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Siblings not invited to the wedding?

MrsZipper's picture

DH and I have 2 bios, DD8 and DD11. He also has 3 kids from his former marriage, SD31, SD29 and SS26. I have been in their lives for over 15 years. SS26 and SD29 are both getting married this year, SD in July and SS in October. We received an invitation in the mail for SD's wedding this weekend and it was addressed to Mr & Mrs Zipper. No mention of our DDs. I have worked very hard and put up with some not so friendly treatment to form a cordial relationship with them. DH and I have also tried to make sure the stepkids and our kids had plenty of opportunity to know each other even with the age difference.

I knew our DD's were not going to be in the wedding (SD's wedding website has been up for months and has pictures and bios of her bridal party) but it never crossed my mind that they would not be invited. DH suggested that maybe it was a no-kids wedding but I told him to look at her website, the 2 flower girls and ring bearer and the grooms nieces are kids. SD29 has 2 godchildren who I'm sure will be at the wedding. We haven't told our girls yet. Their feelings are going to get hurt. DD10 has been following all of the wedding planning on instagram and DH's facebook and asking me when we are going to get dresses.

DH thinks we should call SD and make sure they are not invited and if not, ask for them to be invited. That seems rude to me. Has anyone been through this before? Any advice?

Maxwell09's picture

I also disagree with Echo, for my sons birthday party this past weekend I addressed the envelopes to the children such as my cousin's children, my friend's children, etc. Obviously the parents were also invited but I wanted the kids to feel special about getting something in the mail for them. I think the kids probably just weren't addressed and her DH can easily text asking if it's a kid free wedding or not. If other kids will be there and the SM was invited then I can't see why their siblings would be left out. If SM's name would have been left off the invite then I would say they weren't invited.

Aniki's picture

In our neck of the woods, if the invite goes out to Miss Whozeewhatzit and Guest, then Miss W may bring a guest. As in ONE. If it is sent to Miss Whozeewhatzit, she's coming stag or not coming.

Many years ago when I married the ex, we sent out a reception invite (we got married at the courthouse) the specifically said NO kids. Our reception was at a bar. People actually got PO'd and would not attend because we excluded their pwecious poopoos. Um, hello! It was at a bar. A BAR.

WalkOnBy's picture

Children's birthday parties are not the same as weddings.....the per head cost is waaaaaaaaaay more and when a bride gives a final headcount for the food, that is what the venue is expecting.

It's INCREDIBLY rude and presumptuous of a guest to ASSume that anyone other than the names on the invite are invited.

justanothergurlNJ's picture

I've been to NO KID wedding where the bridal party had a lid or 2 in it and they usually leave early. Me personally prefer no kid weddings especially if they formal type weddings. JMO but this coming from the women who will as for a table by the bar if we go out to eat because I rather not eat my meal being disturbed by someone else's kids!

Gimlet's picture

I am also a fan of eating at the bar. I find that I tend to like other bar diners; they usually seem to be low-maintenance and they also value the important things, like faster access to drinks! Smile

justanothergurlNJ's picture

YES! but even your garden variety chain restaurant like Apple Bees or Chilis. I ask to be seated in the bar area or at the bar itself!

Gimlet's picture

Bar seating is always superior to all other seating. Bonus if there is an outdoor bar in nice weather.

ESMOD's picture

I agree here.

While I understand the "standard etiquette" of only the people on the invitation being invited, this isn't some acquaintance event, this is the DH's and her kids' actual family.

DH should make a call to get a clarification. If the bride says that the event is going to be child free with the limited exception of a few kids in the wedding party who either won't be at the reception, or will be there only for a limited time then that is her choice and then it is up to DH and the OP to decide whether they will be able to attend, or decide on what logistic arrangements they will have to make to make sure their other kids are cared for.

It is quite likely in this situation that the brides did not intend to exclude the younger siblings. I understand that the situation might be different if this were only a friend of the family wedding etc.. but it is DH's actual offspring. Dad gets to ask the question and he can even express disappointment in the exclusion of his girls siblings if other children actually will be present at the reception. This isn't like asking for a plus one for a date or some visiting friend.

I don't personally think we need to rigidly adhere to miss manners interpretations of invitation addressing without asking for a clarification from the brides. Should be done by DH not his wife.

WalkOnBy's picture

Some people, myself included, think that weddings are not for kids.

You can't count the wedding party kids, as they are not guests, but members of the wedding.
Maybe that's her feeling, too??

