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Family & Relationships No, Your Kids Can *Not* Come to My Wedding

21:35  03 october  2018
21:35  03 october  2018 Source:   redbookmag.com

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When I imagined my wedding, I pictured a destination wedding that everyone and their plus-ones couldn't wait to get to - something European and chic, in a gothic church with al fresco photos on cobblestone streets. I also wanted a couple hundred guests. In Paris. Or Ireland. A place from where my fiancé and I could just jet off into the sunset afterwards and disappear on the continent for a few weeks.

For multiple reasons (like, reality), my fiancé and I ended up planning a state-side affair, but the sophistication remained. We're getting married on Saturday in New York City, at - IMO - one of the city's most stunning churches, followed by a reception at one of the world's top restaurants. A jazz quartet will serenade our guests with classics. The food and champagne will be French. Our palette is white on white on white (or ivory). The words I've used with countless vendors from my jeweler to my florist are, "Crisp. Elegant. Modern."

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One thing that definitely won't be at my wedding? Kids.

That's not to say I don't like kids. I have seven kids under the age of 15 in my extended family, and my fiancé has around 35 (!) kids on his side. And nearly half of our friends have one or more kids under the age of three. But neither of us loves being around children that much, and we knew as soon as we got engaged that those kids would definitely not be invited to our wedding.

Most of our friends have allowed kids at their weddings. But we're not having a wedding like most of our friends' weddings, which have been much larger, more casual events. Logistics aside, at the weddings with kids in the crowd, I've noticed that their parents can't really let loose, and they end up generally paying more attention to their children than to the bride and groom. At one of my relative's weddings, a badly-behaved nephew ran down the aisle during the ceremony, screamed and fussed at the reception, and forced his parents to leave early. I was embarrassed for the parents, who couldn't control their kid, but also for the bride. He totally spoiled the day - not just interrupting the couple's big moment, but also ruining the experience of all the guests he came in contact with. Call me selfish, but at my wedding, I want to be the center of attention.

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As my friends and I have gotten older, weddings have started to become the only time - or the first time in multiple years - that you're seeing your whole group of friends in one place. Having my college friend who lives across the country come to my wedding without her one-year-old means she gets to spend her time really hanging out with me and our friends - in a way she couldn't if her kid was around. At our age, weddings are a way for friends to get together when they can't for regular Sunday brunch; it becomes a reunion as much as a celebration, and I just don't feel like kids need to be a part of that.

Plus, I see it as a nice vacation for my friends who are parents - whether they're actually traveling and getting a weekend away from the kids, or just get to leave their child with a sitter for the night so they can enjoy some grown-up time (ahem, booze!). A wedding reception is for the guests to have fun, not to be on babysitter duty.

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When we told our guests that there were no kids allowed at the wedding, some people just decided not to come. For some, it was a tit-for-tat thing, like, "if you don't want my child there, you obviously don't want me there enough." (To them, I say, "If that's how you view our friendship, it's probably for the best you're not there.") For others, it was a matter of cost or convenience - not everyone has family, like grandparents, to step in for a night of babysitting or affordable childcare close at hand. And still others just couldn't grasp the concept of being separated from their progeny for 3-4 hours. (I feel sorry for those people. What are you going to do when your kid's in high school and wants nothing to do with you?!)

People tend to make assumptions, like, of course their kid will be going to the wedding, and when they find out they're wrong, they get defensive or offended, asking "well, what am I supposed to do with my child then?" That's not my problem. Some people push back, trying to get an exception to the rule by saying "oh, but my kid's so good, he'll sleep the whole time." I don't care.

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If you want kids at your wedding, fine. But my fiancé and I aren't even particularly fond of kids; why would we have them at our wedding?

My wedding is in a major city, at a small, extremely formal restaurant with fancy food and a seriously high price tag. Of course I'm not going to have any extraneous guests who aren't going to eat the food, who wouldn't appreciate the experience, and who might cause other people to not enjoy their experience. And I want everyone - especially me and my fiancé! - to enjoy our wedding day.

Here's what it comes down to: The bride and groom made a decision, and you need to respect that. A wedding is a day that every bride and groom should be able to make as unique and personalized to them as possible, and society accepts (and encourages! Just look at Pinterest!) that. Why should the guest list be any different?

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