Ask Audrey: 'My adults-only wedding is causing a family rift'

Audrey Griffen

Audrey is a mother to a 15-year-old with another on the way. She probably should have taken into account who she was marrying (Osher Günsberg) much earlier, as she’s far more comfortable behind the camera as a freelance hair and makeup artist, than a TV host’s wife who doesn’t know how to work her angles for any on-camera duties.

Audrey loves to cook, decorate cakes, gardening, DIY and is very handy with a flat-pack, few of which you would pay her to do for you, but she’d happily give it a shot for free.

Audrey dishes out the advice for a bride-to-be who's in a pickle over whether to allow kids at her wedding or not. Photo: Supplied

Hi Audrey,

I’m currently in the middle of planning my wedding and both my fiancé and I have decided to have a child-free day, which has gone down like a lead balloon with my family.

We both love children but we just want our wedding day to be about us and we want our guests to be able to let loose, relax and have a good time without having to worry about their kids.

I recently went to a wedding in a beautiful vineyard and right as the couple said ‘I do’, the bride’s three-year-old niece decided to pick that moment to throw a massive tantrum and her parents had to scramble to keep her quiet. This just cemented my thoughts on making our day kid-free,

Yesterday I went for lunch with my mum and auntie and I brought up that I was going to put ‘adults only’ on our invitations, which are going out next week.

I was completely unprepared for their response, with mum looking at me in disgust and saying she ’'didn't think I was like that", while my auntie just shook her head and told me it wasn’t up for discussion and I would just be causing a rift in the family.

I get that they want my two nieces there, but if I add up all the kids in our extended family, I would have a table of about 10 children.

When I asked them if they'd ever been at a wedding where kids were invited, they both said no.

Now I’m conflicted about what to do. I don’t want to upset my family but I’m tempted to stick to my guns as at the end of the day it is my wedding.

What should I do?

Adults only weddings can be a topic of contention amongst families. Photo: Getty Images

Dear Ms Wedding Trouble,

Children! We love them don’t we? Although not as much when they belong to someone else and are cramping our style, such as during a wedding ceremony. It’s fair enough that you’d like a child-free wedding, but I wonder if there’s a way that you can keep everyone happy, or at least moderately happy.

It’s unfortunate that you are feeling forced into inviting the kids in your family along to your wedding, despite your explanation of wanting everyone to have a good time. And even though they’re half the size of an adult, they do still add to the cost of a wedding reception. So what should you do?

Consider why it is that you don’t want to have kids there on your big day. Is it solely based on that experience at your friend’s wedding? Have you asked her how it effected her experience? Do you think that it will take away from your and your fiancé’s wedding day? Is it the additional costs to your budget? What will be the long term impact that it will have on your relationships with members of your family (from the reaction of your mum and aunt, the kids are just as important a part of a celebration as the adults)?

However, kids can add fun to a big day. Photo: Getty Images

For Osher and my wedding, we were at a property for a couple of days, and it was a big family and friends affair. We were very conscious that our friends and family had different ideas on what makes a wedding reception fun for them. So we gave them options and let them decide what suited them and their kids best. There was the option of having their kids with them at the reception, either for dinner or the whole party; or dropping them to the babysitters who were on site. Or having a weekend without the kids. Totally their decision.

We had a spreadsheet with the kid’s who may use the services of the babysitters and their ages, and the parents only pre-paid for the children that were cared for during the reception.

I think the reason this worked was that parents were able to check in on the kids throughout the night if they felt the need, there were kids boogying on down with us on the dance floor, and there were other kids who were hanging out, none-the-wiser with the babysitters and some movies about 150m away from us all.

One of Osher and I’s fondest memories was watching my nephews let loose with some great dance moves which we didn’t know they had in them. It was so fun having dance-offs and trading moves with the kids of both friends and family.

Depending on your venue, this could be arranged using the services of a babysitting agency, and if you’ve got the help of a wedding planner or venue manager, speak to them about what your options might be. And you don’t necessarily have to cover the costs of this service if you don’t have it in the budget.

If it were me and I had the option for my child to be cared for and supervised within the vicinity of the reception, I’d jump at it and be more than happy to pay for the convenience. At the very least, you are making every effort to ensure your guests have a good time. With or without their children there.

I personally get why it is that you’re worried about your guests’ experience, however, the only people you truly need to worry about having a good time is you and your fiancé. It would be easy to think that a tanty or a crying baby could ruin things for everyone, but they can’t. Your union is stronger than that or you wouldn’t be getting married in the first place.

Very little, short of some soap opera level scandal can stop the legitimacy or sincerity of your wedding day. No rain; the wrong flowers; sprained ankles (that was me); or a crying child, is able to do that. You will have a wonderful day because it is the start of a new chapter of your life together with your love, your family and friends bearing witness.

So best of luck to you both. Whatever you decide, your wedding day is about you both, and you will have a fantastic time regardless.

Audrey x

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