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, ©iStock.com/cclickclick


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the4m... the4mutts

I think it would be MORE rude to wait until they RSVP to tell them "no kids"

I prefer an invite that tells me straight up that its for the 18 and over.

We got an invitation that simply said "Adults only please"

We didn't go to the wedding, because everyone that babysits for us went to the wedding. (It was my husband's cousin) but it was much nicer to know up front, than to get all excited about going, only to get a phone call after the fact saying we couldn't go.

IKnow... IKnow0101

That's to much work.  Just put adult only reception on the invitation.  If people can come they will, if not oh well.

Snake... Snakecharmer76

That's what we did and everyone respected it. I had one cousin call up asking if she could bring her son (who was 2 at the time) since he could just eat off her plate. I politely said that while I love seeing her child, that I couldn't make that exception in the face of all our other guests who were making childcare arrangements. Heck, I even had another cousin book her in-laws to watch her daughter the DAY she got my invite...she was so excited to attend! 

Torra... TorranceMom

Our wedding ceremony was adults only (we provided free childcare at the church) but kids were free to join in the festivities at our reception.  Because our wedding was small and not many of the couples attending had children (at the time), I personally called families with children and informed them of our wishes.  Everyone was cooperative and courteous.

AliPa... AliParker

I agree with the commenter that said this is too much. You shouldn't have to do all this extra stuff for a simple 'no kids please'. It's not a big deal and of course some might not be able to come or simply don't want to leave their kids, it's their loss.

nonmember avatar TezB

I'm getting married in 2 weeks, and our wedding will be adults only. On the RSVP cards, we simply put "We respectfully ask that small children do not attend". It msy seem rude, but most of our guest has small children, and it would be too expensive to feed 200 adults plus their children.

nonmember avatar TezB

I'm getting married in 2 weeks, and our wedding will be adults only. On the RSVP cards, we simply put "We respectfully ask that small children do not attend". It msy seem rude, but most of our guest has small children, and it would be too expensive to feed 200 adults plus their children.

nonmember avatar Taryn England

I.have a huge family with tons of kids, most of which are horribly behaved so I am choosing to have an adults only event. Most of my family already knows but it is good to have a written reminder so that they know I'm not just saying it

curly... curlygirl31

Ive never been to an adults only wedding. Every one in my family has the kids and every one there this is for snobs who think they are perfect and want to make friends and family feel bad for having their babies with them good luck when these kind of bitches become mothers

nonmember avatar stella

Weddings are family events... I don't understand the point of Adults Only weddings- why wouldn't you want cute munchkins running around? It's not like the selfish bride and groom are expected to run after the kids as their own wedding, right? That's what the parents are there for.

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