn't be
attending, and I didn't. I was not going to leave my
breastfeeding newborn (who turned out to be preterm too) with
someone just so that bridezilla and her mom could have
their ''perfect'' little day. It is your soon to be sister in
law's choice of who to invite, but it your choice whether or
not to attend, and personally, I wouldn't. I just don't
understand what is so disruptive about a newborn baby...A one
year old or two year old I can understand, but newborns are
different. And, when did weddings stop being a family event
anyhow? Just my two cents...
I suggest you call the fiance and have a candid discussion with
her about what it means for a 3YO to be the ring bearer. If
perfection is their goal, then she may want to change this part
of the wedding plans. If she still wants your 3YO as part of the
ceremony, then have the babysitter tend to the 3YO. You can beg
off attending at all by explaining that your first priority is to
your newborn and then plan to hang out with the baby in the
hotel. Your husband can enjoy being a part of his brother's
wedding and you won't be punished (or feel punished) by the whole
Oh, and down the line when ''David'' and ''Mrs. David'' have children
of their own, they will finally understand. Until then, I
wouldn't expect them to really get it.
the wedding planner
For dealing with with friends and loved ones, honesty is always
the best policy. For dealing with inlaws, I've found that the
best policy is always a good lie. Your problem has an easy
solution as long as you don't have any misplaced compunctions
about lying. Just tell them your doctor doesn't want you to
fly with the baby 6 weeks old because of concerns over swine
flu. You are so disappointed but you are sure they will
understand. With the money you save from not having to buy a
flight ticket or a new outfit, hire someone to help you while
your husband is gone. You will have a MUCH nicer time at home
with the baby. If you want to keep the 3 year old with you,
simply say that he has to stay home with you too. I really
doubt that they will be hugely disappointed not to have the
ring bearer -- they probably think they are bestowing a big
favor, not giving you tons of stress.
Can't stand weddings
Sounds like you and future s-i-l need to have a talk.
I would say ''Sorry, 3 year old can't be ring bearer...he's too
young and behavior unpredictable...hubby and I would like to
come to the wedding and enjoy ourselves without being
distracted by unruly 3 yo''....and if he'll be the ONLY kid, he
will be totally bored and very possibly be unruly.
As far as a sitter...I've been there...no kids, infant or not.
You can choose who babysits your kids...you're the mother.
Ive used hotel sitters in the past and it's been fine...they
don't go anywhere and I think they have to pass a CPR/baby
sitting certification (maybe not all places are particular like
It's probably fine to leave your infant for an evening with a
sitter. Can you express milk? Leave formula?
It's hard to leave them, but they'll most likely be fine with
an experienced person.
good luck...I hope you have fun.
I'd advise you to bring a nanny with you to take care of the baby
while you're at the various events. It's really not that hard,
and the baby isn't going to even notice you're not there at that
age (sorry to break it to you). Otherwise don't go. Some people
just don't want infants at their wedding and you just have to
respect it. You don't have to like it but you should either suck
it up, smile and go along with it or just not go at all. Your
feelings about the lavishness of the wedding are irrelevant.
I think, in general, it's totally possible and the right thing
to do to attend a brother's wedding, even if you have a nearly
3 year old and a newborn. As I'm writing I'm packing to go to
a family wedding across the country with my 8 week old,
preschooler and school aged child.
That said, the bride is crazy (really just inexperienced with
kids) to think that the newborn (who will frankly be in a sling
dozing the whole time, or you can easily take out of the room
if s/he's crying) will be more disruptive to the wedding than a
3 year old! It is indeed unreasonable to leave a newborn in a
hotel room with a stranger for 6 or more hours for the wedding.
If it were me, I'd tell the brother and future sister in
law: ''it means the world to us to be at your wedding. We are
thrilled to have husband and 3 year old in the wedding party.
But, we just can't leave a tiny exclusively breastfeeding baby
with an unknown sitter for many hours. If you permit the baby
to come, we will ensure that s/he is not disruptive, and we
will be very appreciative. If not, I'm afraid only husband and
3 year old will be able to attend.''
And then you stick with that plan. If baby remains banished,
send your husband and 3 year old on the plane, and have a quiet
weekend at home with the baby. It will save you a lot of money
and stress, and then your family didn't just skip the wedding
altogether. But hopefully the bride will come around and this
won't cause a huge rift in your family!
love family weddings
well I hope the reason the wedding is in DC is because they live
there - this is a sister in law well worth living on the other
side of the continent from!
I fully respect people's right to do what they want for their
weddings but this is family, it's far away and its a six week old
baby! you guys are heros just for planning to attend!
If it was me and the wedding wasn't family I would respect their
wish for no kids and just not go ( it being out of town and
having such a young baby). If it was family I'd expect them to
accommodate me or deal with my absence.
we are invited to an out of town wedding next month. When we
asked if kids could come and they said not really then we chose
for just my husband to go. I'm not traveling to a far away place
to leave my kids with a sitter. Most weddings I've been to locals
are often asked to leave kids at home but people from out of town
usually get to bring their kids. I think that's fair.
I know that it's hard for people who don't have kids to truly
comprehend these situations but I think you guys should outline
what your willing and not willing to do and don't be forced into
something you are not comfortable doing.
as a side note I traveled half way across the world with a one
year old to my sisters wedding a few years ago against my better
judgment(different issue than yours), but I thought it was the
right thing to do. Had a big blowout argument with her there and
haven't spoken to her since! So going isn't always the right
In terms of setting expectations for the 3 year olds behaviour:
I've seen many a young kid flunk at their wedding ''duties'' so
have your hubby raise this - and think of alternative (maybe your
hubby can walk down the ailse with you son etc) if necessary or
you may need to take the 3 year old out of the cermony for a
break - prepare them for all of these scenarios. And probably
offer them the option that he not be a ring bearer if they are
uncomfortable with the unpredictable nature of a 3 year old.
Receptions are usually fairly noisy affairs so a 3 year old
should not be a problem then!
I say suck it up and stick the baby with a babysitter for 3-4
hours. The baby will be so young, she won't even know and you
can relax at the wedding. Maybe even have the toddler go with
the babysitter after his duties are performed (ring bearer) so
you can relax and have fun at the reception. Drink some wine,
dance a little and make out with your partner.
Think of it as a big party you get to dress up for.
Being with a babysitter for one night isn't going to hurt the
kids, just get someone you trust.
Relax and enjoy the wedding! Don't be so critical :)
- Mom with three kids who has been there and done that
This sounds like it's creating way too much stress. It sounds like they are being
overdemanding. I'm guessing that your husband's participation is more important than
your son's. How about removing your son's role as the ring-bearer, and you don't
attend? Don't go at all, or if you make the trip, stay in the room with your infant and
the three year old. Participate in the other festivities to the best of your abilities.
might take this as a slight, but you can explain nicely in a letter that you have the
peace and harmony of the wedding in mind, as well as your own parenting peace and
harmony. Don't use a baby sitter at all, even a relative. Balance your needs with
They're over the top. I think you're entirely justified to be concerned about your three
year old son's performance as ring bearer. It's entirely unpredictable, and managing
that would require your undivided attention, which won't be possible. I'm sure that
given six months, they can find someone else to carry the ring. Offer to provide some
other additional kind of support that can happen during 'off-hours.' Good luck!
