Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Friend wants to bring uninvited newborn to wedding
Maine: I'm getting wedding RSVPs back, and I found out one of my friends is bringing her newborn with her. We do not want any kids at the event. Period. Any advice before I call her? I'm sure she'll be understanding, but I don't want to say the wrong thing. I like kids but not at such an important event.
Carolyn: Then definitely don't say "at such an important event."
I believe in no-kids weddings. I support the people who find the cries and impulsiveness annoying. I deplore the tactic of RSVPing for the kids when the invitation doesn't include them.
Newborns warrant at least the consideration of leniency. If your friend is nursing, she is tethered to her child in a way that doesn't allow them to separate comfortably for more than an hour or two, depending. She can pump, yes, but that would involve getting ahead so she can leave some for the baby, and also pumping during the reception or else she'll be in real pain.
If your wedding is months away, then this might be moot. But if it's in a matter of weeks, then asking her not to bring her baby equates to asking her not to come. That may be your preference, but this "important event" is a celebration, not a peace negotiation. You might enjoy it more with your friend there, complications and all.
Just something to think about. Or, even better, talk about with her. She might be open to bringing a babysitter with her, especially if there are other rooms available for sitter and baby to use during the ceremony and reception. Start that conversation by saying, "Technically this is a no-kids wedding, but I want to make it possible for you to come — so let's try to think of something together."
Maine again: I'm hesitant to let her bring the baby because we're not even allowing family children. It's a discussion I really don't want to have with other people. We had to draw the line somewhere. Plus we figured parents would be thrilled to have a night off.
I do very much want her there, but I have to be fair to the other guests. I'm quickly learning that when I make one exception, people take that as a cue to push.
I'll definitely try to work with her, even going as far as to get child care. But if she doesn't make it, I know it won't be the end of the world.
I was just a little surprised by her add-on. It doesn't seem like her, but she's a first-time mom.
Carolyn: Newborns are not like other kids; they don't allow a "night off." Trying to accommodate this friend — i.e., having her baby there on site but not there at wedding or reception — is the way to show that you get it.
Disclosure, I had a no-kids wedding where a newborn was allowed, and no ruckus ensued. The people with kids are the ones more likely to get the newborn angle, not less.
That said, you're certainly entitled to draw the line where you feel comfortable drawing it.