Including children on the wedding guest list is often a sticky subject. Some couples can’t imagine celebrating without the littlest family members there, while others shudder at the idea of pint-sized revelers running about the reception. (“Flower girls are cute when they’re walking up to the altar, but not so cute when they’re underfoot on the dance floor,” says one bride-to-be who decided with her fiancé to have an adults-only reception, which meant excluding young nieces and nephews.)
Couples who choose a kid-free wedding often worry about seeming rude or, even worse, crotchety. But an adults-only Big Day doesn’t have to be a sore spot; it’s just all about letting your guests know in a tactful way.
First, the don’t’s: Plenty of people add “adults only reception” at the very bottom of the wedding invitation. Try to avoid doing this, as it can come across as a little bit harsh. Instead, be very mindful of how you address your invitations, as this tactfully conveys who is invited. For example, addressing an invitation to “The Jones Family” indicates that all members of this family, including children, are invited. If only adults are invited, address it to “Mr. and Mrs. Jones.” Do the same on the inner envelope as well to avoid confusion.
One no-brainer way to let guests know that children aren’t invited to the wedding? Put the note clearly on your wedding website, where you can use informal language to soften the “sorry, no kids!” blow. (An example: “While we love your kids, we’re having an adults-only reception. Thanks for understanding, and we can’t wait to see you on the dance floor!”)
Finally, enlist your family members and friends to spread the word, and don’t be afraid to gently bring it up in conversation before you send out the invites to give people a head’s up. After all, the sooner you let people know, the sooner they can work on finding childcare. (And trust us: Your guests will understand. In fact, after this year, most are probably looking for an excuse to sneak away sans kids!)
Psst: Planning on inviting kids to your wedding? Go here for our guide on how to keep little ones entertained all through the night.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MORBY PHOTOGRAPHY