When DD25 got married a couple of years ago, she was VERY insistent on no kids. She had her younger siblings as members of the wedding party, but no kiddie guests.

Perhaps your SD feels this way, too?

MrsZipper's picture

Hmmm I don't know about the inside envelope but I will check when I get home. I didn't consider the difference between outside and inside. I did not see DDs' names anywhere but there also may not have been any names inside.

twoviewpoints's picture

I would not ask the children to be invited if they truly were not.

I see no harm in Dad casually clarifying the true intent of the invitation. Not in a confrontational manner, more of a just make sure there is no misunderstanding. Did the bride make out the invitation herself (is the handwriting on mailing envelope hers)? Surely Dad can manage to fit inquiry into casual conversation without flat out saying 'did you invite your 1/2 siblings or not'.

MrsZipper's picture

I agree, I would be uncomfortable inviting them to a wedding where they were not invited. DH is very direct. The only way I could see this going smoothly is call and complement her on the invites, make small talk and wait to see if she mentions the girls.

No, they weren't handwritten, it was raised ink, so I think a printer handled mailing the invitations. They were probably going off a list.

notarelative's picture

I've been to weddings where there were kids in the bridal party, there for the formal picture taking, but not at the reception. I've been to weddings where there were no kids or only kids over a certain age. In all cases if kids were invited they were either specifically listed or the invitation said "Mr & Mrs & family". If I received this I'd read it, like you did, that the kids were excluded.

DH needs to talk to SD. SD needs to called out on this. She needs to know that this is unacceptable to her dad. If she insists no kids than he has a decision to make.

Would I go to the wedding if my kids were excluded? My first thought is no. Second thought --maybe.

If neither her father or you go than she can spin this however she wants and it won't be in favor of her dad. So I vote in for her dad going. My DH would want me to go and support him throughout the day. If I did go our gift to them would be my presence without my kids. There would be no additional gift (money) from us.

My bio kids did get invited to SD's wedding as she wanted her dad to pay for it and he wanted them invited. My bios went because it was important to their relationship to SF.
Now on my bio son's big day the following year, neither of the SDs came. They both declined the invitation. My DH had to answer when the relatives asked about his kids that day.

If you go that day, you will get asked where your kids are. Feel free to throw SD under the bus and say they weren't invited. You'll be the long suffering SM. SD will be the stuff they put at the base of plants to make them grow better. Not a pretty look for the bride.

MrsZipper's picture

Neither SD nor SS asked us for money for the wedding, but BM, DH and stepkids are jewish, so both told us that they would like our gift to them be keeping the jewish tradition of having both parents walk the bride or groom down the aisle. As in BM on one arm and DH on the other. I checked, it's a real thing. DH said he would think about it but he eventually said yes. We are not contributing financially, BM and SF are paying for SD, and SS's fiancee's parents are paying for his wedding.

stormabruin's picture

Our wedding was kid-free for a few reasons.

Finances - We planned food around the people accounted for via RSVP. When people just show up with kids in tow, those are mouths to feed that have not been planned for.

Noise - I didn't want the risk of distraction during our ceremony. Kids get bored when they have to sit quietly & I didn't want crying or screaming or tantrums interrupting our vows. I didn't want the distraction of mothers/fathers getting up to carry their crying children out. I didn't want kids running around our guests & bumping into people. I didn't want them crawling around the floor & under tables. I didn't want them poking their fingers in the food on the serving tables.

Socializing - We invited people we wanted to enjoy our day with & we wanted to create an environment where our guests would be able to socialize & enjoy the company of other adults. I think it's nice for adults to be able to go to adult functions & not have kids pulling on their sleeves & telling on other kids for not sharing or because someone hit someone or took a toy, or whatever.

There's no need to bring children to someone's wedding if they haven't been invited. IMO, it's rude to call & ask. It makes people feel obligated to agree so as not to offend a guest.

If the invite is addressed to Mr & Mrs So-&-So, it's intended for Mr & Mrs So-&-So. If the couple is wanting their guests to tote children in behind them, they'll indicate it with Mr & Mrs So-&-So & Family, or they'll put a little message inside letting you know that children are welcome.

People put a lot into planning their weddings. As a guest, accept the invite as presented. That's simple respect.

stormabruin's picture

I guess I missed the graduation thing.

If the graduation situation is whether or not to bring people who are not invited, I think the same etiquette applies.

