Oh, Baby! You Are So Not Invited

by admin on May 23, 2012

After years of reading your blog, I come to you for advice on how to handle this situation.

My sister-in-law (my husband’s sister) is getting married in early fall. She has always been somewhat self-centered and narcissistic, but I have been able to distance myself so that it does not impact my family’s daily life. Also important to this story…my MIL has always had some sort of issue with my family, especially my mother. I am not sure if she views my mother as a threat but over the course of my five year marriage to my husband she has managed to snub my family on more than one occasion.

My husband and I have a three year-old daughter. My sister-in-law did not invite her to be a part of the wedding party. I understand, it is not my wedding and she does not need to have children in the wedding if she does not want to. My husband and I are both part of the bridal party and have asked my mother to help care for our daughter that day so we can be free to help the bride and groom. We received our invitation to the wedding yesterday. Our names were listed on the invite. Our daughter’s was not. I was confused as my MIL and SIL had been talking about how cute our daughter is going to look at the wedding, how much fun she is going to have at the wedding, etc. I was just about to call my husband to see if there had been a mistake when my phone rang. It was my mother. She had received an invitation to the WEDDING CEREMONY ONLY with her name and our daughter’ name listed. No reception invite. So basically they are inviting my mother to bring our daughter to the wedding to have a few pictures taken and then cart her away like a servant.

This irritates me for several reasons but here are the top two:

1.) If sister-in-law does not want children at the wedding, that is her decision and I am not going to argue with it. That being said, our daughter is not a prop and should not be used in a way that portrays her as one. She is not a flower arrangement being delivered for a photo shoot.

2.) It is beyond rude to invite someone (be they an adult or a child) to the wedding ceremony and not the reception.

So Ms. Jeanne, I ask you how do I handle this? I do not want my mother going to the wedding as she is obviously there as a means to having our daughter in the pictures. I am tempted to not have our daughter at the wedding at all thus eliminating this issue all together but am not sure if that would be overreacting? Both MIL and SIL are drama queens so not having our daughter there for pictures will cause much pouting and carrying on about how “I am making SIL’s Day all about our daughter”. I do not want that to happen. All I want to do is relay a subtle message that their behavior is rude and not acceptable.  0522-12

An invitation is not a summons to a wedding.   Your SIL has issued an invitation and it can be declined without a lot of fuss.   Just have your Mom return the RSVP card with her regrets that neither she nor her granddaughter can attend.   If your SIL or MIL turns on the drama upon discovering that the grandbaby photo prop will be missing, coolly and calmly ignore the drama.  You do not owe your SIL or MIL an explanation as to why your own mother has chosen to decline an invitation.  “She apparently has other plans that day”, is quite sufficient.   There may not be an RSVP card for your Mom to return and if so, she is quite free to not attend the ceremony if she chooses.

The only subtle message you can send is to allow them to experience the consequences of their actions.   If they want to subtly snub your mother and view the niece/granddaughter as a cute prop that wouldn’t be quite as cute at the reception,  your Mom holds the trump card of not facilitating them.

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Bint May 23, 2012 at 4:10 am

We didn’t invite children to our wedding and I think this is beyond cheeky! No children means no children, not ‘no children except in our cuuuuuuute photos’. Ooh. Using kids as a prop = out of order.

I wonder if they have invited anyone else’s children to the ceremony only. This is a poor idea, but if they haven’t, imagine how many guests they’d have annoyed with that! Leaving their own kids to find others were there!

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--Lia May 23, 2012 at 7:57 am

What are your mother’s feelings on this? She’s the one who has been invited to the wedding but not the reception.

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MellowedOne May 23, 2012 at 8:28 am

I see two options:

1. Admin’s – simply decline the invite
2. Ask them about this – if it were me the oddity of having my child on someone else’s invite would prompt an inquiry as to what the deal is. That ‘puts the ball in their court’, so to speak.

As regards OP’s comments on inviting people to wedding but not reception being rude…I disagree. I can easily picture a HC wanting friends to share in the joy of their wedding day, but by desire or necessity want a smaller, private reception.