Yikes - having to fly across country with a 2 month old baby? I
vote that you send your hubbie with your 3 year old, stay at
home, put up your feet up and send for really good take out with
the airfare you'll be saving. I went through the 3 year old ring
bearer (okay, he was five, but a YOUNG five)at a East Coast
wedding thing and while it was fun, it was a nail biter (even
worse, of course, was my 11 yr old drawing rude pictures in the
back of the church, but that's another story). Having #2 is hard
enough, much less traveling and a pressure situation (of course
the baby would probably sleep the entire wedding) - give yourself
a break and opt out. Let it be Daddy-son bonding time. But if
you're still unsure, buy Southwest tickets for yourself (don't
they go nonstop to Baltimore now? maybe check first, but you
don't need 6 hours of JetBlue cartoons), then you can opt out at
the last minute and still get full credit for another time. And
can be a gift to send your hubbie and 3 year old on an
earlier/different flight anyway - having 3 kids myself, it can be
easier this way. Let them get all settled one day then pick YOU
up the next. But I still vote for staying (or opting out once the
baby comes)it's a lot to travel so far with a new little one!
I don't know how obligated you feel to attend this wedding, but
if I were you, I would consider not going and staying home with
the baby or both kids. I understand about not wanting kids at
weddings, but to invite one and not the other is rude (and I
agree that I'd be more worried about the behavior of the
toddler than the baby). My husband has attended weddings and
other events while I stayed at home with the kid, though,
granted, they weren't for such close family members. But I
think that it's understandable, since you'll have a newborn,
and traveling with kids can be difficult.
If you feel you must go, I would use your choice of babysitter
(if you go that route), or hang out with the baby near an exit
door so you can quickly escape if necessary. All eyes will be
on the bride and groom, so no one will notice anyway. You can
ask a relative to watch your son, if your husband is too busy
with best man duties.
First congratulations on your second. Your 3 yr old as ring
bearer will be precious but DO NOT let him hold the actual rings.
What ever they say just tie fake ones to the little pillow he
carries and send him down. You don't want to find out the hard
way that the church has vents leading to who knows where and it
ate the rings or your child thought it would be funny to hide
them some place and can't remember where (both true stories).
Other than that as the mom you need to tell the bride and groom
to get someone to watch your son if they want him in the wedding.
Your husband is the best man and will be occupied it is THEIR job
to ask your in-laws or whom ever to watch him so you can watch
your infant. This may be the true crux of your problem. The
couple probably expects you to watch your son after he has sped
down the aisle which is why they don't want you to bring the
infant. I could be wrong but I've been to and help plan many a
wedding. You also need to make your husband your advocate as it
is his brother (I am assuming he is on your side about bringing
the baby). Have your husband talk to his brother who can
hopefully communicate with his fiance your needs as well as her
feelings back to you. The baby is young enough and will most
likely sleep through or nurse through the affair especially if
they are being held. Either way you just step out if they start
crying or need to be changed. It would be a minimal disturbance.
We did not have children at our wedding because we had a very
large open fire, I couldn't take the risk, and everyone had
toddler age children but an infant would have been readily
welcomed. Maybe the bride is worried the new baby will steal
attention away from her, or spit up on her dress, or you'll make
her change its diaper, who knows. just be sure to address the
bride's concerns but also be sure someone reminds the bride this
is going to be HER family as well. You should definitely say you
will consider the sitter or a friend to watch the baby but they
should know that in all likely hood you will be bringing the baby
with you. It is stressful to HAVE TO pump. Maybe the bride is
really unfamiliar with infants at that age, be sure your husband
really communicates how hard it is to leave a baby with no
schedule who needs mom and dad all the time because they are
still REALLY little.
The only comfort I can offer is that we recently went to a
wedding, paid an arm and a leg to stay at the reception venue and
hired a concierge/hotel sitter. The sitter was amazing and my
kids loved her. She was with us for a bit at the reception then I
put the kids down upstairs and was back in no time. Having the
kids just upstairs also made it easy to slip away and get back
quickly. So the hotel sitter could be great but you need to do
what YOU are comfortable with. Another thing you need to figure
out is if this is a deal breaker for you guys. I know it's a
tough card to play but be very honest with yourselves and your
family situation to be and what your needs will be. Best out come
it might snap the bride and groom out of their funk. Try to focus
on the good, your new baby and your expanding family, to help you
not to get too bogged down resolving the problems. Best wishes!
For every formal occasion I attended pregnant and postpartum I
bought normal clothes and can still use them. Stretchy, Empire
Waist cuts are your best friends. Lots of cloth on the bottom for
flow and coverage of the middle. Stretch usually allows you to
nurse with almost any neckline. Even better if it has a cross
top, easy nursing. Online shopping is your best friend.
Wow, you're really being judgmental about their wedding plans.
If they want a lavish wedding, they have every right to have
one. Remember, the wedding day is all about them, even if you
would not to choose to have this type of wedding for yourself.
The easiest solution would be for you to stay home with the
kids and let your husband go by himself. You have a perfect
excuse; a newborn baby. If they really freak out about the
loss of their ring bearer, send your son with your husband.
I'm sure your husband is capable of taking care of your son
during the trip, and they would probably have a really good
It is pretty clear from your message that you don't want to go,
so don't. But don't try to make your husband miss his
brother's wedding. That would be selfish and awful. I'm sure
everyone would be much less stressed if you just sat this one
out. And stop talking about it every day - I bet your husband
is feeling pretty bad about something that should be a
celebration in his family. You should support him and drop the
If you do go, please decide to do so with an open heart and try
to figure out how to enjoy this lavish celebration.
Loves a party (especially a lavish one on someone else's dime)
I chuckled a bit when I read your post. During 10 years I
lived/worked in DC, I kept a suit and a floor length gown hanging
in the corner of my office -- never knew when an invite to a
White House reception or a black tie dinner was to be proffered.
That said - why don't you let your husband go to the wedding and
you stay home with the kids. This doesn't sound like a situation
that is going to be comfortable for you. You are six-months out
and have determined, rightly or wrongly, that the situation will
be miserable and the bride-to-be is a first cousin to Cruella
Deville. I find in my own life that I reap what I sow. If you
aren't open to enjoying the wedding now, I can guarantee it is
going to live down to every belief that you have of it. As the
cheesy posters say, 'attitude is everything.'
I traveled to 2 weddings when my eldest was 3 & 5 months old.
