How Do I Tell My Maid of Honor That Her Kid Is Banned from Our Wedding Weekend?


“No kids allowed” also means hers

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

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Q: My fiancé and I are getting married this August at a wonderful little bed and breakfast out in the country. It’s about an hour from the city I grew up in, a destination for many of our out-of-state guests, but not terribly inconvenient for our local friends and family. When starting to think about our guest list, we early on made the very difficult decision to not invite children to our nuptials. Being among the last in our friend group to marry, many of our loved ones have little ones that we adore, and the decision was not one easily made. Our reasons are varied—from concerns about safety of the venue, which has a pond and free ranging animals that could nip at little ones; to preference, we want an adults-only shindig; to practical, over twenty children under the age of three would overwhelm the guest list; to a simple, if selfish, desire to be the main focus of our wedding day.

For the most part, family and friends with children have been understanding and accepting of our decision, with one, very notable, exception. My matron of honor is my best friend of over half my life, a wonderful first-time mother, and the only member of “my side” of the wedding party. When my fiancé and I decided upon our no-children policy a year out from the wedding, when her son was a few months old, I told her as gently and kindly as I knew how, sharing our reasons and that while I think of her child as my nephew, we stood by no children, no exceptions. She shared her desire to not leave him for the wedding, stating that she planned on breastfeeding at the time of the wedding, which, as a nurse, I support, and know it’s much easier done when mom and baby are close to each other. At the time I hoped that, as he grew and she acclimated to being a mom, she would accept our decision and make plans for a babysitter for him for the day of the wedding. I guess you could say we left it then as an impasse—my hope for her to understand and accept, her belief that her son was the exception.

Since then, we have offered members of the wedding party rooms in the bed and breakfast for the night before and the night of the wedding, and she has stated that her son will be staying with her and her husband at the bed and breakfast. I see this as a slippery slope to him being there for the entirety of the wedding. I honestly do love this child as my own family, I revel in his milestones, I send baby clothes every month as he grows before my eyes over FaceTime, but I feel it’s incredibly unfair to make an exception for him and not for other friends and family with young children. As both my fiancé and I are members of very large families, we had to make very difficult decisions to have a guest list we were comfortable with and have had to turn down requests for older children and plus ones, both because of venue limitations and to stand by the policies we set for ourselves at the outset of wedding planning. I also feel fairly strongly about a fourteen-month-old sharing a house with the wedding party the night before and the night of the wedding, and this goes both ways: I don’t want to be woken up by or wake up a child. Other members of the wedding party are leaving their (equally young) children with family to take a childfree weekend.

I understand it’s a personal choice, and I don’t want to push her into something she is not comfortable doing in parenting her son, but I also, very selfishly, want to have her attention the day of my wedding, as I gave her mine the day of her own wedding. She is my best friend and we normally have amazing communication about difficult issues, but surrounding this… I feel like she isn’t hearing me. Any guidance would mean the world to me!

—Anonymous

A: Dear Anonymous,
It’s time to be super direct. Your last conversation was a little foggy and didn’t have a complete resolution. So, this time, be very clear. “You mentioned that your baby is coming overnight. Who’ll be watching him during the wedding? Like I mentioned before, we’re not having any kids join us for the wedding at all, at all.”

Notice, I didn’t say to tell her that she can’t bring him overnight. You’re allowed to have a kid-free wedding. But, you get six hours. You can’t dictate who your friend stays with, even if it is a cozy situation. You can’t demand that she leave her kid.

You also can’t really, practically expect “full attention.” From anyone. Even your bridal party. Like I’ve mentioned before, people are coming to celebrate you, they’re excited for you, but they have lives. You’ll get to be the focus, don’t worry. But not completely, and you probably wouldn’t really want that anyway (everyone staring at you and only you for six hours sounds pretty awkward, doesn’t it?).

In this specific instance, especially, your friend has other things to think about. She’s responsible for the well-being of another human, and that doesn’t change simply because she dropped him off at grandmom’s. Your other friends are leaving their kids home for the full weekend, and that’s awesome for them! But chances are they’ll also be texting the babysitter for a check-in, wondering aloud if they’ve fallen asleep, and scrolling through their phones to look at the same cute photos they’ve seen a billion times before (it’s an illness; we can’t control it).

Not only is all of that likely, but your friend is a source of nourishment for her kid. At fourteen months, meh, she might not be nursing very often, or she could be nursing several times a day. Either way, she’s still bodily and hormonally connected to her child. If she doesn’t bring the baby along overnight, she’ll probably still need to duck into a bathroom to pump (and probably during your wedding, too). She might have to leave at an exact time on the dot to relieve the sitter. She might have to step out to take a phone call when he takes a bad fall or won’t eat his peas. She forever has something crucial occupying a portion of her brainspace.

This is where our wedding visions butt up against reality. You’d like to just whisk your friend away and be her only concern for forty-eight hours, I understand that. But in real life, she’s a mom. You’ve gotta be willing to flex the ol’ vision. Everybody else in her life (am I projecting?) is expecting her to either be fully one hundred percent flat mom-person, or conversely to completely pretend she doesn’t have a kid. She’s a mom now, and that changes some things, but it doesn’t change her. She can still be there, be supportive as you prepare for the wedding, tear up with you as you recite your vows, pass you a champagne when it’s time to break it down to “Single Ladies.” And also dart off to the ladies room to express breastmilk. This new role doesn’t change who she is, but it does add a new layer. It’s better for you both, for your friendship as a whole, if you embrace that she’s still your friend, and she’s fully a mom. Make room for her new role. Don’t force her to segment her life, to segment herself.

Sometimes things fit into nice clean boxes. We can create black and white rules about “No kids at the wedding!” and mean it across the board, no exceptions. We can have a whole wedding weekend where everyone is lighthearted and carefree and goopy babies don’t exist. But most times, we need to deal with inconvenient reality. In this instance, the reality might be, “No kids at the wedding, except for this one baby that’s staying at the bed and breakfast where we’re staying because the mom is still breastfeeding and she’s really important to me.”

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTION, PLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED, ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS ARE ALSO ACCEPTED. (THOUGH IT REALLY MAKES OUR DAY WHEN YOU COME UP WITH A CLEVER SIGN-OFF!)

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.

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  • Amy March

    Wow. You want to insist she stay at the bed and breakfast and not bring her kid for the entire weekend? Wow.

    Totally fine to be really blunt and insistent that baby not come to the wedding. But you only get the wedding, not the whole surrounding time period.

    • BSM

      Yeah, really all I could get out was “wow,” too.

      • Amy March

        I mean, I can see how she gets there. “Baby can’t come to the wedding. “She refuses to acknowledge that.” “She’s bringing baby to the inn.” “Obvi she’s made no plan for the wedding, is just going to bring baby, and there will be nothing I can do to stop her.” “I need to keep this baby out of the inn.”

        But it’s a time when you need to reasssess the solution you’ve found.

        • BSM

          Oh yeah, I can understand how the lack of clarity around the previous conversation could lead to going down that rabbit hole and feeling anxious about the situation.

          I just feel like there’s a simple answer: straightforward conversation about what the plan is. Not: you need to leave your baby at home for the entire wedding weekend.

    • savannnah

      I can see the LW feeling like she’s getting the short end of the stick here, marrying later on in their friend group. When other people in her peer group were getting married, maybe no one had kids yet and could devote a whole weekend to a wedding- she states she did when her matron of honor got married. But thats’ just not the world shes living in now.

      • Amy March

        Yup. I frequently share that feeling! It sucks when you showed up in a certain way for your friends when they got married, and then you’re single forever, and then they all have babies and aren’t there for you in the same way when it’s your turn. But the solution for that feeling is wine, new friends, and internal rage, not refusing to acknowledge the reality of your best friend’s life!

        • z

          I get it, I really do. But people show up or don’t show up for their friends in all stages of life, for all kinds of reasons. I have declined or half-assed weddings because of the bar exam, other weddings, other travel plans, being broke… the list goes on. Yet it feels like this is always fine when the reason is anything *other* than parenting the children that my friends claim to love.

          • zana

            Perhaps there’s a time/frequency component to the children excuse that doesn’t exist for the other excuses? i.e., one might get through the bar exam a lot sooner than getting through raising a child to independence, etc. etc. So maybe it’s more of a longer term issue than some of the others mentioned?

          • savannnah

            I also think its about perspective. Personally to me, (currently childless) leaving a 14 month old with your parents while you are 45 min away for your best friends wedding seems like not a big sacrifice and my first instinct is judgmental- like as the bride, I’m not worth a small sacrifice. But that’s very much not how the real world works and for many parents being away from their small or not so small kids is a deal-breaker- and what works for some parents doesn’t work for others. It’s also inconsistent, some of my parent friends have left their kids with babysitters since they were weeks old, some who have 7 year old still haven’t gone a night without them- so it can sometimes feel like a preference, instead of just the way things are in that family.

          • Amy March

            Absolutely on it feeling like a preference.

          • Lmba

            Yep!

          • Eh

            This is something that is really hard for people to understand, especially because each parent (and child) does things differently. I went back to work when my daughter was 6 months old. I live in a place with 12 month Mat/Parental leave so my husband stayed home with my daughter, and I pumped while I was at work. Pumping isn’t fun so I didn’t want to have to pump extra just so someone else could watch her on the weekends/evenings so I could go out. On top of having to pump extra just so someone else could watch her, I would also have to pump while I was out (the first time we had a date night my daughter was 14 months old and I had to pump in the car). I volunteer one night a week so my husband has put our daughter to bed since she was 5 months old on that night. Until recently (she’s now 21 months), bedtime and sleep was rough those nights because it wasn’t her normal routine (most nights she was still awake when I would get home). My husband and I both occasionally travel for work and she has separation issues when she doesn’t see both of us in a day. It usually takes her a week to get over her separation issues. When my daughter was a year old she started daycare. She loves daycare – has no issue being dropped off at daycare. You would think it would be easier for her to be watched by other people because she goes to daycare – nope. She still screams when we leave her with other people and she asks for us a lot. Also, she only sleeps in her own bed. She rarely naps at daycare. When we visit my family overnight she has rough nights. When people watch her overnight they tell me it’s hard to get her to sleep and she wakes up a lot. So it might look like it should be easy for me to just drop my daughter off with a babysiter/family member but it’s really stressful. I am leaving my daughter with my dad and step-mum for two nights this month (friend’s bachelorette and her wedding). My father lives an hour from where I will be. I’m going to be distracted and worried about how she is doing the whole time.

          • Kara E

            Eh, I think we have similar children. At 14 months I could not have left my kid overnight without me. Leaving her
            for work was barely doable. From 6-11 months she basically didn’t eat if
            I wasn’t there. That kid was ATTACHED and intense. I didn’t stop
            pumping until around 14 months because she wouldn’t drink anything that
            wasn’t mama milk (we had a major party when the sitter got her to drink 2 ounces (of homogenized slow pasteurized) cows milk from a cup. We
            had to do a trip for my husband’s job when she was 14 months – we flew my
            mom in and she babysat for the evening things and I opted out of all
            the other events. My mom walked her to sleep in a stroller in the
            hallway of the super fancy hotel and then held her for hours, because it was the only way to get her to sleep without nursing her down. Even with daycare, she attached (stronglY!) to one teacher and if that teacher left the room, she would sob hysterically until she got back. And no naps. Thankfully, at 3.5, she’s much easier (or at least more reasonable).

          • Amy March

            Absolutely. And I think a piece of it, particularly with weddings, is jealousy. I wanted to be married 5 years ago, I want a three year old, you have all these wonderful things, and now you refuse to show up for me. And on the flip side it can very much feel like the only sacrifice that is recognized is leaving kids behind- the things people sacrifice with their jobs, personal connections, finances, to show up for people don’t always feel recognized.

          • G.

            Yep.

    • Emily

      It doesn’t necessarily sound to me like she “insisted” that her MOH stay at the b&b, in fact she says that they offered the wedding party to stay, and the friend accepted. And I think she makes a really fair point that inns are a little more intimate than hotels, and maybe the wedding party is going to be rowdy the night before and of the wedding (I know mine was). Also, maybe the kid usually gets up a 5:00am and that won’t work super great for a bunch of hung-over other people. I totally agree that you can’t dictate who sleeps with whom, and that a wedding equals one day not a weekend or a week. But I think that you can also say clearly that the kid isn’t invited and then it is up to all responsible parties to be adults and do whatever is best for them up to the MOH not participating in the wedding and the bride accepting that.

      • BSM

        But I guess, if you offer someone a room for the weekend, can you really stipulate whether they bring their 14mo to stay with them? I can’t picture a scenario (unless the B&B is adults-only) where that argument wouldn’t be hella intrusive.

        • Emily

          No you definitely can not stipulate that, but I guess I would also expect the MOH to think about the practicality of staying there.

          • BSM

            My thought would be she did, and she’s fine with it, since she accepted the offer.

        • savannnah

          I think this argument hinges on the assumption that the MOH respects the no kids at the wedding rule or if having her kid there means he’ll be at the wedding regardless of what the bride requests. I can see it going both ways.

          • BSM

            I think you’re right. I’m operating under the assumption that MOH will respect the no kids at the wedding rule and that LW is (understandably!) anxious about whether this is true because they haven’t had a frank discussion about what the plan is.

      • Amy March

        Yeah I guess she could say the inn is child free, but a) she already offered the invite and b) then she needs to expect that her maid of honor will stay somewhere else.

        • Violet

          Unless she owns that inn, I don’t think she can say who is or isn’t allowed to stay there. Who’s to say another guest (not of their wedding) won’t have a kid with them? Unless the entire inn is booked out for this wedding, but I don’t think she said that.

          • BSM

            Owning the inn would be a pretty serious twist to the story!

