MaryElena
Dedicated July 2021

Ways to say “no children allowed”

MaryElena, on December 29, 2020 at 5:30 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 15
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Hi everyone,
Our wedding is officially 200 days away!
One problem. How do we explain to our family members that we have decided to not invite children? FMIL has insisted we invite my FH’s baby niece because “that’s the only opportunity her FH’s grandmother will have to meet her.” Meanwhile, FH’s family are all traveling from different states and she’ll only be 18 mos. old come our wedding day. We love our niece, she is precious beyond measure however if she were invited his family would begin to swoon over her and forget the purpose of the joyous occasion. We are only inviting first and second cousins (husbands and wives) on my side of the family because if we extended the invitation to their children we simply wouldn’t be able afford it. The only children we plan to invite would be our FG and RB. We are also planning to only invite husbands and wives on FH’s side. We are prepared for any pushback we’ll receive. Some family members might decline their invitation simply because they won’t attend without their children. How do we appropriately and respectfully handle the negative feedback we might receive?
Can any other couples relate to this tiny dilemma?
Cheers to 2021! Hoping it’s a much healthier and happier year for everyone!

15 Comments

Latest activity by Stacey, on January 10, 2021 at 10:48 AM
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    Many people see kids as an all or nothing thing and will not say a word to the couple. But they will be angry when they have to find childcare but a flowergirl is allowed to attend.


    You spread the info by word of mouth but invites are addressed only to those on the list. If someone rsvps with their kids and is upset by the no kids decision when you contact them, there's not much you can say or do beyond "Sorry we'll miss you"
    • Reply
  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
    • Flag
    We had no children wedding except for the flower girls and ring bearer. Our wedding website we put while we love everyone's children we have decided to have an adults only wedding. On our invites we made sure to specifically address each invitation with the couple's names and no children listed. We also put x number of seats have been reserved in your honor to make it even more clear.
    • Reply
  • Kristen
    Master November 2020
    Kristen ·
    • Flag

    I would say usually it is excused when the children are in the wedding party but other than that as a PP said children typically are an all or nothing. I honestly have seen brides do the fore mentioned by addressing it to the people but sometimes people assume babies and kids are invited. Maybe state in the invitation or RSVP card that the people are invited to an adults only wedding ceremony and reception. I honestly have not once looked at a wedding website and word of mouth may not be as effective. That is just me. Maybe an insert in the invitation explaining it is an adults only affair?

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  • A
    Super September 2020
    Alli ·
    • Flag
    We had at the bottom of our invitation, “Adults Only.” We had some couples not attend due to this reason and say things, but we did not care... lol it’s what we wanted and we got exactly what we dreamed of. They’ll either RSVP or they won’t!
    • Reply
  • Chrysta
    Master November 2022
    Chrysta ·
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    This is what we are doing. I know people say “traditional etiquette” states you only address it to the people who are invited, but tbh nobody knows those etiquette rules anymore. Most people assume their children are invited, whether their names are on the envelope or not. If you want to ensure people know children are not invited, I would second Kristen‘s suggestion- indicate it is an adult only ceremony and reception either on the invitation or on the details card (if you are having one). If you are doing physical RSVP cards, I would choose the ones that allow you to indicate how many seats have been reserved for their family. If you are having a wedding website, you could of course put the information there as well. I would make sure there is no way someone could miss/overlook that information. Personally, I would much rather break etiquette and ensure parents understand that it is an adult only affair, rather than have a severely awkward situation that I have to deal with at the wedding when people show up with their children. I’m sure parents would much rather you state that info on an invitation, than be embarrassed and angry when they are told their children are not allowed into the wedding.
    • Reply
  • Kristen
    Master November 2020
    Kristen ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Yup. This right here. Might be an etiquette rule breaker but yeah some people think kids are automatically a part of weddings and better to be upfront. One bride mentioned that on her RSVP card even though the invitation was made out to the couple they wrote in 3 people for XYZ meal including their kid because they thought it was okay to do that. Better to be transparent rather dealing with awkward situations later.

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  • Katie
    Rockstar August 2020
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    We had only children in the bridal party attend and placed on the top of the RSVP card “we have reserved 2 seats in your honor”.


    If anyone were to question you or your fiancé about children attending, it would be fair to say with covid, little ones don’t understand social distancing and it’s for their protection.
    Hope this helps ❤️
    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    In the case of making your own invites, an option is to print out the invited guests' names so there is no confusion.


    It's not a matter of knowing or not knowing etiquette but some guests do what they want and expect you to cater to their rudeness because they're not used to hearing no.
    • Reply
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    Did it occur to these pushy people to invite the out of towners, whether grandmother or the parents and child, and a few other relatives, the night before the wedding, or the following day, so grandmother and others can meet the child, and others can do more family reunion type catching up, OUT SIDE of the wedding? One or the other, while others are at RD or with wedding party, other family are just hanging out. Let them arrive 4 hours earlier or stay hours later? The traveling a long distance might as well be to see other relatives as just for the wedding. And do it outside the all adult wedding. You are the hosts and determine the type of wedding, the atmosphere, the numbers, the budget. Period. Anyone wanting to facilitate grandmother and others meeting the child, can do it outside the 5-6 hours of the wedding. Such arrogance on the part of these relatives. ( mother of 5 with huge, spread out exrended family.)
    • Reply
  • Cristy
    Master May 2021
    Cristy ·
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    This! You might have to remind FMIL that this is NOT a family reunion you are planning! It's your and FHs wedding, and you will have the kind of wedding you want, not what she wants.

    Like Judith said, she can find another time to meet and love on that sweet baby. She's just trying to manipulate you into giving her what she wants. Don't do it!!

    There's nothing wrong with wanting a kid-free wedding. Have what you want!

    • Reply
  • Meghan
    Master October 2019
    Meghan ·
    • Flag

    We put "we love children, but we kindly ask you help us keep this an adult only wedding" on our website. Also, when addressing our save the dates and invites, you named each invited guest individually; ex: Mr. and Mrs. Smith, NOT Mr. and Mrs. Smith and family.

    • Reply
  • Talia
    Super October 2020
    Talia ·
    • Flag

    We put on the bottom of the invitation "Adults Only". It wasn't a problem. The only kid that was there was the flower girl. Meghan also makes a good point. We also did that too.

    • Reply
  • Polly
    Savvy October 2022
    Polly ·
    • Flag
    I specifically had “Adults Only!” printed on our invitations. Good luck and congrats!
    • Reply
  • Kali
    Savvy November 2022
    Kali ·
    • Flag

    I would say "Adults only" on the invitation. FYI be prepared for some pushback if your niece is coming--other family members may ask why some kids, but not theirs, are invited.

    • Reply
  • Stacey
    Super October 2018
    Stacey ·
    • Flag

    Most people get that if it is only their name/significant other's name on the invitation that they are to leave the kids at home. If you get replies with the names of children on them you can reach out and kindly explain that due to COVID, budget or whatever your reason this will be an adults only event.

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