Dedicated March 2019

My kids not invited to sister in law’s wedding

Kenzie, on May 14, 2019 at 4:58 PM

Posted in Etiquette and Advice 64

Hello! I was married March 9th and had a gorgeous wedding. My sister in law got engaged last November. We just found out my kids (my husbands step children but very much like his own) aren’t invited to their wedding. The LAST thing I do is want to be THAT person and cause issues with what the bride...
Hello! I was married March 9th and had a gorgeous wedding. My sister in law got engaged last November. We just found out my kids (my husbands step children but very much like his own) aren’t invited to their wedding. The LAST thing I do is want to be THAT person and cause issues with what the bride wants because lawd knows they have enough going on. But we would be coming from California to Massachusetts, and would have to find childcare. Also this is her brother’s kids now... I just feel a little weird about it. If I can’t find child care I won’t even be able to go. My husband feels really weird about it too and when he found out was very hurt.
My husband and I also had a child-free wedding but we made an exception for close family (my niece and nephew and any of the bridesmaids that had children, along with infants in arms). I want to be respectful of their wishes of course but also can’t help but feel hurt. Maybe it’s my insecurity that my children will always just be the “step children” of my husband to them (they’ve never given me a reason to feel that way FYI), but idk. Should we bring it up? Try and find childcare the best we can and just suck it up? Originally we were going to stay longer just because visits with his family aren’t as frequent being so far apart but if we leave my little ones behind we will have to cut the trip much shorter, which is also fairly inconvenient for us as well (we’d have to basically just keep it to a weekend). Anyway. Would appreciate any feedback and thoughts before we communicate anything to the bride.


  • Mcskipper
    Master July 2018
    Mcskipper ·
    You only have a case if other children are invited. Otherwise, you have to appreciate the child-free wedding. I don’t think anyone deserves to be the exception to the rule, and ALL time on this forum we see this question from the opposite side (so and so asked if they could brings theirs as we’re close and they need to travel and the answer is always almost unanimously that you can’t make an exception for one person without offending someone else).

    Are there other older family children? My cousins who traveled debated bringing their kids , 2 siblings from about an 8 hour drive both debating. Not bringing nor asking to bring to our wedding but simply to travel with. The one with younger children originally planned to bring them AND bring the MIL who would take care of the kids during the wedding (they ultimately decided to leave the kiddos home [with the in laws]). The other cousin, with slightly older kids, didnt plan originally to bring them but then decided they wanted the kids around the rest of the weekend so brought them up— and in the meantime negotiated with another of our mutual cousins with older kids, to see if one of their kids might be willing to babysit . And so, one of my cousin’s kids babysat for the other cousin’s kids, and it worked out wonderfully . Everyone was happy (and no one asked me to bring a kid!). The kids don’t really know eachother, only kind of tangentially so it’s not like it was a super familiar situation / obvious answer. It was a teenage girl looking to make some cash, but also way more comfortable than random strangers — hence the question of other family children. Another cousin joined in on this, but most of them (we’re talking at least 20 kids) found alternative solutions and left their kids back home for the weekend

    If you ask the couple anything , it should be “do you have any local resources for childcare?” as opposed to “can we be the exception to the rule” . Everyone has a hard line on the guestlist somewhere.
  • J
    Dedicated July 2020
    Jaime ·

    I think they get to decide to have the wedding they want. As a non-parent, I take offense at this idea that I simply "don't get it." I will have some kids at my wedding (my nieces are extremely important to me and there was no question in my mind that they would be involved), but that was my decision. People who have kids make the decision to have them and all that goes along with it, which sometimes results invitations that don't include them. I think you are taking it personally because you feel there is some mark against them because they are your FH's "step" kids, but since they have not been treated any differently I think you need to work through that.

  • Sara
    Expert June 2019
    Sara ·

    I'm sorry you're going through this! I think ultimately it's up to the couple to invite or not invite children to the wedding, and guests must respect their wishes, but I also think that it's important to have a conversation about it and explore your childcare options in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

    We are not having any children at the wedding (with the exception of a brief appearance by an infant flower girl, who will leave with her grandparents during cocktail hour). I was on the fence about not inviting all children, but FH was adamant about it being an adult-only (age 15+) event. I personally followed up with each guest with children, because I didn't want any misunderstandings or secret stewing. Everyone understood for the most part- some people are hiring babysitters to stay home or at the hotel, one cousin is bringing her friend/ babysitter from VA to NY to stay at the hotel, and some people aren't coming. One cousin was angry, but it gave her the opportunity to vent her feelings to me, which again (to me) is better than quiet resentment. I offered to help her troubleshoot local sitter options, but it was a no-go. We ended up having a nice conversation and she was happy for the transparency (which was not the case with my sister's wedding, where the same cousin and my sister never talked and now feel strange around each other). I'd want my guests to talk to me and feel supported (within reason) but I recognize that this may not be the case for all brides.