          • Violet

            “The Thenardiers Get Married.”

            (I’m kidding, I’m kidding.)

          • BSM

            “LW here. I’m actually Mary Crowley, and my family owns the inn/country home, also known as Downton Abbey.”

          • Violet

            I KNEW she was gonna ask for Liz’s wisdom one of these days!!

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            Problem solved, ship the kid to the Abbey to hang with the nanny!

          • ART

            THOSE POOR KIDS!

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        I’ve stayed at a B&B where you literally had to walk through one guest’s room to get to the next. Fortunately every room had its own full bath, so theoretically you wouldn’t have to leave your room til morning, but the walls were pretty thin. Fortunately our group had the whole place to ourselves.

    • Whitterdoodle

      LW here – thank you so much Liz for taking my question! One point of clarification that I feel is important is that in no way are we forcing attendance for the full weekend. Fiancé and I rented out the whole BnB and have offered rooms to loved ones that they have no obligation to take or use. We just felt it was a nice gesture to provide lodging to those who are giving so much to us. The place is about a 45 minute drive from where I grew up and my MoH still lives. I completely understand demanding a whole weekend away from her child is at best unrealistic and really just… awful.

      • Violet

        Thanks for clarifying. Unfortunately for this case, I think your nice gesture got turned into: free room on us if you ditch your kid, pay your own way/drive if you want kid close to you. I know you didn’t mean it that way, but to your friend, that might be how the option appeared.

        • H

          Yeah I mean – I think that IS what she’s offering. MOH can either be a part of the group staying at the BnB, which is a child free group, and she gets the room for free – or she finds other accommodations but has her kid with her. I don’t think that’s unfair at all. LW isn’t just giving away free accommodations to whoever wants them, she’s offering people rooms at a specific spot with specific stipulations, and paying for that. MOH is trying to have her cake and eat it too by getting the free room AND bringing her kid.

          • Violet

            Fair point. I think there’s enough going on in this situation to see how it looks to both sides.

          • K. is skittish about disqus

            Did the LW clearly communicate these stipulations around the B&B though? It sounds like she only said that she was having no kids at the wedding, which doesn’t necessarily translate to “The B&B I offered is also childfree.” Just because everyone else is doing it the way she hoped doesn’t mean she doesn’t need to be clear about expectations all around. I would personally not assume that a childfree wedding meant that I couldn’t bring my kid to the accommodations, especially when it’s a B&B with my own private quarters rather than, say, a VRBO or a private home.

          • rg223

            Yeah, this is the biggest thing here for me – it’s hard to judge what MoH’s feelings and intentions are, given that we aren’t sure how firmly LW stated her wishes to MoH, and that LW hasn’t addressed any of this in a follow-up conversation.

          • K. is skittish about disqus

            Yeah, to be clear, it’s mostly about the lack of communication that is making it difficult for me to accept. If LW is both paying and not requiring that people stay at the B&B, I definitely concede that she can set the ground rules for that space (though I stick to my guns on her not being able to say that MOH can’t bring her son along with her to the same B&B or close by hotel if *MOH* is paying for her own accommodations).

            The follow-up conversation realllllly has to happen for anyone to be happy with this situation! The longer she waits, the more of a potential disaster this could be. Ideally, she would have clarified as soon as MOH announced her plans. Since that ship has sailed, they really need to have a come-to-Jesus to talk about expectations and fears. And since it sounds like it may not be possible to have both a childfree B&B space and her MOH as actively involved in the wedding day/evening as LW wants, those priorities need to be hashed out.

          • rg223

            Agreed on all of this!

          • Lmba

            Haha, ok I totally don’t get why people are suggesting this is “having her cake and eating it too.” Have y’all ever travelled to a house full of rowdy guests on an important and stressful occasion with a toddler? There is no cake. There is no eating it. There is only mama hustling hard to make things work for everyone. This is not a holiday for MOH, not by a long shot.

    • AmandaBee

      I’m way late to the party here but this is also how I read it. It kind of sounds like LW has implicitly/explicitly communicated the expectation that everyone stays at BnB the night before for a Big Party and MoH is trying to make that happen by bringing the baby along.

      But you can’t really insist that people stay with you the whole weekend, and certainly not when you’ve also asked them to leave their infant behind. That’s just not a reasonable expectation at all.

      So the choices for LW seem to be: (a) kid stays at the BnB so MoH can be present for the festivities and dad watches the kid during the wedding or (b) MoH is not present for the festivities other than the wedding and maybe the rehearsal, because she has to be at home with her kid.

      Neither of those choices may be exactly what LW wants, but life isn’t perfect and our best friends have to deal with their own lives even on our wedding days.

  • JR

    Totally agreed that the bride can say no kids at the wedding but can’t say no kids all weekend – I personally wasn’t ready to leave my son overnight at 14 months. But I also get that having a baby in the bed & breakfast changes the dynamic for everyone, plus makes it awkward if you told other people no. Is it an option for her and the baby to stay somewhere other than the bed & breakfast? Would that be acceptable to you and to her? (She might still want/need to bring the baby, with a caregiver, to the b&b for the getting ready period, or her time away from the kid starts getting pretty long.) Or would that be counter-productive, since you would then see less of her?

    • Violet

      I’m in agreement. I think the concern is that, if friend booked room for herself, her partner, and her son, but not for child care, she is clearly going to be bringing this kid to the wedding. She ain’t leaving him in the room by himself!
      Practical part of this question: How will LW handle it when friend inevitably brings her kid to the wedding and the other guests murmur (during or afterwards) about the unfairness of it. Which LW tried to prevent, but couldn’t. I don’t know the answer to this.
      Emotional side of this question: LW wants her friend to give her the same level of attention that she gave when her friend got married. Getting married after a lot of your friend group have kids means that it’s never going to be equal, tit-for-tat, attention-wise. But it can be equitable. Friend can do her best to support LW as much as she can, kid or no, just as LW did her best to support her friend. Love, support, attention: none of it is a 1-for-1 exchange.

      • lnf

        Yeah, to second this comment, I think LW needs to come up with a game plan for when the MOH brings the baby – because it sounds like she initially told MOH that she could not bring the baby, and the MOH’s response was basically, “No, I AM bringing him.” If you go back and tell her now that she can’t do it, she may be confused or angry, because it sounds as though LW left it at that during the initial conversation – so, she’s been thinking that her child was permitted to be at the wedding all this time. You can certainly talk to her about it now, but she may still bring him, and I think LW needs to be prepared for that.

        • Amy March

          I think she absolutely can and should say “as I’ve told you, children are not welcome at the wedding. Where will your baby be?”

          • lnf

            I completely agree with you, but I would just be concerned that the MOH might say, “But I thought that he was exempt from that policy, and I don’t want to leave him with someone during the wedding.” I hope for LW’s sake that doesn’t happen, obviously.

          • Violet

            Yeah, I think friend is gonna say, “As I told you when you first brought this up, I will be bringing him.” There’s no evidence that they had a conversation after the friend asserted what she was going to do, in which she said that she had made alternate plans.

          • zana

            At a certain point, bride will have to decide if this is the hill she wants to die on. Do you still want to be friends with this person?

            Of course, it’s all hypothetical. So maybe there was just a misunderstanding and everything will work out a-okay (with some added communication).

          • Amy March

            “You thought wrong, he isn’t. You need to make other plans.” Like, she doesn’t have to just roll over on this if it’s really important to not have kids.

          • lnf

            And again, I agree with you. But practically speaking, she might just bring him anyway – even after LW talks to her, especially if they’re not on the same page. I had people bring kids when kids were not invited and people were informed of that policy. I had people show up with plus-ones who had RSVPed for one person. I hope that MOH would not do that to her, because she’s supposed to be her closest friend, but people do these things. My point was not for her to roll over on anything, but just to brace herself for a situation where MOH doesn’t want to budge either.

          • penguin

            That would be really frustrating if that happened – at that point I’m not sure what I’d do. Just try to roll with it I guess – I can’t imagine the bride blocking the door and saying “no babies, get out” on the day of the wedding. Hopefully she and the MOH can work this out ahead of time.

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            Also in agreement that the bride is perfectly within her rights to draw a hard line. But she runs the very real possibility that the MOH will draw a harder line and say to hell with it, if the baby is banned, the baby’s mom isn’t coming either. It tends to be true that if you’re the one drawing an ultimatum, you’re not the one they choose. (Not that it should have to come to an ultimatum, but at this point it may feel that way to MOH.) I would at least try to have the, “Hey, so, what’s your baby plan” conversation without making it a confrontation right out of the gate.

        • K. is skittish about disqus

          I can’t imagine someone actually being that obtuse! Maybe I’m naive. However, if the miscommunication was that “your baby can’t be at the wedding” really means “your baby can’t even be on the premises while your partner watches him,” (definitely my take on the story) then I’m not so much on LWs side.

          But for sure, if the MOH is *actually* that much of a boundary stomper that she *actually* thinks her kid can come to the wedding despite the clear “no” she received, then LW can and should firmly hold her ground, come hell or high water.

          • BSM

            This whole comment = exactly my thinking.

      • z

        Maybe the partner is going to watch the kid elsewhere during the wedding?

        • Violet

          Maybe. But, the entire wedding? Did they RSVP for 2? Because in the case you’re describing, it sounds like partner won’t be present at the wedding at all.

          • K. is skittish about disqus

            My husband and my dad won’t be present for the wedding I’m in at all, but they’ll be in the same hotel (so when RSVPs come out, I’ll RSVP for one and so will my mom). Just kind of how it goes, especially since I’ll be a bridesmaid and not just a guest, and the bride definitely has expectations about the level of bridesmaid involvement. We probably would have done something similar even if our future kidlet was invited, but since it’s definitely an adults-only affair, it’s the only way we feel comfortable.

            Of course, in my scenario, the bride has only met my husband a few times and is much closer to my mom than my dad so she isn’t upset about them not being there at all.

          • Violet

            Gotcha. I was thinking that if this was friend’s plan, LW would know this already, because her friend would’ve only RSVP’ed for 1. But if friend RSVP’ed for 2, I don’t think we can assume there is a plan in place for partner to be on child care duty.

          • z

            I would totally RSVP for two (two meals because that is wha matters) and then tag-team eating and kid-watching. But LW says her MOH lives nearby, so I dunno.

          • JR

            This is what we did when we were invited to a no-kids wedding, where my parents and brother were also invited (so no available babysitters that I’d consider leaving him with overnight), and where the wedding was a little too far to come home after (thus allowing us to leave him with a babysitter that we’d be okay with for an evening but not overnight). We all went, and my husband stayed at the hotel with my son. But the wedding wasn’t at the hotel and it was clear from our RSVP that I was the only one attending.

        • savannnah

          That would be my solution to this issue although not fun for the MOH.

          • BSM

            I mean, we really don’t know that. It sounds like a pretty decent compromise to me.

          • K. is skittish about disqus

            Honestly, whenever I’ve been in a wedding, I barely see my husband anyway. And in the wedding I’m in, I’ll be seated at a table with a lot of old, old friends where we have mostly old, old stories in common these days–and also my mom. It’ll definitely still be fun for me, but my husband would be the one feeling kind of awkward anyway. I imagine this isn’t an uncommon wedding scenario!

        • Sara

          My friend came up with this solution for a no-kid out-of-town wedding and the bride was upset my friend’s husband wasn’t coming to the wedding. You can’t really win.

          • flashphase

            Many of the out-of-town-with-kids couples we invited sent one person so the other could watch the kids. Them’s the brakes! We were happy to have one representative instead of none!

        • K. is skittish about disqus

          That’s my solution when I’m going to be a bridesmaid later this year as a new mom! My parents are invited to the same wedding too, so my husband and my dad will trade off (more so my husband can get the same kind of “break” that I’m getting) — but neither will actually attend the wedding.

          But it I wasn’t allowed to bring my kid at all, even with built-in childcare, I would definitely have to decline.

    • Mary Jo TC

      I agree, Liz’s verdict is spot on, as always: “the bride can say no kids at the wedding but can’t say no kids all weekend.” I’ll add, though that for me, 14 months is a perfect time to wean. When my first son was 14 months old, I was only nursing once at night and once in the morning. We were invited to a wedding out of state that would require a plane ride, so we left him with my mother-in-law and stopped nursing. It was great to have that time away from the toddler! I might have nursed him for a few more months if it hadn’t been for the wedding, but it was not a big deal to me. Weaning had to happen sometime and the wedding was as good a reason as any. Decisions abut nursing are super individual, though.
      On the other side, I don’t see what the big deal is about having the baby in the B&B. I don’t think the baby’s sleep will be disturbed (any more than it would be by any change of location and routine) and he won’t disturb anyone else (any more than any other guest in a hotel might disturb other guests). Even if you’re renting the whole B&B and can “control” who is there and who isn’t, I don’t see the idea of sharing that building as any different from sharing a giant hotel building with any number of unknown people of all ages.

      • Violet

        Seriously, unless they blocked out the ENTIRE B&B, guests are guests. That concern/argument doesn’t really hold water for me.

        • BSM

          Yes.

          And, even if they did, I really don’t think you can stipulate whether the kid stays with her and her partner in the room you offered them. You can kindly point out any issues you think may be relevant (it will be loud/rowdy the night before and night of, the B&B isn’t childproofed, the rooms all share 1 bathroom, whatever), but, in the end, it’s up to the MOH to look at all the info and make that call for herself/her family.

          • penguin

            I can understand why the LW is frustrated though. Having all your friends staying in a B&B together, staying up late, talking, drinking, playing board games, whatever – that sounds great, and would probably be a very different atmosphere if one of those people brought their baby.

          • Amy March

            Or quite possibly not. Babies don’t require silence, other people might also quite like to sleep at some point, one of her bridesmaids might really really intensely hate board games. That’s a fantasy situation.

