Author Topic: Help...My husband won't go to his brother's wedding if our kids aren't invited!  (Read 25290 times)

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bloo

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There have been excellent replies to how the OP can approach hubby when the invite arrives but there seems to be some disagreement on the equality of adult-only wedding/reception=refusing to come because children can't that I'd like to comment on.

This is one area where I do not agree that they are equal.

IMO, for what it's worth, there is nothing wrong with having a child-free gathering. The HC can do this with absolutely no slant or message they're trying to send to parent-type guests. It can simply be to fulfill some personal vision of theirs.

But, to me, there is something wrong with someone refusing to attend solely for the reason that their children aren't invited. They're sending a message that the HC has no right to dictate their own guestlist. And they're willing to hurt their friend/relative for what would be no reason if the HC were just trying to fulfill some personal vision of what they want their ceremony/reception to be like.

I have declined to attend a few weddings and functions because my kids were not invited BUT only because - like SMRGirl - all the people I'd normally trust to baby sit my kids were going to the wedding, too. If we could manage it, either myself or my husband would sometimes go alone in those instances.

Supposition alert (since even OP doesn't know if the kids aren't invited): Now, OP's husband may have this dictatorial-guest attitude because deep down, he KNOWS his brother has something against his kids/parenting style. Maybe his brother really likes the OP and has noticed, in the past, that OP's husband doesn't lift a dingdangity finger to make sure they behave and wants OP to enjoy herself too. Maybe they want a late-night reception. Maybe they don't want anyone crying during the ceremony. Maybe by cutting kids from the list, they're able to add more adults they strongly desire to be there - it's a restaurant after all, not some giant hall so maybe they have a limited number to work with - whatever the reasons (which they're not required to share) it would not be wrong to have a child-free event.

bloo

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I have a DH like that, and here is how I handle him:

I would start hinting that I would really want to spend some quality time with him alone. It has been SO LONG since we had datenight, and we are SOOO preoccupied with the kids. I could REALLY do with a little US time. Go dancing, and to dinner...... but alas: there is not much time now, and ofcourse the money can be better spent otherwise......

As soon as the invitation drops in, he will remember that I really want some sort of date/adult time with him, and he will probably figure out that the wedding is just what the dr. called for. If he does not figure that out, I will make sure he hears it from me: "Ow! Wonderfull! This wedding is JUST the thing I have been looking forward to! No kids, dinner, dancing!"

I am not sure if it will still work in your situation, because you already have discussed the wedding.

This is good, assumes the best about the spouse and is very loving! :)

SpottedPony

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I don't understand, 'the boys will be hurt if they can't attend their Uncle's special day', reason for having them attend.  For boys of this age, it means getting dressed in their uncomfortable Sunday best, having to sit still and be quiet for an extended length of time for something they they don't really understand and don't find that interesting.  Then at the restaurant, they have to continue to be on their best behavior when possibly faced with unfamiliar foods.  The whole evening won't be much fun for either of them. 


Sharnita

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I have a DH like that, and here is how I handle him:

I would start hinting that I would really want to spend some quality time with him alone. It has been SO LONG since we had datenight, and we are SOOO preoccupied with the kids. I could REALLY do with a little US time. Go dancing, and to dinner...... but alas: there is not much time now, and ofcourse the money can be better spent otherwise......

As soon as the invitation drops in, he will remember that I really want some sort of date/adult time with him, and he will probably figure out that the wedding is just what the dr. called for. If he does not figure that out, I will make sure he hears it from me: "Ow! Wonderfull! This wedding is JUST the thing I have been looking forward to! No kids, dinner, dancing!"

I am not sure if it will still work in your situation, because you already have discussed the wedding.

But does a family wedding really fit that description? You aren't really alone, you are expected to make small talk with the other guests, you might have various other family duties, etc.it's kind of a weird situation where you have a date but it is not the same as other date situations because somebody else is in charge and there are a whole lot of other people on the date with you.

Spotted Pony, I think there are boys that age who love their relatives and want to be with them at family gatherings.  I also think you grossly underestimate the comprehension levels of an 8 and 12 year old boy if you think they are not capable of understanding a wedding.  If the HC doesn't want them there, fine.  BUt to dismiss the possibility that they might want to be there or be able to understand a wedding is insulting to a lot of kids.  My siblings and I all would have enjoyed a wedding and a nice restaurant at that age, my brother included. 

MariaE

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TBH I think not wanting to show up to your brother's wedding without your kids sends a heck of a lot stronger message than the brother/wife-to-be wanting a childfree wedding. The latter wouldn't even register in my family whereas the former would cause worry that a cut-direct was forthcoming (from the person who didn't show up on such feeble grounds. Everybody would assume there were bigger issues behind)

See, to me that seems so strange.  That you it could go one way but not the other.  To me it seems like a take but not give kind of approach/expectation.

