Choosing to have a child-free wedding is perfectly fine, especially if you’re having a formal ceremony and reception. Weddings are nicer without screaming children running around everywhere.
No bride, groom, or guest, for that matter, wants to hear a crying baby when vows are being exchanged.
The main challenge of hosting a wedding without children is wording things to get the point across without hurting people’s feelings.
Of course, you want to be clear on your invitation, so no one shows up with toddlers to your black tie wedding. However, you also want everyone to come happy to be there and ready for a good time.
Invitations have limited space. It’s always difficult to balance design and list all of the information you need to give guests.
Here are seven ways to tell people not to bring children to your wedding and to help you deliver the message gracefully.
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Some People Get Upset at Everything
Before we give you some suggestions about how to list the information on your invite, it’s important to say that some people will get upset about your decisions regardless of what you do.
Above all, you must remember that it’s your wedding. Try not to get mixed up in the hurt feelings of the one or two friends who say they’re hurt because they can’t bring their kids.
If that happens, simply tell them the environment will not be conducive to young children, so you’re giving people plenty of warning to find other arrangements.
Whatever you do, avoid giving exceptions even to your closest friends and relatives.
If someone shows up with kids, other people who wanted to bring their children will feel resentful and may cause issues.
Stick to your guns and enjoy your dream child-free wedding.
Make It Playful
One way to word it nicely on your invitation is to keep things light-hearted. For example, say something like, “We love kids, but this wedding is child-free.”
It’s a nice and short solution that won’t take up much room on your invitation. There is no ambiguity that people can misconstrue and bring their kids along to the reception.
Ceremony vs. Reception
Some people like to party without kids around, and others emphasize the sanctity of the ceremony more. You may want to invite children to only parts of your wedding.
For example, you can say that children are welcome at the ceremony, but the reception is child-free. Always be polite, of course.
Vice versa, you can invite them to the reception only once the vows and everything else is complete. It’s all up to you.
Most of the time, you’ll get fewer children when you add stipulations like this because people will just want to leave their kids at home for the day.
Say Adults Only
Perhaps the easiest way to list that your wedding is child-free on an invitation is to say that it’s “Adults only.” It doesn’t take up any room, and you’ll get the message across very clearly.
This also keeps teenage children out of the picture, which may or may not suit what you’re looking for in a wedding.
Blame the Venue
This is a great solution for couples who have tons of friends with kids or a family full of little ones.
Taking the blame squarely on your shoulders is never fun, especially when you have a lot of children running around at every social event you attend.
Book a nice venue that doesn’t allow kids or say that the wedding setting isn’t conducive for kids, so you’re asking children to stay home, please.
Make Sure the Invitations Are Addressed Properly
You can follow simple etiquette tips to make it clear no children are invited. Don’t, for example, address the invitation to the entire family. To some, this means that everyone is invited.
Instead, invite only Mr. and Mrs., so they know only the parents should come.
This is a good option for people who don’t want to say that children aren’t invited on their invitation explicitly.
Just be prepared for people to call and text to ask you whether they can bring little Molly along with them because the mom is breastfeeding or they can’t find a sitter. It’s going to happen.
Put Adults Only on the RSVP Card
If you don’t want to put any wording about children on the invite, you can always make it clear when people go to RSVP.
There are a few ways to go about this. The first is to include the wording on the RSVP card that you send with the invitation.
Then, when they go to write out their response, they’ll see wording that says it’s for adults only.
Another way is to guide them to a digital RSVP or your wedding website, which will explain that your wedding is child-free.
Say that Space Is Limited
Venue limitations frequently make it difficult to invite as many people as possible.
But, of course, some couples use space limits to their advantage when they want to avoid children coming or having a big wedding when they want something small and intimate.
You can say that you’re having a child-free wedding due to space limitations, and you appreciate everyone’s understanding.
Unfortunately, this makes it seem like it’s out of your control. But people should understand, and if they don’t, oh well. It’s your wedding.
The right venue makes it obvious children should stay at home.
Having your wedding ceremony in an upscale museum is a good hint. You can also have your reception at your favorite bar or lounge, where only people over 21 are allowed in.
No matter how you say it, make sure the tone is direct and polite. Don’t feel bad about not inviting children to your wedding, and don’t waver when the special requests start coming in.
It’s up to you to make your wedding the event of your dreams, and it’s okay if that means no children will be there.