          • Lmba

            Yep. Having or not having a baby in the building is not what makes or breaks this event.

          • BSM

            Oh totally. I completely understand the LW’s feelings! She may want to take some time to grieve a bit for this piece of the wedding experience that she might miss out on (maybe some wine + internal rage, as Amy March suggested). I just don’t think you can *do* anything about the situation.

          • penguin

            Agreed! It (having the baby at the B&B) may also end up being less of a big deal than the bride is anticipating.

          • savannnah

            Yes- and at that point with the further details the LW gave us, it gets harder to justify why other peoples kids weren’t allowed as well if everyone at the inn also thought kid-free zone.

          • Lmba

            Maybe. Baby’s gonna be in baby’s room at night though, right?

        • zana

          LW sez: “One point of clarification that I feel is important is that in no way are we forcing attendance for the full weekend. Fiancé and I rented out the whole BnB and have offered rooms to loved ones that they have no obligation to take or use. We just felt it was a nice gesture to provide lodging to those who are giving so much to us. The place is about a 45 minute drive from where I grew up and my MoH still lives. “

          • Violet

            Yeah, I saw that and responded to that line directly. Thanks!

    • H

      I agree – I think that’s the perfect solution!

  • Sara

    Maybe your friend doesn’t have someone willing to spend a weekend babysitting. Maybe she can’t afford to hire someone. Maybe she’s not comfortable with leaving her kid all weekend. I think a wedding is a reasonable request – a weekend is a little long to impose on someone.
    You have every right to double check and make sure that the kid isn’t coming to the actual wedding/reception. But if she has a good plan that involves her kid staying at the BnB while she is your MOH then you should be cool with it. Unfortunately for you, her priority is going to be her kid regardless of your wishes.

    • z

      +1. Do you have any idea how expensive a full weekend of babysitting is? It would be like $500 where I live, if you could even find someone willing to do it. Plus all the other expenses of wedding attendance, and the pumping hassle. And, of course, dictating when someone else weans their child would be unthinkable

      • Ros

        This. I live in the country, and even then getting a babysitter I’d trust for an evening (aka: over the age of 12*, and in possession of some common sense) is a minimum of 10$** per hour. You MIGHT be able to offer a flat rate of several hundred for the weekend MAYBE, but… Assume that any evening out starts with 60$+ in babysitting, and add on whatever else you’re doing. Which, in turn, means that the kids aren’t used to being babysat (cause who has the money to do that every week), which complicates the problem.

        Point *: Starting at 15, they can get jobs that pay 15$ an hour around here. So… the babysitters are YOUNG, is what I’m saying. Would YOU leave 2-3 kids to a 12-year-old for a weekend??

        Point **: Yes, they charge. And NO, I’m not gonna haggle, because the people doing babysitting are mostly teenage girls, and the boys are making at least that, and usually more, doing farm work. A) I’d like to encourage the responsible people to keep watching children instead of making them follow the money, and B) I’d like to not be part of the society pattern that values traditional woman-work as less valuable (and by valuable, I mean ‘show them the cash’) than men’s work. So. Minimum 10$ an hour.

        • H

          $10/hour sounds VERY cheap to me! But I’m probably skewed living in a city!

          • Ros

            Well, it’s country costs… but also the only people you can find at that cost are 12-15 years old.

          • Ros

            And now it sounds like I’m buying the teenagers. I meant the only people you can HIRE at that cost. Argh!

  • Eh

    I am totally feeling for the MOH right now. I am a bridesmaid in a wedding in a couple weeks that I am driving 8 hours for, and just before the invitations went out the bride told me that my daughter (who is 21 months) is not invited. (Note: I was still breastfeeding my daughter at night when she told me; however my daughter has since weaned.) She did offer other options understanding that I was travelling a long distance (but also knowing that I grew up an hour from the venue and my father still lives there). My father and step-mum have agreed to watch my daughter for the wedding/overnight, and for the night of the wedding we are staying in a hotel near the reception venue. And of course I am going to be distracted because my daughter has separation issues and doesn’t like sleeping anywhere other than her bed.

  • z

    It sounds to me like the MOH’s partner is going to watch him during the wedding. Is that not correct?

    +1 that you just aren’t going to have her full attention. She’ll either be nursing or pumping, pick one. And more importantly, a wedding is not a weekend vacation to a world where relationships are what we wish they would be.

    • BSM

      “And more importantly, a wedding is not a weekend vacation to a world where relationships are what we wish they would be.”

      This is true for eeeeeveryone, regardless of whether there are kids involved or not. My mom was a verbally abusive asshole leading up to and on the day of my wedding. One of my bridesmaids was in a huge fight with her boyfriend all morning while we were getting ready. One of the groomsmen’s wives was in her first trimester and had horrible morning sickness, so the groomsman missed half the photos.

      We still had an amazing wedding that I loved, but life/shit happens.

      • Jess

        Yeah, one of my bridesmaids was hungover and puking all morning. It was fine, but like, if my expectation had been that they all be brunching and fawning over me, I probably would have been a little sad.

        As it was… meh. It was fine.

        • BSM

          That’s definitely on the… more frustrating side of the spectrum, since it was pretty easily avoidable, but yeah. I’m sorry that happened. Hopefully most of the other things went right that day.

          • Jess

            Upside was, it was R’s sister, not somebody I was super hardcore counting on to show up for me!

            Everything else went awesome, and I was kind of “Who cares?” about it in the moment. There was so much else emotionally that I barely noticed when she wasn’t in the room.

      • Violet

        So wise. I will never be that friend who can party all night. Because after 10:00 PM, I just go silent and literally start nodding off, no matter where I am, how much coffee I’ve had, or how loud it is. Wedding fantasies don’t change people.

        • BSM

          Ha! yeah, I mean, I got prettyyyyy drunk at our after party, and my new husband had to practically carry me to and from our Uber and take my shoes off for me. But we still had a great time! Even if that aspect wasn’t totally ideal.

    • Sarah Cummings

      thiiiiiiis

  • AP

    “In this instance, the reality might be, “No kids at the wedding, except for this one baby that’s staying at the bed and breakfast where we’re staying because the mom is still breastfeeding and she’s really important to me.”

    I think LW needs to be mentally prepared for this baby to be at the wedding. I still think it’s worth a direct conversation with MOH, but as other commenters are saying, it’s totally possible that there won’t be a clear resolution and MOH will bring the baby anyway. And if this were me, I don’t think it’s a hill worth losing a friendship over (because what, you say she can’t bring the baby, so she says she’s no longer in the wedding? Totally a real possibility here and a potential relationship killer.) I think have the direct conversation, but if it turns out that it’s a deal-breaker for her, let her bring the kid. Seriously, the other guests don’t have to know, and if someone asks (which they likely won’t) the couple can shrug and say something vague like “we don’t know why the kid is here.” (Not completely untrue.) Some people *are* worth budging for.

    • sofar

      What’s hard though is that the bride then has to face the wrath of everyone else at the wedding who was told “no kids” and who made arrangements. It can cause a lot of hard feelings, I’ve seen it happen. I doubt anyone would care about the kid being at the B&B, but at the ceremony? I’d be a little peeved if I found out the couple made an exception for someone else but told me my (hypothetical) kid was unwelcome.

      Now, I do like your suggestion for the couple to simply say, “Don’t know why the kid is here,” IF MoH sneaks the kid into the wedding.

      I am pro-kids-at-weddings. I had a ton of kids at mine. But, if it’s a no-kids wedding and you bring yours, it’s a dick move and places the couple in a bad position with other guests.

      Disclaimer: I think the kid should totally be able to stay at the B&B.

      • AP

        Well, I mean, that’s all part of wedding planning. No decision will satisfy everyone, so the way I see it is the LW needs to understand all the potential outcomes of this situation (just like choosing not to have kids at a wedding means some folks won’t come) and then decide which one they can live with. Maybe MOH says ok, finds a sitter, and everyone’s happy. But maybe she says ok, can’t find a sitter, and rather than drop out she brings the kid to the wedding. Maybe MOH drops out of the wedding. Maybe there’s a way to lay it on the MOH, telling her you’re not making an exception for her kid, but you’re not going to say her kid is unwelcome either. So if she chooses to bring the kid, she needs to make sure people know it wasn’t the couple’s decision. (I do think “wrath” from other guests is a little strong though, although I know you didn’t mean it literally. Hurt feelings, annoyance, maybe some words from people. But I think the way to mitigate it is to stay vague about why the kid is there. No one really needs to know that kid was an “exception.”)

        • Amy March

          Or if someone asks “we told her not to bring her kid. She did anyway. Thank you for respecting our wishes we really appreciate it!”

          • AP

            Exactly. I’ve seen this play out with +1s, too.

        • sofar

          It all depends on whether others have asked, “Can I bring my kid” and whether they were told “No, no kids.” If that’s the case, there will be some very strong (and justified) annoyance and hurt if LW makes an exception for this kid.

          I agree there is no perfect solution, but LW needs to sit her MoH down and confirm her kid is NOT coming to the wedding itself. And if MoH then makes the decision to not attend, it’s on her. Whereas, if the bride makes the decision to make an exception for the child, she has to bear the brunt of whatever family anger arises. I have seen friendships end over this sort of thing. You’re right that not allowing the kid may strain LW’s relationship with MoH. But allowing the kid might cause serious issues with, say, LW’s cousin who was told point-blank not to bring her kids and who then paid for a sitter.

          • AP

            Yeah. There’s a lot of potential for relationships (across the board) to go sideways. It’s unfortunate.

            I’m not saying the LW should pre-emptively make an exception for the MOH’s kid. I think she still needs to sit her down and be direct. But I *am* saying that LW needs to have an idea about what she’ll do/say if MOH backs out of the wedding, or brings the kid anyway. People are unpredictable like that.

          • sofar

            Yes, and @amymarch:disqus’s wording above is perfect: “Thanks for respecting our wishes — not everyone did, obviously.”

          • CNA

            We had one couple sneak their kids into our ceremony, even though we had specifically provided an onsite babysitter for the ~20 kids around. At that point, it’s not like we were going to cause a scene kicking them out. The other kids seemed happier playing with each other and not sitting still anyway. But people are going to people.

      • another prego (former)

        I agree that it sucks on the parts of the other guests who where told, “no kids, no exceptions” and then there is a kid and there was an exception. But, YOUR kid was not allowed and was not the exception. I have been in this situation. It hurts and it sucks. It was a cousins wedding where the couple were one of the few cousins without kids. All of the grandparents of the other kids were also invited to the wedding. We had to all scrabble to find sitters that were not invited to the wedding. Then, a friend of the couple had a flower girl and ring bearer in the wedding and they were at the whole wedding day (ceremony, cocktail hour, first couple hours of the reception until the sitter picked them up.) So why were we all told that we couldn’t bring our kids ( we were told that they didn’t want crying at the wedding and wanted the parents to be able to enjoy the childfree time), but this friend was allowed to bring their 3 kids (including a small baby similar to my child’s age at the time). Don’t allow the MOH to have the kid stay at the B&B when everyone else was told not to. It will only bread resentment, especially among family members and other close friends. If you are going to do ‘no kids’, then you cannot allow ANY kids!

        • CMT

          I’ve always assumed that children actually in the wedding are a little different than children as regular guests.

          • K. is skittish about disqus

            Yeah, we totally did that. We were open about it whenever anyone asked and even on our wedding website (something along the lines of “We do not have room to accommodate children outside our wedding party” in our FAQ section). If it annoyed people, we didn’t know about it, but I also wouldn’t have cared that much? We were clear about our choice and didn’t make exceptions outside of it.

            I mean, the difference was 3 kids (who we are particularly close to) versus 36 kids.

        • Amy March

          Because they were in the wedding party.

        • laddibugg

          No, you can allow kids that you’ve actually invited, ESPECIALLY if they are in the wedding. The problem is that folks bring their children, and don’t let you know they are coming.

          I’m leaning towards a no-kid affair…but my son and my fiance’s daughter are going to be there regardless

  • Vanessa

    I think Liz & the other comments have done a great job addressing the lodging situation, but I’d love to have a conversation about the subtext here: what happens when your friends can’t show up for you the way you showed up for them …or when they could but aren’t willing to do so (and what’s the difference between the two situations).

    ETA: I say this because I am finding myself in this situation, both with some friends who really are doing their best and can’t, and with some friends who aren’t making an effort (ie won’t). It’s changing my understanding of my friendships, for better and for worse.

    • savannnah

      mhmm *currently planning my own bachelorette party side eye*

      • Vanessa

        R U ME

        • savannnah

          I already have a twin (the one not planning my bach party) but MAYBE!

      • theteenygirl

        I’m planning my own bachelorette too.. my one sister who is a bridesmaid is quite unsupportive of my wedding and honestly I don’t know why she is a bridesmaid (family politics made me ask her and made her say yes..), my other sister/bridesmaid is fantastic, and my one friend bridesmaid is pretty enthusiastic overall but told me she doesn’t want to be in charge and also has never met either of my sisters.
        So oh well .. they are helping out in other ways.

      • SS Express

        Me: How is everything coming along for my hen’s night? It’s only a few weeks away so let me know if you need help with anything.
        Sister: It’s going great! I’m going shopping for decorations tomorrow.
        Me: Oh cool, you must be almost done planning. Is there anyone who can’t make it?
        Sister: Don’t know, haven’t asked anyone yet.

        Cue frantic Googling of available venues and activities while texting friends and family and trying not to cry at work.

    • Amy March

      I think you have to decide whether you can accept it or not, and that’s going to be a friend by friend determination. Personally I try and focus on the different ways people show up. Like, I show up with baked goods and a spreadsheet but I can appreciate the friend who shows up late with champagne and a random dude because of other things she brings to the table. Once you no longer respect how they are living their life there’s just not a lot to hold onto.