  • Kelly
    VIP October 2020
    Kelly ·
    It's entirely child free, you yourself had a child free wedding you know better than to take it personally. I'd say suck it up and start looking for childcare now and maybe have your husband just let his sister know you can't make a big trip out of it. It happens.
  • N
    Beginner August 2019
    Nancy ·

    Your kids are 4 and 7....they're not newborns who need you constantly. They will be just fine with a babysitter for a few days. If you really cannot stand to be apart from your children, then send your regrets and don't go.

    And no, you cannot be the exception to the rule - that puts the couple in a really hard place because then EVERYONE thinks they are entitled to bring their kids. I'm sure they weighed the choice carefully and did what they felt was the best.

  • Ginger
    Dedicated June 2019
    Ginger ·
    View Quoted Comment
    I have 2 children. 10 and 13. I am still having a child free wedding. My children will be at the wedding, but they are the only 2 invited to the reception. We have our own reasons and completely understand if anyone cannot make it because of that. Honestly, I want an adult evening and I do not want to spend the night looking after other children. Not to mention the cost. Plus, it’s s good excuse to make it a date night or a weekend trip away, if possible.
  • Bridget
    VIP August 2019
    Bridget ·

    Since its all children and not just yours I really don't think you should be hurt by this. I know it may be difficult (my daughter is the "stepchild" as well) but I don't think Its anything personal. I would just do your best to find a sitter or see if maybe one can travel with you so that you can stay longer and still have child care while your there.

  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Standard is, if sent a save, or given advance info, or with invitations, they only say who is invited, not who is not. So kids not listed, they are not invited. You have had a wedding, and should know what is polite, not telling people no kids, simply addressing to parents. And they did put it on the website, but when there were no websites, people figured it out. It would be considers rude for them to call people and say, hey your kids are not invited. But you personally know that some people do not invite kids, even though you had some. You could have asked. You refer to non-parents as maybe not knowing how it is for those with kids. Well, I have 5 kids. And if not specifically told they were invited, I would have looked at the website, ir how the save of invitation were addressed. Or asked them on the phone. It does not seem the treated you differently than anyone else. Maybe the only one who sees your kids is different is you. And they simply see them as, in a category we ate mot inviting. Whether that is all kid, or kids under 10 , or kids they barely know ( true since yours have been far away.). I think you are perhaps over sensitive, or expecting special treatment because you made exceptions for close family kids. But you are not this bride or groom. Take the kids, get a sitter just during the wedding. And let the family out there get to know your children, in the days before and after the wedding. Staying home because you feel slighted, WILL set you off as, so and so's wife who makes no effort to get to know husbands family, or let them meet her kids. Wouldn't it be better long term if you went, and over several days, you and the kids had a chance for your husband to introduce you, and for people to sit around and get to know you and the kids? So they don't think you are the one keeping away?
  • Bride2020
    Devoted May 2020
    Bride2020 ·
    I would suggest reaching out and asking if she can recommend a sitter in her area to you for the day (as long as its well before her wedding, dont do it last minute) and if a lot of family is in the area she is getting married in it shouldn’t be hard to find a family memebers home for the kids to stay at with the sitter (or it could be at the sitters house). Then you can bring your kids on the trip, and extend your stay with family. Your kids wont care they arent at the wedding, and you will be able to enjoy the party without kids. Plus, in asking this, she might say “oh I totally forgot to tell you! Please just bring the kids, you’re family!” but you aren’t asking her to invite your kids. It also still gives you the option to not bring the kids if you want to save on plane tickets in the end, but you can still subtlety bring up your kids this way. It won’t matter if you don’t actually use the in town sitter and leave the kids at home. Though it might be cheaper and more enjoyable to pay for plane tickets and a sitter one night instead of a sitter for four or five days! This is better than asking if she is providing childcare or if your kids are invited, if either is true she will then let you know.
  • Bride2020
    Devoted May 2020
    Bride2020 ·
    View Quoted Comment
    I also agree with this, she would have been out of line to call you and tell you not to bring your kids.
  • Heather
    Devoted April 2020
    Heather ·

    If all kids are excluded I don't think you should feel like it's because they are your husband's stepchildren. If other kids are invited I would take that as a snub and I would pass or at least explain your feelings to her. But if it is strictly childfree, just be honest about what is going on with her and that you want to attend but it will be difficult otherwise and you don't want her to feel a certain way for you not attending. I understand not wanting to have to travel and find a babysitter out there that you don't know.

  • FutureMrsKC
    Master January 2019
    FutureMrsKC ·

    I think you are using this as a way to feel hurt over something that wasn't intended to hurt you.

    They are excluding all kids, not just yours, regardless of if you think your kids will always be seen as the step kids or not, this is a choice every couple makes when deciding the guest list.

    A website is also a great way to let people know info, it's why they are created in the first place.

    If you would have reached out to ask them about the kid thing, then yes they should tell you, but if they sent a save the date or invite specifically to you and your husband and not your kids, then that is them telling you.

    I think you are overreacting because of your insecurities over your kids relationship status with your husbands family. I'd not say anything to the bride/groom and either try to find the childcare to go or don't. Either way they are entitled to throw the party with the people they want there and if you can't make it I'm sure they will miss you but making exceptions for certain family opens a can of worms. All of my PA family was invited to my FL wedding and I did not invite kids regardless of the fact that many of my family members have kids. The ones who were able to make it did and the ones who couldn't didn't.

