We were invited to a wedding over the weekend, and I'm bummed to have to say that while the ceremony was lovely, I have no idea how the reception went. We actually arrvied late to the ceremony (wouldn't have been so bad, but carrying recalcitrant preschoolers while wearing heels and parking 1/2 mile away after circling the place 3 times doesn't make for speed). After sneaking in the back, I realized that my kids were the only ones in attendance. I had vaguely remembered that there was a note about babysitting being available during the reception, but I hadn't gotten a chance to re-read the inserts that were sent with the invitation right before we left (I'd done a basic skim the day before for starting time and locations). I had a vague idea that there might be a babysitter set up in a side room somewhere with videos, but I really wasn't sure.
Apparently, the reception was "no children" at all, and the babysitting was offered at the bride's mother's house, and I'm not sure whether it was for their out of town guests or just anyone. By the time we figured this out, the ceremony was over, Trystan had woken up from his nap with a stuffy nose, goopy eye, and was coughing nonstop (which meant my husband spent most of the ceremony hiding in a stairwell with him so he wouldn't interrup things). We just went home at that point. When I got home, I re-checked the invite and saw nothing written anywhere about babysitting or the no-children. Maybe it was on the RSVP card (that we sent in long ago).
I am not upset with the wedding couple at all--they have every right to choose their guest list and to exclude children (especially kids of friends...we aren't family or anything). They were also nice to set up babysitting. I do wish they had marked the invitation or the direction/hotel insert or something, so that those of us with a million things on our minds don't show up and feel like schmucks for not remembering something like that. I'm sure that Emily Post or Miss Manners or whoever sets the "rules" these days could probably have read what we received and understood immediately that there were to be no children, but I'm much more used to technical writing. Say it, say it clearly, don't expect the user knows rules that you aren't explicitly referencing, and make sure it's user-friendly (i.e. on the actual invite that the guest holds on to, not the rsvp card that they mail in a month in advance).
We have at least 2 more weddings coming up in the next two months or so, and I guess we'll need to make certain of the specifics for those, and try to remember to hire a babysitter before 2 days ahead if there's any doubt. Having kids does make these kinds of things a lot more expensive, doesn't it? The ironic part is that the reception was being held at a children's museum.