Many years ago, I hosted a small dinner party. I put a lot of effort into the dinner, set the table with my best crockery and glasses, and put on some nice music. Imagine my dismay when two extra people turned up without notice – the 18-month old and three year old daughters of one of the guests.
It was an adults’ dinner party, and suddenly, it had been turned into a crèche. I was furious. I didn’t want to spend my Saturday night with young kids, and I certainly didn’t want to share my soufflé and lobster bisque with them. (Okay, chicken and salad, but still…)
And so, when I am invited somewhere without my children, I absolutely understand. I would no more bring my kids to an adults’ dinner party than I would a pair of skunks, or the host’s ex-girlfriend. If I can’t find a babysitter, then I decline the invitation.
Here comes the kids
But what if the dinner party is a big event, like a wedding? Is it okay for a bride and groom to ban children and babies from their big day?
Well yes, it is. A bride and groom can do whatever they want for their own function. If they want to stipulate no kids, they can. If they want to insist that everyone wears purple, they should. If they want to serve only white foods, ditto (though they’d have to get pretty creative).
And it is okay for guests to get cross about that? No.
Personally, I enjoy having kids at a wedding. They bring a lovely energy to the occasion, and look super cute in their little formal clothes. But not everyone enjoys it, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with an adults’ only event.
And if leaving your kids is too hard for you, then you don’t have to attend. I quite like a night out away from my kids, and had a babysitter from the time they were tiny. But not everyone feels comfortable with a sitter, and not everyone can afford one. It’s simply a question of weighing up the importance of the wedding against the aversion to a sitter. If the former wins, you attend the celebration. If the latter wins, you stay at home.
And never feel that an ‘adults only’ wedding is an insult to your child. You may have the most beautiful, well-behaved kid in the entire world, but if the happy couple want to feel comfortable in a sea of adults and not watch their language/song lyrics/alcohol intake/sexy dance moves then it really isn’t personal.
Guests of honour
Perhaps the only exception is the newborn baby rule. Newborns aren’t even people yet; they are just squishy balls of cuteness who eat and sleep. They are tiny symbols of life and joy and should be encouraged everywhere.
But if that newborn cries, get it out of the room. And if it needs a new nappy, run. Kids may be forbidden, babies may be optional, but poo at a wedding is never okay.