Natalie
Devoted December 2021

Destination Wedding: Can we say “no Kids”?

Natalie, on December 18, 2020 at 10:45 AM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 11
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Hello Brides! My fiancé and I have decided that we do not want kids at our wedding. We have chosen Key West, a tropical, party destination as our wedding location. It’s a “destination wedding” in our minds because although we live near the Keys, almost all of our guests will be flying in from out-of-state.

As news of our wedding plans started to spread, we’ve heard our future guests comment on what a “great family vacation opportunity” this would be....We have NOT even sent out any Save-The-Dates yet, and we’re also dealing with a lot of people (mostly distant family) assuming they’re invited - but that’s another issue all together. We didn’t nip any “kids” comments in the butt immediately because we hadn’t yet made a decision.
Well, now we’ve made the decision that we do NOT want kids to attend the wedding. But our etiquette questions are:
Is it okay to invite a couple (that has kids) to a destination, out-of-state wedding and rightfully expect them not to bring them?
If they do bring them to enjoy a family beach vacation, is it justified to ask them to have a babysitter for the night of our wedding?
We were considering hiring a group babysitter ourselves, but we also didn’t want that to seem like a free-for-all invitation to bring your children because really - I may sound bratty here, but - it’s Key West, a party town, we are spending a big ticket $$$ for our guests to enjoy some island drinking and adult festivities. We really don’t want to have kids at any of our events like the Rehearsal Dinner and Farewell Brunch because it’ll change the overall dynamic of the wedding.
Looking for some straight up honesty please! We’re torn over this.

11 Comments

Latest activity by CountryBride, on December 18, 2020 at 9:24 PM
  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag

    Hi Natalie! Many couples are having 'kid free' weddings nowadays, and it's not unheard of!

    To answer your questions honestly:

    Yes, it's fine to invite guests that have children to your wedding and still expect them to not bring them. As long as you send STDs and invites out at the appropriate time, they will have plenty of time to plan for sitters, family helping etc. The only exception I would ever make to this rule, are couples that have newborns, children under a year old (but this is my personal opinion).

    Second: Most would probably say that it would be a tad rude to ask them to pay for a babysitter if they have to bring their children, especially if it's a destination wedding and they will already be spending a large sum to attend. My suggestion, although it could get pricey, is to hire a sitter for those that are bringing children. I wouldn't flat out say "we're providing a sitter for those that must bring children", because then that would make it a free-for-all. If it's an option, I would wait until RSVP's come back and if anyone comes to you both with concerns, or says they have to bring their kids, then that's the time to get a children count ready and hire a sitter.

    Personally, if I was invited to a destination wedding, regardless of how old my child was, I would leave them at home, or stay home if it was a nursing baby. I don't consider destination weddings to be a 'family vacation' opportunity, and kind of find it rude when guests assume that's what it will be. Your guests are invited to celebrate your marriage, NOT hang out with the family sight seeing and vacationing.

    This was a lengthy response, but I hope I helped a little!

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  • Lisa
    Rockstar July 2022
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    You can certainly only invite the adults! People can still bring their kids on the trip, but as long as it's clear that the kids are not invited to the wedding events/reception, then it's up to the parents to find a babysitter for their kids while they attend the wedding events. Be prepared that some people may decide to not attend if the kids aren't invited - they might not be able to find a babysitter, or can't afford to bring a babysitter with them on the trip, etc. If it's in the budget, you could always hire a babysitter to watch the kids somewhere off site (a hotel room, etc) during the wedding events.
    • Reply
  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag

    Forgot to add!

    To avoid confusion when you send out STDs and invites, address it to ONLY the couple. Not the entire family. That's how my FH and I are doing it for ours!

