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I Want to Bring My Kids to a Wedding

Photograph by Getty Images

Dear Catherine,

This isn't a question about child-raising, per se, but it is about children at adult functions. It's wedding season, and we have happily been invited to two different weddings this summer. While we're absolutely thrilled to celebrate both unions, one of them did not have the "You + Family" address. We're not dense enough to know that they just forgot we had kids. We know the kids are not on the guest list.

Since this wedding is out of town, and we don't know any babysitters in the Scottsdale area, what are we supposed to do? Not go? I'm going to bank on your answer and just tell my friends that I'm doing what "the French do" if that's OK. Please tell me.


Wedding Crashers

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Cher Crashers,

Your little wedding quandary had the needle on my French dial pointing dangerously close to “overload” for a second, but after calmly meditating on your problem, the answer is obvious: ditch the kids or don’t go.

In France, you will often see les enfants at wedding banquets, keeping it together through five courses of celebratory food and toasts. That’s France. The multigenerational thing is big there, and it’s lovely. But this is not there—nor is it your wedding. You must graciously and affably respect the wishes of your bride and groom, especially since you admit they are aware of the position this will put all of you in.

It would be a little awkward if you make your hosts explain their stance.

I know your pain and once viciously chafed when I was asked not to bring my very small daughter to a close friend’s wedding. My baby was so cute! So quiet! Why would she make this so hard on me? It was a destination wedding, to boot, so I’d have to go with a complete stranger if I hired a babysitter. Quel horreur!

Luckily, I’m allergic to confrontation, so I very grudgingly worked through all of the complications and found child care for my girl. The irony is that, ever since that night, I now not-so-secretly delight when the mailman bears a wedding invite banning children. I’m all: “My hands are tied, kids. I’ve got to get dressed up and go eat delicious food, party and dance with just daddy today. I’ll try to bring you some cake.”

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Anyway, there could be a number of reasons that your betrothed pals have gone the no-kid route, some of which—like the added cost of extra bodies (regardless of how little), politics (maybe there is a demon nephew in the mix, so everyone’s kid is taking the sword to keep it peaceful), or social (they just want to get waaaaaasted)—are not comfortably voiced, and it would be a little awkward if you make your hosts explain their stance. Chances are, they just want a kid-free vibe. And, really, who can blame them?

Have a French (or any nationality) parenting question for Catherine? Email her at mommecs@bermanbraun.com.

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