ADULTS ONLY: HOW TO TELL GUESTS THAT THEIR CHILDREN AREN'T INVITED
You’ve spent months planning every detail of your wedding in the hopes that everything will turn out perfect, so it’s understandable that you would be reluctant to include any uncontrollable variables that could unhinge your careful planning. With children being inherently difficult to control in social settings, they can present one such variable.
Making the decision that the little ones won’t be making an appearance on the guest list, will most likely result in a few disgruntled parents. Although, with some tact and/or pre-planned accommodations, you can keep your guests happy and you can rest easy, knowing there won’t be any interruptions of crying children during your vows.
Inform Guests Via the Wedding Invitation
Most parents do not have the luxury of having a baby sitter they can call at a moments notice, so the more time they have to prepare the better. When sending out your wedding invitations, it’s best to make it clear who the invitation is for. Printing the names of the intended guests, rather than addressing the invitation to the entire family, can sometimes be enough to clear up any confusion guests might have about whether or not it’s appropriate to bring their children.
If you prefer a more direct approach, you can always include a short message in your invitation. Stating in all caps “NO CHILDREN ALLOWED”, would probably raise a few eyebrows. However, you can politely inform parents of your decision with a messages such as:
Straight-Forward: “Adult Wedding Ceremony and Reception | Please plan accommodations in advance as we look forward to this opportunity to celebrate with you!”
Acknowledge Their Children: “Although we love your little ones, this is an adult only affair.”
Reference Their Seats: “[X] seats have been reserved in your honour. Please let us know if you will be joining us!”
Parents Night Out: “To give all our guests the opportunity to celebrate without having to worry about little eyes and ears, we politely request no children.”
If you have a specific reason as to why children are not allowed, such as budget constraints or venue limitations, stating this in your invitation can prevent potential backlash and requests for exceptions from multiple parties. Examples below:
Budget: “Although we adore your children, due to budget constraints we ask that only adults attend.”
Venue: “Due to the nature of our venue, the celebration will be for adults only.”
Additionally, if you are allowing certain children, such as the ones in your bridal party or immediate family, we’d recommend outlining that as well:
Bridal Party Only: “Due to necessity rather than choice, it is children of the bridal party only. We hope you understand and enjoy your night off!”
Immediate Family:”We wish we could include all children, but are unfortunately only able to invite immediate family.”
Offer Child Care Services
For some guests, such as those who would be traveling from out of state to attend or moms with newborns, leaving the kids at home isn’t always an option. Instead of making exceptions for particular parents, which can lead to some awkward conversations, consider hiring a local child care service for the duration of the event.
Although this option adds an extra expense to your wedding day, it gives everyone on your list the chance to attend, knowing their children are taken care of and close by. It’s a win/win; Mom and Dad will let their hair down, and the children will most likely enjoy their play-date more than wedding vows.
Be Clear in Your Explanation
If budget restrictions or venue location prevent you from offering accommodations for children, you will most likely get some push-back in the form of parents asking you to make an exception for their child. Whether or not to make exceptions is your choice, however, be aware that if you allow some parents to bring children and refuse others, you will almost certainly end up with a few angry mom’s and dad’s.
Be firm in the decision you make and remember why you chose an adult-wedding in the first place. If it was due to budget, reiterating that in a polite conversation can help drive the point home. Be clear with yourself as to why you do not want children in attendance, and be prepared to convey that message, and your feelings on the subject by picking up the phone and calling your friends and family with children. Addressing the issue directly will usually resolve any hard feelings they may harbor from the initial invitations, and will lead to more smiling faces on your wedding day.
Celebrate Your Adult-Only Wedding
Weddings require an inordinate amount of planning, and although we would like to please everyone, remember that your wedding, and the effort you put into making it perfect, is all about celebrating your love and marriage. Friends and family will typically be understanding of your wishes, but if having your dream wedding free of distractions requires a few uncomfortable phone calls, it’s worth the extra effort. So, choose whichever methods feels right for you, and enjoy a few cocktails with your adult-only guests!
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