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Powers May 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

No, no, no, no, no. You cannot tell someone that they are important enough to you to witness your wedding, but not important enough to expend hospitality on. If you want someone at your wedding, you owe them a measure of hospitality commensurate with the rest of your guests. Anything else is an A-list, B-list situation and extremely rude.

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Bint May 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

I missed that – inviting your child on a separate invitation to someone else? Major etiquette fail!

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Spuck May 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I think it is rude inviting someone to the ceremony and not the reception, but you can get away with inviting someone to the reception and not the ceremony. The ceremony it self are just traditions (religious or other wise) that go with signing the court document that says your legally married. The reception itself is a celebration. If you invite someone to the ceremony and the reception your in the situation at the little girl. Your there as a prop/witness to make the bride and groom’s day magical.

Its like inviting someone to a graduation, but not inviting them to a party or dinner after. Its rude.

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Allyne May 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Wow, I have such a different perspective! I do think it’s rude to only be invited to only “one-half” of the celebrations, but I think that the ceremony is absolutely the most important part. It’s not “just traditions” it IS the union — it’s the significant moment that is later celebrated.

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TM June 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Friends of mine wanted to keep the ceremony for themselves, immediate family and a few of their closest friends. That was fine with me. They’re very private people. I think the only way it would be awkward would be not inviting just a few people to a big ceremony. which would be odd. My friends did put an explanation in their reception invitation, so everyone understood.

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Kate May 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

My fiance and I are doing it this way. Our ceremony space only seats 55 people, but we have a list of about 80 for the reception. There are a few people that we know wouldn’t mind not attending the ceremony, but we’d love to have them at the reception. I was always told that this approach was okay, but saying yes ceremony, no reception was a bit rude.

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postalslave May 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Where I live it is culturally acceptable to invite someone to the ceremony and not the reception. It’s really not a big deal at all and no one feels “snubbed.”

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Sarah Jane May 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I think it’s insulting to invite someone to the wedding and not the reception. It’s like saying, “I know you’re oh-so-flattered to be able to watch us get married, so here’s your invitation to the ceremony…but you’re not really one of the friends we want to celebrate with at the reception. Please go home after the wedding.”

On the other hand, I think it’s okay to have a more private or intimate ceremony and invite more guests to the reception. You have the opportunity to be gracious, personal, and generous to your guests at the reception…there’s not much of that at a wedding.

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Jay May 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

How about inviting a married couple to both, but only inviting their young child to the ceremony?

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Agania July 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Agreed. My hubby and I only had space for a modest reception (75 bums on seats) and we didn’t want a big overblown expensive reception. That being said, hubby and I are involved in several community groups who were issued an open invite to attend the ceremony, along with all the church family. The church was packed. After the ceremony there was a big afternoon tea in the church hall. Lavishly catered by my MIL (and her friends). This allowed us to circulate and talk to all our guests. In our church it’s quite acceptable to be invited to a ceremony of someone you know but aren’t especially close to. I have been rent-a-crowd at many friends/acquaintenances wedding ceremonies.

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Kara May 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

I think that it depends on the culture as to whether it is rude or not to be invited to the ceremony only but not the reception.

My Mother’s church has a policy of “open ceremonies”, which means that if you are getting married in that church, then the ceremony is automatically open to the entire congregation and your wedding gets “posted” so that anyone who wants to come knows about it. The HC can’t limit who they invite to the ceremony.

However, the reception is not open to the whole church. The HC can set the guest list for their reception. (Even though they can’t really set it for the ceremony)

So I see no problem with a “come one, come all” ceremony and a small reception, as that is how I grew up.

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Gracie C. May 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Yes – but in that case the couple isn’t inviting everyone. Church is open, anyone can walk in. They are not sending invitations to all of those people and then excluding them from the reception. Those are people who attend the church and as parishioners are welcome to attend the service, but they are not invited guests.

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sv May 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

Agreed – your Mom should simply decline the invitation, no explainations required. If they call her or ask her about it, she can say whatever she likes.

