Birthday Invitation Wording - etiquette question

Discussion in 'General' started by littletwinstars, Mar 28, 2010.


Have you hosted or been to party where the families automatically bring the siblings of the invited

  1. Yes

    25 vote(s)
  2. No

    21 vote(s)
  1. littletwinstars

    littletwinstars Well-Known Member

    We will be celebrating our DD and DS's 4th birthday at The Little Gym and I'm currently trying to figure out the wording on our invitation. We will be inviting their entire preschool class and unfortunately, we do not really know any of the parents or families. While we would like to be able to include the siblings of their classmates, we can't due to Little Gym's policy and our budget. It's been recommended that we write something of this nature in our invitation so that we avoid any misunderstandings or "situations."

    I was wondering what you all think. I'd appreciate any input, too. TIA!
  2. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    Can you include something in the invitation along the lines of:

    "Due to facility rules, the only children allowed to participate in The Little Gym activities are those who are listed on the invitation. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes with your child's siblings."

    FWIW, when my DS is invited to birthday parties, I would never expect to bring my 2-year-olds along and let them participate.

    Good luck! :)
    1 person likes this.
  3. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    I do not expect to bring my other kids along to participate in the party, but sometimes I do have to bring them, or the child invited cannot go at all. DH works and can't come home to cover child care for a bday party, and I don't have a sitter I could use (and why do I want to pay a sitter so I could take my child to a party?). Anyway, I understand why other siblings cannot attend, but it's not always possible to leave my other kids behind. As the kids get older, it is fine, as it is usually a drop off. But, when they were young, the other kids HAD to come along and sit with me. Just letting you know, it isn't always possible to keep the other children at home.
  4. littletwinstars

    littletwinstars Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your advice! Both replies are extremely helpful. I really like the wording that was suggested. :good:

    I understand your point in regards to not being able to make arrangements for the other siblings during the party hours. I'm just curious...if you did bring your other children to a party...did they just sit and watch the whole time or do they participate in the activities, too? My problem is since we don't know these families, I do not know the ages of the siblings. We understand that they may have to bring their other children, but unfortunately they won't be able to actually go into the gym and play. Do you think the families would understand this?

    My other dilemma is that we will be doing an art/crafts type thing as well and I would have no idea how to plan for it if I don't know the ages of the other siblings. Plus...I don't know if there is enough room in the activity room.

    I really appreciate everyone's input. We don't have a lot of experience in hosting children's birthday parties so I just don't know what to expect and do. I just don't want to offend anyone or have any uncomfortable situations. Is this possible? :pardon:
  5. Ange2k25

    Ange2k25 Well-Known Member

    We went to a party at our local Little Gym a couple months ago. The uninvited siblings sat in the seating area outside the gym area and could watch the activities through the windows. That's where we parents sat too. When it was cupcake time, all the kids had cupcakes as well as several of the parents. You may want to have extra cake/cupcakes for those children and the parents. It didn't seem like a really big deal to the parents or kids that only the invited kiddos got to participate.
  6. missmomoftwins02

    missmomoftwins02 Well-Known Member

    ITA...That is a great way to word it! You are inviting your kids' preschool friends...not thier WHOLE FAMILY to the party...The parents should not expect you to pay for thier other kids to participate too!! That is not fair or financially feasable for you!

    There is a HUGE difference between bringing them and expecting them to be allowed to participate. If you just BRING your other kid(s) that is OK...but don't expect them to be able to participate/play. Again...not financially feasable for the hosting family and as the OP said...not allowed by the facility.