      • ManderGimlet

        Totally this! When my friends and I were all in the same “place” in life it seemed that we all had the same to give for the most part. Now that we are all over the country, some married, some with kids, some buying houses or starting businesses or going back to school etc etc etc. we are just in completely different phases and experiencing different barriers.
        The whole “love languages” thing is kind of corny, but it REALLY helped me put into perspective what my friends WERE giving me instead of focusing in the ways they were not living up to my (unstated) expectations. My friend with 2 kids under 5 who lives in another city is not the friend who is going to organize my bachelorette party. She is the friend who will listen as a grieve a family member or support me as I deal with an existential crisis. I’m not the friend who will watch her kids for the day while she runs errands. I’m the friend who will send her a gift certificate for a day spa and take her out for chicken wings. We all have different ways to support each other, and those relationships change so much over time.

        • NotMotherTheresa

          Oh my gosh, so much this!
          Honestly, since I started to view it this way, I’ve really come to appreciate what an asset it is that everyone ISN’T in the same place anymore! Sure, it would be handy if we were all still 20 year olds who lived within a mile of one another and had tons of free time, but when we were all in that stage, there were so many things we COULDN’T count on one another for.
          A decade later, it’s a lot harder to find people to day drink with while watching Gossip Girl in our pajamas, but there’s almost never a situation where I don’t have someone super useful to turn to! Career advice? Ultra Successful Career Woman has that in droves…plus, she always comes prepared with spreadsheets and expensive champagne! MIL tensions? Married With Children Friend knows all about that, and will be happy to hear me vent! Still need someone to day drink and watch Gossip Girl with? Still Finding Her Way friend can make that happen!

      • Abs

        Also, the ways people’s lives change totally go both ways. We were on the later side in our friend group to get married, so there were definitely some folks who left early/didn’t come to the bachelorette because of babies, but on the other hand those same people UNDERSTOOD what it was like to plan a wedding, and were so much better about listening to me and not being inadvertently judgey than I was when they were getting married. And they could actually perceive the work we put into planning and appreciate it, which I could not at their weddings.

        There’s always an upside.

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      From my perspective as the first married and pregnant person in my immediate friend group, my basic process is this: I communicate as much as possible, exhaust all of my options as much as possible, and try my best not to get defensive if my friends think I’m ever not trying hard enough, look at where they’re coming from, and start my process over if I think they have a valid point. Also, I vow to never be condescending about how they “just don’t understand” (even if, on some level, they really don’t understand in the same way yet – but there are aspects of their life that I also don’t understand, so I remind myself of that as well).

      I won’t promise to always be at every bachelorette (though if I can, I will), but I’ll always promise to send flowers and a dirty card, or figure out a way to pay for a round of drinks or a round of pedicures, etc.

      • Vanessa

        I think that’s a fantastic approach, and I wish it were universal. For my part, at least with friends with kids, I am trying to be understanding, asking my friends for ways to make bach/wedding easier for them, providing child care at the wedding for those who choose to use it.

        • K. is skittish about disqus

          That’s above and beyond! :) I would never, ever expect any of my friends to offer childcare at a wedding or change up their plans for me. But overall, communication tends to be key I think…and being willing to have the harder convos too, for when something just isn’t possible, on either side.

          • Vanessa

            I admit this is something I need to work on, even when I’m feeling vulnerable. Some of the time I’m good at having those hard conversations, but in the couple instances where the friend has said something condescending about their life/kids vs my life/no kids, I’ve been unwilling to wade any further into those waters.

          • K. is skittish about disqus

            I don’t blame you. Condescension like that sucks and is way too common (not saying I won’t ever be guilty of it, but I hope I won’t be!) I’m definitely in the “we all need to cut each other some slack” camp, but it’s hard to do that when it doesn’t start in a place of good faith understanding of each other (and I think parents/smug marrieds are more likely to be the dismissive ones – *generally speaking*)

      • brooksienne

        Your comment about not doing the condescending, “You don’t have kids so you wouldn’t understand” is great, and it reminded that doing that can not only just be annoying, but unintentionally hurtful. I have a friend who wants children. She tried and tried and tried, but for some reason her body ain’t willing. And she does get the occasional obnoxious comments from parents about how she wouldn’t understand because she doesn’t have kids, or her life isn’t as fulfilling. She wanted kids. She cried when she got her period for Christ’s sake, so to have that type of comment thrown at her? Really awful.

      • Sara

        You sound like an incredible friend and your gals are lucky. <3

    • LK

      In some ways, I have to go stick to the mantra that I couldn’t change “x” and that I can only control my response to the situation. For example, my sisters both had kids by the time I got married. They skipped all activities for my wedding that we had all done together for each of their own weddings. Their kids were 18-20 months at our wedding and both my sisters left after dinner to put their kids to bed. They never came back. Was I hurt? Absolutely- and to be honest- it still stings every once and awhile. My other person- with much older kids- left shortly thereafter. But aside from an all along muted scream in the bathroom, there wasn’t anything I could do about the situation. Each of those people are someone I want in my life despite their quirks (and they accept mine!). Sometimes I’ve had to choose the response to move on and I suspect there are a few people who moved on from me for the similar reason, and that is ok too.

      • Lmba

        I do totally get that it is hurtful to have people who are unable/unwilling (and can we ever TRULY know the difference?) to show up for us how we want. I experienced this at my wedding too, in different ways. It’s fair to be hurt and fully experience that. And it also doesn’t mean that those people *necessarily* did anything wrong – you can never really know their life or the exact circumstances at that time.

        • Vanessa

          I agree with you, but after fully experiencing the hurt, my dilemma is: what do I do with these relationships now?

          The answer to that question is a big part of why the unable/unwilling distinction is important to me (although I think you’re right that sometimes we see it as one when it is the other). When I have a strong sense that the underlying issue is unwillingness, I am not going to continue to invest in that friendship to the same extent as I have in the past. If it’s a question of ability rather than willingness though, it’s a lot easier for me to reconcile and continue on with that friendship.

          • AP

            Ugh, I’m going through something like this with a friend, and I still haven’t figured out what I want to do about it. A close friend got engaged, then spent the months afterward flaking out on plans and communication with me, so I was giving her space. Then one day I saw on Facebook that she got married and didn’t even tell me. Also she moved and didn’t tell me. I think our friendship is probably over unless I go to great lengths to be ok with everything that’s happened *and* keep on initiating contact with her. I’m not sure I want to do that, but it’s also not exactly raining friends at this stage in my life and I worry about giving up on a friendship was was important to me. It sucks.

          • JC

            Ugh I’m so sorry.

          • BSM

            I’m really sorry.

            I’m in a very similar boat, actually, and I’ve decided to let the friendship go. Once I took a look at what I think is the underlying reason for my friend’s ghosting and recognized that, even setting the ghosting and non-communication re: the wedding and not being invited aside, his way of thinking is like the antithesis of what I look for in a friendship, it made the decision a little easier. Not sure if that makes sense without going into specifics.

            It still hurts and sucks, though.

          • AP

            Yeah, this is where I’m falling too. I want friends who value my presence in their lives. I didn’t expect to be invited to the wedding necessarily, because I knew it would be small, but I would have loved to know it was happening so I could take her out and send her a gift. I want friends who know me well enough/care about me enough to know that, and want that too, you know?

          • BSM

            Totally. My friend (former friend?) is having a huge wedding (like 500 people), so it definitely stings. I know it’s not reasonable to expect reciprocal invites, but I can’t get past it. And I genuinely believe we were not invited because he doesn’t perceive my husband and I to be in the same social class as him. So… lots going on.

            Sorry :(

          • AP

            DAMN. That’s rough. I’m sorry.

          • Vanessa

            “I want friends who value my presence in their lives.”

            This is really the key point, and, for me at least, the thing that helps me separate the emotional experience I’m having from the action I am taking. The emotional experience is that I’m hurt, I’m upset, and I can take all the time I need to mourn the difference between what I thought this friendship meant to the other person and reality.

            But, I want friends who value my presence in their lives, so the action I take is to focus my attention on the people who show that they do value me. Above you said it’s not raining friends at this stage; to me that is all the more reason not to focus your limited resources on the people who value your effort.

          • AP

            Definitely. A lot of friends have moved away in the last year, causing my once-robust circle to dwindle. It’s time to start making new friends anyway!

            I like what you said about mourning the friendship and being grateful for what it brought me when things were good. She was a great friend in the immediate aftermath of my divorce, which is something I’ll always appreciate. I’m also thinking of it less like totally ending the friendships and more like reclassifying the friendship in my mind.

          • Vanessa

            I was in a very similar situation with my best friend from college and it is so crummy, I’m sorry. I ended up taking her out to coffee (after like, 4 months of trying to get together) and telling her that I felt like I was putting in all of the effort and that I wasn’t willing to do that anymore. In the end it just prolonged the period in which I thought the relationship was salvageable because the truth is, if she had wanted to put effort into our friendship she would have already done so. I mourned the relationship but now I’m able to look back and say, hey, that friendship was a great fit for me for a time.

          • BSM

            That’s a great way to look at it. Thanks.

          • quiet000001

            My one caution (not for you in particular, just in general) is sometimes flakiness and ‘ghosting’ is down to issues like depression or anxiety, and friends bailing because you can’t be there for them doesn’t help. Some people are particularly good at looking/sounding okay in certain situations but are really not doing that great too. So I try to find out if something like that is going on before making decisions about the future of the relationship.

            I was that friend who was flakey and bad at communicating due to PTSD that I didn’t know I had, a couple of years after my husband died. People tended to assume I’d had long enough to grieve, but yay, surprise anxiety and depression from ptsd. Joy. I did lose some friends but some stuck with me, too.

          • AP

            Yeah, I totally get it, and thanks for the reminder. I have anxiety too and have been known to leave parties early and abruptly because my brain just gets overwhelmed with the people and small talk. I know I’ve annoyed my friends doing this. I’m also really sorry about your husband <3

            In this case, however, my friend would flake on me and then post pics on Instagram of herself with other friends. I feel pretty ok with assuming this friendship has run its course.

          • quiet000001

            Like I said, not really for you in particular. Just a lot of comments to yours were all “yup, if they don’t have time for you, you don’t have time for them” approximately, and sometimes there IS stuff going on that isn’t obvious and people do need friends – just they might need them to be there but not THERE. (Some of the friends who really helped in that time were friends who I didn’t talk to, but who I knew would be there if I wanted to talk. Just knowing they were there for me if/when I needed it made a difference.)

            Not everyone is having issues, of course. Some people are just jerks/bad friends/rude. I guess I’m just saying don’t assume rude/bad friend as the default response if the person isn’t usually rude or flakey in general. If you’ve considered the possibility of the person having a problem they aren’t talking about, and evidence points to “nope, just the end of the friendship” then it is perfectly reasonable to take steps to handle that in the way that is healthiest for you.

      • Sara

        This is the hardest, but healthiest, approach to take. I call it my “zen” approach. X person can’t make it to Y event? Damn, that sucks but I’ll see them at Z. None of it is within my control and I cannot change other people’s decisions or circumstances. I have enough to worry about without stressing over every RSVP that doesn’t go according to plan. I let myself have a few moments to be upset about it, I then tell them that I understand and not to worry, and then I GENUINELY move on and forget about it because – honestly, I’ve got other things to focus on!

  • GpedJane

    I totally agree, she has the wedding time but not after that. Plus she is the MOH and if you can’t have an open honest conversation then why is she your MOH? Yes it’s your wedding but be considerate.

  • aly windsor

    Just chiming in to say I agree with this advice. FWIW when I had babies and was invited to child-free weddings, I always left earlier than I would have had I been able to bring them — whether it was because I needed to relieve the baby-sitter or nurse or whatever. My friends seemed to suggest that they were doing me a favor by “giving” me a child-free night but it always felt stressful to me. Now that my kids are 6 and 8 though? Hell yeah. Give me all the child-free everything excuses. ;)

    • Violet

      “friends seemed to suggest they were doing me a favor.”
      Oh my goodness so much. I feel like we covered this once, in that it’s fine if it’s the couple’s choice to have a no-kids wedding, but they can’t go around assuming people will feel a certain way (ie, grateful) about it. Some couples definitely will, but others won’t! You don’t get to tell people how they should feel about the situation!

      • Lmba

        Plus, like, if the couple wants to attend your wedding without their kids they can hire a sitter whether or not you declare the event child-free.

        • Nicky

          Yes. We invited all the children and so far everyone who has rsvp’ed has opted to say just the adults are coming. Which is totally up to them, though I would be 100% down with having kids if their parents decided to bring them. (I’m still hoping that some people do decide to bring their kids haha — especially my cousin whose daughter is my sort-of penpal and sends me pictures of rockets that she draws.)

    • z

      Yes! It is not a favor to me. It is an expensive hassle that forces me into parenting choices I might not otherwise make (like missing an important kid event, trusting an underwhelming sitter, or just generally placing stress on the child and the parenting relationship at what may be an inopportune time). If I wanted “date night” or a “treat” of time away from my kids, I would do it at the time and circumstances that make it worth it to me.

      • aly windsor

        Yeah — I kinda thought it was presumptuous for friends to think that I would want to spend what little baby-free time I had at that time at weddings. I would have much rather had a date night alone with my partner or a one-on-one night with a friend.

    • Not Sarah

      My partner really wants to not invite kids at all while I’m standing firm in the mind of inviting the kids and letting the parents choose if they’d rather not bring them. We are standing firm on no kids over 12 though.

      • AP

        Genuinely curious- why no kids over 12?

        • penguin

          I’m curious about this too! I’d assume if people would not want kids there, it would be younger kids, because crying (and other reasons).

