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Natalia
Expert October 2020

Child Free Wedding?

Natalia, on October 8, 2019 at 9:04 AM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 19
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Edit: I am so sorry for the lengthy post!


Guys, I so desperately need advice. This is a topic that is stressing me out so much that I cannot sleep. With my anxiety being high naturally, this is not helping and I am considering medication.


So, our wedding is next year on Halloween. Originally, we were supposed to have it on the 30th, however the date was taken. I am SO adamant with having a child free wedding, and I have been from the start. My FH was always with whatever I choose. Meaning, he doesn't really want children there but also he might not mind it so much.

This is where the problem lies. My FH told me everyone is so excited about it being child free, they finally get a night off without their kids. Trick or Treat during the day and come to my wedding around 6:30pm or even 7:30pm for my ceremony (we are doing cocktail hour before the ceremony.)

My FMIL, the person I am very happy will become my family because I completely adore her, got a little drunk the other day and we started talking about the wedding. It is not a topic I so freely discuss because I am afraid people will judge my choices before they even see the entire thing played out.

She was telling me how upset my FHs first cousins would be if we did not invite their children. How they have something or other in their town where they all go together and whatever other bull she said that I tried to forget.

Long story short, she said that I invite them with their little children, or they show up, sans spouse, and will be miserable the entire time. With what sounded vaguely threatening when she said "They'll remember that." I think GREAT! No more Christmas or Thanksgiving because my decision will be forever judged.

If I invite 5 of their children, I have to invite the children of everyone else, which is the opposite of what I wanted! Those kids have other grandparents that are by no means coming to our wedding, and they can go out for candy before the wedding even starts. My FMIL and her kids, which are in the wedding party since they are adults, said they will look after them if they get rowdy. So, in my mind, it's no longer about everyone celebrating our day, but rather playing with children.

Maybe I am overthinking this too much, and I don't have anything against the kids, I truly enjoy them. However, I was always adamant with having a child free wedding, and I feel like I would be abandoning my entire principle if I allow this. I cannot simply invite their children without inviting the children of his other cousins, or my MOH and my family.

I simply did not appreciate any of what was said to me, basically handing me an ultimatum that if I don't invite their kids then they will be alone and miserable at my wedding.

What should I do? I would like to talk to them myself, but would my FMIL then get angry that I just didn't take her word for it? It is stressing me so much that I don't want this wedding anymore. Just elope and be done with it.

19 Comments

Latest activity by MrsHamm, on November 8, 2019 at 2:54 PM
  • Sarah
    VIP September 2019
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    I mean, I don’t think you should talk to them unless they approach you or your FH. I also don’t think you need to change your mind about having a child free wedding. You do, though, need to understand that having a child free wedding on a holiday that most children celebrate is bound to increase your declines from parents. I can tell you that no one in my social circle would attend a wedding on Halloween over trick or treating with their kids. Trick or treating in my town goes from 6-9 so I wouldn’t have time to take my kid out with her friends and then get ready for a wedding and leave her with a sitter.
    • Reply
  • Amber
    Master February 2020
    Amber ·
    • Flag

    You and your FH have already decided no kids, that's not for your FMIL to decide. If you make exceptions for these children, you're going to have even more people bitter about not bringing their children. I would put your foot down and explain that no children means no children, and even make it about your budget or venue space. Someone is always going to find SOMETHING to complain about. Stick to your guns, girl!

    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn Online ·
    • Flag

    I'm sure that going into wedding planning, you knew that having a kid free wedding was going to ruffle some feathers. Asking people to leave their kids on Halloween is undoubtedly going to cause some hard feelings, this shouldn't be a surprise. Maybe it's a regional thing, but in the areas that I'm aware of, trick or treating starts around 5:30 or 6 pm, so expecting people to attend your 6:30 pm child free wedding is obviously making them choose between trick or treating with their kids or attending the wedding. If you want no kids, you're going to have to be okay with some people declining your invitation. I also wouldn't approach someone about a problem that they haven't even mentioned to you yet. If and when it comes up, you can handle it then.