    If I ever had to being my other kids, I would be sure to bring something else for them to do. If the hosting family then invited the others to participate I would let them...but I would not expect them to. I would also say something when I got there like "I had to bring Grant and Megan along too, but I brought coloring books and toys for them. I will be sure to keep them out of the way and quiet during the party." I also would bring snacks for them so that they would not feel left out of eating...but if I was asked "would they like a cupcake too...we have extras" I would accept thier offer. But again I would not EXPECT them to provide my other kids with treats/snacks.
    2 people like this.
  7. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I would also suggest maybe an age range.....some babies under age 1 dont count in the 'total' dont participate in the party and may need a parent for bottle/nursing. Also parents are more hesitant to leave a infant that may be nursing/bottle on demand than older siblings with a sitter.

    I have seen "infants under age 1 welcome to accompany parents, but due to the facility rules........" (finish previous suggestion).

    It is totally understandable that siblings not be could also add if parents can pay for other children to play (but not attend party/food/crafts).

    I would clarify if it is a drop off or not as well.....some parents may assume so due to the location (independent play space) and age. Around here drop offs start at age 4 (though we will not do drop offs for awhile p ersonally) at places like that. Parents will probably want to eat/drink if they stay (esp. if it goes over a mealtime)--they may also be included in a 'capacity' count for the room. Although, drop offs will reduce the chance that siblings would attend.

    Have fun!!!
  8. BellaRissa

    BellaRissa Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I don't understand this because my girls are the same age & I have never encountered the situation.....but every party we have had welcomes the entire family. Last year we had the party at a water park & I noted on the invitation "siblings and parents are invited as well" so that they knew that the entire family would be guests of the party. The girls may come up with a party idea that makes this impossible....but it is my intention to welcome siblings & parents to all of the girls birthday least while they are under 12 or so.

    If one of my girls received an invitation I would assume the other twin was invited. If one twin was not invited I would be highly irritated & neither girl would go. I hope the invited twin would not want to go someplace where her sister was not included. That said, if my children were far apart in age or different genders I would not mind so much if only one were invited.
  9. MLH

    MLH Well-Known Member

    Yes, we have hosted parties where families have just brought their other kids. I find it quite rude to be honest b/c I have not included them in food, goodie bags, etc. I've had one parent call and ask if so and so and bring her sister that is a year younger b/c they do everything together and the Mom likes to allow the younger one to experience all the same things the older one does. She even offered to pay, but then come the day of the party totally bailed before the bill was settled. :angry: I never expect to bring one of my other children to a party that they were not invited to. On your invited, I'd probably just put something along the lines of "Unfortunately due to Little Gym's policies, we are not able to include siblings". I've even made sure to include a blurb about "please ensure that one adult will be in attendance for the party". We did this when we had a swimming party for my DD and I heard through the grape vine that some of the parents weren't planning on attending and just dropping off. I was not comfortable with having a bunch of 3 and 4 yr. old children in a pool that I was going to be responsible for watching.

    And see, this doesn't bother me at all. I think they need to learn that they can have seperate friendships and activities. Maybe it's b/c you have same gender twins, but I just don't see this as that big of an issue. I would not make the one that was invited miss out on the fun b/c the other was not invited. Abby was recently invited to a party with the other 4 yr. old girls from her preschool. They said in the invite it was a girl theme party and sisters were invited. Abby's twin is a boy so he was not included, but Isabel my 7 yr. old was. She didn't want to attend b/c she thought it would be "babyish", but I saw no problem with that. Gabe was not upset about it all. I think it's a way to spend some special time with the other one. There may be times when they will have hurt feelings or are jealous, but that's just another teachable moment in their lives. Our kids are eventually going to have different friends and I can't expect every parent to assume b/c I have twins that they have to invite both of them. That's not fair to those parents or my kids to be honest.
    4 people like this.
  10. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    Isn't that encouraging your girls to not make friendships outside of each other? I never want my twin boys to feel left out or unwelcome places, but I also accept the fact that they will most likely - at least during some point of their childhood - have different friends. And if one of my boys is invited to a party of a new friend *he* has made, I would never expect that the new friend invite his twin brother simply because they are twins. And I would never expect one of my twin boys to decline an invitation just b/c his brother wasn't invited in a situation where only one of the boys were friends with the birthday boy/girl.
    5 people like this.
  11. BellaRissa