Don't schools give each graduate a certain number of tickets to use to invite people to the ceremony? That's been the case in the graduations I've attended.

Why the need to tote kids along to either one? Neither graduations or weddings are events that kids need to attend. Both events call for respect & quiet at certain times. People speaking or singing should be able to without being interrupted by whiny tired bored kids. Why not just get a sitter & have some grown-up time away?

I guarantee you (anyone), regardless of how adorable & captivating your children are, no one is going to be more impressed with them than you.

stormabruin's picture

A wedding isn't necessarily a family event. It's whatever event the bride & groom want it to be.

DH & I paid a LOT of money & put a LOT of time into planning our kid-free wedding. When it's MY vows being interrupted by someone's uninvited kid, it's a problem for me.

If the guests we invited don't want to attend without their kids, they can simply choose to stay home.

WalkOnBy's picture

Meh - I agree with Mustang...

Kids at a graduation ceremony - not a small venue, NO food costs attached and, at least where I graduated, 75,000 people in attendance at The Big House. NO ONE notices an ill-behaved child.

Wedding - several thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars spent, FOOD AND OTHER OVERHEAD costs attached. Smaller venue, much more noticeable if a child goes off the rails.

The bottom line is this - the bride and groom can include and exclude anyone they want. It is NEVER okay to call them up and say "oh, and I'm bringing my rugrats."


WalkOnBy's picture

And I still say that the bride and groom get to invite whoever they want and exclude whoever they want.

Regardless of who contributed to their existence

Blum 3 Blum 3 Blum 3 Blum 3

zerostepdrama's picture

Since this is close family (siblings) I would just call SD and clarify.

A lot of people now a days don't know how to properly address an envelope.

stormabruin's picture

The invite was addressed to OP & DH. Why not just respect that?

If you had two kids & one was invited to a friends birthday party, would you call the friends mom to see if your other kid was invited too?

Of course not, because it's rude.

Teas83's picture

Sometimes with wedding invitations, people intend on inviting the whole family even though they only put the parents' names on the envelope. I've seen it happen before - it's something that's easy to overlook. Clarifying who is invited is different than asking if someone can be invited.

stepinhell617's picture

If he wants to check to make sure the half siblings are invited that's great but it has to come from HIM not SM. Not inviting siblings is kind of slimy and I expect it will impact the kids relationships with big sibs for years. Don't expect SM or kids to be excited about anything from that side of the family afterwards and that includes new babies, etc...

Rags's picture

Don't blow this out of proportion. Take your kids to their sibs wedding. Don't ask. RSVP for 4. End of issue.

WalkOnBy's picture

Oh no, this is just rude, Rags. You don't just take any old person you feel like to a wedding.

The invitation was engraved. With two names. There is no mistake about who is invited. NONE whatsoever.

If a bride and groom don't want kids at their wedding, that is absolutely their decision.

When Asshat and I got married, I had a no kids policy. His cousin called and asked if they could bring their two year old. NOPE. They decided not to come. Fine by me Smile

ETA: when DH and I got married, none of our kids were there. We went to the Courthouse with our parents, and my two best friends.

Easy peasy...

Exjuliemccoy's picture

If indeed the bride has chosen to exclude her own half siblings from a family event, that speaks volumes about her and her feelings (or lack of) towards them.

It's overtly exclusionary, and a considerate daughter would recognize the potential for hurt feelings and head it off by contacting her father to clarify:'Hey dad, just wanted to remind you that I've provided a sitter for Timmy and Suzie during the service, and then we can all be together at the reception." That would be the gracious thing to do, especially since dad is expected to participate in the event. But this is steplife.

Dad needs to call, find out what's what, and decide how to proceed from there.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

So much in steplife is about pretense. Pretending to like someone you don't, pretending to be a Happy Family, etc. It can be hard to discern what the truth is. It makes us hypervigilant and second guess skid motives and intentions.

Is this a case of a childfree wedding, or an adult skid sending a message that her father's second wife's kids aren't welcome? Hopefully the poster will update us.

MrsZipper's picture

I’m not sure…I thought we were fine. In the beginning it was miserable and it took a long time to change. We have been in a good place for years now. They don’t wish me a happy mother’s day or happy anniversary or anything, but they say happy birthday, send gifts to DD’s, come for dinner and holidays. They are friendly to us. They come to events for the DDs. So I don't know which one it is. I think DH and I can agree to confirm if the invite is for just us, but not go so far as to ask for them to be invited if they are not.

