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The definitive guide to babies at weddings

babies at weddings

Get ready for controversy: babies at weddings.

Your friendships are about to be tested.  If you’re prepared, you can minimize the damage.

I refer, of course, to that timeless issue of whether or not to let your friends bring their babies to your Maryland or Virginia wedding.

You face two scenarios when it comes to babies at weddings

SCENARIO #1:  The sweet little things alternate between cooing and napping during your ceremony.

SCENARIO #2:  The little monsters scream to high heaven throughout the wedding ceremony.  You have to ask the officiant to repeat the vows a second and a third time before you can hear them over the din.  All of this is captured by your wedding videographer.  Forever.  And we haven’t even gotten to the reception yet!

Whew!

Okay … scenario #1 is the likely outcome.  Scenario #2 seldom happens, meaning infrequently or almost never.

But sometimes it does.

Here’s what to do:  you know your friends with babies.  Are they reasonable when it comes to their kids?  If their baby/infant/toddler gets fussy during the ceremony, will they discreetly step out to avoid disrupting your event?  Or are they the type that believes the world revolves them, their needs, their convenience, and their kids, who by the way, can do no wrong?

If you expect scenario #1, invite away.  If  not, don’t.

If in doubt, simply remember that this is your day, not theirs.

Most people do view marriage as a community celebration

Many brides and grooms love inviting families, complete with their kids.  Wonderful.  But you don’t have to.

Some brides recognize unique situations.  For example, if guests make a trek in from out of town, it may be tough for them to find someone to come in for the weekend to watch the kid(s), especially if a mother is still nursing her baby.

If you’re willing to include children for these reasons, you might want to make arrangements for a side room with childcare in case your guests would rather park their kids than tend to them during either the ceremony or reception.

If you make the decision that you do not want children, do so with this understanding:

  1. It is perfectly just, moral, and practical.
  2. You may have a friend/family member ask for an exception.

When sending out invitations, simply address it to the person who is invited:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

or…

Bobbi-Jean Smith & Guest

If kids are welcome, you’ll simply address the invitation as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith & Family.

If babies and kids are not invited, inevitably, your friend, Bobbi-Jean, is going to give you a call with this request:

“Say … you wouldn’t mind if I brought little Clarabelle, would you?”

This is key:  know exactly what you want.  Have a prepared response rehearsed and ready to go.

If you’re willing to make exceptions, then life is simple.  You’ll use Response #1:

RESPONSE #1:  “For you, of course.  Little Clarabelle is such a lovely little doll.  Would you like me to make arrangements for a side room and child care to give you more flexibility during the ceremony and/or reception?”

If you really don’t want babies, infants, or children at your ceremony or reception, you’ll want to use something more along the lines of Response #2:

RESPONSE #2:  “You know, we really looked at this closely with our Wedding Planner.  She really encouraged us to keep the event adults only, and we’re taking her advice.  [But she had a great suggestion.  She said if any of our guests wanted to bring kids, we can make arrangements for a side room and provide a list of reputable child care providers for those parents interested in the service.  Would you like me to forward you the list?]”

If you really don’t want to mess with around with kids, only use the first two sentences above and lop off the section in brackets.

If you have a particularly persistent friend or family member, you know the type who begs:

“Pleeez … couldn’t you make a teeny weeny exception for my sweet little Clarabelle.  She won’t make a peep.  You’ll never know she was there.  Pleeez, pretty pleeeeez”…

… be strong.

Stand your ground.

Calmly and without apology, simply say:

“I understand, Bobbi-Jean, but the answer is no.  We have intentionally planned for an all-adult wedding celebration, and we’re going to stick with our plan.”

You may have a better way to say it.  If yes, think it through and be ready in case you’re put in the uncomfortable situation described above.

Remember, this is YOUR wedding.

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