    BellaRissa Well-Known Member

    Of course they can have friendships separate from one another - but their primary loyalty will always be to one another. I have 5 sisters - we are all different, have our own friends, have deep & lasting attachment to one another, and share our lives freely. All of us have a "best friend" - or 5 - but our closest relationships are within "the sisterhood". Friends come & go....but your sissy is your sissy forever. I expect in their teen years they will have separate social lives....and attend separate events....but as children they will be together. There are no issues of dependency, rivalry, etc that I am concerned about. Their relationship it totally natural - they spend some time sitting next to each other & playing together at school....sometimes they play with someone else. I do know that if either of them is told "you can't play with us" her sister jumps right to her defense. I have seen it & the teachers say they are the best of friends & always open the circle to include her sister if she wants to play.
  12. missmomoftwins02

    missmomoftwins02 Well-Known Member

    And if you WANT to invite and PAY FOR the entire family that is fine! But as the OP said, she cannot afford that. Nor should she be expected to pay for a family of 5 when only one kid (or 2) are invited!! If you like throwing a party and can afford to invite the city...go right ahead. But don't expect everyone else to do the same. Just b/c YOU like to and can afford to do it does not mean everyone does/can.

    And is rude to ASSUME that just b/c one twin is invited that the other is also. This puts the parents of the birthday girl/boy in an awful predicament...financially especially. I would hate for each invitee to ASSUME that thier sibling is invited then I would have to pay for twice as many kids as we had invited!!

    I also feel it is sad that one would be denied the opportunity to go just b/c the other was not invited. You say they are allowed to have other friends, but then you won't let them play with those other friends just b/c the other wasn't invited? Life's not fair and there will be times when one is excluded...and that is OK! It may play out just the opposite a month or few later when the other is invited.

    My boys each have friends...some the same some not. They each have friends in thier classes at school and sometimes one is invited and sometimes both are. And that is OK! There are times when the twins are invited and Grant is not...or vice versa. And that is OK.'s not about being fair. I would hate for my kids to feel entitled to something just b/c a sibling got it.

    Back to the OP's question:
    Again, I agree that it SHOULD be on the invite that siblings are not included! And I also agree with the pp that suggested that you could ask if others could be paid for by thier parents...but to avoid the pp's problem, I would insist on payment in advance (or at least at the time of drop off)!! Again, IMO, parents should not feel entitled or expect you to pay for the whole family! Hope the party goes well and you get everything figured out soon! :hug:
  13. moski

    moski Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    You are lucky that you can afford that, or that the facility allows that many for a party. We had our party at a gym run by the rec dept here in town. We invited their whole class plus one or two other friends. There was a limit of 20 kids at the party and we had about 16. Had I done a party someplace else, the per child charge would have been too high for me to invite the 18-20 kids on the list.

    I would never assume that a party invitation addressed to one of my children automatically meant that the others were invited. We ran into that recently when one of the boys only invited the boys in the class to his party. I double checked to be sure, but I made other plans for Meghan. And when the twins were invited to a classmate's party together, I got a sitter for my youngest. The only time we would all go is if the invitation said "The ...... Family".

    I think you got some good suggestions on wording and it is perfect acceptable to note the limits to the invited child only on the invite.
    1 person likes this.
  14. littletwinstars

    littletwinstars Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for everyone's input. It is interesting to read so many different views and opinions. As of right now I think I'm leaning towards including some wording explaining that while we would like to include all siblings, we can only accommodate the invited guest (due to Little Gym's policy and limited number of spaces, etc.) I sincerely hope that no one takes offense to this, but I understand that some families may. If we chose to have their party at our house or somewhere else, I think we would have more flexibility with the number of guests or perhaps if we only invited a few guests. But since we are including their entire preschool class (which is 24 students), we won't be able to do so.