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Angel May 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

I agree with the OP. I would NOT want my kids used as props for the big day. They should issue the invite for both ceremony and reception, then let the parents decide if they want to have the child at the reception or not. Nine times out of ten, if there is an opportunity for the kid to leave early, the parents will take advantage of it. When I got married almost 9 years ago, we invited kids of all the close relatives and they were invited to the ceremony and reception both. I too had my brother, SIL and their two kids (ages 1 and 2 at the time) all in the wedding, we had a great time choosing outfits for them. I couldn’t imagine NOT having them a part of the reception in some way. I think they stayed for about half the reception, got something to eat and then my SIL parents wisked them off for the evening, so my brother and SIL could have the rest of the evening to hang out.

I certainly wouldn’t blame your mom for declining the invite, they sound like jerks to me. Just wait until they have children and I’m sure they will be singing a different tune–my precious should be welcome EVERYWHERE! I can see not wanting random children at your wedding–friends of friends, co-workers kids, etc., but nieces and nephews are different. Just because they are little doesn’t mean they aren’t people too.

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Bint May 23, 2012 at 11:11 am

“Just wait until they have children and I’m sure they will be singing a different tune–my precious should be welcome EVERYWHERE!”

I trust you mean because they’re jerks. Not because they’re parents. I cannot stand people who have this attitude!

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Angel May 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm

yes, Bint, I meant because they are jerks. Not because they are parents. :)

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Ann May 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

Or, maybe a five-year-old girl would simply like to see her auntie a pretty wedding gown?

It sounds like there are a whole lot of drama queen/narcissists in this family, including the OP. How about stopping the insanity for the sake of the child? Or, does that sound like too much maturity to cope with?

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Miss Raven May 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

No. Wrong. A three year-old child will never, ever be able to comprehend why she has to sit through the ceremony (boring), pose for photos (really boring) and then get whisked away home while everyone else gets to go to a party. How horrible. She may get a brief thrill in regards to pretty dress, pretty flowers but come ON. The idea that OP should just let this obviously manipulative etiquette breach go FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN OMG is ludicrous.

OP sounds perplexed and hurt, not over-dramatic. The right thing to do “for the sake of the child” is to at least invite her to the reception, which she will enjoy. Not invite her to be a living statue at a ritual she’ll barely be able to sit through in the first place.

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Vrinda May 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm

What makes you think the original poster is a narcissist?

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gellchom May 23, 2012 at 11:23 am

I don’t know. I don’t think it is so terrible not to have toddlers at a wedding reception, especially if it is an evening cocktails and dinner dance type reception. Of course you could simply not invite children at all, but I don’t think it is so terrible to have them to the ceremony even if you aren’t inviting them to the reception.

The OP and several posters made the leap to calling this “using a child as a photo prop.” I think that that is an unwarranted and uncharitable characterization. That may be their motive. But it may not be. They may, for example, have decided that they wanted an adults only wedding, but they wanted — as a gesture to the OP and her husband, perhaps — somehow to include little Angela somehow because she is a niece, so they came up with this as a compromise. It may have backfired, but that doesn’t mean that their motives were evil.

At my son’s recent wedding, they ultimately decided to include the children at both the ceremony and the reception (as they were all from out of town and would be at the hotel for the weekend with their parents anyway). But I would have thought it was just fine if they had invited them to the ceremony only or neither. I had a babysitter at the hotel in case the parents wanted to send them upstairs to bed (the reception was at the hotel where they were staying).

The more insulting invite is to the OP’s mom. But I must admit that etiquette does permit inviting people to either the ceremony or the reception but not both. I wouldn’t do it in this case, myself, but there it is. But evidently they weren’t planning on inviting the OP’s mother to the wedding at all and were just too stupid to figure out that if they invited little Angela to the ceremony alone and didn’t invite her grandma at all, the OP and her husband and mother probably would have decided to do exactly this themselves!

