DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter expressed her desire to have as few children at her wedding as possible. She has a flower girl, so naturally this 4-year-old will be attending, and she also told the groom's out-of-town brothers that they may bring their young boys. A groomsman's wife just delivered, and she told them to please bring their infant child, understanding that leaving a 1-month-old with a sitter may not work out so well.
Now a member of the bridal party apparently needs to bring her 1-year-old child because she doesn't go anywhere without her, so my daughter figured if she said the groomsman could bring his newborn, then in all fairness, she needs to allow her bridesmaid to bring her toddler.
She has had a few negative responses from people who shared that they "can't afford a sitter" or "never leave their child with anyone other than family," and she smiles and says, "I hope it works out, as we want you to be able to share in this day with us."
Miss Manners, what are we to do if people show up with their children? It is clearly marked on the invite as to how many are invited from their household, but apparently no one reads this anymore or RSVPs. It is bad enough when they do not RSVP, and then when they bring additional people who aren't invited, it becomes a situation that is difficult to navigate.
GENTLE READER: Having given up on the hope that everyone will enjoy a wedding these days, Miss Manners finds herself setting a lesser goal of offending the smallest number of people possible. Even this will be a difficult standard to meet if parents struggle to find babysitters and then find themselves with a flower girl, two (or more?) nephews-in-law, a mother with infant and a 1-year-old. (Did we miss anyone?)
Your daughter may exclude all children from the event, but, for understandable reasons, she did not do so. It is time either to hire a babysitter and a quiet room somewhere away from the main ceremony, or to bribe one of the older (preferably trustworthy) children to mind the younger ones.