    The idea of prepaying for other siblings I do not believe is possible because I think I have to give a final count to Little Gym at least a week before the party. I think it would be difficult to collect the money ahead of time. I understand the reasoning for this, but I don't think it'll be possible in our situation. Plus I plan on making goody bags for the guests and it would make things complicated to try to get age appropriate things for all the siblings. I'm having a hard enough time trying to come up with age appropriate goody bags for 4 year old boys and girls. :p

    I also understand that I can include the "no siblings" statement and some families may still bring their other children. Thus I will try to have some extra cake available, but as for the goody bags and participating in the activities...I won't be able to do it. Maybe I can bring some coloring books and crayons for them to do during the party. :pardon:

    As for "if the roles were reversed"/"the shoe is on the other foot" and only one of my children were invited to a party, I would only have that one child attend. I, too, believe that "life is not always fair" and I honestly think the other child would be ok not attending the party. Instead we'd probably have some one on one time with him/her. My twins are boy/girl and they do have their own set of friends, but they also have some in common. They are extremely close to each other and do look out for one another, but I feel that they do need to understand that sometimes one may not be able to do all of the same things as the other.

    Anyway, I do appreciate everyone's point of view. You've all been a big help! :D
  15. allgood2000

    allgood2000 Well-Known Member

    I don't know what the policy at the Little Gym is, but if it's not against their policy, perhaps you could put something on the invite that states "Siblings are welcome to play at Little Gym during the birthday party. The admission cost is $5 per sibling." If I had a situation like Heather mentioned and had another of my children with me during the party, it would be nice if they could play while the party was going on. I would NEVER expect that all of my children would be included in a birthday party that only one (or two!) was invited to. That said, I would happily pay for my child to have a fun afternoon playing at the Little Gym while their sibling was attending the structured birthday party. If it's not feasible to have other children playing during the party, then I like the wording already mentioned.
    1 person likes this.
  16. jamey

    jamey Well-Known Member

    As soon as you seperate them into different classes, it will start happening. Typically, everyone in the class is invited to the party. Not everyone & their sibling. It was a hard lesson to learn, but we were lucky that the first weekend it happened, they were both invited to seperate parties. They understand that only the kids in one class were invited. Also luckily, my girls have an August birthday, so their birthday is one of the first of the year. Since I invite both classes, the parents see that they are twins, and usually include the other on the invitation, but not always.
  17. mommyto3girls

    mommyto3girls Well-Known Member

    I would not expect that siblings were invited automatically (not even the twin). Not everyone in my twins' classes even know they are twins. Many of the kids in Brianne's class will also invite Hayley to parties because they were all together in Pre-K and the parents know Brianne has a twin. Most in Hayley's class don't know that Hayley is a twin. If my DH or I are not able to stay home with the two not invited, then no one would go unless we could just drop off. I have taken the girls to places where the party was in a publc place and paid for the two not invited. Those two would just play and not join the party.
  18. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    In answer to your question, I NEVER assume they are allowed to participate. They'd have to sit outside with the parents. Many times the parents will tell the other child to come on in and participate, but it does make me feel uncomfortable because they were not invited. I prefer my kids to have separate parties to attend. It gives me a little uninterupted time to spend with the uninvited twin sometimes.
  19. Chrissy Nelson

    Chrissy Nelson Well-Known Member

    The girls have had parties at Bounce House places and at a pool. Everyone who did end up bringing their sibilings paid for their child to come. Like the pool we had older siblings that just wanted to swim that day so the parents paid their admission. I have only had one case where the parents had a younger kids come up to me at the bounce house and ask for one of the wristbands. I too think it is extremly rude to consider I am paying for an entire family outing. If I have leftover cake or know I have enought then yes I will let the siblings come eat.

    The girls are in seperate classes this years and thankfully are getting their own groups of friends. They have both been invited to parties the other one has not been. I feel having twins is no different than having siblings of another age. If their name is not stated on the invite then no they are not invited. My mom never would have just taken me to one of my sisters friends parties.