          • Cathi

            Per my sister’s logic (she would have made an exception for nursing babies if anyone had them, but otherwise didn’t want kids, especially our tweenage niblings and thus chose to ban almost all kids, because a 12+ rule would have divided siblings):

            Qualitatively: Babies are mostly fine. Yeah they might cry but hopefully they’d be shushed and probably no one is going to feel like they need to alter their behavior around infants re: language etc… Toddler age can be cute and, assuming parents are mindful, easily wrangled and will probably leave after the first dance or two since they tend to have early bedtimes. Older kids can be trouble. They’re old enough to be there late and make things awkward for adults who want to let go. You never know which 13 year old cousin has decided this is the event they’re going to try to get away with sneaking alcohol

            Quantitatively: venues charge adult prices for 12+. It was almost physically painful for me (who had ALL THE KIDS) to pay $55/plate for my 15 year old nephews who ultimately turned their noses up at the “weird fancy food” and texted a friend to bring them Taco Bell (and weren’t thoughtful enough to get me a chalupa!).

        • Not Sarah

          There are only two families invited who have any kids over the age of five: one is my partner’s much-older cousin and the other is an old coworker, so this isn’t really much of a cutoff. We’re at an age that anyone who has kids and are on our guest list, the kids are realistically under five. Also, we have to pay for an adult meal for anyone 12 and over.

          • AP

            Ahh, gotcha. Was thinking back to my teenage years of going to weddings with my mom as her +1. She probably checked with the couple first, though, come to think of it.

          • Not Sarah

            Our rule for kids was that the kids could come if in our manner of hanging out with the parents, the kids have generally been around. I just double checked our guest list and we have: one family with two 5-7 year olds, one family with two 2-5 year olds, one family with two 1-3 year olds, and four families with one or under one year olds.

        • Not Sarah

          As for the younger kids being included, most of the kids are at the age where the mother is likely to still be breastfeeding and we didn’t them to feel like they couldn’t come due to childcare.

      • savannnah

        We are also doing a age cut off-4 and under please come! everyone else needs to be invited specifically but we also just don’t have any guests with kids in between 5-10 so its been easy to deal with and easy to explain to those with semi-adult children or teens.

      • zana

        Yeah…you’re gonna get a lot of weird reactions to that. Is that standardly done where you are? I’ve never heard of that. I’m guessing you don’t have any 16 year old cousins or anything?

        • Not Sarah

          Nope, our youngest cousins are 27 and 25 I think. (We’re 29/30.) One of my partner’s cousins is in his 40s and has teenagers and some coworkers have teenagers, but it seems weird to invite your coworker’s kids to a wedding when you’ve never met them!

          • zana

            Yeah, you don’t have to invite people’s kids, but if you had a friend with a 13 year old and a friend with a 11 year old, it’d be a bit odd to tell the one she can’t bring the kid and the other that it’s fine.

          • Not Sarah

            Oh hah absolutely! If that was the case, we would include the 13 year old. That’s not our situation though.

          • Kara

            I totally had this issue with my cousins. We said no kids under high school age for our wedding 8 years ago. Part of the reason was my aunt and uncle had a history of NOT disciplining their 12 year old son (I didn’t want to deal with his or their shit). So while this effected 3 families on my side, I stood firm.

            Of the 3 families:
            1 – had a 14 year old and an 11 year old, no kids came
            1 – had a 22 year old, a 20 year old, and the 12 year old (the reason for the rule), the 12 yr old didn’t attend
            1 – had an 18 year old and a 3 year old, no kids came, no parents came, no grandparents came (all the adults RSVPd, but none attended because they were protesting no kids rule, which was fine by me)

            Pick your battles. I was fine with this outcome.

          • savannnah

            Yes. For me older children can create more of an issue. Babies cry, 2 year olds yell-they are supposed to do that. But undisciplined 9 and 11 year olds who knock over things, play video games with the sound on at dinner, loudly refuse to eat what is being served and show up in snow pants to a wedding would be far more distracting and annoying for me.

          • BSM

            Lol, now I am picturing a tween in full skiing regalia sitting at a formal dinner. Goggles included.

          • savannnah

            Brother in-laws wedding in beautiful garden setting. There were matching ski jackets that got taken off prior to dinner but are in ceremony pics…It was in Sept in the midwest- so not cold.

          • BSM

            Whose kids wore them? If BIL gets the chance to attend their weddings in the future, I know just what he should wear….

          • savannnah

            My fiancés uncles kids.

          • Kara

            Yup. I also have a ton of cousins that were under this age limit–high school aged (so that would have meant an extra ~15 – 20 guests if they were invited).

            This “kid” is still an issue 8 years later. At his sister’s wedding, when he was 16, he got drunk and made a scene. Guess what? His parent’s pretended like he didn’t exist–great job. Let me tell you.

          • JC

            Gonna wear snow pants to that bridal shower I really don’t want to go to next weekend…

      • Leah

        I agree with the age cut off rule but you might have to be clear on the reasoning for people. I.e. we’re inviting all the babies under 2 because the venue doesn’t count them in the head count and it’s a black tie reception so it’s not really child-friendly.

    • Knonymous

      I get the feeling that a lot of people read “won’t leave baby with trusted grandparent/sitter for a night” as “has spoiled kid/puts kids’ feelings above friends at all times, even friends’ special events,” when, for me at least, it was much less about my kid’s feelings than about the sitters’ – he was a crappy sleeper (though he wouldn’t have disturbed anyone else in the B&B, as long as I could nurse him on demand), and we just couldn’t in good conscience impose that on our parents or (worse!) another sitter all night long. The one time my mom DID babysit overnight for us to go to a wedding, she said the next morning, “I’m glad you had fun. I’m never doing that again.” (At 3, he now usually sleeps through the night and she’s happy to have him for sleepovers – but we had a couple of years there where it simply wasn’t an option.)

      • aly windsor

        Yes! My oldest wouldn’t go to sleep at night without me nursing him for the first year and even then he woke up, often hysterical, every two hours. It was hard enough for me to deal with that. I didn’t want to foist that experience on my mom or sitter, even if I could have.

        • Cathi

          Chiming in to add to the chorus of “I don’t want to go have fun at the expense of someone else I love”.

          My kiddo is only 4 months old and in the throes of the 4-month sleep regression which I hope won’t last forever, but there’s no way I could have her stay overnight with someone else in good conscience. I’m pretty sure she’s violating Geneva Convention statues by waking us up every hour and a half, I’m not going to “let” my mother in law, no matter how “fine” she says it is, have to endure that.

          Daytime coverage is completely different than evening/overnight coverage. My MIL watched my daughter from 6-10pm so we could go out for my husband’s birthday during her phase where she’d cry from 7-11pm, and we spent the entire time worrying that our baby was screaming her head off and making MIL miserable (surprise: she was). It was almost more stressful than being home for the purple crying ourselves.

  • APracticalBride

    Just as a comfort, LW, I had my wedding party all staying together in the same accommodation for my wedding weekend – one of my bridesmaids (also my sister in law) had her 4 year old and 1 year old with her and it was actually a lot of fun! They did actually cry in the early hours of our wedding morning but I was awake anyway from excitement and in an unexpected way having the kids around was so good, even when they were unhappy. I love those kids! I don’t see them enough. Hearing them crying on the morning of my wedding filled my heart with joy (and them I went to see of they were okay and if my SIL needed help).

    • Lmba

      +1 I woke up at like 3 am on my wedding day, so crying babies would not have been an issue!

  • NotMotherTheresa

    Particularly with the clarification I’ve seen here, I’m going to take the unpopular opinion and say “No kids at the wedding or BnB. Period.”

    The bride isn’t forcing the MOH to stay at the BnB. She is generously paying for the whole thing as a courtesy to her loved ones, and as a way for everyone to have a little bit of fun girl’s time before the wedding. The MOH does not live far away. From a logistics standpoint, she has plenty of perfectly reasonable alternatives to staying at the BnB with the baby (including skipping the BnB and only showing up for the wedding the day of), and yes, a baby around is definitely going to change the vibe of the weekend for everyone.

    Would the bride be out of bounds to say “I expect you to stay the weekend with the rest of us at the BnB, and to find alternative childcare arrangements for the baby.” YES, that would be overstepping things. This, however, is more comparable to a bride offering to host people at her own house the night before the wedding, and putting restrictions on children. When you are offering an optional courtesy, you are under no obligation to go even further out of your way to accommodate every possible scenario in a person’s life. You can, but you don’t have to.

    Honestly, this MOH sounds pretty selfish and unreasonable to me. No, having a child does not make you the exception to the rules. No children means no children…if you know you’re going to have a problem with that, it is on you to find a mutually agreeable solution to things, and if necessary, gracefully bow out of certain situations.

    • BSM

      This seems pretty harsh. And we don’t know if the MOH lives far away.

      • Lisa

        The LW (@AnonyHereLW:disqus) updated to say that the MOH lives in the bride’s hometown, which a 45 minute drive from the BnB/ceremony site.

        • BSM

          Sorry, not reading every comment.

      • H

        The MOH lives 45 min away from the ceremony site.

      • NotMotherTheresa

        It was clarified somewhere below that she lives 45 minutes away.

        If there were some particularly compelling reason why an exception truly NEEDED to be made, that would be one thing. But in this case, it sounds like the MOH kind of just wants have her cake and eat it too in terms of girl time/convenience/having the baby around. Which, you know, nothing wrong with trying to juggle multiple things like that, but you also have to be respectful of the bride’s wishes. This MOH isn’t saying “Hey, so I know I’m asking a lot here, but is there any way we could bring the baby to the BnB? You know I’d kill for some awesome girl time, but I really don’t feel comfortable spending the entire weekend away from Junior…”

        Nope, she’s just kind of stating that baby WILL be coming, which in this context, seems pretty unreasonable.

        • BSM

          I took the “stated” bit to mean something more like, “Hey, thanks for handling the accommodations for everyone. Just wanted to give you a heads up that Junior will be staying with me and my partner at the B&B. Can’t wait!”

          Which doesn’t sound unreasonable at all to me. In fact, it sounds really helpful.

          ETA: if LW had been saying that MOH had been dropping other attendant duties left and right, vocally complaining about the no kids policy, or otherwise being a jerk, I’d have a pretty different read on the situation. But LW just keeps saying how great she is! That’s what makes me think there’s some kind of lack of communication/confusion/misunderstanding going on.

          • K. is skittish about disqus

            And it doesn’t sound like LW said in response to that, “Oh, I’m so sorry, there’s been a miscommunication. The B&B is a childfree space for X, Y, Z reason and we just can’t accommodate Junior there.”

            If that conversation had occurred and MOH wasn’t budging, I may be more open to this perspective even if I didn’t agree with it. But as it is, it seems like the LW feels like it was implied and MOH should have just known, which isn’t fair.

          • BSM

            Yeah, exactly. Like, I agree that if I were the MOH, I probably would have asked a million clarifying questions about what the rules are. But lots of people aren’t like that, so if LW isn’t correcting MOH’s assumptions, I wouldn’t call those assumptions unreasonable or selfish.

            I really do get the impression they’re both not talking about this in the hopes that it somehow just works out. It won’t! Figure out a plan!

          • NotMotherTheresa

            Good point!

            I’ll be the first to admit, on that one, I was probably projecting a tad, based on my own tendency to ask permission for EVERYTHING! Most of my friends are the same way, so honestly, sometimes I forget that not everyone has the same communication style. In our circle, that would probably be seen as a demand. In other groups? Definitely not so much!

          • BSM

            I’m totally the same way, so I get it!

            The LW also saying stuff like she “hopes”the MOH will get the picture while they’re typically so good at communicating is another reason it seems like this might be playing out like a full-blown sitcom plot. But that’s just my read!

            I stand by my initial suggestion that LW just ask her lovely friend what the plan for the baby is!

        • Amy March

          Who said anything about awesome girl time? Sounds like all the bridal party, men and women, and their significant others, were invited.

    • Kelly

      I don’t think it’s that harsh. MOH could drive up the morning of the wedding instead of staying overnight, and she’s had time it sounds like to arrange for child sitting for this one day

    • rg223

      You know, I’m leaning a little this way too! 45 minutes is NOT an unreasonable distance to travel the morning of the wedding (unless the bride needs MoH there extremely early, which might be the case). So asking her to come to the wedding child-free is not really equivalent to asking a mom to spend a weekend away from a child – it’s more like a long day at the office. I don’t think we can say the MoH is being totally selfish, because it sounds like to me that the LW might have inadvertently let her think her baby was an exception by not setting a firm limit earlier on. But overall, yeah, I don’t think LW is asking too much of the MoH.

      • Lisa

        And that limit might have been difficult to enforce in the moment if the LW wasn’t expecting strong push back or had not received it from other sources up to that point. Now that she’s had a chance to re-group she needs to prepare herself mentally for the conversation and the different directions it might go based on the MOH’s reactions/actions.

      • Emily

        The thing is that most people EXPECT their MOH to stay as close as possible. I’m sure she thinks this what the bride wants.

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      I’m just still not seeing where the LW clearly communicated that there were restrictions on children for the accommodations, especially prior to making the offer?

      • NotMotherTheresa

        Personally, if I were in the MOH’s position, I’d feel like those restrictions were implied, and from the sounds of things, the other bridesmaids with children were under the same impression I would be.
        Now, to be fair, some of this is definitely the result of the LW not communicating things more clearly from the beginning, but I do also sort of get the impression the MOH is being a bit pushier than I would be in that situation. (Though again, in the interest of full disclosure, some of this is me projecting my doormat tendencies/compulsive people pleasing on everyone. The MOH probably just has a much different communication style than I do.)