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Garrett May 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Actually, etiquette does not permit invitations to the ceremony only. It does allow for reception-only invites, but not vice-versa. The non-invite for the mother is incredibly insulting, period. She is there as a caregiver only. Honestly, unless she was close to the in-laws (which doesn’t seem the case), I don’t understand why she would even want to go. Sounds like a good night to hang out with her grandchild and bond.

And the only way I could remotely see having the kid excluded from the reception is if it was some fancy formal dinner event. If it’s a typical reception, then there is no excuse. Of course, in the case of the fancy event, the kid should be excluded from all invites.

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Saucygirl May 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I agree that there is nothing wrong with not having toddlers at a reception. That said, the OP is the sil of the bride and groom, in the wedding party, and has discussed the wedding and her child being at the wedding numerous times. If bride and groom did not want ops daughter at the reception they should have told her in person, during one of these talks. Op should not find out via invites, but since she did, in my opinion she has the right to be annoyed, perplexed and leery of their motives

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Surianne May 24, 2012 at 11:31 am

Yes, this is how it was often done in my family — children invited to the ceremony, but an adult-only reception. I can’t think of anyone getting upset over it in my experience, and it had nothing to do with the children being used as props. Often there was a babysitter hired in the hotel area where the reception was, so that the cousins could all hang out together while the adults were downstairs at the reception.

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ArtK May 23, 2012 at 11:23 am

Unless there’s something left out of the post, I don’t see where the assumption that the daughter is only invited as a prop is justified. The daughter and grandmother are being invited to the ceremony and not the reception, which is rude, but there’s no evidence that it’s being done only so the daughter can be a prop in pictures.

To me, it’s more likely that the OP brought up the daughter going to the wedding first (“oh she’s so looking forward to it”) when the HC weren’t going to invite children at all. Now the HC are in a bad spot and have tried to find a compromise. I think that the antipathy between her MIL and her family is coloring the OP’s perceptions of this.

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AS May 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

In the post, the OP said that she arranged for her mother care for the daughter that the . Her MIL and SIL were saying how cute the daughter is going to be, and she probably didn’t say that her daughter is looking forward to it. Even if she did, the SIL should have have the spine to tell that it is adults only wedding.

Why would someone invite the daughter to the ceremony and photographs, and then tell her and her caretaker (OP’s mother in this case) to leave? Also, given that the SIL was saying how cute the girl would look, it might be that she wants her as a prop.

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MorganHorse May 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

I agree with MellowedOne: the first thing I would do is call and say something to effect of, “I’m afraid there has been a mistake; my daughter’s name was on my mother’s invitation. My mother will RSVP on her own, but I will RSVP for my immediate family.” If they don’t want your daughter there, then they simply need to say so. The way they did it was rude, presumptuous, and passive-aggressive, and should be addressed in a polite and direct way.

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--Lia May 23, 2012 at 11:45 am

When you accept an invitation to either a wedding or a wedding reception, does that mean you’ve volunteered to pose for pictures? Personally, I hate having to stop what I’m doing (dancing, congratulating,eating, talking) to take orders from a photographer. And believe me, they’re orders. It’s not just standing once and smiling. It’s posing with one person, posing with that group. It’s putting my arm around someone else. It’s trying again since someone’s eyes were a little closed. After that, it’s a redo because someone else’s expression wasn’t quite right. I feel like I’m working for the photographer and my comfort as a guest is secondary.

Which leads me to my evil thought. Naturally the admin is right and all your mother has to do is decline the invitation, but what if she accepted and then didn’t submit your daughter for photographs? What if she just declined to get the 3 year old all dressed up with instructions to be held by this person or that one or to do what that man with the camera says? After all, kids that age aren’t big on flashing lights or sitting still on command anyway. You can’t predict when they’ll cry. Toddlers look great in photos afterwards, but they’re not the easiest subjects.

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Martin8 May 23, 2012 at 11:50 am

They don’t want your mother as a guest, they want her as a chauffeur and childminder, so she should definately decline. If they complain they want your daughter there, say you’re happy to bring her with the two of you. They don’t get the right to make their own couples by pairing up grandmother and granddaughter.

