When you’re planning your dream wedding, you might not account for children. If you’re inviting anyone with kids, however, you’ll have to let them know whether or not kids are welcome at your wedding, and if they are included with their parent’s invitation.
For some couples, the more kids at their wedding the better. For others, the idea of children at your wedding sounds exhausting, and a child free wedding is preferred.
If you want to hold an adults only wedding, it’s important to make that clear to your guests from the start. Figure out the appropriate adults only wedding invitation wording, and proper etiquette for a no kids wedding.
How To Politely Say No Kids at the Wedding
Telling guests that their kids are not invited to your wedding can be a bit awkward – some parents may be upset that they can’t bring their kids or that they have to hire a babysitter.
It’s vital that you tell your guests that you are hosting a no-kids wedding clearly but courteously. Learn how to say “no kids at my wedding” politely so that guests aren’t offended.
Address the Invitations Properly
When you write out your invitations, make it clear that they are addressed to the guests who are invited – not the whole family. On the envelope and on the response card, write the invitation to “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe” rather than to “The Doe Family”.
Most wedding guests should understand the implication that an invitation addressed to two adults does not include their children. Make sure your invitations are properly addressed to the people who are actually invited for a child free wedding.
Clearly Convey It Is an Adult Only Wedding
Addressing your invitations to the adults only is not enough. Make sure you mention somewhere on the invitation itself or the RSVP card that the wedding is adults only. We’ll offer examples of adults only wedding wording later in the article so that you can find the best phrasing for your needs.
You can simply write “Adults only” somewhere on the invitation, or write a longer excuse that mentions your venue’s capacity, the tone of the event, the timing, or other reasons for keeping your wedding adults only.
Just be sure that your invitation makes it clear that only adults are invited, and that children are unfortunately not included in their parents invitations.
Put It On Response Cards
If you use response cards to get guests to RSVP, you can mention adults only on the response card as well. You can also make it clear by only leaving room on the response cards for the adults’ names, or even have their names written out so that it’s clear who is invited.
Mention “Adults Only” on Your Wedding Website
If you use a wedding website to share wedding updates and information with guests, mention that your wedding is a no kids event on there as well. Many wedding websites feature an FAQ section – this is a great place to mention that the little ones are not invited.
No Kids Wedding Invitation Wording
There are various ways to make it clear that kids are not invited to your wedding. Here are a variety of polite wedding invitation wording options that will tell guests that your wedding is adults only.
- “Please join us for an adults only reception at. . .”
- “This is an adults only occasion”
- “Although we love your little ones, our wedding is an adults only event”
- “Please note that our reception is adults only”
- “Unfortunately we cannot accommodate children at our wedding”
- “Come celebrate with us at an adults-only reception”
- “Due to limited space, we are unable to extend the invitation to your children”
- “Although we would love to include your children in our special day, due to budget/space constraints we ask that only adults attend”
- “Due to restrictions at our venue, children under 18 are not able to attend”
- “While we love your children, we have decided to keep our wedding an adults-only event”
- “We respectfully request no children under 16 at the reception”
- “While we can accommodate children at our wedding ceremony, we are not able to invite them to our reception. Let your hair down at an adult reception to follow!”
- “We adore your children, but due to space / due to budget we are hosting a child free wedding.”
- “While we would love to have all of our family members on our guest list, please leave the nieces and nephews at home for a kid free wedding.”
- “Although we adore your children, we are not able to accommodate them at our wedding reception. We hope you understand!”
Reasons to Make Your Wedding Kid Free
Feel free to blame your choice to exclude the kids on your venue, space, or budgetary restraints.
To make your invitations more personal, you can also mention the children directly. For example, you might send your cousin an invitation that includes a note like, “While we’d love to see little Jacob and Claire all dressed up, we will be keeping our reception adults only. We hope you can join us anyway!”
You can explain why you can not accommodate children at your wedding due to budgets, due to the space at your venue, or be honest and say that you would like a night for your adult family and friends to let loose!
Is It Rude To Say Adults Only?
No, it’s not rude to say adults only. Weddings are expensive, and it is only fair to decide to keep your guest list slightly smaller by excluding children.
Moreover, some weddings simply aren’t appropriate for kids. If you want your wedding to be a huge party with an open bar, it may not be the right environment for children. An adult reception with a rowdy crowd is not the best place for children.
The decision to host kids or not is up to you, but it is not rude to say no to kids at the wedding.
Adults Only Wedding Etiquette
Be transparent with your wedding guests about the status of your wedding in regards to kids. Use the following rules to ensure that guests understand and accept that your wedding will be adults only.
Be Clear from the Start
Decide whether or not kids are invited to the wedding well before you send invitations, and before you give any curious parents answers. If you tell a close friend that kids are invited and then change your mind once you book your venue and realize the cost, they are less likely to be as understanding.
If someone asks about kids’ invitations early in your wedding planning process and you aren’t sure of the answer yet, tell them that! It’s better to be honest and say that you haven’t determined whether or not kids are invited rather than decide on-the-spot.
Once you know that kids are not invited to the wedding, make sure anyone that asks understands that. Even before you send wedding invitations, make it clear that your wedding is adults only on your wedding website.
Reinforce the fact that kids are, unfortunately, not welcome. Put it on your website, on your invitations, and on response cards. Ask members of your wedding party to spread the word, and make sure your parents are on board in case relatives ask them directly.
Ask anyone close to the wedding, like your wedding party or family members, to reinforce the fact that the event is adults only so that there is no confusion.
Don’t Make Exceptions
If you’ve ever planned an adults-only wedding, you know that at least one parent will ask for you to make an exception for their child.
Regardless of how old or how well behaved their kids are, stay firm in your decision. Allowing some children at the wedding and not others will only offend the guests whose kids were not included.
One exception you could make is to allow all guests to bring their children to the wedding ceremony, but hold an adults only reception. Your wedding party may not be a place to accommodate kids, but the little ones can still get dressed up for the ceremony, if you wish.
Just keep in mind that parents will have to bring their children home before the adults only reception to follow.
If you’re caught in an awkward conversation where someone is pushing for their kids to be invited, have a plan ready. Use an excuse like the venue’s rules, available space, or other reasons that kids cannot attend. Prepare for pushback, but hold your ground.
Prepare for Complaints
Some parents will love a chance for a night out away from the kids, but others will likely be upset. Prepare for some complaints, but remember that you can’t please everyone. It’s your big day, so don’t let guests make you feel bad about your decision.
Figure out your adults only wedding invitation wording so that it’s clear to all of your guests who is invited! Be clear and firm in your decision to host a no-kids wedding and parents will surely understand. As long as you send out your invitations early enough, parents should have plenty of time to book a sitter.
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