11/9 {Ask Liz} Your Family & Everyone Else’s

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Break’s Over. Oy:

Photo by Up Imagery

Hi Liz,

I’m in need of some advice! I’m getting married next year and butting heads with my parents a bit on the guest list. One of my major concerns is my mom’s brother. Although he is an alcoholic and has sent time in rehab in the past, he still will drink at family parties from time to time and everyone looks the other way (which I’ve always disagreed with). I don’t have a relationship with him- due to him being in and out of rehab stints through most of my childhood and teen years- and would prefer he not be invited, but my mom was very offended when I suggested that he be left off of the guest list. Knowing that not inviting him is not an option, do you have any suggestions about how I could best handle this? My mom said that she would keep an eye on him throughout the night, but I don’t want her worrying about that and not enjoying the day. Do you have any suggestions on how to best handle this?


Hard to Say “Uncle”

Dear Hard,

If your mother is insisting that he comes, and you feel that there is no other alternative, then accept that she will be in charge of him. She’s not going to have a good time if he’s not there, and she’s fine with being responsible for him if he is. This is what she wants, so agree with her and keep moving. It’ll be okay. Or, at the very least, it will be an interesting story.

Uh-oh, looks like he’s about to blow…

Dear Liz:

My fiance and I are trying to figure out what to do about kids at the wedding.  At first, we agreed that the wedding and reception would be adults only but then we learned that my sister is expecting (!) and is due about 4 months before our wedding. We obviously want the baby at the wedding and, thought about making an exception to our “no kids” rule to allow for the baby but we’re concerned about the number of our guests with children feeling a bit slighted.  So, our new thought is to allow children to attend the wedding and then provide on site child care (with kids activities, movies, and kid friendly food) for the adult reception. We’re getting married at a very casual spot which gives us free reign of the entire property so we have areas that we can use as a “kids care” area and have spoken with a few nannies who would be available & up to the task (there will probably be about 8 kids).

My questions are more about logistics – first, is it OK if we let the kids come to cocktail hour and then go to the babysitters for the reception? My fiance likes this option (because our cocktail hour has lawn games and other fun things) but I’m concerned that the kids, once seeing the party, will be hard to get to leave the party and I’d like to avoid crying/tantrums. What do you see typically being done? Second, I’m having nightmares that a child will cry (or somehow be distracting) during our vows and that the parent won’t take them away from the ceremony.  Is this something I should not worry about – have you noticed that parents tend to take their crier outside or should I somehow politely remind people to take their child away if they begin to cry (if the latter – how to do that politely??).  Lastly, I’m concerned one couple won’t bring their child (who will be 8, so no where near “adult” in my mind) to the babysitter because they’ve flat out ignored “adult only” reception requests for other weddings.  How do we get everyone to use the service?

Ugh – I have to say, saying “no kids” was SO much easier!!


Rug Rat Regret

Dear Regret,

Don’t drive yourself nuts. I don’t think you have to invite everyone’s children if your sister can’t leave hers at home. She’s your sister, and the baby is family. You don’t have to spend all the extra time and money trying to accommodate everyone else, and have the kind of wedding you didn’t want in the first place.

BUT. If you do decide to provide childcare, make sure that the parents know that it’s available, and when. Usually, it’s either right after the ceremony or starting with the reception, and you should have the nannies round the kids up, so they know which child belongs to who, and they can talk to the parents personally. Make sure that the area that they are going to is accessible to the reception, because at some point, someone is going to need their Mommy, and vice versa!

P.S. Parents, if they are at all self-aware, will sit at the back or on the side, where they can exit quickly if their child starts crying. As with most matters of etiquette,however,  if they won’t do it automatically, they won’t do it if prompted. You can try, though – put it in the program.

Do you have a relative whose presence at your wedding is going to make you cringe? How are you managing the kids at your wedding? Let me know below!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith is the owner of Silver Charm Events, a wedding planning service in Los Angeles. She's also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of "DIY Your DOC: Do-it Yourself Wedding Day Coordination." Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.