    • Reply
  • Lisa
    Rockstar July 2022
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    I agree with this! Only address it to "Mr & Mrs Smith" instead of "The Smith Family". Also, on the invitations, you could always write something along the lines of, "We have reserved __ seats for you at our wedding", and fill that in with the number of people you are inviting. This makes it clear that anyone not listed on the envelope is not invited.
    • Reply
  • Chrysta
    Master November 2022
    Chrysta ·
    • Flag
    We are doing this also! Ours is a true destination wedding- neither us, nor any of our guests, live even remotely close to the destination we chose. We have designated our wedding (including all related events prior to and after the wedding) adult only. Zero exceptions. Like you, we really want a carefree, party vibe celebration. And, no offense to anyone, but parents with kids tagging along just isn’t our idea of fun; and we are not compromising on the dynamic we want for our celebration. We realized our decision could potentially result in more declines to attend, and maybe even some salty attitudes. But, to our surprise, only one guest has declined to attend because of our no kid rule. Literally every other guest with children have express how excited they are to have an adult vacation away from their kids to just let loose and have fun! Not one of them plan to bring their kids along and procure a sitter during adult only events- they are all leaving their kids at home with family members.
    If your dream wedding is a fun, carefree, party vibe type of event, then stay true to that vision! Just be honest and upfront with everyone; make it known that there will be no children allowed at any of the wedding events. They can decide whether or not they wish to decline based on that rule. Also, it is by no means your responsibility to pay for childcare for those who choose to bring children along-that is the responsibility of the parents. (and I totally agree if you procure child care for them, it will definitely encourage people to bring their kids).


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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    Sure, definitely invite just mom and dad. But if many come with a family to get vacation from the flight too, be prepared to ask if they will hire a babysitter there, or if they are bringing someone? You may later find it easier being local to see to locating sitters.
    ... However, this covers the wedding and reception, because that is the main event. WP may attend the rehearsal, or not , and if they do attend, my blow off the dinner. And also the farewell dinner may not interest them, if neither of these times are for kids either. And you have to be realistic: when you schedule a destination wedding, if people stay extra days to use it as a vacation and may not be getting another , those with kids and those without may want to spend every day but wedding day on vacation. And no way many, even just adults, may want to spend 3 days of 3-7, planning around you. Or putting kids with sitters, 3 times. Rehearsal dinners and Farewell events are lesser events, and always optional. If the weather os nice, you may see them only for the wedding and reception. I know people who have gone to inclusive resorts, and assumed guests would be with them every day for 5 days, who were upset to find more than jalf would stay outside the resort, and do what they wanted with the time, except the wedding itself.
    People have different expectations. But the only thing you can count on for weddings, is, you only get 1 day. 6-7 hours. Beyond that, guests will choose.
    • Reply
  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
    • Flag

    We had a child free wedding except for the flower girls, ring bearer, and a 5 month old and 90% of our guests had to travel at least 1.5 hours one way for our wedding. Those with children left them with family or friends for the evening then went home after the reception was over or the children spent the night at the family or friends' house. Given that your guests will be traveling pretty far for your wedding, I would give them plenty of notice that children will not be invited so they can make arrangements for their children. I will say newborns/under one years old are a common exception to the no children rule. I am currently expecting our first child and two of our friends had to move their weddings until next October because of Covid so now we are facing the choice of what we will do with our 5 month old because both weddings are supposed to be kid free and we not sure if they would be willing to make an exception for such a young child. If not, it is likely I won't be attending one of the weddings because it is across the country and I can't exactly leave my daughter for several days since I plan on breastfeeding and she will rely on me for food. However, my husband will be attending since he is a groomsman in the wedding. The other wedding is only about an hour from my house so my mom will likely watch our daughter for the day as I will pump ahead of time so she has enough food for the day until we get home. If you have anyone in a similar situation as me then that couple may choose not to attend if you aren't willing to make an exception for such a young child. I also wanted to say that while you mentioned hiring a babysitter that some people myself included might not be comfortable leaving their child(ren) with a stranger.

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  • Mrs. Spring
    Master April 2021
    Mrs. Spring ·
    • Flag
    It's completely fine to do No kids. Just give thema heads up on the save the dates
    • Reply
  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
    • Flag

    No kids is perfectly acceptable! I'd do the exact same thing in your situation. In fact, I've never been to a destination wedding before that wasn't adults only. If people want to bring their kids, that's what babysitters are for. You can also offer to help them find a babysitter if you're not providing one. If people do bring their kids along, I would expect some to attend only the wedding or just the rehearsal dinner + wedding and not the farewell brunch, but at the end of the day no kids is up to you.

    • Reply
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Legend March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    I’m a big supporter of “adults only” weddings... except for destination weddings. IMO, it’s not fair to ask parents to pay a lot of money to attend a DW (way more expensive than a local wedding) *and* leave littles ones at home. You may get a high decline rate or upset friends/family.
    • Reply
  • CountryBride
    VIP April 2022
    CountryBride ·
    • Flag

    I am a mother of 8 and my cousin is having her destination wedding in Mexico and it's kid free. I am not attending due to it being 2 months before mine, However she is hosting a I do BBQ and we are attending that instead

    • Reply

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