Babies have a knack for bringing families together, but they can also create new friction in close relationships that weren’t there before. One exasperated mom found herself in an awkward situation upon realizing her breastfeeding baby was not welcome at a family wedding.
The frustrated mom writes,
“My cousin invited us to his wedding in Australia with 12 months notice. Sent us an email with the date no further info. My daughter is 5 months old. So my family said we would attend and we bought the flights.
I chased for the actual invitation about 100 times and eventually it arrived 3 weeks before we flew. The invite said no children. I flagged that they really should have mentioned this before I bought the flight.
When we got to Australia my family mentioned maybe I could hire a babysitter, I researched online but couldn’t find anyone (they live in the suburbs) Everyone I knew in Australia, was attending the wedding.
Am I being unreasonable to think its a joke they can’t make an exception for a breastfeed baby flying from England?
Don’t have kids at your wedding, no problem. Don’t make me spend £4,000 [$5,312] on flights and accommodation to be told that my baby can’t come.”
(Via Netmums Chat)
Other moms wrote back to weigh in on the wedding controversy.
“Oh, I’d be furious! He should have definitely mentioned no children when he knew you had a baby,” says Mel W. “I’d make the most of a fab holiday though,” she adds.
“If they didn’t give you adequate notice of this fact they can hardly object now can they?! I would just ignore it, to be honest, and take baby along. What else are you supposed to do now?” says Louise M.
“I would’ve blown my top if I was you, you are not being petty… and if you chased up the actual invitation several times with no reply within good time what do they expect? I would also take baby along. Sounds like a last minute request for no children to attend to me..” says Netmums user RedCherry.
Fiona G. agrees: “I’d be furious too. If couples don’t want children at their wedding that’s absolutely their prerogative but they need to make it clear in plenty of time for guests to make arrangements for childcare or decide not to go. Failing to mention this “minor detail” until you were committed to going is extremely thoughtless. You’ve gone to a lot of expense and trouble to get there – I don’t imagine flying that far with a baby is exactly a barrel of laughs – so they should be prepared to compromise. I don’t think many people would feel comfortable about leaving a baby that young with a complete stranger even if babysitters were easily available and I would imagine that even other guests who weren’t able to take their own children would accept that exceptions should be made in such circumstances.”
But Faye M. has a slightly different perspective. She says, “I understand the frustration that you must have, having spent £4,000 getting there. However, the warning signs were there. You chased the bride hundred times?! Can you imagine how stressed that must have made her? If she didn’t send the invites until 3 weeks beforehand, maybe she didn’t want you there? Perhaps they were strapped for cash and only realized it after they had sent out save the date cards? If I were you, I wouldn’t bother going and enjoy your holiday in Australia!”
So, is there an official wedding etiquette on inviting the kiddos? Here’s what contributors of Martha Stewart Weddings have to say:
- Whether or not you want kids at your wedding should be one of your first decisions, and needs to be communicated to your guests as soon as possible to avoid awkward misunderstandings
- “It may be more of a challenge to restrict children during a daytime or casual wedding without people feeling offended,” says Joyce Scardina Becker, a San Francisco-based wedding designer and planner.
- Karen Kaforey, a wedding planner in Nashville says if you’re hosting a destination wedding, it’s harder to not invite kids.
- Make a point to call your guests who are parents before you mail your invites to let them know whether their children are welcome or not.
- It’s commonplace to have an age limit for young guests to help prevent a rowdy reception.
- If you can’t avoid having the youngest members of your immediate family at your wedding, consider involving them as flower girls, ring bearers, ushers, or give them the responsibility of managing the guest book.
What would you have done if you were in this mom’s position?