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Margaret May 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

I disagree. Give them the benefit of the doubt. They may not want your daughter as a “prop”, but just to make sure that she and your mother know that they are welcome at part of the occasion. They were talking about “how much fun your daughter would have”. A wedding can be a family gathering time, even if the reception is adults-only. I usually to0k my children to the church (ready to remove toddlers quickly if needed) at family weddings, and let them mingle with the aunts and uncles and their cousins and greet everyone as well chatted afterward on the church steps. THEN they and their cousins would be handed them off to sitters and the adults had fun at the dinner-dances.

If they didn’t know of your arrangement, then I would say your mother was being snubbed. But this sounds more like, “Let’s include them for the appropriate part”. Would have been worse to not invite them at all. If your mother doesn’t want to dress up and take her, she can politely say no. Don’t escalate by getting miffed.

I’m sure your daughter is adorable, but what she adds to pictures is probably not the main thing on their minds.

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Martin8 May 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Also, perhaps your mother could feign misunderstanding their intentions. Something like
“I don’t know if you realised it, but you mistakenly included GD’s name on my invitation instead of her parents’ invitation. Although I unfortunately can’t make it, I know she’d love to attend with her mother and father”.

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June May 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I like this wording!

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Rebecca May 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I live in an area where, sadly, it has become a viable option to invite people to the ceremony and the dance, but not the dinner in between! All that says to me is “we want the church and dance floor to be full, we want you to give up an entire day to celebrate us, and we want you to bring us a present, but we can’t even be bothered to pay to give you a sandwich.”

Inviting people to parts of your big day and not the whole thing ALWAYS speaks volumes about what exactly you mean to them. Sometimes it’s as a cute face for pictures, sometimes it’s as a seat filler. Tacky.

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Spuck May 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Is it okay to invite people to a reception, but not the wedding itself, if the wedding itself is either a) simple singing at the court house or b) destination wedding on par with going to Vegas/Atlanta/Hawaii to be married at a volcano when it is only the bride and groom?

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Kimstu May 25, 2012 at 1:33 am

Absolutely. There is never anything wrong with having a separate wedding reception for a couple whose actual wedding ceremony either was held privately or took place in a different location.

In fact, as Miss Manners notes, “it has always been correct to invite more people to the reception than the ceremony” (http://books.google.com/books?id=Ju1XvqoMookC&pg=PA610)

But in that case, the invitations should be inviting the guests “to the wedding reception of” the couple, not “to the wedding of” the couple, so everyone will know what to expect and nobody will be disappointed that they didn’t see the actual solemnization of the marriage.

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JF May 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Honestly I would have my husband talk to his mother and sister about their rudeness at issuing an invitation to our child on another family’s invitation and then I would make it very clear my child would not be there regardless of the photo ops wanted.

my own inlaws had a hissy fit at my husband and I last year when my sister in law got married because we chose to ‘hire’ a babysitter at home and not have our child at sister in law’s wedding at all due to child’s age (child was seven months old). My mother in law was adamant SHE would walk down the aisle with my child and mind my child during the wedding as both my husband and I were in the wedding party. It would never have worked as my child would have screamed until she could get to me, but it doesn’t stop my mother in law and sister in law from complaining how we ruined the wedding.

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Shoegal May 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

There something here I don’t get – did you tell your SIL and MIL about having your mother watch your daughter during the wedding – hence the invitation? Otherwise, I would not think your mother would have been invited at all. So did you force your MIL to invite your mother to the wedding?? Or was inviting your mother just a given???

Sorry – it is very rude to invite some guests to the ceremony and others to the ceremony and reception. On those grounds alone your mother should decline the invitation. Since your daughter was not included on your invitation (and for goodness sake – who does that??!?!) – if your mother declines – a 3 yr old little girl couldn’t possibly go by herself. You don’t have to explain anything. If your mother doesn’t come – then obviously your daughter could not possibly attend.

