How to Tell Your Wedding Guests Not to Bring Their Kids -- Nicely

wedding kidsLike children but don't want them at your wedding? How do you politely request that your guests leave their darling little ones at home? Or is it terrible manners to even dare make such a request?

We've heard horror stories about awkwardly-worded wedding invitations and guests who refused to get the message. Some brides pass the task off to their wedding planners. But one thing you should know is that you're not making an unreasonable request.

We asked Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette, for her advice on the most polite way to ask guests not to bring their kids to your wedding.

"It is perfectly all right to have an adults-only wedding," Post says. Even people who sincerely love children do it, for a variety of valid reasons. You just need to be careful about how you communicate your wishes to your guests, she explains.

But first, here's what you shouldn't do ...


child-free wedding

Don't just write "no kids allowed" or "adults only" on the invitation. Instead, start by addressing the invitation just to the parents, using their names. Of course, people don't always pick up on that subtlety, so here's what you do next.

When your guests return the RSVP card with the names of their children written in (or "Peterson, party of 5!"), call them up to clarify. Post recommends starting with something like, "'I'm so excited you can make it to my wedding! However, I think there may be some confusion. We've chosen to have an adults-only wedding, so ... "

But don't just leave your guests hanging. Post suggests hiring or arranging for childcare at the wedding, at the hotel, or at a nearby residence. "Make sure the childcare is safe and reliable, and will put the parents' minds at ease." You could also provide the parents with the names and contact information for babysitters in the area.

And if some parents insist? Post cautions against caving in for one important reason: the other guests who respected your boundaries. You can remind the ones who won't take "no" for an answer that it wouldn't be fair for you to bend the rule for just one family, when everyone else is taking the trouble to make other arrangements for their kids.

See? It doesn't have to be that awkward after all. You just have to be clear, considerate, and firm in your message. Remember, you're the bride (and groom), it's your wedding -- and you're the ones footing the bill!

How do you feel about adults-only weddings?


Images © Heide Benser/Corbis, ©

Read More >