During the 1st wedding, I took her to the ceremony and headed
outside after a few minutes due to 'infant screaming at the top
of her lungs for no apparent reason' syndrome. I had already
scheduled a babysitter for the reception. The 2nd time, the
event was 'adults' only so I respected the wishes and left her
with a babysitter for ceremony/reception. During both
receptions, I checked in via phone and did pop over to nurse.
I had a blast at these weddings. I lean toward 'attachment
style' parenting, but I also love a good party and I love some
'me without my children' time.
If you do decide to go to the wedding, check Bloomingdale's.
Their sale rack on dresses saved my life. I never spent more
than $75. Don't stress about the season. Throw a shawl on if
need be. And answer every question about your dress with, 'I am
just so bored with black...you know how DC fashion is so
conservative.' Everyone will agree with you and it will probably
start a fun conversation. Also, thank Cruella's cousin
profusely, but find your own babysitter if it makes you more
Finally, keep in mind that you are about to have some new family.
When she is wandering around in sweats with vomit on her
shoulder, she may have a better understanding of you. At this
point, she probably has similar feelings for you as you have for
I believe ''Anne'' is going to owe you a BIG apology when the wedding is over and she
gets her sanity back. Or when she has a baby. I believe you are right on all accounts.
Yes, having a little newborn that you are nursing will be practically unnoticeable at
reception - you can wear the baby or have a infant seat next to you to allow it to
Yes, the 3 year old will probably be more trouble - the best would be to have a relative
be at the reception to help you. Is the reception at the hotel where you are staying?
That would be good because then you can make a quick plan of escape.
You know best as Mommy - she can get you a babysitter and try to control your
parenting, but it's not happening.
Mommy knows best
OMG, politely decline. or send just dad. I have to say that I was the last in my
family to have kids, and now that i do i feel just ridiculous about some of the things I
thought and expected from my relatives with small children. Stubborn to the core, no
one could have told me what it's really like to have kids, or to want to use a
style of parenting that is very intense the first few years, I had to just realize later
what an ass i was. luckily, i didn't do anything ghastly or get mad at anyone who
couldn't attend the far away wedding, etc. I'd do what you feel you comfortably can to
particpate in their happy event, and send your regrets for the rest. Maybe that means
dad and 3yr old go while mom and babe hang out at the hotel, or at home--you'll
know what you can handle. but don't bite off more than your family can chew. it will
be a regrettable disaster!
I'm only going to give you advice on the ring-bearer part of
this, because that is where I have actual experience. My son was
asked to be ring-bearer twice. The first time, he totally freaked
out and refused to do it when we got to the wedding. Our friends
were really cool about it, thankfully. The second time, I told
the couple (my brother and his wife to be) about our previous
experience. I told them that if it was crucial to have a
ring-bearer, they should ask someone else because I couldn't
guarantee that my son would do it. If it was more chill, then
we'd say yes and see how it went. They went with someone else,
which was totally fine with me. And my son. No hurt feelings. I
just wanted it all out in the open.
So, if you feel your son might freak at being some place so new
with all those strangers looking at him, you should let the
Lastly, I would not be very keen on leaving my 8 week old baby
with a stranger at a hotel. And you guys discuss this wedding
every day? No wonder you're going nuts!!!! You have my sympathy.
Congrats on your pregnancy! I have a 10wk old & we took her to
a wedding in Las Vegas at 6wks because our older son (5yo) was
the ringbearer. Long story short. She did great. She slept on
the flights (lot shorter then yours though) and she nursed
during the 20min ceremony. Having her during the reception was
fine too. She slept mostly and we went out to the hallway &
nursed when we needed too. My son on the other hand boycotted
his duties - not good! But what can you do? Kids are people
too, not puppets to do our bidding! My husband & I split
duties. I took the baby & he our son during the wedding. Maybe
you could do the same? Best man duties don't supercede daddy
duties. I'd reccomend a book or watching wedding videos to
prepare your son. far as the hotel, we got two beds & we each
slept with a kid. I brought a ''snuggle nest'' with us & it
worked well. Re: the dress. I bought a dress from motherhood
that I could nurse in. It was nice, comfortable & $30 though
not black tie fancy. The other thing that was really helpful
was our moby wrap. Having her in it made it all more
streamlined not carrying around a stroller & other baby stuff.
Finally, I'll just add that ''Anne'' made a request. A request
only you can decide if you can fulfill.
Ooooh! I feel your pain, having juggled two family weddings in
the last year with young children as flower girls, a baby, and
the crazy demands of the bride! My advice: be gracious and say
nothing about how insane this all is (brides really are crazy,
but your sister-in-law won't realize it unless/until she has kids
of her own.) Let the bride hire the hotel babysitter (maybe even
bring the babysitter with you to stand with the baby outside the
site of the ceremony). Go to the ceremony without the baby (most
are no more than 15 minutes these days.) Ask the photographer if
the family photo you need to be in can be done early on.
Depending on how the baby is doing, stop in for a few minutes at
the reception to give the bride your best wishes (of course, if
you're not going to stay for dinner, it would be best to make
that clear in advance -- I'm so sorry, but I'm going to need to
take little Johnny back to the hotel before dinner is served as
it will be past his bedtime and little peanut is too young to
take a bottle and needs to nurse every two hours). Leave as soon
as you need to leave, even if you're only there for a short
period of time -- she probably won't notice, and you have a great
excuse (your son was exhausted and the baby needed to nurse).
This will all work really well if your hotel is close to the
wedding -- you might even get to pop back in later.
Alternatively, since your baby will be only WEEKS old, use it as
a fabulous excuse to skip the whole thing -- send your husband
and son, and let grandma or someone else supervise the
ring-bearer duties. Most of these lavish weddings have
''handlers'' -- and your husband will probably be able to step in
if there's a problem. Don't create any drama, and smile!
Mother of the flower girl
It sounds from this post that you are not looking forward to
this wedding; however, it's family and so you're kind of
obligated to attend. Presumably family will be unavailable to
babysit for you since they will be at the wedding.
Here's what I did when my husband's best friend got married in
Spain: we went to the service and one of us (probably you will
have to) sat in the back where we could make an exit in case our
son got bored. We went to the reception and I ate a little, and
then I went up to the hotel room with our son and crashed. My
husband was fine staying at the reception by himself (since a
lot of his friends were there) and our friend was totally
understanding and o.k. with me leaving early.
Unless your husband can't be around his family by himself, you
can easily just leave with all the kids when you're ready. Put
them to bed and order room service. I can't imagine that anyone
would not understand.
Let the couple have their special day.
been there done that
What a shame. I hate this trend that weddings are super formal
events that can't include, embrace and welcome all the
messiness of families with children. It's selfish and goes
against the whole spirit of a wedding, which is a celebration
of family as much as two individual people. C'mon! Lighten up
people. I think ''David'' and his fiance are being downright
hostile to your family. Frankly, I don't think you and your
children should attend this wedding. You're not welcome there.