        • K. is skittish about disqus

          I get that! Obviously, we’re all projecting our own styles onto this, as we’re all wont to do with Ask APWs :)

          But I do more universally think once Person B makes an incorrect assumption (especially if it’s based on something that was not clearly communicated), it’s up to the Person A (who made the offer) to correct it rather than just get internally annoyed that Person B made the assumption to begin with. If that correction is never attempted, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Person A.

          This is probably also something along the lines of an Ask/Guess difference dynamic, though not exactly.

    • AMom

      I think LW can go that route, but she has to recognize that MOH very likely will chose not to stay there, then, and will also probably be leaving the wedding pretty early so that she can get back to her kid. My guess is that MOH is thinking that bringing the baby to the B&B is a great solution because it means she can put him to bed and then continue to participate and be there for her friend, rather than having to go home early. I don’t think MOH is trying to be selfish here, from a fellow mom’s perspective, it looks to me like she’s trying to optimally arrange for her full participation.

      • Kelly

        I see what you’re saying, my only question is is there a reason dad can’t watch the baby that night and stay at home? Not sure if I missed something upthread or in the letter regarding that.

        • sofar

          I am totally ignorant about breast-feeding, but I’ve been told some babies won’t take the bottle. So mom and baby need to be in close proximity.

          • z

            The mom would probably still need to pump, to avoid leaking through her dress. So it is still disruptive and kind of a pain. Maybe not at 14 months though, it just depends. Each boob is a special and unique individual with its own needs and preferences.

          • Eh

            Toddler might also have a preference for nursing for comfort so might have a hard time sleeping without that part of his routine. I traveled for work a few times before my daughter weaned and she had a hard time sleeping those nights. I can’t 100% say it was the nursing part of her routine or that she missed me (she goes to sleep fine with just her dad now that she’s weaned). So the MOH might have to deal with a babysitter with a toddler who is overtired and refusing to sleep.

          • Lmba

            So true! ☺️

          • Lisa

            But at 14 months old, the toddler is most likely eating solid foods so this is less of a concern. The mom would probably still need to pump.

        • BSM

          From what a lot of moms are saying here, it sounds like one reason is that the MOH would probably leave the wedding early to go home.

        • AMom

          I don’t think you missed anything. Maybe dad can step in and take care of the baby. I’m just guessing that, since she’s still nursing, the MOH isn’t necessarily going to be interested in being away from her baby for a significant amount of time. By bringing baby, she wouldn’t have to make the choice to leave early or not.

          • Kelly

            Gotcha. My MOH had given birth 3 weeks before my wedding and was amazing. Dad was waiting, probably in hotel lobby, while mom was getting ready with everyone and she would just take some time to pump/breastfeed and dad would take baby again. She was just really great with being flexible and making it work, and alternatively I of course had no problem with her newborn being at the wedding, its all skewing my viewpoint of this letter.

          • AMom

            Your MOH was a rock star! I was MOH in my best friend’s wedding when my kiddo was 8 weeks and having him along (in dad’s care most of the time, like you describe), is what made it possible for me to be a full participant.

      • Totch

        That’s what I’d read into it: they both love each other and both want MOH to participate. And MOH is trying to give the bride a full weekend of attention by staying at the bnb with the baby, when it would honestly probably be easier for MOH to leave the baby at home and only come out for the ceremony and reception.

      • Ros

        Optimizing for full participation is totally what I read into it! Like… if I have my kid on site but out of the way (… in a B&B room, say… ) I can nurse in a half-hour and then be back to party. Whereas if I have to leave (in pain), and drive 45 minutes to get to my kid to no longer be in pain… I’m not gonna be back to party. So, like… you can pick: kid at the B&B or I leave around 9pm at the latest. Neither option involves the kid at the wedding, and both would involve me doing the best I can to manage conflicting duties.

        And (breastfeeding talk…) as someone currently nursing (a 2-month-old, but still): I literally cannot be away from my baby for more than 5 hours. It HURTS, ok. And some women (ahem, me, oh joy) don’t actually respond to the pump – that just hurts more, and doesn’t really get anything out. I’m very, very lucky to be in a place where I have a full year of maternity leave, because otherwise I’d be weaning and using formula – I’m not walking around vaguely leaking and hurting and going ‘party time’!

        • Eh

          As someone who breastfed for 19 months I want to say it isn’t always so uncomfortable and you won’t leak as much. Your supply will even out and you won’t hurt or leak unless you go really long without nursing/expressing.

          • JR

            Yeah, I left my son overnight for the first time when he was about 20 months. He was still nursing once a day. I didn’t pump and was fine (and we went right back to nursing the next night). But at 14 months, he was nursing 4 times/day (though engorgement was much less of an issue after the first several months).

          • Eh

            Ya at 14 months I was still nursing 4 times a day. Three of those were at night so it was really hard to leave my daughter.

          • Ros

            I breastfed my first for 18 months… by 14 months it was just morning/evening, but leaving for an evening meant discomfort and engorgement from midnight ish until morning, OR waking up the kid to nurse in the night. Neither option was great…

            Ultimate irony is that I didn’t have enough milk overall. All that nonsense and yet…

          • z

            I just had very leaky boobs. Supply was fine, but just thinking about my kids could trigger a substantial let-down. Annoying!

      • Lmba

        Yes, exactly. Leaving a nursing baby at home = showing up in the morning with your hair/makeup done already, hopping in your dress, doing the wedding thing, then driving back home in time for baby’s bedtime. Also, pumping/hand-expressing during the day to relieve pressure, and texting/calling husband periodically to check that all is well. In no universe does this option lead to giving the LW her undivided attention. That’s just the facts.

    • sofar

      I’m firmly on team “Weddings are family events and kids are family so invite the damn kids.”

      But I know not everyone sees things that way. And I agree, MoH could have said something like, “Hey I’d love to stay at the B&B. But if you want it to be an adults-only wedding pre-party, I totally understand and will stay elsewhere so I can be with my child.”

      However, it also depends on whether LW made it clear she wanted “wedding-party-only sleepover” thing. Or if it was just a “Hey, we booked rooms if you want them” thing. Based on LW’s follow-ups, it seems like the latter — she was extending a generous gift of a room to her wedding party members. It also seems like significant others were invited to stay in the B&B, which muddies the waters further. I can totally see MoH thinking, “Oh good, this will save us the drive and husband can stay at the hotel room with the kid during the wedding and I can still do feedings yay!”

      I say, make it clear the kid won’t be at the wedding by taking Liz’s advice and asking who is babysitting. As for the B&B, it’s not like everyone is sharing a suite/room. This would be no different than if another total stranger booked a room at the B&B with a small child.

    • Lmba

      Nah.

      MOH is not selfish and unreasonable to expect that her baby can sleep in her room. I mean, it’s a baby. Babies generally do stay with their parents. It’s wonderful when people have grandparents, nannies, or trusted caregivers they can leave their infants with, but a lot of us Just Don’t. Also, 14-month-olds? They can be pretty particular little folks. They may spend an hour shrieking their little lungs out if mom is not there for bedtime. The wish of the LW to have a kid-free space is totally her right. And it’s generous of her to pay for the BnB. But I’m guessing she is paying for the BnB and setting rules about how that space is used because she *wants* her people there having fun. Setting a hard and fast rule that baby is unwelcome is an okay thing to do, but it makes staying overnight much harder for MOH to swing. So, maybe she won’t come. Which would honestly probably be really disappointing to MOH… AND to the LW. LW feels upset that her BFF won’t/can’t make the sacrifice to leave her kid at home and MOH feels upset that LW is setting up a requirement that she feels necessarily excludes her from the festivities. Lose-lose.

      She’s your best friend. You might wish that she could be just who she used to be, and give you just what you gave her at her own wedding, but she can’t. Is it 100% fair? Nope. Such is life.

      • Eh

        ‘Also, 14-month-olds? They can be pretty particular little folks. They may spend an hour shrieking their little lungs out if mom is not there for bedtime.’
        Yep! When my daughter was still nursing she would not sleep well unless she nursed at bedtime (not to sleep, and a bottle would not do it). At 21 months my daughter only goes to bed for me and my husband, and does not like to sleep anywhere other than her own bed. I feel bad when ever I leave her with other people.

      • Jenny

        Agree, I also think we have to trust the mom and that she knows her kid. I had this situation and I was like oh god, my child would be a nighmare for everyone, thanks but no thanks. I put my kid to bed, left him with my mom, came and hungout in the place with the bridesmaids and then made a quick exit around 10 pm and was up with my kid at 3am the day of because he was a terrible sleeper (and also time change). If the MOH has agreed to it she has probably thought about what it will be like and determined it will work for them. It’s probably worth checking in and making sure she knows the situation (like thin walls, or we are planning on be really loud and staying up late), but at this point I would totally take my 16 month to something like this because he’s now a great sleeper, sleeps through everything, and is pretty adaptable.

    • HarrietVane

      I would find this mother bringing this baby to this wedding extremely inconsiderate. She KNOWS children have been banned and that other people, with children, will have to be making arrangements. Believing that she doesn’t have to follow the rules is selfish, no matter how much she would prefer having the baby with her. If she cannot leave the baby for the amount of time this takes, she cannot go to or participate in the wedding and she shouldn’t have accepted that responsibility either. I don’t care if the guest is a baby, it’s rude to bring uninvited guests & it sounds (from the fact that the LW hasn’t previously addressed this with her) that this MoH knows the LW won’t stand up for herself, so she won’t ‘hear’ stuff she doesn’t want to.

      • K. is skittish about disqus

        So I’m [very] obviously more on the “LW has to communicate clearly and firmly to her MOH about her expectations about the B&B” than others, but again…where are you seeing that MOH *knows* that other people are making arrangements and that she’s the only one bringing her child to the premises? LW said it here, but that doesn’t mean MOH knows it. Plus, MOH is the only wedding party member on LW’s side, so it’s not like she’s necessarily friends with or related to the other people staying in the B&B and has talked to them.

        I guess at the end of the day, my perspective is that, to a lot of people, childfree wedding means exactly that. A childfree *wedding weekend* is a different thing (not a wrong thing, just a different thing) and needs to be more clearly communicated if expected.

        • HarrietVane

          You are right about the LW needing to communicate more clearly and firmly– I think that that’s the first step to getting any of this sorted out.

      • Lmba

        Yeah, except… LW asked her to be in the wedding when baby was four months old. FOUR MONTHS. There is no way on Earth that MOH could know one year in advance what her child’s sleep/breastfeeding/separation anxiety situation would be at that early age. She expressed to LW that she was unsure she would be able to leave the baby so LW has had one full year to be checking in with her on this. I think it is completely unreasonable to expect MOH to anticipate with adequate certainty that leaving baby behind one year into the future was not going to work. She obviously wanted to be there for her friend, so she indicated her doubts about the particulars of the plan, but ultimately accepted. No way can she be faulted for that. Imagine if she had turned down being MOH because of a hypothetical maybe-i-might-be-breastfeeding-still-one-year-from-now-so-i-had-better-not? This is her best friend’s wedding. No way LW would have been LESS upset by that scenario than the current one.

      • Jenny

        Except we don’t know that the mother is bringing the baby to the wedding. I think it’s a little unreasonable to say that being a member of a wedding party means you can’t see a member of your family for an entire weekend.

    • Pidge

      No matter how clear the LW was about whether or not the MOH’s baby would be welcome at the B&B… the MOH also had a ridiculously long time to prepare for a night or two without her toddler, whatever that would have meant for her (dress rehearsals with a sitter, etc.) and she is the only parent not cooperating with the no-kids request, so that inclines me to agree that she is being selfish. If she had made efforts to be accommodating and gone to the LW with any obstacles (e.g. if she tried to wean her son, as one of the other commenters elected to do in preparation for an overnight trip, and he wouldn’t cooperate) it would be reasonable to ask for an exception at that point, but not before.

      • BSM

        But if she thought the baby just wasn’t allowed at the wedding but could stay at the B&B with dad, why would she prep to spend a night or two away from him/her?

        • Pidge

          If it’s unusual for her to be out of her son’s presence for several hours – even if it’s during the day – it warrants some kind of preparation.

      • Lmba

        Yeah, I mean, if she wanted to wean her kid at fourteen months then it makes sense to get that done before the wedding if possible. But let us be clear that there should be absolutely zero expectation that she would do so.

        • Pidge

          I don’t think she would or should be obligated to wean – but I don’t know any mothers who didn’t go back to work by the 3-month mark, so by 14 months all of those babies were accustomed to being left with dad, grandma, or daycare – so, weaning-not-on-schedule made more sense as a sample obstacle.

      • Sarah Cummings

        There is no one in my life I’d wean my kid for – save my kid. That is asking way too much from a friend.

        • Pidge

          I was not suggesting that the MOH should wean her son because of her friend’s wishes, only listing it as a possible scenario that would have unexpected results.

          • Sarah Cummings

            Weaning for a wedding so a friend can pretend all children don’t exist ALL WEEKEND…yeah…no.

          • Eh

            This baby isn’t even a year old yet. It says he is going to be 14 months at the wedding in August so he is around 10 or 11 months old. Even if the mom intended to wean after a year (which she has said she intended to continue) she wouldn’t even know how the baby would react to weaning until June or July.

            Also, babies/toddlers change drastically in a few months. Things like dress rehearsals with a sitter may work for some kids but may not work because the child has hit a milestone that throws everything off. My daughter has separation issues – she is extremely emotional and has trouble sleeping for a week if she doesn’t see both me and my husband everyday. Me and my husband travel for work and sometimes I take my daughter on trips without my husband. We have tried different things to improve the situation but it’s getting worse. I am a bridesmaid in a no-kids wedding in a few weeks and my daughter is staying with my dad who lives an hour away. The rest of wedding party is staying near the wedding venue for the whole weekend. For our daughter’s mental health we have decided that we will go back to my dad’s house after the rehearsal (so she will see us the morning of the wedding), stay at the hotel the night of the wedding (my husband is staying sober in case we need to go to my dad’s house), and come back early the day after the wedding. It’s not ideal, and it would be so much easier for us if my daughter could be at the wedding (or at least at the hotel, being watched by someone).

