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Advice Goddess



Where the wild things aren't

My daughter is getting married this month, and we're having a formal evening reception featuring champagne and dancing. On the invitation, we stated "Adult Reception." You cannot imagine the trauma this has caused. We don't have the budget to have lots of children at the reception, but more importantly, my daughter, her fianc and I feel a formal evening event is not appropriate for children. Were we out of line, and do we need to apologize? Mother of the Bride-To-Be

Well, excuse you if the last two words you want to hear at your daughter's wedding are "FOOOOD FIGHT!" And maybe, just maybe you'd like to avoid having some parent pull you aside at the reception and whisper, "You don't think the bridesmaids' dresses are flammable, do you? My 8-year-old's in her arson phase again."

Who says America isn't a monarchy? It's ruled by millions of tiny tyrants named Cody and Madison, presiding over adult-sized serfs called parents whose single greatest fear is not being liked by their children. Such parents have their uses. No, not setting boundaries, but filling toy orders, nodding submissively at their children's self-revised bedtimes and sweeping up meatloaf and peas hurled on the floor and replacing them with Cocoa Krispies with a side of Snickers in chocolate sauce.

Parents like these are convinced that the world revolves around their children, and they can't understand why your wedding should be any different: A little cake, a little champagne and little Amber yelling out in the middle of the father of the bride's toast, "Mommy, Jason cut one!" "Did not!" "Did too!" The truth is, even well-behaved kids are still kids: at times, whiny, ornery, fidgety attention-piggies. The bottom line is that this event is not being catered by Ronald McDonald, and will not feature kiddie karaoke, games of Super Soak the Groom or Pin the Tail on the Bride. Accordingly, you tactfully informed your guests that you're having an "Adult Reception" instead of getting more to the point: "Leave your loud, underparented brats at home."

Quite frankly, you're doing the rest of us a favor by setting limits for the savages. Because people get tweaked about it doesn't mean they're right and you're wrong. (It's your party, you can ban crying babies if you want to and shy, angelic 13-year-olds, too.) Think about what these people are asking; essentially, "Hey! Where's my kid's free dinner and entertainment?!" It's the height of rudeness. And now, ask yourself something: What kind of person goes through "trauma" over a subtly worded hint that an elegant champagne formal is no place for children? Who else? The parents who are last to understand that having their particular kids in attendance means you'll not only need monogrammed napkins and place cards, but precut strips of monogrammed duct tape to bind and gag the little darlings when they act out.

As for any parents who get indignant at the need to hire a sitter, if this was going to be an issue, they should've used protection. That said, if some of your guests are coming from afar and bringing their children, you might want to provide a list of baby-sitters, or even set up a baby-sitting service in a hotel room or at somebody's house. But apologize? Please. You may as well send out revised invitations that say, "Why stop at the kids? Why not bring your Saint Bernard? And, hey ... while you're at it, truck over your daughter's life-sized robotic pony so she can gallop circles around the bride and her father while they share the first dance."

Guest who?

I'm a happy, successful, 35-year-old guy, perfectly comfortable with my single status. Around the holidays especially, I get party invitations addressed to me "& Guest" a stipulation I really hate. I don't have an "& Guest," and it makes replying stressful. Because our society glorifies couplehood, it almost seems everything nowadays isolates the unattached. Do you think it's almost like party-givers don't want the uncommitted around? Solo Flyer

Terrorism. Grinding poverty. World hunger. Flesh-eating bacteria. "& Guest." For a guy who's "perfectly comfortable" with his single status, you sure get your panties in a wad over how your party invites are addressed. Why would your friends do such a thing? Um, to be considerate, to give you options, because you might want a wingman or know a homebound lonely friend? Come on, the invite merely says "& Guest," not "Grab your grandma, a homeless crackhead, inflatable Judy or your pet hamster anyone or anything just don't come alone." Sure, society glorifies couplehood and all that. But, if there's anything isolating you, Mr. Happily Single, it's probably the fact that most people get the occasional piece of lint on their sweater while it seems you brushed up against a giant wooden cross that's now permanently stuck to your back.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail (

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