MrsZipper's picture

SD went on a full ride to undergrad and DH and I paid for her engineering masters degree if that makes a difference to you. And as another poster said adults usually pay for their own weddings. The reason why I say BM and SF is that I would not like someone to say DH paid for that masters degree. We both contributed and I'm sure SF would not like if people said BM paid for the wedding when it is probably using joint funds.

WalkOnBy's picture

IF they were invited to the wedding, their names would have been on the invitation. It's really that simple.

I don't think excluding a half-sibling is just plain rude and mean. There could be many reasons for it - none of which we know.

Again, I say, the bottom line is that the bride and groom get to invite or not invite anyone they wish. It's THEIR wedding, not a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.

twoviewpoints's picture

I'm really surprised SD wouldn't have mentioned to Dad about a kid-free wedding (if it turns to actually be one) when she asked about walking her jointly down the aisle.

Just kind of a heads up sort of FYI. She knows Dad has minor aged children. She would know if she's not planning on children attending (except wedding party participants) that his agreeing would mean making sitter arrangements ect for his kids. It just seems common sense and courtesy when chatting with her father about her wedding, wedding/reception will be adult only *shrugs*.

OP states "but they say happy birthday, send gifts to DD’s, come for dinner and holidays. They are friendly to us. They come to events for the DDs" sounds like she'd just suddenly make a snub move towards her younger half siblings out of the blue. Why wait all this time to make such a bold statement? Usually when a SD is jealous, unapproving of second family blah blah it's pretty obvious and a wedding snub wouldn't come totally unexpected as this one seems to have.

Amcc13's picture

Is there anyone else you get on with in family who has kids that are not in the wedding? Could you find out if those kids are invited and make your call from there. If they got a different envelope than you or invite than you, then there is at least more evidence of exclusion if that is the case

If there is no one you can ask then a convo may go along the lines of
Hey sd its dad here. We got the invite and it's really beautiful. we are trying to get things together for the day and we were wondering about childcare: should we bring the girls (insert half sis name here) or do we need a sitter the whole day?

This convo may take some of the directness out of it but it must be between your dh and sd. You must not get involved.
If however they aren't invited, stay away and no gifts, now or when her children are born.
Also try to take the girls away from social media until you have it sorted. No point to see it and then have them more disappointed

WalkOnBy's picture

Right - it's not like the bride is unaware of her half-siblings.....

I am just amazed at this whole "who cares what the invitation says, I am bringing whoever I damn well please" attitude of some here...

I mean, just :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop:

Willow2010's picture

While I think it would be rude of Joe Blow to call and clarify if kids were invited…this is the brides FATHER. Of course he should call and just say…Hey DD…Is this a kid free wedding? I just wanted to know if the kids are invited or do I need to find a sitter.” Easy peasy no fuss no muss. It is not rude.

And who ever said up there that the dad is a dead beat father to a 29YR is absolutely absurd! Especially when HE alone paid for the kids college. Maybe that was a given all along. He pay for college and BM pay for wedding. But even if that was not the case…he is not a dead beat father because he is not paying for his 29YR DDs wedding. Dumbest thing I have read today. But it is early.

WalkOnBy's picture

DD25 got married in late 2014. I am soooooooooooooo glad Thing1 and Thing2 are boys Smile

Asshat gave DD25 and her husband a sizeable check as a housewarming, college graduation, wedding gift. They used some of it for wedding stuff, some of it for other stuff. I paid for some wedding related things (dress, photo booth, etc) and my son-in-laws parents paid for others.

There is a ton of wedding etiquette out there. I don't know why people don't follow it.

When my kids were younger, I got wedding invitations. Never once did I assume they were included - NEVER - unless their names were on the invitations.

Sweet T's picture

I see no harm in dad asking his daughter if it is a child free wedding and see if he 1/2 sibs are invited. I don't think the step mom should ask. It could be that they can only have so many people ect... there is a tactful way to do this. A good friend of mine is getting married in September, she is having a kid free wedding and told me upfront and hoped I would not be offended that my BS was not part of my invite. He will be 9, and that is what babysitters are for IMO.

Willow2010's picture


So case in point.
Say your DD did not know the etiquette and sent an invitation addressed to you and your DH, for her wedding, and she just expected that the boys would come since they live in the house. (Just say they lived there at the time). You would have left them home and NEVER asked DD if they were invited?