Your husband should do the best man thing alone and you should
pull out of the ring bearer agreement. You need to draw the
line and tell these rels your children are very important to
you, they can't be put in a closet because they might cry or
tolerated only because they look cute walking down the aisle.
Sorry, life doesn't work that way. Send a gift, warm wishes and
oh. my. goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, if you are going to have a 6-8 week old baby at the time and
that baby is not invited to the wedding? don't go. Just send your
husband. Your 3 year old should not go either, unless your
husband can handle the 3y/o on his own. 3 years old is too young
to be a very successful ring bearer, anyway. I'm serious!! It
is not your brother.
This may sound harsh but I think in the interest of YOUR mental
health, this is how it should go. First of all, if the baby is
NOT invited, then your 3 year old should NOT be invited either.
But you can't do anything about that, this is just a weird thing
they've chosen to do (in my opinion). You can approach the
subject in a very kind, matter of fact way. Just say that you
understand their wish to not have children at the event, that you
do not feel comfortable leaving a baby so young with a sitter,
and you are terribly sorry to miss the wedding but you will have
I'm thinking that saving your sanity, your plane ticket cost, etc
is worth it. Hey, if your husband goes by himself maybe he can
stay with relatives and not even need a hotel? cha-ching.
That's saving enough money right there that you can hire some
help while your DH is gone. Or maybe your parents can come visit
(if they are not in town?) during that time to see the precious
new baby and help you out.
I think that the bride and groom, once they have kids, will
really regret their decision to not invite the baby but WHATEVER.
They can do it how they want -- it's their wedding -- and you
need to make your own, healthy choices FOR YOU based on that.
Sending you a **big hug** as these situations in families are
momma bear, protecting my cubs
You have my sympathies! Your soon-to-be Sister-in-law clearly has
no idea what being a parent is about. Her actions sound
insensitive, although probably only from ignorance. So, what to
do? You have six months and the birth of your baby to get through
first. Try to stop thinking about the silly wedding every day!
Then, when the time comes, assuming you are up for attending the
wedding, go and do whatever you need to do to care for your kids.
If that means missing some of the ceremony and reception, so be
it. If you have to duck out to breastfeed or otherwise care for
your infant, have your husband do double duty as best man and
ring-bearer caretaker. This may not lead to the picture-perfect
fairy tale wedding that your sis-in-law has in mind, but that's life!
Do what you gotta do...
I would back away from all the planning and craziness and make
a very clear statement directly to your husband and to the
bride (no intermediaries): First, if you go to the ceremony
you will have the baby with you but will sit by the door in
case it gets even the tiniest bit fussy. You need to be there
in case there's an issue with your son. Second, you will not
be at the reception -- you're going to be at the hotel with
your son, the baby and the babysitter. When the kids are in
bed and asleep, you MAY be able to come to the reception, but
that is a maybe. The alternative is for you to stay home with
the two little ones and let your husband go alone.
There are two things going on here. Toddler in a wedding ceremony is risky at
best. New born babies don't do anything but sleep and eat.
1. Your soon-to-be sister in law can't control what a toddler does during a wedding
ceremony. She has to know going in that the toddler can have every good intention,
but what actually happens on the day is totally out of her control. 3 is very young
and many toddlers will feel intimidated by the audience as well as they are usually
experimenting with their rights to their own opinion. I had my two nephews as ring
bearers at my wedding one was 4 and one was six. They were so excited before
hand. At the actual moment when they were supposed to walk down the aisle, the 4
year old wouldn't go. It turned out that my brother in law had to walk with them.
For me that was fine and it created a cute family moment during the ceremony. My
wedding was also small and personal (only about 50 people). She just needs to
know that no matter what she does, it is really up to the toddler as to how it plays
2. Possibly the sister in law doesn't know the behaviors of a new born. I have
attended weddings when my fiends have brought their newborns and most people
didn't even realize that there was a baby in the room. They can sleep through most
noise and with relatives around you can utilize extra arms for holding. I think that if
you don't want to use a babysitter, you should just tell her that if you can't bring
the baby, you won't be attending. It is completely up to you. If you decide to
attend, ask around for loaner dresses from friends. I am sure you can find one.
Don't go! It sounds horrible. Why not send your husband and son
and you stay home and enjoy some precious quiet time with your
a fan of separate vacations
Hi, you are right, and ''Anne'' is wrong. Her expectations are unreasonable and rude.
She should not have booked the hotel sitter unless you ASKED her to. When my kids
were under 12 months, I never left them with a sitter because I breast-fed and
pumping didn't work for me. I'd tell David and Anne that YOU are the mother. If they
want your son to be the ringbearer, YOU need to be there to take care of him (unless
you trust another relative to be his caretaker and constant companion while your
husband is doing his Best Man duties.) You should be with the baby. If they don't
want you there with the baby, don't go. They are being completely unreasonable, not
letting a newborn stay with its mother! Ridiculous. If I were you, I'd find a relative
be in charge of your son. Then I'd promise to step out when the baby cries during the
ceremony. If that's not good enough for them, just skip the whole silly wedding. And
look forward to Anne and David having their first kid, and apologizing to you
profusely, and saying, ''Oh, NOW I get it!''
a Berkeley mom of 3
If there's anything that people have as many opinions about as
child-rearing, it's weddings :)
First, my opinion: it is incredibly rude to ask you to not bring
your (probably less than 2-month old) baby to a wedding when you
are a) family b) flying across the country to attend & c) they
are asking the rest of your family to be IN the wedding. I would
be furious if I were in your shoes, and, to be honest, might not
attend under those circumstances.
Second, my experience: My husband & I did go to a wedding in
Bend, OR when our son was 5 weeks old. We drove. I was a
bridesmaid & I carried my son down the aisle with me. My husband
took care of our son for about 2-3 hours before the wedding so I
could get dressed with the bride & he made sure he was tanked up
& changed before the ceremony.
This bride, however, sounds like the polar opposite of the one in
the wedding you're attending: the whole wedding was *totally*
family friendly & she told me she hoped I would carry my son in
the wedding & that at some point he would fuss & I would nurse
him :) He did actually fuss just a bit & then made a HUGE poop :)
I wish you all the best navigating this,
Bridezilla alert! Here's what your husband should tell his brother:
[Your name] and I are really looking forward to your wedding. I
am honored and excited to be by your side as your best man, and
we're both looking forward to welcoming [Bridezilla] into the
family. It's going to be beautiful occasion. We can tell
[Bridezilla] is working hard to make everything perfect. That's
why we're getting worried about the idea of [our son] being a
ring-bearer. I know he'd look really cute, and we are touched
that he was invited, but he will be barely 3 years old and I just
don't think he can be counted on to do what he's told in an
unknown environment with a bunch of strangers staring at him.