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Sarah Jane May 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I agree with Shoegal. This is your family. It seems like they could have had an honest discussion with you about this. It could have started with something like, “I know that you and (Hubby) are going to be busy as members of the bridal party, but we were really hoping that Little One could witness the ceremony. How do you feel about that? How should we handle that?” They should have solicited your input on whether to include your daughter as well as your mother on the guest list. A little communication could have eliminated a lot of awkwardness.

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Cat May 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

It would be an unusual three year old child who enjoyed a wedding. They have short attention spans, get tired and cranky, and don’t always pose for a picture as directed.

I think I’d hire a babysitter, leave it up to Mom to decide if she wants to attend the wedding, and not worry about it. She’s your child and all you need to say is that she is too young to attend a wedding. Mom is old enough to make her own decisions.

I have been invited to weddings when a co-worker married, wanted to invite her co-workers, but could not affford to have us at the reception. I don’t care for receptions myself: too many drunks, loud music, silly speeches, and uncomfortable clothing. I attend them if it’s a close friend or a family member, but someone I see only at work, no thanks.

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MellowedOne May 24, 2012 at 7:50 am

Let me ask this…

Say you had friends getting married and they were following the ‘must invite to wedding and reception’ rule. Due to budget they were limited in who they could invite, so you didn’t make the list. Would you really be happier missing the wedding, knowing they at least followed ‘etiquette’??

I would always rather be there to see my friend get married, even if I knew I could not be invited to the reception.

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Jay May 24, 2012 at 11:07 am

This couple is the brother and sister-in-law of the bride. They are in the wedding party. The girl in question is the bride’s neice.

I don’t think a broad hypothetical like that covers the actual situation here. Would you disinvite your brother’s kid from your wedding by leaving her off the invitation? That seems like good etiquette in some way to you? Good family politics?

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MellowedOne May 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm

It’s not meant to cover the situation, it’s meant to cover the assertion by the OP (and others) that it is rude to invite someone to ceremony only.

I mean seriously, would a person really want to miss a friend’s (hopefully) once in a lifetime event for the sake of protocol? Is the ‘after party’ that important?

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Gracie C. May 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I understand what you’re saying, Mellowed One – I have also attended weddings unofficially in the past. I’ve had friends in the exact situation you describe where through casual conversation I was told it would be fine to crash the reception after dinner. That’s pretty common practice in my extended circle of friends. It’s also pretty common that upon being issued this very casual “invitation” to then attend the ceremony (having asked first to assure that there is room) and then go out to dinner elsewhere before joining up with the party later. However, I’ve never been sent a formal invitation to the ceremony and not a reception, and it still strikes me as tacky to do that.

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Jay May 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

No, they wouldn’t want to miss it, and they’d certainly attend just the ceremony if that’s the only thing they could do.

But it’s still rude to invite them to just the ceremony. In extreme situations, maybe that’s how it has to be, and the host apologizes a lot about it and the guest says, no no, it’s nothing, don’t worry about it, and that’s all great. But the reason why they’d have that conversation at all is because otherwise it would be rude.

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Kimstu May 25, 2012 at 2:27 am

The reason for the “must invite to reception if inviting to ceremony” rule isn’t “etiquette” in disparaging scare quotes, it’s etiquette in the genuine and crucial sense of treating other people with courtesy.

Namely, it’s VERY presumptuous to assume that if you don’t care enough about someone to offer them your hospitality and share your celebration with them, they should nonetheless still care enough about you to go out of their way to watch you recite your vows.

Yes, in such a case I would most certainly be happier missing the wedding. I could sympathize with my friends’ budget constraints and be understanding about getting left out, secure in the knowledge that my friends might not have much money but at least they’re not self-centered jerks.

Because make no mistake, in our etiquette culture, issuing one of those “I want you to go to the trouble and/or expense of being there for me at my wedding, but I don’t want to be bothered with the trouble and/or expense of including you among my actual guests” ceremony-only “invitations” absolutely shouts “I’m a self-centered jerk”.

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admin May 25, 2012 at 7:14 am

Kistu, Excellent observation on the reciprocal nature of courtesy.