WalkOnBy's picture

My boys didn't live in the house at that time. They got their own invitations. They were also in the wedding party. But, my boys were adults when she got married, living on their own at their respective universities, so you're comparing apples to vaginas Smile

She KNEW the proper way to address invitations.

But, for the sake of your argument - I am quite sure that I would have known before hand whether or not my boys were invited because I was involved in the planning of the wedding. In the OPs case, the half siblings were not all that close, in my daughter's case they are. I WILL say that Asshat and his wife brought their nanny with them and Money-Ka took the little ones back to the hotel after the ceremony.

IF my boys were small, and IF they weren't on the invitation, I would have assumed that I would hire a sitter and keep them home. See, it's not up to ME who the bride invites to her wedding Smile

stormabruin's picture


I also read books & magazines to make sure I was doing things the right way.

I counted our money & counted our guests. When I issued the invites, I did so expecting my invited guests to be respectful enough to RSVP for those invited, or stay home.

I researched appropriate ways to phrase our announcements, appropriate times to have a meal vs. appetizers, & the appropriate way to address the invitations.

I really don't understand why people struggle to accept that bringing uninvited guests is rude. If you're on our invite, we'd love to see you. If you can't bring yourself to part with your children for a couple of hours to celebrate with us, I truly hope you enjoy your day at home.

sammigirl's picture

MrsZipper: I am not sure just where your relationship with your stepkids stands; only you know that for certain. I do believe common sense needs to be used in this situation. If you know for sure, in your mind, that the bios were not invited, let it go and you and DH attend. On the other hand, if you feel there was just an assumption all of you were intended to attend, let DH confirm this with his DD and DS.

I know for sure where I stand with all of my grown skids; therefore, I take it one occasion at a time. For example: SD told DH that they were having a family BBQ for birthdays and Father's Day combined; I was never informed by SD or grown SGD; they are doing the BBQ at SD's house, just up the street.

I know in my own mind, SD nor SGD want me there; it's clear on both of our behalf. No words have to be said. DH knows this also. Therefore, I have said nothing about being invited, or that I will or will not be going. I let it go and will see what DH wants. If DH never mentions it; I will politely stay home, that's what I want to do anyway. The only reason I will go with DH is if he ask me to go with him; it's his birthday party. Silence sometimes speaks loud words. In my case, manners do not enter the equation; my SD and SGD have no manners. I do have manners and will not push myself on anyone.

Bottom line; I would let your DH handle it the way he wishes; these kids are all siblings with the same Father. If you do not feel comfortable going, tell your DH you do not feel comfortable and stay home with your bios.

notasm3's picture

Many many years ago when I was the maid of honor in a very small wedding I remember thinking "WOW these vows are SO personal that I almost feel like an intruder standing here next to them".

Since then I have always felt that a marriage was between TWO people and two people only. A bride and groom, two grooms or two brides - no more no less. Any one else present is just an extra.

People get so bent out of shape about who is invited, who chooses to attend, etc. It's all bullshit. Nobody has to be invited (no matter what the DNA relationship) and no one has to attend (again DNA be damned). 90% of most weddings are really just crap about having a huge costume party.

MrsZipper's picture


It has been confirmed - not invited.

After all the invitation comments I looked at the inside envelope. DDs names were not listed, just our names. I also noticed that the invitation said black tie, not black tie optional like I thought it said, so the formalities are being observed. I explained this to DH and said he should not call but he said what's the harm in double checking. He called on his cell and his phone is so loud I could hear SD, but I was not part of the conversation.

He did a good job being casual about it. SD confirmed it was just for the two of us, said how hard the guest list has been to figure out, she and fiancee are trying to stick to their budget so they are having a small wedding, only 130 people, etcetera etcetera. She told DH about people he knew that were coming and said, maybe in explanation of why DDs were not invited, that Aunt C and Uncle H were invited (long time family friends on BM's side, DH filled me in later) but not R and S (their 2 adult kids), and she basically grew up with R and S. DH said ok, just wanted to be sure. Then SD said, "Wait, did MrsZipper want DDs to be invited? Is this going to cause problems for you? I'm sorry! But you know how it is, we're just not that close with them." And DH said no no no, it's ok he was just checking because he wasn't sure. And then SD said "Ok phew, because they aren't on the list for SS's wedding either and we were were going back and forth about it, but I'm glad we're good."

So there you have it.

MrsZipper's picture