    When I have called to RSVP I just say that specific child will be there and occaisonally they will ask about the other one. Honestly at this age I just hope it is a party I can drop off at so I do not have to stay ;)
  20. littletwinstars

    littletwinstars Well-Known Member

    In regards to Little Gym's party policy, I do believe that I have to give them a final count prior to the day of since they need to make sure there are enough instructors for the gym. So unfortunately, I would not be able to give the other siblings the option of joining even if the parents offered to pay. I am hoping that my wording in the invitation will be clear enough so that these type of misunderstandings will be avoided. I really would hate to turn down a child from participating or playing. I wish that I could offer that option, but since I can't...I hope providing coloring books and crayons to the siblings will be sufficient. Any other ideas for unexpected siblings?
  21. tinalb

    tinalb Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I would never, ever assume that if one of my children brings home an invitation to a party that all of my kids would be allowed to attend. In my opinion, that would be disrespectful to the parents who spent time & money planning their child's birthday party. An invitation to one child means that child is invited, not the whole family (unless it states otherwise). I think most children can easily understand the logic behind not being able to attend every party that their siblings attend. I've always just explained that it all evens out in the end. :pardon:

    As for the invitations, I think the wording that Jori suggested sounds great & gets the point across without being rude. :good:
    1 person likes this.
  22. Chrissy Nelson

    Chrissy Nelson Well-Known Member

    It is kinda like wedding invitations, if it does not say and family I assume the girls are not invited.
    2 people like this.
  23. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with this. My girls are the same gender, but I look at it as a sibling issue....If they were different ages, I would never expect them to do everything together, so I do not expect it just because they are twins. In time, I am positive they will have different friends and friendships. Even now, at 4, they have very different interests due to their very very different personalities. I think having time and friends apart will help them appreciate each other. When they get older I am sure they will go different 'ways' and I want them to know that it is ok and totally normal (for siblings, sister, and twins). As adults they most likely will get closer again---but it must be their choice, not mine. I dont ever ever want resentment if I 'made' them do the same thing and be together 24/7. It is healthy for them to have different friends and interests. I dont ever want them to be a 'unit' of two people that can not function alone.

    Going to parties seperate is just a learning experience. I would never tell one she could not go if the other was invited solo (and that was the only reason). Soem of the kids in the PreK class dont know they are twins since they play with different classmates and look very very different.
  24. littletwinstars

    littletwinstars Well-Known Member

    I just spoke to the Little Gym and they also made the suggestion that I write on the invitation something like, "We hope you will be able to join us and the rest of the preschool class." Or even list all the students' names so that it is clear that they are the only ones invited.

    They also said that typically for parties with guests 5 years old and younger, the parents usually stay and watch. Thus I think I should probably have some kind of activity for the guests' siblings in case they attend. I just hope the families understand that the siblings won't be getting goody bags, too. Here I thought that having their birthday party at the Little Gym would be less stressful for me! :p
  25. mommyto3girls

    mommyto3girls Well-Known Member

    You might also want to put on the invation that you have to give them counts ahead of time. Many people don't respond to the RSVP's. I had had this happen so many times. We have had the girls' (all three)birthday party at the roller skating rink so it doesn't matter how many people we have but it would be nice to plan for food and treat bags. Usually we have 2 - 3 respond per class and then have more show up that day.
Similar Threads Forum Date
Birthday Invitation Wording Childhood and Beyond (4+) Jan 3, 2014
2nd birthday party ideas and invitations ideas The Toddler Years(1-3) Feb 24, 2012
Birthday Invitations The Toddler Years(1-3) Feb 10, 2012
Birthday invitations...etiquette please! The Toddler Years(1-3) Dec 5, 2011
How soon is too soon to send out Birthday Invitations? Childhood and Beyond (4+) May 13, 2010

Share This Page