It's because the two situations aren't remotely the same to me (or my family). Not going solely because you're upset your kids aren't invited (and not because lack of babysitting etc. is an issue) would be the nuclear reaction. This isn't just a random friend getting married - it's his brother. Assuming no other toxicity I have no understanding for the OP's husband's position.

Not inviting kids isn't even in the same ballpark. Chances are they'd be bored stiff anyway.
 
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Sharnita

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I guess my family has been blessed with kids who genuinely enjoy the company of their family, adults as well as other kids.  They also tend to enjoy getting dressed up and going out somewhere nice.  I find the assumption that they would be bored or wouldn't want to go kind if strange and almost insulting to the kids.  To be honest, it probably would have been a bigger thrill for us than for our parents because it felt more "special" to us.

LadyL

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As others have said, there's nothing wrong with a child-free wedding, especially if the setting is a restaurant that doesn't cater to kids and they don't want to have to worry about stuff like who can and can't be served alcohol.

There is something slightly off to me about extending the "social unit" designation to include one's children (the OP seems to object as well since she disagrees with her husband about them "taking the kids everywhere"). What about seeing an evening/R-rated movie showing, going to a rock concert, cocktail party, wine pairing 5 course dinner, couple's massage, etc.? Seems like a recipe for a serious lack of couples intimacy or an adult social life to me.

Firecat

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TBH I think not wanting to show up to your brother's wedding without your kids sends a heck of a lot stronger message than the brother/wife-to-be wanting a childfree wedding. The latter wouldn't even register in my family whereas the former would cause worry that a cut-direct was forthcoming (from the person who didn't show up on such feeble grounds. Everybody would assume there were bigger issues behind)

See, to me that seems so strange.  That you it could go one way but not the other.  To me it seems like a take but not give kind of approach/expectation.

It's because the two situations aren't remotely the same to me (or my family). Not going solely because you're upset your kids aren't invited (and not because lack of babysitting etc. is an issue) would be the nuclear reaction. This isn't just a random friend getting married - it's his brother. Assuming no other toxicity I have no understanding for the OP's husband's position.

Not inviting kids isn't even in the same ballpark. Chances are they'd be bored stiff anyway.

I think that whether or not the kids would enjoy attending is actually kind of irrelevant. When I was a kid, my parents made a point of teaching me that a) I wasn't going to be invited to everything, and b) some things were for adults, and that was a good thing. Did I feel hurt at not attending some events? Yes, of course I did, at the time. 

But the lesson here, imho, shouldn't be "mean old uncle doesn't want you to come to his wedding." It should be "I know you wanted to go to this, but some things are for grownups, and when you're grown up, you'll be able to do this cool stuff too." And then maybe try to arrange something fun for the boys, too - a sleepover, or maybe their favorite foods and videos and games with a babysitter at home. Whatever they'd enjoy.

Here's the thing: Invitations to a wedding are not a commentary on your children or your parenting. Most likely, it's simply that the couple wants to have a more adult-oriented event, and I don't see what's so horrible about that. Now, that said, traditions on this do vary between cultures, regions, between families, and even between siblings. And that's ok. It's not rude to invite children, and it's not rude to invite only adults.

I don't think it would be necessarily rude of the OP and her DH to choose not to attend...but I do think that it is, as a previous posted indicated, a fairly nuclear option. Especially since babysitting isn't an issue. If it is an issue, I can entirely sympathize with a person or couple choosing not to attend because childcare isn't available. But if it's not an issue, I do think that the parents should give the couple the benefit of assuming that the decision not to invite children isn't a personal slight.

camlan

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The kids might or might not want to attend the wedding. That really isn't the point.

One brother might decide to have a child-free wedding.

The other brother sees this as such an insult that he is wiling to risk his relationship with his brother by not attending the wedding.

If there aren't underlying issues, I think the brother getting married, and his fiance, have every right to decide who is on their guest list.

The OP's husband has decided, in advance of getting the invitation, that because his kids are part of the family and don't cause problems at other family functions they deserve to be invited to this wedding.

Of the two, I'd say the brother getting married has the stronger case. The OP's husband is making a lot of assumptions.

1) That all members of the extended family must be invited to the wedding.
2) That children are being excluded from the wedding.
3) That children are being excluded from the wedding due to their behavior.
4) That his children will behave properly at this wedding.

As a kid, I was invited to all the weddings on my mother's side of the family. All two of them. Because Mom's side of the family is about 8 people.