          • Amy March

            Is she not allowed at the hotel? Would staying there with your husband be an option, or getting a room for the grandparents?

          • Eh

            She is allowed at the hotel. The problem is the grandparents have other things to do. It’s the long weekend so they have other people visiting.

      • Gina

        Weaning for a wedding is not an accommodation that should ever be asked of anyone. Weaning is a big deal, and although there’s a popular conception in the U.S. that babies only need to be breastfed for the first year, WHO and AAP both recommend breastfeeding until age 2 for maximum benefits. Not that that even needs to be said, but weaning takes months and should only ever be a choice that the mother makes outside of external pressures.

        • Pidge

          At no point did I suggest that the baby should be weaned for the wedding. What I said was that if that *was* the MOH’s choice and things did not go as anticipated (because what does when it comes to weddings or children), it would warrant a conversation about needing accommodations, and in that scenario the LW should be considerate of unexpected circumstances.

    • Emily

      “Honestly, this MOH sounds pretty selfish and unreasonable to me. ”

      It’s pretty outrageous to call a nursing mother selfish for wanting to spend the night with her child.

      Reality check: If she is full on nursing, she can’t miss even one session or her breasts will become painfully engorged. It is difficult for many women to produce enough excess milk to feed a child for 36-48 hours, so she has to get the milk back home.

      It’s not selfish to take care of your parental obligations, in fact it’s responsible and self-sacrificing.

      What’s more, the bride never actually asked her MOH to leave the child at home, so the MOH isn’t even aware that this is a problem yet.

      MOH isn’t free loading. I’m sure she is staying at the BNB, because she thinks that’s what the bride wants.

    • Gina

      Expecting a mother to spend a night away from a 14-month-old is selfish and unreasonable. That’s not even a consideration in most cultures, and shows just how hostile our culture is to accommodating the realities of having children. Unsurprisingly, this burden is mostly borne by mothers. Add breastfeeding to the mix and it makes it even harder on the mom, not to mention the baby. Jesus.

  • Celesta Torok

    Similar situation: one of my bridesmaids, who also happens to be my cousin had a 6 month old baby at the time of our wedding, and one of my husband’s cousins also had small children. We also had the preference of no children allowed. My husband’s cousins decided to invite their children to the wedding without our consent (grrr), and in the case of my cousin/bridesmaid, everyone that could have watched the baby was at the wedding anyway, so we had to make some exceptions. We still had a lot of fun, the parents and other members of the family watched the kid(s) so they could be apart of the wedding and reception, and in the end it wasn’t a big deal (although, it still niggles me at times that hubby’s cousins weren’t very respectful and just brought their kids without talking with us first; but that is just them and they’ve done that in other situations as well). Honestly, you’ll be so focused on your day and everything that comes with it that the addition of a single kid to your day may not even register. Trust that your MOH will do everything she can to make sure she is present for you when you need her. She is an adult after all, and you’re still an important person in her life.

  • Totch

    It feels like both the bride and MOH are concerned that the MOH won’t be able to participate in the wedding/weekend fully.

    The bride feels like if the MOH brings her child, she won’t be totally present (and the baby may be a distraction for everyone at the inn because they’d have to make modifications to accommodate them).

    The MOH feels like if she can’t have her baby around, she can’t participate as much and be there for the whole experience. She isn’t saying she wants her kid to be featured or be in photos, she really only voiced her concerns about wanting to be able to care for them. She wants to be at your wedding, hell, she wants to be with you the whole weekend. And from her point of view, she doesn’t want to choose between being close to you when you need her and caring for her baby.

    I get the no kids rule. I get wanting your wedding to follow your vision. But you need to have this conversation. Does it help at all to try to keep in mind that you both want the same thing? For her to be present and engaged?

    • rg223

      Love your first sentence, so on point!

    • AMom

      Yes, this is what I was trying to say below (with less eloquence).

      • Totch

        I got that vibe from your comment! Since they’re not communicating well around this but are best friends, I’m inclined to give MOH the benefit of the doubt. I wonder if she’s thinking “it’s going to be tough having a toddler in a strange place for a couple nights, but I owe it to my friend to be there for the whole thing.” I know a lot of folks are assuming that baby at the hotel means baby at the wedding, but to me it seems like baby at the hotel would be the easiest way not to have the baby at the wedding!

        If the bride doesn’t want the baby at the hotel either, that’s fine for her to express. But if MOH doesn’t know that I’m guessing she thinks she’s doing a good thing and making it work.

        • BSM

          This is also totally my impression! And then it would make sense why she isn’t asking for clarification/confirmation of her plans with LW because she already thinks she’s picked the most generous course of action.

        • Jess

          Agreed. We had lots of friends bring their kids to the hotel for our kid-free wedding. It wasn’t quite as tight as a B&B, but it was a great solution for them to be there and close and make it work!

          I’m a big vote for Just Talk About The Thing, in clear words.

    • Agreed it’s an awkward conversation but definitely better to talk about it more directly. We ran into this topic for my wedding where a lot of my SO’s friends and family are older and already have kids. We were at a BBQ over the summer and one of his groomsmen was actually saying he was excited to bring his kids and we just nipped the bud directly saying that we are having an adults only wedding. It was a bit awkward at first but once you have a conversation it should be easier to move forward.

  • Alexandra

    Nobody could have made me hear this when I was planning my wedding. Also, wedding logistics vary considerably.

    But.

    One of my biggest wedding regrets is that I had a “no children, no +1” policy. If I had it to do over again, I’d be all about erring on the side of inclusivity. I felt that way the day after my wedding, not just now, two kids later.

    First, plenty of people just showed up with their kids. Which made me feel bad for the people who followed the rules. Second, there is still a lady who gives me side eye every time she sees me because her daughter wasn’t invited and other children were there. The details of that situation are too long to go into, but she’s in the right and I still feel bad about it.

    There was oceans of food to spare. Could have fed an army of kids. The evening was over at 8:30. We were the last of our friends to get married and almost everyone had kids to get home to. The facts of the matter were that we weren’t going to have the same kind of wedding our early-married friends had. That’s just the way it was, and if I had accepted it, I would have been a happier bride. My expectations did not align with reality.

    We had a pretty traditional, cookie cutter-esque wedding. 150 guests. It was such a hubbub of people, activity, and noise that individual guest moments were simply not possible. Everything got overwhelmed in the din of wedding celebration. Children and +1s would have had no impact on the overall vibe. If anything, they would have made it more fun.

    I’m 100% aware of the fact that this is not the case with all weddings–some just don’t lend themselves well to small children. But I really wish I could go back in time and invite all the kids, because in hindsight I could see that for my own wedding, it would have saved a lot of trouble and heartache and not cost anything logistically or monetarily. Just my $.02.

    • sofar

      I love this PSA. I’ve been to a few weddings that were obviously not kid-friendly (like 30-guest steak dinners and late-night New Year’s Eve ragers, a subdued affair in Japanese garden, and a wedding on a party boat).

      But the “average” big family wedding? Kids probably won’t wreck it. Unless you insist on having a 2-year-old as a flower girl, in which case that kid will wreck it every time.

      Hell, I got SO much blow-back for inviting kids to mine. I was told they’d “ruin” everything, especially my cousin’s little pyromaniac heathens. I was told parents would “welcome” a “date night” and should be encouraged to leave the kids at home. But really, the parents had fun dancing with their kiddos on the dance floor and stayed later than they would have if they had to relieve a baby-sitter. And there was, as you said, so much action I barely noticed a lot of the kids. My cousin’s little pyros were apparently just sat and sulked (so I heard). One friend’s kid even threw up all over himself. Did I notice? No. In fact, the only one who “ruined” my wedding was an aunt who failed to show up at the last minute to get revenge on my mom for an old grudge. I’ll take kids any day.

      • Amy March

        No such thing as an average big family wedding though.

        • sofar

          I mean, I have no problem calling mine the “average big-family wedding.”

          Maybe a better word would be “mainstream.” I had a “basic” wedding, essentially. Big families, big guest list, event hall.

          Totally fine if someone doesn’t want kids at their convention-hotel-ballroom wedding of 200 guests. But LW was saying that she felt, at the time, like kids would ruin the atmosphere, which seems to be a pretty common assumption. She has since learned that they probably wouldn’t (in the same way they’d ruin a 30-guest multi-course sit-down meal), given the venue and guest size. Still fine not to want kids around, though. Not everyone does.

          • Amy March

            Yeah I just meant that weddings are so different that “average big-family wedding” or “‘mainstream” don’t really mean anything. There’s no consensus on what those things actually are. Otherwise completely agree with your point.

      • penguin

        And if parents really want to go to your wedding without their kids, they can still choose to do that if you invite the kids! This way they have the option of bringing them if they want/if that’s easier for them.

    • laddibugg

      It’s not so much that I mind children at weddings, it’s that I mind children whose parents did not inform me that they were coming.

    • ART

      I really wanted to invite kids to our wedding, but it was hosted at a family home and they felt the particulars of the property were too dangerous for toddlers and young kids in a big party situation, and said they basically couldn’t enjoy the day if they felt like they had to be watching out for kids the whole time. We respected that (I mean, of course. They were being ultra generous by fixing the place up and HAVING OUR WEDDING THERE at no cost to us), but it meant a few friends/family couldn’t come and I still feel really bad about it. I wish we could have found a compromise, but I don’t know what it would have been other than a different venue. It’s definitely one of my regrets though – or at least I regret not being clearer with people about why that was the rule. Partly though, I knew that providing an explanation would have suggested to some that it was negotiable (“I’ll just make my kid wear a life jacket the whole time, it’ll be fine!”) when from the hosts’ perspective, it absolutely was not. I loved our wedding but nearly all of the regrets I do have stem from not being a good communicator during that time – I just had some kind of big blind spot around certain things that I headdesk about now.

  • Alex K

    Could MOH stay at home the night before the wedding, drive in that morning, have her husband bring the baby later in the day (after the wedding has started)? That way she could still be “fully” at the wedding and you could still have a fun free night before the wedding? You’d have to tread carefully suggesting it as it’s her/husbands call on some of this, but could be a “meet in the middle” option.

    • JR

      This is what I did in a similar situation (though my kid was a little older and down to nursing once/day, and I was emotionally ready to be away for a night, which I personally might not have been at 14 months – but might have been, and certainly lots of people are).

  • toomanybooks

    I agree with Liz that if you really don’t want kids, she should still be allowed to bring her kid to the B&B but make sure to ask her who is taking care of him and remind her that the wedding is still kids-free.

    I’m a person who has had the “I will absolutely never have kids, how terrifying” stance since I *was* a kid, for background. None of my close friends or family have kids yet, but there was some extended family with kids. They’re old enough that they know what they’re doing and aren’t going to like, scream during a ceremony or something. So we invited those kids (probably about four total) with their families.

    My fiancée invited someone from her PhD program whose wife had just had a baby. He asked if the baby could come. I hesitated at first – people don’t tend to want babies at their weddings, right? There must be a reason. Crying? I tried to weigh the pros and cons and I wasn’t even sure what they were.

    But then I thought – look, if I feel so strongly that the US doesn’t provide enough coverage for pregnant & new mothers and their kids, and I feel like doing more for them would be more feminist… why shouldn’t that extend to saying yes to letting this couple bring their baby? In my heart it just felt like the right thing to do. Now, I’m not telling people with a no kid policy that they aren’t feminist. But, think about it. You’re making life less difficult for a woman. A woman who already has all the difficulties of having a new baby! So I said yes, the baby was welcome. And now? I can’t stop talking about how excited I am that a baby will be coming to the wedding. I can’t wait to meet this kid.

    I could see how the LW would be taking such a hard line if this was someone less close to her… but the maid of honor? That’s someone you want to keep in your life and take care of. It seems like the MOH has thought about it and decided that this is the most doable route for her (and sure, ideally even more doable if the baby was allowed at the wedding too, but you can be firm about that part if anything).

    • Amy March

      I just really think it goes both ways. She could accommodate MOH because she’s a good friend. Or MOH could accommodate her because she’s a good friend.

  • djuna

    We’re not having a child-free wedding, but are facing a child-related issue that seems to have no good answer. One of my closest friends is a mom to twins (they’ll be 7 months at the time of our wedding), and will be traveling from several states away to be a part of our day. She’s bringing the babies (which we expected and are excited about), but just found out she intends to stay at our house with them for the duration of the trip.

    We love having guests. We really, really do. We’re having a handful of out-of-town guests stay with us for our wedding weekend, and have been excitedly planning our elongated house party for some time (we’re a pretty lively/rowdy bunch and many staying in the house won’t have seen each other in years). A house full of friends for the weekend of my wedding doesn’t stress me out one bit. The thought of being woken up by a baby (or waking one up or feeling like party levels have to be monitored) does.

    Honestly, my fiancé and I figured it was a given that the house was a child-free zone? We definitely never told anyone staying with us that they couldn’t bring kids (two of the other house guests have older children who won’t be there), but instead assumed that anyone who knows us would see it probably wasn’t the best idea. Under normal circumstances, Friend with Twins would be a welcome houseguest (with her babes) for as long as she likes, but is it selfish to want our house free from the compromises a baby (or two) on site creates? We understand her not staying with us limits the amount of friend time she gets to have with everyone (and she’s traveling the furthest to be here), but isn’t that time limited anyway by having two babies? We’d already arranged for her to stay at the wedding site (it’s at a relative’s house) the night of the wedding to accommodate having to put the babies down early, but her expectation to stay at our house the rest of the time leaves us feeling strange. I think this feeling is a mixture of annoyance (maybe just at the thought of babies ruining fun?) and also sadness (that our friend will feel left out/will be left out/that our lives are all very different than they were even just a year ago)? Any thoughts on how to work this? Are we just being insensitive baby-free folks?

