I remember when I received the invite to my high school reunion, and immediately I knew the answer was no. In fact, it was a very, very emphatic no. But with “no kid” weddings, which are becoming more and more common, it’s a bit trickier to lay down a resounding decline at the first hint of “adults only” on the save the date card or invitation.
I don’t want to not be a part of a friend or family member’s epic, wonderful day, but I also don’t want to exclude my son (he’s awesome, he’s so fun and he loves to dance…the total wedding package!). Surely couples must realize they can create quite the conundrum when they lay down such a big stipulation for their nuptials? Essentially they are asking you to celebrate and revel in their union, and their creation of a family, but in the same breath telling you a member(s) of your immediate family, is not welcome.
I can see both sides (but as a parent, I obviously sway more to one side). The bottom line is that this is their day, and the couple can construct whatever kind of wedding they would like. They absolutely have the right to exclude children but then they also have to embrace the reactions and consequences. Some people will be hurt, some will be angry, some insulted. Others will seethe in silence. Ultimately, some will not come to celebrate without their kids. I mean, let’s not forget these invites are to a wedding where people come together to celebrate the everlasting love of a couple who might have kids one day! Ironic, right? Hey everyone! We’re going to celebrate our marriage and jumpstart our future together, which could include babies! But sorry, no babies or kids are allowed.
For couples, they want the day to be absolutely perfect, breath-taking, drama-free! Yay! So to them, that must possibly mean there can be no whiny, snotty, stinky, poopy, mess-making little ones running around. They perhaps fear little ones squealing and running up and down the aisle during the ceremony. I get it. Yet is that kind of behavior the norm? No. Does it happen every once in a while and is recorded and then shared all over social media? Yes. And on a side note, that’s how I believe “no kid” weddings have become more of a thing; it just takes one person to ruin it for everyone else, right? Reminds me of the token phrase, “This is why we can’t have nice things…” Because there truly was a time when weddings were celebrations for everyone; this latest trend has seemingly surfaced more prevalently over the past few years.
Anyways, I can also see how careful couples have to be with their wording on the invitations because they do recognize this is a sensitive situation: “We want you to enjoy this event without kids” or “Although we love your little ones, this is an adult-only affair.” But sheesh. I know the wording is not meant to offend, but I can’t help but shake my head and think, “I can have fun with my son! I can enjoy this event with him,” and I want to tease, “Do you really love our kids, and do you really realize what you are doing, because if you do, why are they not allowed?”
To some parents, having children excluded from a wedding is not just a rejection of them, but of their ability to parent their kids. I tend to side with the perspective that if you care about people enough to invite them to your wedding, if you trust them and value them and you want them there on your special day, then you should trust they care about you and will make the best decision regarding whether to bring their kids or not based on how they know their kids tend to behave. When couples demand “no kids,” even if it’s done with polite language, it is still taking away their guests’ judgment out of the equation; that can cause damage.
Some of these weddings are out-of-town as well, so when kids are excluded, parents are left to figure out the nightmare of logistics and finances on top of the cost of a sitter (which can be expensive) the wedding gift, travel expenses, the cost of a hotel, and don’t even get me started when they declare “no kids” and then also demand you wear ultra-formal attire. It’s like, are you kidding me? Now you’re telling me what I have to wear? In my opinion, when all of these factors are being dictated, it takes the fun out of the celebration. Isn’t this huge life event supposed to be about love? Union? Growth? Excitement about their future growing together (which for many often involves having children)? But it can become bogged down by seemingly “bougie” stipulations. This world has very much transformed at times into a “me, me, me” mentality; it would be nice to shift the focus back to celebrating the love together.
Yes, some kids (and adults) can behave badly and create chaos and smash cake in their mouths and slide their butts across the dance floor, but that’s all a part of it, right? Let the good times roll! Equally out there are the well-behaved kids who would also be a joy to have at a wedding, and they are learning etiquette, developing social skills, and continuing to make memories. After all, they will be adults one day, too.
Personally, I think it will only be a matter of time for couples to truly realize what they did by creating a “no kid” wedding. Perhaps one day they will be able to put themselves in the parents’ shoes if they have kids of their own, and when they receive an “adults only” invite and are put in a position to decide between going or not going to the wedding based on logistics, finances and their willingness or unwillingness to celebrate without the joys in their life: Their little ones. Maybe they won’t care, but my guess is they will…
By the way, it’s totally ok for those who do want to carve out some adult time and be kid-free at a wedding; that is not unhealthy, and I say good for you if it fits into your life! But there are also many who want to have their loved ones be a part of the special day, and it’s hurtful for their kids to be excluded, not to mention also logistically daunting.
Undeniably, couples have a right to sculpt and create their dream wedding day. The guests that want to come will come, and those who are in absolute support of the couple—but perhaps not happy about the stipulations–can politely decline. Sometimes being a parent involves saying no…and it’s not just to your kids. It doesn’t have to be rude, but just like the couple who invited you is doing what they believe is best for them, you have to do what is best for you and your family.
Either way, in the end, I think we can all agree that the thank-you note after the wedding can truly save the day, just kidding. Maybe.