Kids are adorable, and many couples have no problem including them in a wedding ceremony or reception. However, if you aren’t that comfortable with the idea of children running around your venue, or if your theme just isn’t appropriate for kids, you may not want to invite them to your event. Unfortunately, while it may be easy to decide that children shouldn’t be present on your big day, preventing your guests from bringing them may be a bit more challenging. Below are some suggestions to help you break the news and limit backlash from guests.
1. Exclude kids from the invitation.
When sending invitations to your guests, specifically list each family member you intend to invite to the event. Guests who read the invitation will usually get the idea when they see that their children aren’t listed. If you can’t list people individually on the outer envelope, consider listing guests on the inner envelope instead.
2. Be direct.
Even if you don’t include kids’ names on your invites, some couples may still be tempted to push the envelope and bring their kids along anyway. Reduce the chances by gently letting your guests know that you won’t be welcoming children to the event. According to Wedding Paperie, it’s best to say something like “Adults only please” as opposed to the harsher phrase “No kids allowed.”
3. Be subtle.
If you want to let your guests know in no uncertain terms that kids aren’t allowed at the event without stating it openly, let your RSVP card tell the tale for you. The Green Kangaroo recommends using the phrase “Number of adults attending” on the card to make your point clear. With no option to RSVP for children, guests will figure out that the little ones need to stay home.
4. Use humor.
Many couples who would rather not invite children to their wedding are hesitant to do so because they worry guests will be offended when they learn their kids aren’t welcome at the venue. To prevent bitterness among invitees, consider lightening the mood with some comedy. Phrases like “Must be at least 54 inches tall” or “Intended for mature audiences only” can deliver the message without inciting a riot. However, keep in mind that this trick only works on guests who have a sense of humor.
5. Provide an explanation.
In some cases, you may be able to eliminate any hard feelings by explaining your choice to guests. For example, if you’re excluding children because of activities planned for the reception, you could say “Due to the nature of our wedding’s theme, the event is intended for adults only.”
6. Put it on your wedding website.
Some people debate whether or not it’s appropriate etiquette to include statements on your invitation to stop guests from bringing children. If you aren’t comfortable putting such statements on your invites, consider including a statement on your wedding website instead. Be sure to include the website’s address with your invitations so that guests will be more likely to visit it.
Dealing with Complaints
When it comes to making a guest list, no one should tell you what to do. Nonetheless, you’re sure to upset at least one person when you decide to have an adults-only wedding. In some cases, irritated guests may even be bold enough to approach you about the issue. If this occurs, stand your ground and remember that you made the choice to exclude children for a reason. Avoid making exceptions, as other guests who leave their children at home are likely to notice and be offended. In every encounter, try to be sympathetic and kind while simultaneously maintaining your position. Finally, if you’d rather not deal with the confrontation on your own, enlist a parent, wedding planner or friend to do your dirty work. After all, it’s your day!