However, I didn't get invited to weddings on Dad's side of the family until I was 16. Mostly because Dad's side of the family is huge. A line had to be drawn somewhere to keep guest lists to a reasonable size. There were even weddings where my older brothers were invited and my younger siblings and I were not. My parents would ask the older brothers if they wanted to attend. They never did, and my parents went by themselves.

Would I, as a 12 or 14 year old girl, have liked to have gone to those weddings? Yes. Was I hurt that I wasn't invited? No. My parents were very good about explaining, very matter-of-factly, that not everyone gets invited to everything, and that someday, my turn would come. Does it bother me now that I was excluded? Not at all.

As a kid, so much of what I was allowed to do depended on how old I was. Taking out library books on my own card, where I could ride my bike, how late I could stay up, whether I could go out to restaurants with my parents, what chores I did at home, what extracurricular activities I could do. Getting invited to weddings was just one of a zillion things that my age factored into. I didn't feel alone or outcast from the family because of it.

The OP's husband has every right to boycott his brother's wedding. But making that choice, when it will probably be obvious that he could have easily attended the wedding if he choose, will affect not only his relationship with his brother and the brother's new wife, but most likely his relationship with their parents, and very likely with some other relatives as well. This is one of those cases where you *can* do something, but you might want to think long and hard about the results before you do.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Sharnita

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I totally agree that choosing not to agree should not be seen as a personal slight, I just think that choosing not to attend should be treated the same way. And I think the excuse that kids won't want to go might be a convenient out for some people.  I really don't get the premise that kids don't understand.  It's a wedding, not quantum physics. 

cheyne

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If the kids can understand a wedding, they can understand not being invited to a wedding.  Kids do NOT have to be invited to every event to ensure that they feel loved and accepted by their (extended) family.  Some families have child-free weddings, others have all-children-included weddings and neither means that the children in the family are loved more or less. 

Some families feel that formal occasions are for adults (or those nearing adulthood) only.  IMO when young children are included in formal events at least one parent of the couple is spending a huge amount of time corralling the kids and keeping them on their best behavior.  Even if the kids are well-behaved, the parent is a bit on edge waiting for the other shoe to drop.   

The hosts of any event have the right and responsibility to choose their guests.  Yes, the OP's DH can decline the invite.  Yes his declining will speak volumes to some family members. 

What about the OP?  She is half of this couple, the mother of these children, the one who "corrals" them at family functions.  Doesn't she get a say in what her family is doing?  She would like to attend sans children.  Why is the choice completely up to her DH?

Sharnita

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But then shouldn't the HC also be able to handle it if people, even family decline the invite?  I actually agree that people should accept not being invited, I just don't get how it wouldn't work the other way as well.  If the family shouldn't read into the invites then why should the HC read into the responses?  I do think the OP has a say.  I mentioned that she could go even if her DH wanted to stay home.

Firecat

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But then shouldn't the HC also be able to handle it if people, even family decline the invite?  I actually agree that people should accept not being invited, I just don't get how it wouldn't work the other way as well.  If the family shouldn't read into the invites then why should the HC read into the responses?  I do think the OP has a say.  I mentioned that she could go even if her DH wanted to stay home.

I've been thinking about this. My answer is that, at least in this case, the couple may or may not be trying to "send a message" by not inviting children to the wedding. And it's polite to assume that no offense is intended, particularly as the OP herself indicates that the venue isn't particularly child-friendly. But by declining the invitation, the OP's DH would very much be "sending a message." Which is passive-aggressive at the very least.

mbbored

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Tell your DH that his brother's decision not to have kids at his wedding isn't a slur against your sons - it's simply that he and his fiancee are trying to create a certain type of atmosphere for their reception.

Another thought occurred to me - you could point out that perhaps it's the fiancee (and not his brother) who is the driving force behind the "no children" rule. Point out that it's often the Bride who plans the wedding, and that many Grooms just want to keep their future wives happy! That might make him grudgingly agree to attend, if he thinks that his brother wasn't the instigator.

Finally, if your DH still refuses to attend, go by yourself if you want to.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend putting the blame on your future SIL. It doesn't seem fair to deliberately sink a relationship with one person to save another, and I don't care for the stereotype of the demanding bride and henpecked groom.

cheyne

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I apologize OP, as I didn't answer your question in my previous post.

I would choose a time when your DH is relaxed and the two of you are alone, to sit next to him and tell him, "I would really like to attend your brothers wedding without the boys whether they are invited or not.  I would like to spend time with you and family without having the distraction of tending to our children.  This would mean a lot to me."

If your DH starts in about BIL inviting the boys, I wouldn't reply to that.  I would repeat that it would mean a lot to you to go without the boys.  Stress your pleasure at the "couple" time and stress-free family time that you would like.  Even if your DH doesn't agree immediately, when the invite comes he will remember your desire and think about it before he declines the invite if your children aren't invited.