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MellowedOne May 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I guess that’s where we differ, because I would be watching my friends as they promised themselves to each other for their entire lives, without a trace of indignation for not being invited to the reception. And yes, I speak from experience, having had done that and felt no need for the HC to extend any further courtesy than ask me to be present at their special day.

I couldn’t imagine attributing rudeness and presumptuousness to my friends.

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Lisa May 25, 2012 at 8:10 am

If they were following the rule, and its a case of budget, you downscale so that you can invite everyone. Can’t afford a three-course meal? – adjust the wedding so it happens at 2pm and have a cake and punch reception afterwards at 4pm. You have followed etiquette and had your friends.

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SEE July 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Yes, I would rather not have been invited at all than have them essentially say, “we want to have a big ceremony and lots of presents…that’s important to us, but we don’t want to actually spend money on you.” I don’t mind not getting invited, but I feel insulted when I am asked to spend money on a gift and time being a prop with no gracious return on the couple’s part.

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Sarah Jane May 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

I had a friend who couldn’t afford to invite everyone, so she only invited family. That was easy for me to understand. I wasn’t family, so I wasn’t invited. Neither were any of our other friends, and I wasn’t left why Invited Friend made the cut, and I didn’t.

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Mamabulldog May 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I absolutely agree that it is beyond rude to invite people to the ceremony and then not to the reception. My friend just did exactly that – she had a reception after the ceremony that only 160 of the over 400 people she invited to the wedding were invited to attend. I was absolutely horrified when she told me and am still shaking my head at her lack of etiquette. At the ceremony many people found out and were offended and now pictures are appearing on Facebook of the reception and people are offended that they weren’t invited and posting comments to that effect. My response is “Duh? What did you think was going to happen?”

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Jen May 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

My weddingis next month, we aren’t having any children under 12 ( I would have prefered under 15,but that leaves out one cousin). My future neices are not included in the wedding party, and if anyone is upset about that, no one has mentioned it. However. To appease my FH’s family, we are having the girls come to the ceremony and to take family photos. I gave their mother the option of if she wanted to do it – no hard feelings either way on my part. She is chosing to bring them, then her parents are taking them home. The girls are 4 and 1., I know how hard it is for children to sit still during church – I was a flower girl once.

If its so rude to not have them to the ceremony what should I have done? Invited kids to the reception and possibly been resentful that I had to? Or should I have not invited them to anything and had my in-laws be resentful that they didnt get to have their family photos done?

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Angel June 4, 2012 at 9:28 am

The difference between you and the OP’s situation is that you are telling them face to face. NOT having them find out through the invitation.

I still believe in issuing an invite to ceremony and reception and letting the parents sort out what they are going to do. 9 times out of 10 they opt to have someone take the kids home early. For nieces and nephews, especially if you will be having the parents in the wedding party, you have to suck it up. We’re not talking about random children here. I can understand not wanting children in your wedding party–particularly if you’re not close to them and then, maybe they would be like “props.”

Personally if I had my choice on where to invite children it sure as heck wouldn’t be to the ceremony, where they can make noise and move around. At a reception you’re expected to party and make noise. So technically, a more appropriate place for kids is the reception LOL

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MonkeysMommy May 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm

If your daughter wasn’t invited to be in the Wedding party, I doubt she was wanted as a “photo prop”. Most likely auntie just doesnt want kids at her reception, especially a toddler, who is likely to be quite cranky after sitting through a wedding. I didn’t have children under 9 at my wedding or reception and I stand by that choice.

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TM June 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm

The OP was quite clear that a “no kids” rule would be fine. It’s the ceremony-only invitation issued to the grandmother and grandchild (weird) that is at issue.

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Ccameron June 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I am having my wedding on Sept. 1, 2012, and children are not invited. However, I will be allwoing my flower girl and ring bearer to attend the reception. It is very rude to use children in your wedding and then uninvite them to the reception. That is why I did not use any children under 7 years of age.

