Hitched 2.0: Do I Want Babies At My Wedding?

I can’t say I have any strong feelings one way or another toward babies. I’m literally obsessed with my nephew, a recent baby (current toddler), but he’s my nephew and he’s obviously the cutest one-year-old in the world, so of course I feel that way. He has a couple pretty awesome girlfriends who I’ve grown fond of, too, but he’s really the only baby I spend time with regularly (err, excessively). My fiancé and I both have a few other relatives and friends who have spawned over the past year or so, and we love them plenty, but they live in other states and we unfortunately don’t see them too much. All in all, our baby exposure is limited. We don’t dislike them, but we don’t actively think about how much we love them, either.

So when one of our wedding guests recently asked us if babies are invited, we had literally no clue how to answer. I went online to check wedding-related message boards (there is a thread about everything), and Andy texted our already-married family members to get their opinions. (Freethinkers, over here.) And, well, none of it helped.

As far as the message boards went, there were, not surprisingly, myriad strong opinions. Some people voted adamantly against children of any age, stating various reasons: It’s a “classy” event; wedding guests are expensive and/or take up precious space and kids won’t even enjoy it; crying babies will disrupt the ceremony; parents probably want a break from their kids anyway. Others took the opposite side, opining that, “It’s your wedding, not the freaking Academy Awards. If you’re inviting people you love and they have babies, let them bring the damn kids.” (I paraphrase.) Others still offered solutions solidly in the gray area of the argument: Only allow breastfeeding babies because they need to be with their respective food sources and separating them would be cruel; or set a cut-off age somewhere around when kids start to get loud and obnoxious. Our family had similar (if less harsh) thoughts, on both sides.

And truthfully, I can understand pretty much all points. We aren’t a stuffy couple by any stroke of the imagination, and certainly don’t intend to have a stuffy wedding. But that doesn’t mean we love the idea of a crying baby as the soundtrack to our ceremony (or wedding video, for that matter). Nor do we want said baby’s parents to have to leave the reception early—or spend the whole thing tending to their offspring. This is the one time we’ll have nearly all our family and friends in one room and we want to keep them there, dammit.

Then again, we have some toddlers in the wedding itself (see earlier re: cutest-one-year-old-in-the-world nephew), so at that point, what are a few more? And if bringing or not bringing the baby is the difference between a loved one coming or not coming to the wedding—wouldn’t we rather it be the former? Not to mention, I do understand the importance of breastfeeding and the difficulties a mom-and-baby separation can pose for some. I may only have obsessive feelings toward one particular baby, but I’m not a monster.

These are the thoughts that have been playing through my head on loop since we started pondering the big baby question a week ago. I vacillate between “This is our wedding; it’s totally understandable to add a ‘no baby’ disclaimer on our invites … after all, many parents may enjoy the night out” and “What’s the big deal? Let’s just leave it up to each individual parent invited, and wipe our hands clean of the decision.”

Unfortunately, my mind hasn’t spent enough time in one camp to pick a damn side, so we’re still very much in baby limbo. I have no clue how we’ll net out on this one, but I fear that until we figure it out, my dreams will be haunted by angry dancing babies in miniature tuxedos and ball gowns and, well, who wants that? Help, please.

Hitched, our weekly column about getting married, is back! This time around, we’ll be walking down the aisle (well, in spirit) with writer Emma Sarran, who will be sharing her thoughts on long engagements, the institution of matrimony and that godforsaken wedding industrial complex every Thursday. Follow her on Twitter!