Chances are he'd bolt, or start crying. Plus he can't really sit
still very long, and we don't want him distracting from the
moment when the two of you are exchanging vows. So, we've talked
it over and we think it best for [your name] and the kids to skip
the ceremony and just come to the reception. At this point the
kids will be much less of a distraction, and we will feel much
more comfortable having them there with us, particularly the
baby, who needs to feed regularly. I know this is mainly an
adult event, but I'm sure everyone will understand that you made
an exception for your best man and his 8-week-old baby. That way
[your name] and the kids will be able to join in at least part of
the celebration, then head up to the room when it's bedtime. I
hope you understand. If for any reason this seems impossible to
you and [Bridezilla], then it would probably be best for [your
name] and the kids to stay home in CA.
If I were you, I would think seriously about simply not going to
the wedding or the reception. Maybe it would be best for your
husband to take the little ''ring bearer'' with him on the trip,
and for you to stay home for some one on one time with your
infant? It is a long flight for a new mom and a new baby.
I think the family is asking a lot of a family with a new little
one, and perhaps you have allowed the situation to become a
little unrealistic. Now is the time to address the issue squarely
with them, and just say that you realize you will be an exhausted
new mommy and that though you would LOVE to be there, the timing
is really unfortunate and that you simply cannot attend. This
avoids the situation where they have to ''make accommodations''
(and then feel self-righteous), and where you have to overextend
yourself (and then back out at the last minute, or crumple
I once flew all the way to the east coast alone with my 8 month
old daughter for my cousin's wedding, only to discover then that
I wouldn't be allowed into the ceremony with her (they had hired
a sitter and didn't tell me in advance)--I was appalled. At least
they have given you some warning, even though it doesn't seem
very kind of them to exclude your baby. Yours is not to judge,
however--but you do get to decide whether or not to attend.
I'm sorry you're in this spot--if I were you, i would think
seriously about staying home.
I was at my mom's, who is a wedding planner when I read your
1. no 3 yr old should be in a wedding. He may be excited, he
may do great in rehearsal but come time for this very formal
ceremony he will freeze, not perform as expected and all these
people will be waving at him to come down or someone will end
up walking him down or picking him up. Just happened at a
wedding I went to with the 3 yr old flower girl.
2. They don't want kids at the wedding but they want a 3 yr old
in the wedding. They can't have it both ways.
3. My suggestion, you and the kids stay home and your husband
4. If they aren't happy with that, then tell them your terms to
During my son's first 2 years all of our siblings married (4
weddings, 4 plane rides, 4 outfits)I was in 2 of the weddings
and I'm happy to say he was invited to all of them. The hardest
thing for me was to find a dress I could nurse in and also
stand up as my sister's best. Best of luck. And don't make this
consume your lives and the joy of the new baby. If they are
that nuts about ''how it looks'', they have lost the meaning of
the event, the celebration and gathering of family.
I think all your concerns are extremely valid. I would not bring
my toddler to a wedding that's not planned for the presence of
children. If you or they want to provide a baby sitter, let that
person watch both children - ring-bearer or not, the bride's
expectations sound unreasonable and belie inexperience with
children. If you feel more comfortable arranging your own baby
sitter, then get one. otherwise thank them for their generosity
and decline the invitation altogether (politely) you are the
mother and, in this case, you do know best.
Send your husband with or without your 3yo but tell the bride CANDIDLY that your 3yo
can't hang tough for an event such as this and MAY TAKE AWAY FROM HER BIG DAY,
she needs an older child. Send your husband a few days early so he can have the
bachelor party, pre- dinner thing and let him live while you nest at home. With the
money you are saving on airfare hire a sitter to help for a few hours for each of the
days he's gone or a housecleaner. Figure out what menus you will use to order out
from and put them by the phone-do a big grocery shop before your husband leaves
I was in a wedding with my seven week old infant and three year
old. We made it work but it did take a lot of effort. And that
was with no cross-country travel, and a couple who were super
welcoming of both kids. You will have a potentially very new baby
at that point and I would not allow anyone to be with my baby at
that age whom I didn't know, nor would I agree to being away from
my baby for the wedding. I'm not sure I understand the sentiment
of no-babies-at-weddings however, as I've never experienced that
kind of event. And baby will be the easy one, as you say, likely
sleeping away. However, if you are not already pumping and don't
want to spend half the event thinking about when to pump or if
the baby's taking a bottle, you should insist on having baby with
you. Our baby was held by friends and family for the evening,
which was lovely for all. The three year old will be much more
energy to keep up with. Our daughter was a flower girl when she
was two and didn't walk down the aisle - we could have predicted
that, as at that age she got overwhelmed by big groups and didn't
know the bridge or groom well. So you should consider the
relationships he has with these people, and his personality, and
be ok with the somewhat unpredictable nature of what might happen
(and so should the couple, or at least have some realistic
expectations of various outcomes). Things that helped us have a
smooth experience: renting a house for the weekend, so we had a
kitchen and a place for really ''relaxing'' in between events;
going into the event with both parents fully ''on'' - while I was
in the wedding party, I was still really engaged with both kids
but my partner did have to be with both through the ceremony
solo; having supportive friends. Perhaps identify a family member
or friend who can help hold the baby so you can focus on your
son, or vice versa when you need to nurse. I borrowed a dress
from a friend that wasn't nursing wear but was forgiving, so had
to nurse in the bathroom all evening, definitely a pain. Look (or
ask friends) in advance, as I didn't and it was stressful finding
the right outfit. We managed to make it work and have a great
weekend, but it took a lot of effort. You're right - it is a big
deal to do this, so please gently insist on the conditions that
will make it easiest for you as a family.
it might actually be fun!
Ah, what a complicated event! If it were me, I would:
1) Plan to miss the ceremony and stay with my baby. Leaving a
stranger with a nursing newborn sounds like a real pain, unless
this ceremony will be so meaningful to you that you would be
eternally heartbroken to have missed it (which sounds like it
might not be the case).
2) Push to attend the reception with baby. The baby will only be
about two months old then -- at this age they are very portable
and will sleep hours in a sling. While a crying baby would
certainly disrupt the ceremony, I don't think they would disrupt
a much noisier reception. And a two month old is much lower
impact than an eight month old or a toddler, as far as attending
adult events like this.
3) Line up a very responsible family member to be in charge of
your ring bearer during the ceremony -- grandma or auntie who can
really handle it -- and make sure your BIL and SIL truly
understand that three-year-olds are not likely to be very
reliable in this role, and that BIL and SIL won't freak out if it
As an alternative, you would be pretty justified in skipping the
whole event, given that it's a long trip to make with a young
baby. But in my experience that's an easy age to travel with
them, and presumably there will be lots of family there who will
be excited to meet the new arrival, and will hopefully help out.