On the other hand, I do not think that it is rude to have an open ceremony with an invitation-only reception. I am having a 100 guest private reception with only family and extremely close friends. The reason is because everyone from my church, job, and etc. wants to attend, but I can not afford to pay for 400 people to eat at my reception. I am not one of these little rich kids that has daddy to pay for the wedding. My father died many years ago, so my fiance’ and I are paying for our wedding on our own. The way I see it, is if people are offended because they are only invited to the ceremony, then they only want to come and eat. Thus, those people are welcome to not attend the ceremony.

I think that those of you who feel like it is rude to not invite all of the ceremony guests to the reception have the concept of the wedding completely wrong. The reception is nothing more than an elegant party with good food, cake, music, dancing, and beverages. The ceremony is the precious moment when two people vow before God, to share their lives together as one. It is an event that is so precious that you want to share it with all of your family members, friends, associates, and etc. The ceremony is the main event. Guests should be offended if they are not invited to the ceremony, not the reception. If one is truly happy for you and really cares about you, then they only care about the ceremony, not the dinner that is served afterwards. Only a selfish person would be offended by not being invited to the reception.

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TM June 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

Few people are rich, and few adults have their fathers paying for weddings anymore, so I’m not sure that either is really a factor. I also disagree about the “elegant” reception definition. Best reception I’ve been to was a cookout.

Either way, while I wouldn’t expect a reception invitation from a coworker, people are giving up their time, dressing up a bit and traveling (hey, even across a major city can be a headache), so making them feel welcome with some refreshments is – to me – a way of saying “thanks.” And the reception isn’t just about food, but about celebrating together. So I can see both sides here.

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Stacey Frith-Smith June 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm

This is a rather late posting of reply- but “Only a selfish person would be offended by not being invited to the reception.” That is the textbook definition of Bridezilla thinking. It is SO illogical that if examined in any other context it would immediately be seen for the selfish internal and external mantra/dialog it comprises. A sacred moment in time has meaning for others to the extent that they are in relationship to those celebrating or participating in it. How churlish to think that others so covet being in your presence that they are willing to forgo food, drink and the barest of courtesies extended towards them by you in order to do so. A guest is one whose honored presence you covet. It doesn’t matter the occasion at hand. You cannot covet a guest’s presence for the ceremony with any real degree of sincerity if you so disdain the idea of offering them food, drink and fellowship.

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not_betty July 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

It is rude to exclude people from part of the celebration, regardless of whether it’s the ceremony or the reception. Just because people want to attend, doesn’t mean they will get to. It’s up to you to decide who gets invited and people will get over it if they aren’t. By only inviting some to the ceremony, you are basically telling people they aren’t important enough for you to feed. There is a solution: cut back on how elaborate the reception is so that everyone can be included.

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christina December 9, 2013 at 1:36 am

i think you overlooked something major here. the wedding ceremony and reception are two different things. no ones carting your kid away like a servant. the reception is an adult affair. some choose to have kids allowed and some dont. however if its a reception at a professional wedding hall or venue i can gurentee you that the venue itself would not allow anyone uder drinking age to attend as it would violate the liquor license at the and most venues. that includes small children.
also remember that the wedding you are attending is a celebration of these two ppl. nor you and yours. so instead of acting selfish and put off with your tempertanrum, simply respect rhe fact that children are not allowed and find appropriate childcare as this event is not about you. as foryour mother not being invited. is it possible that they knew your mother was the one who would be watching your child and thats why they didnt inbite her past the ceremony? cuz thats what ut sounds like. either way its sn over reaction on your part.

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k2 July 10, 2014 at 8:57 am

Not sure where you got your information from, christina but I attended a number of weddings at “professional wedding hall(s) or venue(s)” well before I was anywhere near the legal drinking age and not once was I not allowed to attend, for fear of violating the liquor license. Unless perhaps licensing works differently where you live, most venues treat weddings and other large parties in the same manner as an all-ages event – those who want to drink must display a valid ID and the staff reserve the right to kick out anyone who gets caught drinking underage.

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