    • Reply
  • Mcskipper
    Master July 2018
    Mcskipper ·
    • Flag
    Don’t change your plans because of something FMIL said. Bot her wedding, not her choice. Bottom line is having a holiday wedding MAY affect attendance. There’s a good chance some parents may decide not to come as they want to spend the holiday with their children. But that’s OKAY (not everyone can ever come to everything anyway) and that is THEIR choice— neither you nor mil should be trying to make that choice for them, it’s one they make on their own when they evaluate their own priorities. It might mean some people don’t come but it DOESNT make you a bad person nor your choices bad choices. It just is what it is. My wedding was child free and not a big deal among the cousins (though not competing with another event), but there WAS ultimately someone who was unable to attend for this specific reason (my only no show at that!) and we’re both a little bummed he couldn’t make it but it is what it is and neither of us are *mad* at eachother about anything. Just “oh it’s too bad you missed out” — no big deal, no hard feelings, and it was a decision those guests made, not us (in that case they couldn’t get child care so the wife came and the husband stayed home with the kid). There are a few people that left early because of their kids too, I know. Again their choice and no hard feelings on either side, just is what it is, and you can’t please everyone and most people should be able to understand that. All you guys need to do is accept both sides (that some people may not attend).
    • Reply
  • Brandi
    Devoted July 2020
    Brandi ·
    • Flag
    First, I’m learning that the thought of eloping is a common thought every other day. Hang in there! Anyway, NO. Stick to your guns. You and FH decided no kids. It’s your day, that’s what you want and I’m sure you have a valid reason. It’s okay. People are particular about their kids. We get it. However, everything isn’t for kids. People make time for adult time when they want and you shouldn’t be forced to make that exception. Also, the threat or ultimatum is just a manipulation tactic (whether intentional or not). I wouldn’t worry too much about it because those who matter will attend and make a way for it to happen. I had to make my peace with the idea that some people won’t come to my wedding because of the kids policy. I want them there but I want my peace and the vision for my wedding more. You got this!
    • Reply
  • W-K
    Super October 2019
    W-K ·
    • Flag

    Having a child free wedding on the biggest "kid's" holiday is probably not going to go over well for some of your guests. I've lived a few places and trick or treat has always started at like 5ish and gone until 8pm. So, unless your area is really weird, you're hosting your wedding smack dab in the middle of trick or treat and other festivities. Given it's a Saturday it's probably going to be a big deal that year too. You don't typically trick or treat in the daytime.

    That being said, I wouldn't confront anyone about something that you heard second hand. Just be prepared that some people won't be able to make it.

    • Reply
  • M
    Expert September 2020
    Marcia ·
    • Flag
    Do not back down! It’s YOUR wedding. People can make alternative arrangements for their children or stay home. In my experience, they will make the arrangements.
    • Reply
  • Amy
    Dedicated November 2019
    Amy ·
    • Flag
    Very simple, no children. I made this same decision and believe me I have heard the water cooler conversations throughout certain family members and honestly I dont care anymore. You have to draw the line somewhere, and for me it was no kids under 16 as well as no cousins (I have 42!) Dont let a few bitter people ruin this exciting experience for you.
    • Reply
  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
    • Flag

    I don't see how it being a Halloween wedding should affect whether or not you invite kids. If a parent is going to be upset that the kids aren't invited because they are missing Trick or Treating with them, then they're still not going to be Trick or Treating with them if they are invited. And, the kids will be mad at you for inviting them to a boring old wedding when they could be out gathering candy. Either the parents are going to come to the wedding, with or without their children, or they aren't.

    And I have to disagree with OP... Christmas is the biggest "kids" holiday, not Halloween, in my opinion. Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • FutureMrsKC
    Master January 2019
    FutureMrsKC ·
    • Flag

    Having no kids is 100% your decision and is totally ok. We also had a child free wedding.

    However, trick or treating in most parts of America is around 6pm-9pm give or take. Your wedding will be right at the same time as that. Unless they do a "trunk or treat" or something similar its not likely that they will go during the day. It's also a Saturday. You had to go into planning knowing that parents will likely decline your wedding to celebrate a holiday with their kids, regardless if the kids are invited or not.

    Kids grow up fast and only trick or treat for so long before they are over it, I would pick trick or treating with my kids over a wedding, personally.

    I also would not approach anyone at all about your plans unless they come to you.