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      Oh my goodness, no! This is totally reasonable. It’s your home and your wedding weekend and the reality of *twin infants.* The reason my instinct that the childfree B&B expectation here is a bit on the unreasonable side is because a B&B room is typically more similar to a hotel, with more personal/private quarters…plus the LW actually made the explicit offer for the MOH to stay there, albeit with a misunderstanding/miscommunication following. Your home does not have that kind of privacy for her (I assume). Plus, frankly, it’s not awesome that your friend basically invited herself to stay with you, with or without babies.

      I do think you need to communicate clearly and kindly to your friend, but you’d be totally in bounds to do so and not an insensitive baby-free folk at all, in my opinion.

      • penguin

        I would also recommend having that conversation ASAP so she knows.

    • Amy March

      Anyone expecting to stay at your house without being invited is not cool. It’s okay to just say your can’t accommodate her and the babies.

    • Vanessa

      It might also work out to be less of a thing than you are thinking now. We rented a mountain house for a long weekend last year with several couples (10 adults total), including two with babies – one 6 months and one 8 months. We are also pretty lively partyers, and that was the express purpose of the weekend. Baby people got the rooms that were the furthest away from the likely noisy area, and they either brought noise machines or used white noise apps on their phones. It was great. You could always buy a big thing of earplugs for people if you think baby noise will disturb you & the other adults.

    • ManderGimlet

      I feel it is extremely reasonable to ask that your friend find other accommodations. There’s a difference between hosting friends with under-1-year-old twins for a weekend, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to request that during your wedding weekend. Your friend may have the greatest intentions of being self-sufficient and a perfect guest, but that’s impossible. Even the most self-sufficient guest will have questions and requests for a host, add in the needs (and accoutrements!) of twin babies and that’s a lot of logistics your friend may not even be considering (especially if she has not travelled out of town with the kids before)
      Will she need to use the dishwasher and laundry facilities regularly? Where will diapers be disposed? Will there be enough room between her, hubby, babies, baby stuff, etc and all the wedding stuff packed into your house? What are their sleeping schedules? Will that disrupt other events or guests? This may not seem like a big deal, but compound that with all the other details you will be focused on that weekend and that is a recipe for stress.
      I think your friend may also be over-confident in the logistics of travelling with small children, so be patient, support her desire to become more independent and mobile with her growing family, but also be careful of not overcommitting in the interest of saving feelings only to end up resenting your friend and having sour memories associated with your wedding.

      • djuna

        You hit her personality exactly–Friend with Twins is very much the over-confident, self-sufficient “this’ll be a piece of cake” type, which makes me want to be very careful and considerate in explaining how this is not just a normal weekend and this will not just be a standard “we’ll figure it out as we go” sort of thing (which has been both of our modes of operation for the past ten years). I’m thinking she hasn’t fully realized how big of a production this whole thing will be for her, and I’m realizing I need to have a conversation about it with her sooner rather than later.

        (And honestly, all the logistics that babies entail–use of dishwasher/laundry/sleep schedules/noise–they just don’t interest me *at all* for this particular weekend, and I think that’s going to have to be alright, right?)

        • ManderGimlet

          Totally alright! I think you both want the same thing (to celebrate your wedding together) and in the interest of your love for each other are possibly setting both of yourselves up for discomfort and stress. There are worse problems to have! I would be honest with her, help her find more appropriate accommodations, and plan a fun post-honeymoon weekend with EVERYONE under the same roof where you can get to know her little ones without wedding stuff distracting you.

  • Sarah

    I’ll start by saying that I’m not one of those people who thinks having kids is like the most awesome important thing ever. It’s a wonderful part of life that you may or may not experience and one’s role as parent is only a part of her/his identity. So I’m not trying to be all like OMG HOW DARE ANYONE NOT MAKE THEIR ENTIRE WORLD REVOLVE AROUND A CHILD OR NOT HONOR THE MOM LIKE SHE’S SOME GODDAMNED GODDESS.

    That said… you need to try to be accommodating. If kid can’t come to the wedding, fine, fair enough. Kids can’t come lots of places, like work. IBut then MOH needs to leave when she needs to leave, or she needs to be able to be with her kid before and after the wedding. Hopefully she has a partner who will have baby covered, but if she’s still breastfeeding there are just going to be limits. Kid’s gotta eat and she’s gotta empty her breasts. She can’t be 100% committed to you for an entire weekend if she is breastfeeding. Not gonna happen. You don’t have to like it, but you have to accept it.

    I hosted my best friend’s wedding reception in my house/backyard 6 weeks after giving birth. It was not ideal because I couldn’t focus on my friend in the way I wanted to. I was alone in my room attached to that godforsaken pump during the cake cutting. I changed a blowout diaper just as guests were arriving. I basically had my friend do a deep-clean of my house before the party, which is something I really should have done myself but I was too busy like, rocking my kid to sleep and figuring out how to feed her. I wasn’t there for her the way I wanted to be but she understood and enjoyed sharing that part of my life with me. LW, be like my friend. Be gracious. Her kid is now a part of your lives and that might be a drag sometimes but you gotta accept that.

    And also, Liz, can we not assume momma’s gotta pump in the bathroom? It works in a pinch (you haven’t lived until you’ve pumped while peeing in a Target bathroom) but please encourage LW to find a place where she can pump where people aren’t also shitting.

    • Lmba

      Thank you for this.

  • Jessica

    Seeing from the update from the OP that the MOH only lives 45 mins away, I think a clarifying conversation is in order. Because I have a 12-month-old, and it takes a lot of effort to have him sleep in a new place, AND a lot of effort to watch him in a place that’s not child-proofed. I’ll actually be traveling with my son when he’s 14 months old, and with every airbnb listing I’m thinking about stairways, sharp corners, open cupboards… If I lived 45 mins away from a wedding location I would be inclined to just stay at home that night unless I my friend getting married was making me feel obligated be there overnight.
    All this to say, you know that your friend doesn’t want to be away from her son overnight. You also know that your location venue is not designed for babies (at least, that’s the sense I’m getting — I disagree with people comparing a bnb to a hotel bc bnbs often have older furniture, more knick-knacks lying around, etc). So I think you have an honest conversation with her surrounding those two facts and accept that it might mean she only comes the day of, and spends her nights at home with the baby.

  • marriedlady

    My AMAZING photographer brought her child and her mother in law to my wedding, who basically settled into a small room at the venue no one would be going into, because she was still breastfeeding. I NEVER saw the baby, the mother in law, or noticed the photographer leave to handle her mom life. And I have amazing pics. I have no idea if they ate any of our food – my guess is no – but if they did, so what? There’s more important stuff to worry about.

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  • laddibugg

    “free ranging animals that could nip at little ones”

    Maybe it’s the city girl coming out in me, but !!!! What animals are these that will eat children but leave adults alone?

    I honestly would have assumed I could have my baby at the B&B, just not at the wedding.

    14 months is kind of a weird age for me–like, if the kid was 6 months old, I wouldn’t feel it was unfair that I couldn’t have my kid and she could, but 14 months? That’s pretty old, and don’t kids slow down with the nursing by then? Pumping and dumping isn’t an option.

    • Lisa

      I’m guessing chickens or goats on the animal front. They’ll mostly leave you alone, but if you pester them too much, there’s a chance that they’ll bite. I could easily see unattended kids trying to get close enough to pet one and spooking the animal.

      • laddibugg

        AHHHHHH…..ok, my nature experience is mainly from camping in the woods, not roaming around farms.

    • Eh

      My daughter was nursing at least four or five times a day at 14 months (some babies nurse more than that). That’s a lot of pumping in advance to be away from baby for the rehearsal and wedding. (Not to mention that not all women react well to pumping.)

  • During my wedding I was a little obsessive about everyone following the same rules. It was unnecessarily stressful. I don’t think worrying about making everyone obey your no-child rule should be the deciding factor, you don’t have to explain your choices to anyone if you decide to accommodate your friend. As a mom of a still-nursing almost two year old, I would be pretty hurt and offended if I were told I had to leave him behind on a weekend trip I was expected to be in attendance at the whole time.

  • Kara Davies

    Definitely time to tell her flat out that this is a wedding for adults only, no children whatsoever. Period. Kiddo can have a weekend with the grandparents or other rellies who are NOT at the wedding.

    Being in a bridal party is crazy enough when you don’t have a kid to tend to. Most parents I know would relish a day (or two) away from their kids for a wedding!

    • spinning2heads

      But not this particular parent. She’s said so, you can trust her on that. The reality is that id you want to hold the line that hard, and you certainly can, then you will likely lose your maid of honor.

  • JLC

    I know comments have slowed down on this post, but just in case the poster comes back to read, try this mental exercise:
    “Dear Liz,
    My best friend is getting married and I’m so excited for her. She was a wonderful maid of honor at my wedding and I’m thrilled to be able to serve in that capacity for her. A year before her wedding, she told me that she wasn’t planning on inviting any children, but I have a baby that I’m breastfeeding, and I let her know that I would have to bring my son to the wedding. I understand the reasoning for not having kids in general, but I think most people expect an exception for nursing babies, right? She didn’t really fight me on it any further, so I assumed she was okay with it. Since then, she has generously offered to pay for our housing at the wedding site, which I thought was the perfect solution. My baby can stick with his normal routine as much as possible, we’ll have a quiet place to nurse, and I can participate in most of the wedding festivities while my husband cares for the baby.
    Now, however, she’s telling me she doesn’t really want the baby at the wedding site at all, not even the night before. I’ve been upfront with her since the start — my baby and I travel as a unit as long as he’s breastfeeding. I really want to be a good matron of honor for her and I’d do almost anything to make that happen, but my baby’s health and happiness have to come first. What should I do? Do you seen any room for compromise here?
    Signed,
    Matron/Mommy of Honor”

  • Gina

    It really makes my heart sink when I read about people excluding breastfeeding babies and toddlers from weddings. Like one, how far has feminism come if we are going to put breastfeeding women through the paces of having to find a place to pump (which most women choose to do in private, whereas breastfeeding can be done anywhere), not to mention being separated from a child that may not be used to other caregivers, especially if those caregivers are strangers. Two, in these circumstances especially, you expect her to actually sleep apart from her child? A lot of families do nights away at this age, and A LOT don’t. The only night my 2-year-old has spent apart from me was when she went to a funeral with my husband, who is used to doing the middle-of-the-night wakings with her.

    I’m going to go ahead and say it–it’s just incredibly selfish to do this to a woman– and especially to make it a false choice between you and the baby–especially if you’ve never experienced the pain of engorged breasts or the inconvenience of pumping in a strange place and trying to find a place to store the milk. You’re basically saying “I know that this is your reality, and I don’t give a fuck, because it’s more important for me to feel like the center of attention and not make any exceptions.” If one of my friends tried to do that to me, it honestly would harm our friendship. Possibly beyond repair.

    • Frida

      I don’t know that you’re being completely fair here. As a childless women whose friends all have babies, I adapt and am crazy good at being attentive, flexible, and willing to put them and their baby as the priority 99% of the time. I have long distance friends that I drive out to ALL the time so they don’t have to drive with their screaming babies. I babysit to give them a break. I bring (and mail) care packages. I understand when plans cancel. I come over late. I love their kids with all my heart. I sacrifice my own time and energy for them and their children a lot. Asking them to do that for me for one night, in my opinion, is only fair. And my really awesome mom friends get that. They get that I sacrifice for them a lot, so they are happy to sacrifice for me when they know I really need it and since I very rarely ask. It’s called balance. And just because you aren’t (or CAN’T) be a mom, doesn’t mean you cant be the priority once in a whole.

    • Amy March

      I think you’re being completely unfair to women who have not (yet) had children and who still get to have child free events if they want. There are many options for mothers who are breastfeeding to explore to make this work if they want to.

    • spinning2heads

      Having experienced the pain of engorgement caused by a pump not providing an adequate release, I agree. The reality is this: If there can absolutely positively be no kids even in the accommodations, then this bride is uninviting her maid of honor. If you don’t want to do that, well, then follow the advice.

  • macrain

    As I see it, there is an additional option here: Do nothing, accept that your friend might bring her son with her against your wishes, and try to move past it if and when it does happen. You could, for good measure, remind your friend about the “no kids” policy, and if she goes against it that’s on her. It seems like you are hyper focused on getting her to fall in line, and it just may not happen. Assuming you aren’t planning on physically removing this kid from your wedding if he shows up, there may very well be a kid and your no-kids wedding. If you have communicated your wishes clearly and she decides to go against them, well- worse things could happen.
    We had friends who brought their child against our wishes, and although I was pretty pissed leading up to it, at the actual wedding it was barely a blip on my radar. The only thing I could do was not let it get to me. It was actually much easier to just kind of shrug and be like- welp, ok. I could have whipped myself into a frenzy and made a huge deal out of it, but I didn’t. It just was.

  • Cay

    It’s about being honest with everyone involved. LW should explicitely tell her MOH that kids aren’t invited to the wedding, and let the chips fall where they may. There’s only so much accomodating that can be done. Once you’ve made it clear to her, she’ll have to make the proper arrangements and decide how she’s going to work everything out. If you told her months ago “no kids, no exceptions,” then she shouldn’t think she’s the exception. That’s a bit presumptuous.

    Whatever decision she makes, don’t take it personally. One of the things that you have to be ready for if you’re not allowing kids is that there will be some that won’t make it, especially with little little ones.