There’s ‘rude’ and then there’s ‘Rude’ with a capital ‘R.’ A wedding’s supposed to be about celebrating the magical and everlasting love between two people, as they share their joy with all of their closest friends and beloved family members. What a wedding’s not supposed to be is a way to use your acquaintances to do work for free so you can save a penny or two.

Redditor Present-Objective-88 turned to the r/AITA community for a verdict on what happened to her with her friend’s sister-in-law’s wedding. Despite not being invited to the celebration, she was later given an invite… not as a guest, though! As a babysitter. And an unpaid one at that. Rude? Infuriating? Frustrating on a level so deep I can’t even handle it anymore? Check, check, and check.

Have a read through the redditor’s full story below, dear Pandas. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say about this bizarre situation.

The author of the post, Present-Objective-88, gave Bored Panda a small update to the story. She decided not to go to the wedding after all! And the positive side of things is that there have been no hard feelings on either side. All’s well that ends well. “They understood and respected my decision. I’m not sure what they will be doing with the kids since I declined, but I’m sure they’ll come up with an alternative,” she said.

Meanwhile, I wanted to learn a bit more about the proper etiquette for bringing children to weddings and taking care of them during the celebration, so I reached out to The Wedding Society. Anna and Sarah, Team Leaders at TCS, were kind enough to help me out with a very detailed analysis of what’s all right and what best not to do. “Please, do not leave childcare duties to a friend, family member, or guest. If you expect or offer for a parent to leave their child in the care of a person you have delegated, there are legal requirements that need to be in place such as police checks, CPR Training, childcare credentials, and carer/child ratios,” the wedding experts explained to Bored Panda.

“Ultimately, if something goes wrong, you cannot have the responsibility fall on the shoulders of someone not properly qualified or paid for the task. There are many professional wedding childcare options available—it’s important not to cut costs when it comes to providing the personal care of children and minors. You could be legally liable and it’s just not worth the risk.” You’ll find the full interview below, dear Pandas.

A woman was invited to an acquaintance’s wedding, not as a guest but to take care of other people’s kids… for free

The author of the post, redditor Present-Objective-88, also shared her thoughts about why babysitters and nannies tend to be looked down on. “Being a nanny is a tough job, you have to set boundaries so that you don’t act like a parent but you still have to take care of children as if you were a parent (which includes discipline and education),” she told Bored Panda.

“I think there’s plenty of reasons why they’re looked down on going all the way from gender to social status. Historically, a nanny’s job is to take over the women’s responsibility. So, it being a ‘women’s job’ is probably, in my opinion, what has made society look down on it even in 2021 when we’re supposed to be a lot more advanced and aware of these issues related to feminism and misogyny,” the redditor explained that, in her opinion, it’s a feminist issue, not just a job industry one.

When it comes to tasks other than childcare, Anna and Sarah from The Celebrant Society said there’s more leeway. Especially when the tasks are small and symbolic. “Many guests love feeling like they can contribute in some way so don’t be afraid to delegate small duties to anyone who asks if they can help. For simple tasks that allow a guest to still feel like a guest, payment shouldn’t be necessary but a nice gift or special thanks in the speeches should definitely be given,” they said.

But actual jobs require real payment. “If you are asking a friend or family member to provide their actual job (like a florist, photographer, or celebrant), it’s important to offer payment. The decision to gift this service should be made by the person providing the service and you need to remember that you’re asking for them to do the job that provides their income.”

As for the etiquette for bringing children to weddings, Anna and Sarah gave us the rundown on what’s expected and what pitfalls to avoid. “For guests, the standard (and best) etiquette these days is definitely to respect the wishes of the marrying couple when it comes to children at weddings, whether it be that kids of a certain age are welcome, only specific children of a few family and friends, or no kids at all,” they told Bored Panda.

“Please don’t take the inclusion or exclusion of your little ones personally (especially if the couple don’t have kids of their own to fully understand your situation) and remember—as nice as it is to bring your babes along to the celebration, it’s also an awesome opportunity for a fun night off if you’re asked to leave them with a sitter!” they said to look at the positives, whatever the couple decide that they want their wedding to be like.

“For marrying couples, the etiquette can be trickier. Newborns really need to be with their parents so please don’t ask for any babies under a few months to be left at home. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for parents of older children to take the night off and leave them with a sitter, but the fairest way to do this is to make a blanket rule for everyone rather than picking and choosing which kids can come and who can’t.”

And here’s what people over on Reddit have been saying about the unusual scenario

Present-Objective-88’s tale got over 4.4k upvotes and the redditor even got 13 awards for opening up about what ails them.

Overwhelmingly, the members of the r/AITA community declared that the original poster wasn’t in the wrong.

There’s absolutely nothing nice about only inviting someone to the wedding because you expect them to work for free. You wouldn’t expect the baker, the DJ, and the florist to work for free, so why would you apply a double standard to a babysitter?

What this comes down to, in the end, is that a lot of people have a low opinion of babysitters and nannies. They believe that the work they do is so easy, it’s not even worth paying. Or if they do get paid, the parents might negotiate for a very low wage.

Anyone who’s ever taken care of a child knows just how difficult it really is. It’s not just watching cartoons, building cool things out of Legos, and binge-eating cereal bowl after cereal bowl all day long. (I mean, sure, it’s a part of that, but it’s the fun part, the reward, not the grind.)

You have to make sure that the kids aren’t putting themselves into any harm. That they’re eating well, getting enough fresh air, and learning new things. On top of that, you’re their bedrock for their development: there’s a lot of pressure to help them grow into awesome human beings.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you skimp on the hourly pay, then your babysitter might not be willing to go the extra mile for your family, even if they feel an emotional attachment to your child.

But that doesn’t even come close to the slap in the face that’s inviting someone to the wedding on the sole condition that they’ll babysit the kids so they don’t cause a ruckus. That’s on the same level as getting your pal, who’s a photographer, to work for free. Yuck!

What thoughts are running through your head, dear Pandas? Who do you think is in the wrong here? What do you think of the entire situation and why do you think some parents look down on babysitters? Let us know what you think in the comments below.