    • Reply
  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag

    Like with all things, you can certainly make whatever decision you want, but that doesn't mean there won't be consequences of your decision. For families we know with kids, Halloween is a BIG deal, so we wouldn't attend a Halloween wedding, with or without kids, unless you were a very close family member. Also, I'm not sure it's a bad thing your FMIL told you her concerns. Would you rather not know how things will likely play out (some cousins coming alone or declining) or that some extended family might be upset with your choices? The good news is, now you are more aware of the potential consequences of those choices. You can still make them, but with a better understanding of how they might impact your RSVPs, and possibly the relationships with family members longer-term. Just because people don't tell you things doesn't mean those issues won't have consequences. If it's that important to you, stick to your principles; you have that right, but other people also have a right to their reactions.

    • Reply
  • Cher Horowitz
    Master December 2019
    Cher Horowitz ·
    • Flag

    Unless the first cousins in question complain to you directly, I wouldn't budge for now. If they have an issue, they should be adults and be straightforward with you, in my opinion. Even then, I wouldn't budge on the kids-free decision

    • Reply
  • Christine
    Savvy October 2019
    Christine ·
    • Flag
    A child free or children included wedding is strictly a bride and groom preference. There is no right or wrong. I personally won’t attend a wedding that my children are not included in but I also hold no grudges or anger towards the bridal couple for making that decision.

    Our wedding did include children from the ages 2 on up and was still elegant. But again that was our personal choice. I had set up a u shaped area with crayons, pencils, paper & games to keep them busy and happy and throughout the night different children, teenagers and even adults did go over to play but no one stayed there and no one got stuck there.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with you wanting a child free wedding. It’s your day. Don’t let anyone bully you or force you into something you don’t want.

    the other issue with children at a wedding is that things tend to have to be flexible and willing to bend to what the children surprise you by doing it’s usually not what’s planned. If that’s upsetting or stressful than a wedding should absolutely be child free!!

    Remember that it’s your day......do what you want!! Good luck
    • Reply
  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
    • Flag

    People don't trick or treat during the day with their kids, unless it's at school or some kind of city hosted event. Everyone trick or treats when it gets dark, so 6 PM or later. I would assume pretty much all parents with kids won't be able to make it to the wedding unless they have older kids or a grandparent/friend is close to take their children instead. I would send out save the dates far in advance so people can plan and are aware of this. I agree, you shouldn't invite some kids and not others. But I don't think you should approach people about it before they have even said anything to you.

    • Reply
  • Fmv
    Super October 2020
    Fmv ·
    • Flag
    Dont change your plans just because your fmil said something! It is yours and fh decision. Stick with it. Will you get some declines? Im sure you will. But if a no kid wedding is what you want, then make it happen.
    If i had more guts i would i would have stuck to my guns and we would be having a kids free wedding as well. Unfortunately fh cousins and others are coming in from out of town. He made the point that if we didnt allow kids, those cousins wouldnt come since they live 5 hours away and wouldnt have child care due to everyone traveling to be at the wedding as well
    • Reply
  • Alejandra
    Super March 2019
    Alejandra ·
    • Flag

    My MIL made such a huge deal about our wedding being kid free when we first told her and how so many of the family members would be offended because we didn't include the kids. She told my husband that his step-sister might not go because she'd have to find a baby sitter that would take care of the kids until late so she can have fun. When we saw said step-sister and asked if she had received the invite she said yes and she was so excited to have a free night without the kids and had already made arrangements for them to stay with their dad.

    My MIL had put all this fear of being judged harshly because of the no-kid rule but it was for nothing because the parents that made arrangements to have their kids stay at home or with sitters did so without a problem in the world and were happy to have a fun night out with their significant other, family and friends!

    • Reply
  • Priscilla
    Just Said Yes January 2020
    Priscilla ·
    • Flag
    Me and my fiancé are also having a child-free wedding and deal with the drama and opinions almost everyday. It sucks and I understand where you are coming from. We just keep repeating ourselves that we want a no kid wedding 😭
    • Reply
  • Jill
    Jill ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Just curious why you woudn't attend a wedding that your kid's are not invited to. Let's say this person is a work colleague and has no relationship with your children.

    • Reply
  • MrsHamm
    Dedicated September 2019
    MrsHamm ·
    • Flag

    Don't talk to them about it unless you are approached. Keep it as a child free wedding. My wedding was 21+ (at a winery). If people decline because you won't allow kids, then they really didn't care about going in the first place. It's not that hard to find a sitter for the night.

    • Reply

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