It is their wedding, you are going to have to respect their wishes as this day IS about
them, be it ''lavish'' or not. Many weddings are not child friendly and the bride and
groom do not need to make apologies for it or need to accommodate for those with
children or infants. Honestly, I think Anne's gesture of booking a hotel sitter for
you was her intent of being considerate. Since you do not want an unknown sitter
(and I can completely understand your point of view), just cancel the service and
have a friend, maybe one of your family members that is not involved in the
wedding, come to D.C. and watch your newborn.
For what it's worth, I went to a few weddings after my son was born and only had to
pump every few hours and surprisingly was able to fit into my pre-pregnancy
clothes. Wait until after your baby is born and figure out something to wear. Please
don't give it a second of your time right now. I've also been in a wedding with a
newborn and a 2 year old toddler. Both of them were welcome at the wedding, but
it would have been a lot more easy (and fun) for me to spend the five hours with
them at a sitter's home!
There are so many other things that you can think about in the next six months.
Don't let this consume you.
Hi--your post brings up so much, so I can't comment on
everything, but here goes. Weddings are often over the top, so
you can't do anything about that. The over the top ones can be
really fun, too. Get a relative or friend to baby sit your
littlest one--they won't fight that...or have someone babysit
your little one AT the wedding sight and AT the reception. (I'm
wondering if your sister in law is worried about the baby
crying or the newborn eclipsing her wedding day--maybe both.)If
it's really over the top, your sister in law won't even notice
that the baby is there--she'll be too involved in the
celebration. In general, I have to say to have sympathy for the
bride's and groom's preference. It is really their day. They
get one wedding day and that's it. You get to spend lots of
bonding--''attachement parenting''--time with your baby. Do the
best you can, withing your comfort level, to make it smooth for
them. My husband and I had a big wedding, and we had a great
time. Our parents had the funds and it was a blast. We ended up
having kids at the wedding who weren't invited, and I could
have cared less they were there, when the time came. Before the
wedding, I would have protested. It's just what some brides do.
We have two kids now--by the way--and have been to weddings
where people are less than thrilled to have kids there--we
always tried to be as accomidating as possible--that goes a
This shows how
people focus on details that will ultimately not be important.
However, it is their choice to have such a wedding and they are
entitled to do what they want. By the same token, you are a few
years forward and you know what it's like to have kids..and how
much harder it is than to be a bride!.
I would think about how you'll feel at 6 weeks. I only have one
child and he was easy enough but my brother-in-law got married
when my son was 6 weeks old and i dreaded the whole event even
though it was casual. He ended up sick that day and we couldn't
attend (3rd wedding) and i was so relieved. I was tired, looked
awful and felt kind of out of my body. I would have gone had he
not be sick but he was 1hr car ride away. With a 3 year old you
don't know how he will be reacting to the birth and
arrival..you might be totally exhausted.
Only someone who has no kids would tell you it won't kill a
newborn to be watched by a random, unknown, hotel babysitter.
People spend a lot of time checking/approving of caregivers and
in particular with a newborn it is critical. It's not the same
to watch a 4 year old or a newborn. And it's simply beyond self-
centered to not allow a breastfeeding, 6 week old newborn to
stay with his mother.
Do what you have to do for your kids. I would just send my
husband and 3 years old. He will feel special for going and you
will get a break. That way there will be no stress for you.
I think you are more than generous for trying to make it to your
BIL's wedding, but is it worth the stress it's causing you during
your pregnancy? Or the strain it will put on you just after
you've had a baby? I for one, would never consider flying across
the country for a wedding 6-8 weeks after giving birth. My first
pregnancy ended in a c-section which was very difficult to
recover from. At 6 weeks I was just starting to feel like I was
able to go about my normal activities, aside from the complete
exhaustion and emotional rollercoaster I was still on. I hate to
plan for the worst, but so many things can happen with having a
new baby. There's no way to predict if a long plane ride, a
lavish party, or leaving your infant with a babysitter will feel
like something you can do. I still wouldn't leave my 16
month-old with a strange babysitter in a hotel room, much less an
infant. We're due in March with our second, and the only plan
we're making beyond that is getting some folks to come help us
and bring us meals. You should feel 100% confident expressing
that you want them to have the day they envision for themselves,
but unfortunately it's not something that will work for your
family. Take care of yourselves and your kids!
Send your husband to the wedding alone. You bow out. Can you manage a three year
old and newborn on your own for a few days? If not, get an out of town friend to be
-Steer clear of Bridezilla, Mama!
I know you have gotten a lot of advice, but I am hoping that you
will really take in a couple things:
(1) Please don't judge their choices for having a fancy
wedding. Its their day, and its their vision of making it
special. Try to see that they are just trying to make the day
magical in the way that they know how.
(2) The bride is very likely to not understand how her request
to not include your baby is impacting you. I know this from
experience -- we asked for our wedding to be childfree (and my
husband and I are miles away from ''bridezilla'' types). We just
wanted an adult event where we could all really TALK and focus
on each other. Our friends who had children told us how that
impacted them, and we changed our plan and invited the kids.
Now that we have kids, we have a fuller understanding of what it
meant to request that people not bring kids (and it feels
bizarre that we ever wanted to exclude kids). But we were
different people then, and we didn't understand (and I believe
that we were, and are, sensitive, loving, thoughtful people).
(3) Don't make this a fight -- try to change your hostile
stance. You don't need to ''put your foot down''. Give her the
benefit of the doubt. Trust that she will understand if you
explain to her --without judging her choices or desires -- the
impact on you of leaving your baby. Tell her you really want
her to have the day of her dreams, but that it would be very
difficult for you to leave the baby. Let her know that you have
thought of a solution: by promising the baby will not disrupt
the ceremony. Make sure that she understands that you really
care about her experience on that day. Her wedding day is
likely the most profound day that she will have ever
experienced -- and it will be until she has her first child.
Try to remember how important that day is, and come to her with
the spirit of someone who cares.
Treat her with the respect and understanding that you hope to receive
My niece is getting married in suburban New York in Sept.
Enthusiastic about attending another family wedding with our 3
and 5 year old girls (my husband's brother was married last year
and we and the girls had a ball at his wedding) and also about
visiting NYC where my husband and I lived for over a decade, we
made plans to attend - plane tickets, hotel reservations
(through Expedia so not refundable). Now we find out that the
children are not invited - via e-mail my sister indicated that
only older children were invited as it is an evening (6:15)
wedding. I replied to her and her daughter that we were looking
forward to attending the ceremony, but would be unable to attend
the reception as the children would be with us. My neice really
wants my husband and I to ''boogie'' with her and asked her mother
to line up a sitter. Well, my sister did that but indicated
that the children would be sequestered in the women's locker
room for the duration of the reception (clearly she does not
like little children!!).
