I have received a number of RSVPs to my rehearsal dinner invitation, which is being called “The Night Before The Big Day Barbecue,” indicating to me that the guests will be bringing their children, ranging in age from 2 to 14. I am certain I did not include these young people on the invitation or addressed them on the envelope. Don’t the parents understand that each head is counted in the number for which I will be charged, not to mention that the dinner is an adult event where alcohol will be served? Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t get it. How rude is that?! And of course, I wimped out and lied that it was my pleasure to have the little urchins. What would you have done in this case, Didi? I can’t believe that I am sounding like my mother.
–C.H., Dover, MA
We are unable to accommodate children due to the 21 age requirement, but are happy to provide babysitters information.
Hosting adults with children is tricky, but in most cases parents will be grateful for a night off. Mothers nursing babies are an exception, and the baby wouldn't be counted in the head count for the BBQ. There is an assumption that children who are part of the bridal party are included in the festivities along with their parents. When there are a lot of children in the wedding, pre and post wedding party invitations need to stipulate age appropriateness.
The problem is this. If the children were included in the wedding invitation to an out-of-town wedding, parents will assume that the pre-wedding and post-wedding events would include their children as well. At this point, it is what it is, but all will be fine. Try to negotiate with the caterer a cost per child. Ask them to prepare hot dogs and ice cream sandwiches for kids estimate the number.
You're right about the alcohol. Children clearly don't belong at parties where alcoholic beverages are being served because it is too easy for a child to pick up a half empty glass and get buzzed. Chances of promoting a possible lifelong addiction should be nipped in the bud.