  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    View Quoted Comment
    "I think you are overreacting because of your insecurities over your kids relationship status with your husbands family". Yes. I posted yesterday. And in this morning's mail, I opened up 3 party invitations for 3 of my five kids, in an envelope to me. And the first thing my sister and a friend from the next town did was comment, that is not very nice, inviting Your kids but not your adopted kids. . . And after I corrected them, they are all my and hubby's kids. Including the ones we adopted. Yup, I'm sensitive about that. They both said, well, don't send your other kids who are invited! Either the "race thing" or because they are adopted, you should tell them off for excluding the 2 and inviting 3. . . And I had to tell them, take no offense where none is intended. . . Yes, from my coffee-klatch bunch, it looks bad. But, a family with a 4 year old having a Friday birthday and an eight year old with a Monday birthday. Are having a Saturday afternoon birthday party. 4 4year olds for the 4 year old. And 7 , 6-8 year olds , from the neighborhood and camp fire group, for the 7 year old's birthday. My twin 4 year olds and my 7 yr old fit, by age. And my 10 and 14 yr old don't. It has nothing to do with race. Or who is adopted. ... In fact, as my sister and friend know well, we adopted Inuit children, and I am half Inuit, half Saami. And my step sister, whom I call my sister, is ½ Inuit and ½ Saami. . But because our oldest 2 have darker complexions, they tend to be looked at as a different race than my sister and I. Who look more Saami. . . . . It really is a minefield. Because some people do treat some of my kids differently by their appearance, and pointedly refer to some as adopted and others as my kids, which I have, on this occasion , my two older kids are not invited for a perfectly innocent reason. . . But I can see where OP feels sensitive. I come from a family with 2 step brothers, a same age as me and a same age as older stepbrother, adopted cousins. And 4 younger sisters and brother. But all 9 of us, by adoption, have the same mother and father. And some look like Saami, and some look Inuit. Though we all have exactly the same % of each. But people treated us differently, even those if us biological siblings, by looks. And I. Am sure, being the mother of children where new husband is step father, makes it easy to be over sensitive. Because some people are perfectly nice and well intended, and others are nasty and show it. The rule I learned as a kid, was to make sure real malice was intended, before taking offense. Maybe not everyone's standard, but it has worked for me.
  • Martelle
    Devoted July 2019
    Martelle ·

    You don't have anyone in California that can watch the children for three days while you go out of town??!

  • Sashenka
    Beginner November 2019
    Sashenka ·
    View Quoted Comment
    My sentiments exactly
  • Deborah
    Dedicated February 2022
    Deborah ·
    Are other children coming and just your kids are excluded? Sorry if you answered that already but just adding my nickel to the dime without reading other comments. I’m battling now with a no kids wedding. Our budget just won’t afford all the kids in our family and we don’t want it to come down to picking and choosing who kids can come and who’s can’t. I’m even stuck with wondering who will watch my kids if all the people closest to us are at the wedding lol. But I’m definitely figuring it out. I’d check into childcare options for having someone babysit. If there won’t be any kids at all I’d see what everyone else is doing with their children and see if I can buddy up with someone and split the cost. I’ve been considering getting an place thru Airbnb near the venue for day of and I’m wondering if I can let that place be the “daycare”. Possibly have those with kids drop them there and hire a person or two (if it’s in my budget otherwise folks will have to pitch in).

    Sidenote: blending families can definitely be a challenge especially in the beginning try as hard as you can not to feel like your children are the odd ones out. I’ve had my children invited to things happening with my future husband’s family where some biological kids weren’t invited. Sometimes it’s not personal and sometimes it’s not because they aren’t genetically related. If you see a pattern going forward something should be said. Someone’s wishes for the wedding just isn’t the scenario to voice personal concerns. I hope it all works out for you guys.
  • Deborah
    Dedicated February 2022
    Deborah ·
    View Quoted Comment
    That’s a great alternative too
  • Madison
    Devoted April 2020
    Madison ·
    I just made a post about this because I can’t decide wether to invite kiddos or not. But that being said I think it wouldn’t hurt to ask her to provide child care and just explain to her that you want to go but won’t be able to unless you have a sitter. Another suggestion is to try a website like or sitter city and sitters will come to the hotel you are staying at and can watch the kiddos for the night.
  • Cheyenne
    Savvy September 2019
    Cheyenne ·
    I know for our wedding we decided no kids at all. Simply for cost perspective and we didn’t want anyone interrupted because of the kids. We made it a night away from children for all of the adults. Like we told our guests, if you can’t make it because of kids that’s okay, but we had to stand our ground on no kids. It’s our day and it’s what we wanted. We appreciated everyone respecting our decision. Even family members.
  • WifeyPoo
    Devoted July 2019
    WifeyPoo ·
    As a mother, I understand how you feel, but you shouldn't say anything to the bride. Instead, ask family in the area what they are doing for childcare and see if your kids can be included with the sitter they are using. Good luck!

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