My husband and I don't feel right about it and I can't promise
that they won't find a way to the reception - they love to
dance - which would clearly be disruptive to my sister. I am
leaning toward our previous plan of just going to the ceremony,
but I would also like to go the reception...
Any good ideas out there.
A Torn Mother/Sister
Been there, and it's a hard call. One thing to remember - it is
the BRIDE & GROOM's choice as to whether or not children (small
or ''older'') are to be included on the guestlist; it is YOUR
choice as to how to handle it.
In our case, my husband's brother-in-law was having a ''no kids''
wedding and reception. When my mother-in-law informed me of
this, I told her that of course I respected the couple's request,
but they had to understand that I would not be traveling 3000
miles to the wedding, just so our 5yearold and 21-month old could
spend the time with an unknown babysitter. They had to respect
our choice, as well.
As it turned out, my husband and 5 year old attended the wedding,
and the baby & I stayed home. (My MIL made a special request
that our 5yo attend, and the bride/groom agreed... As it turned
out, she was THE YOUNGEST attendee, but was *very* well behaved,
and everyone had a wonderful time.)
In the end, this was the best solution. You may be disappointed
at not ''boogie''ing with your niece, but you have to consider your
children and their feelings/situation.
We have hired sitters at/through the hotels we stayed at and that
worked fine for us. These kind of sitters generally bring toys
and games, and maybe your room will have a vcr and you can bring
a favorite video. Kids will be safe, you don't have to worry.
Before I had kids, I cound not understand why anyone would bring
their children to a wedding and I would be a little annoyed if a
child made even one peep during the ceremony.
But after I had kids, I viewed marriage as a ''life ritual'' that
of course children ought to be a part of. I mistakenly assumed
my children were always invited to anything I was invited to,
even if their names were not on the invitation! I thought it was
touching when a child injected a little noise into the ceremony,
(although I would stand with mine in the back and take them out
if they made noise.) But I thought it was inconsiderate of friends
and family members to have a wedding and not invite the kids,
considering how big a part of my life they were.
But when my kids got older, I began to appreciate the fun
of going to an adult party without the kids. After all, a lot of
weddings are really just big parties for grownups to have fun and
celebrate the marriage. I love going to a wedding where I get to
dress up, do a little dancing, etc. and how much fun am I going
to have if I have to spend the whole time keeping the baby out of
the cake? So now I only take the kids if they are explicitly
invited and it's the wedding of someone they are close to and it's
important for the bride/groom that they be there. Otherwise I
treat it as an adult party. I have been to weddings where even
though kids are invited, people leave theirs at home anyway so
they can have an adult day/evening out. Also it occurs to me
that a couple of really cute little girls in party dresses
might steal the thunder from the bride a little bit, so that
might be another reason to not bring them.
Therefore, I would say, use the sitter, go without the
kids and have fun! Do you have a cell phone or beeper so you can
tell them (or the sitter) to call if they need to talk to you
while you're at the reception? Line up some special activities
for them - maybe bring some new arts&crafts supplies or some
other activity they can do anywhere (even the women's locker
room.) They'll be fine.
It's too bad you had already made the arrangements for travel,
etc. What you didn't indicate on your question was, did she specify
''no children'' or ''11 year old children and up only'' on the wedding
invitation? If she did, well, oops... If she didn't, then
unfortunately she made a serious faux pas when it came to you and your
family, and other guests that might consider bringing young children.
Anyway, having just gone through the whole thing last year, I have to
admit that I, too, didn't want small children at my ceremony. It's not
because I don't love them - I do very much - but there are some events
that are just not appropriate for small children, and I felt that the
children wouldn't be comfortable, and the guests might not be
comfortable around them, either.
It sounds like you aren't angry with her, and that's good - I would
hate to see bad feelings like that spoil her wedding day. I guess the
thing to remember, now, is that this is her and her husband's day, and
to respect their wishes - without judgement - would be the best thing
for everyone. Getting a babysitter for the evening would be money
well-spent, and everyone will be more at ease.
Hope this helps...
Your sister probably doesn't *dislike* little children but has
just forgotten what they're really like. (At least, you can
tell yourself this, it might help.) Anyway, given that you plan
to make the trip regardless, I think your choices are (1) hire
your own babysitter, with some help from your sister or some
other local relation, who can keep the kids in your hotel room,
rather than in a locker room(!), (2) persuade your sister that a
locker room is inappropriate and get her to reserve a better
childcare room at the reception site -- and, in the same
conversation, get a sense of whether and how much your niece
would be upset by the kidlets showing up for a couple dances, or
(3) stick to your guns on just not attending the reception. Or
perhaps you go to the reception (or part of it, anyway) while
your husband stays with the kids. By the way, are your kids
capable of sitting quietly through the ceremony? Usually it's
actually the *ceremony* that people would prefer kids don't
attend, whereas nobody cares about a little extra noise and
activity at the reception -- or at least, not during the ''boogie-
ing'' part of it.
We also requested that no children attend our wedding. I have
a gigantic extended family and have been to many weddings with
small children. My experience is that they have a hard time
sitting through the whole dinner, toasts, etc. while waiting
for the fun stuff to start.
If you want your children to be able to share in the dancing,
which for a 6:15 wedding might not be until almost 10:00, maybe
you could work something out that includes letting them stay
with a sitter for the ''grown-up'' part of the wedding.
Maybe your sister envisioned being able to have a lot of fun
with you, and when your kids are there your attention is
I believe you should graciously accept the offer of a babysitter
for your two young children. The fact that they went out of
their way to secure a sitter for your children (in the midst of
planning a wedding) is testament to their character and desire
to have you and your husband part of the festivities. The fact
that the bride and groom do not desire small children (which
your children clearly are) is their choice. It's their wedding,
their celebration, their day/night. Would you take your kids to
a cocktail party?? It is not right for you to invoke the ''fact''
that your kids would have so much fun at the reception -- it's
not about them! and it's not about you! Accept with
graciousness the babysitter, and go and enjoy and celebrate your
Having an ''adult only'' wedding seems to be a growing trend. We
had to leave my sister-in-law's wedding early so I could get
back to my breastfeeding baby. I find the symbolism of
excluding children from wedding celebrations disturbing. My
bias stated, I think you should attend the reception, even if
you have to go without your husband and kids.
It was incredibly inconsiderate of your niece and her mother to
let you make reservations before explaining the policy about
kids -- that info should have been on the invitation. And
ideally, your niece would recognize the inconvenience she is
causing her guests, and relax the rules. At minimum, they
should help you find a suitable location for the sitter to watch
your children -- your hotel room? your sister's house? Any of
these solutions would be better than you having to attend alone,
and you could tell them so if you like, but it won't change the
fact that you WANT to be there. If you''d regret missing it,
then it's best not to stir things up now.
Just get a babysitter, and keep the kids at the hotel or
someone's house. Then your mom can attend the wedding,
and the kids can have a night with a sitter.
Sure, it's a drag, and you wish your sister were more
open-minded. But it will really be more fun for everyone if
you comply with the bride's wishes.
We took our kids (then 8 and 11) cross-country to their
cousin's wedding and were a bit miffed that they weren't
invited to the evening party, even though some other young
nephews were invited. They enjoyed the ceremony, were
babysat in the evening, and don't remember being excluded
at all. OK so I remember occasionally, but it's not big.
It sounds like you may have been so excited to go this wedding
that you didn't check to see if your kids would be included. I
hate to say this but, since they're your kids, it's your
responsibility, not the bride's or her mother's, to confirm
whether your kids were to be included in the festivities.
Especially if you made travel arrangements before the invitation
came (addressed to you and your husband and not ''The Jones
This is not a personal affront to you and your husband or to
your children. In fact, the bride and groom may be thinking
some parents would like a night out without their kids (many
parents at our wedding took the evening as an opportunity for a
romantic get away for the night). I also don't think the
decision has anything to do with anyone's feelings toward
children. Instead, it sounds like this is the arrangement that
works best for the bride and groom, and that's who this is all
about. If it was articulated to you that your kids would be
sequestered, please try to remember that wedding planning is
stressful and can make people act funny.
I say go, make the trip and use the sitter. Lining up the
sitter demonstrates how much your neice wants you there. If you
make the trip special and don't make a big deal about them not
being able to go, then the kids will be fine with it. In
addition, try to arrange some time with family members before
and after the wedding so the little ones can be with their
Incidentally, I struggled with the same issue a year ago when
planning my wedding. We wouldn't say no kids at all because my
husband has two daughters and because we LOVE kids. I asked my
2 1/2 year old neice to be my flower girl. She did and stole
the show. But guess what? After the ceremony, she went off
with the sitter, who also took my maid of honor's one year old
and 5 year old. No one worried about melt downs and the kids
had a good time. Have fun!
I read the first round of responses to this and didn't see what
was a big issue when I did not invite children to my wedding.
Cost. Hotels and other reception sites charge per head, whether
the head is 2 years old or 20. And the price per head is usually
at least $100, not counting alcohol. Your niece may just be
trying to keep the cost of her wedding to a level she and her
finace can afford, and you shouldn't be angry with her about
that. It's understandable.
Ettiquette dictates that a wedding invitation should list all
invitees. So if your chidren's names were not on the invitation,
they were not invited. I don't think you can fault your niece
for that. I have never seen a wedding invitation that says
explicitly ''no kids.'' I think THAT would be poor etiquette.
I'm a mom now and I generally don't plan to bring my child to
weddings. You can't depend on a child aged 3 to be quiet during
a ceremony, or hold still during a sit-down dinner. Perhaps the
child would enjoy the dancing, but my experience has been that
the music is generally too loud and the dance floor too crowded
for their safety.
Enjoy the grown-up only event as a grown-up and don't be mean to
the bride about your own dissatisfactions. It's not about you or
your kids, and she has enough to worry about.
I've been reading this thread with some amusement, as I'm
planning a wedding right now. We had a different problem -- kids
are not an issue, we love them and want them there -- but there
are some people who have acquired recent boyfriends or
girlfriends (or worse, just think they should bring a date). We
explictly invited the single friend, and many people have added
the uninvited person on the RSVP. It's not that we don't like
these people, they are just not people we are close to. Anyhow,
it's amazing how many people don't know how to read the
invitation. For one, it's a matter of cost and space. For
another, we want to include the people for whom our marriage is
important, and those who are important to our marriage. And yes,
this is our day, and we have planned it the way we want it. Try
explaining this to someone who has clearly already included an
adult who is a romantic interest!
Incidentally, I was surprised how many parents have volunteered
to leave their young ones at home in favor of a date night out.
A bride and groom who could care less about being upstaged!
I am SO surprised with the kind of advice you are receiving!
First of all, we are talking of a wedding, not a business
luncheon. It is a family gathering, because a new person gets
admitted to your family; two families get together to become one
extended family. There is no way children can be deliberately
Are we talking about inconvenience? Children making noises
during the ceremony? What about the elderly people with shaky
hands or relatives whose wheelchair makes unpleasant noises?
Would you exclude them too? A little girl stealing attention
from the bride? You people watch too much TV! It's not about
images, for heaven's sake - the meaning and beauty of a wedding
is way more profound than this.
It is just crazy to commercialize everything in the popular
culture. Children are not property or pets, and so it is
profoundly wrong to ever say ''no chilren allowed''. Not at a
family celebration! You don't make them a part of your family
life now, and you'll find yourself in a retirement place, not a
home when they make their choices later. They'll discard you
then just the same way you discard them now: because you
occasionally make unpleasant noises.
Now, I do not advocate mandatory participation of children in
all family weddings, but the chilren's parents are the only ones
qualified to make this choice regarding their children's
attendance. Simply because these children are part of them.
Don't think you can do it just because your children won't even
notice. They'll get the message all right. I was once excluded
from a big family event when I was a child. I did not understand
it at the time, but was deeply offended when I analysed the
situation a few years later. It's been hurting for 20 years now,
and I could never again relate to the person who initiated
this. . .
Your sister will still be your sister after all, did I mention?
She stands for her daughter's whims. But who will stand for your
It's your call!
I see that someone finally mentioned the cost of having children at a
wedding and wanted to chime in about that as well. We paid for our own
wedding. I got married relatively late in the game and nearly all of my
friends had kids of various ages already. We initially intended to include
them, but when we did the math, discovered that there were so many
that we simply couldn't afford it. We had to make the difficult decision to
not invite them, as it wouldn't have been fair to allow some, but not
others. As a side note, the children in our families were all relatively
grown and so that wasn't really an issue. We did have our two nieces
and one cousin, all in the younger set, as members of the wedding and
they did stay at the reception, but they were about 8 and 10 at the time.
Finally, I never assume that my daughter is invited to a wedding. The
invitation was just to my husband and me and that is what I always
check as that dictates who is invited. I would go with the idea of using a
sitter and you enjoying the wedding.
I hope it's not too late to add one more message to the
fascinating brew that is ''Children Not Invited to Family
Wedding.'' Roughly speaking, there seem to be two camps: couples
who want a more formal affair and those who prefer a family
celebration. I count myself among the latter, although I can
understand the point of view of the grown-ups-only crew. Both
are valid and if you're paying for it, you should get what you
want. Just remember (1) that family feeling is more important
than ego and (2) that important occasions don't have to
I was also very glad to see the remarks about guests who insist
on bringing their latest flames. (Long-time companions are a
different matter.) Weddings are not cocktail parties.
(Incidentally, for intelligent advice about weddings, see almost
any of Miss Manner's books: fascinating bedside stuff,
especially if you enjoy reading about the depths to which humans
can sink in their quest for ego gratification, status, and
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