I really want to have an “adults only” wedding ceremony and reception. I’d like to note this on my wedding invitation but I’ve heard that is considered a no-no. What should I do? -Kate from NC
Oh, Kate, you are certainly not alone! “If we had a dollar…” Seriously, this is one of our absolute most frequently asked questions. In fact, many-a-bride seem to be losing sleep over this particular controversial situation. It’s an understandable dilemma. You want your wedding ceremony to be reflective of you and your fiancé, not the crying baby in the 5th row. You want your reception to a lively, fun-filled party, yet you can’t help visualizing a dance floor dominated by 15 sugared-up little ones. You don’t want to offend anyone that you care about, but you have a strong urge to tell them that Junior isn’t welcome. It’s quite the conundrum!
While there is no perfect solution, we do have several suggestions (and a bit of friendly advice) that will hopefully take some of the weight off of your shoulders.
- Fight your feelings. We know that this seems super, duper important right now. We know that you kinda want to print “Adults Only” in bold on the front of your invitation. However, we would encourage you to fight those feelings. Instead, opt for a more tactful approach. In the end, you’ll be thankful you did and your guests will appreciate your subtlety.
- Use your envelopes. Wedding invitations come with both an inner and an outer envelope set. These envelopes can come in very handy when you are inviting only certain members of a family to your wedding. Say you want the Taylors, plus their 17 year old son to come, but you’d prefer they leave their 3 year old at home. In this instance, address the outer envelope to The Taylor Family or to Mr. & Mrs. Taylor. Then address the inner envelope to Jack, Abigail and Owen. Simply leave the youngster’s name completely off.
- Use your RSVP Card. If you feel that addressing your envelopes in such a manner is simply too subtle, you may want to consider wording your RSVP card so that it asks your guests to list “Number of Adults Attending__.” Unfortunately, this is open for interpretation as well. Some may assume that you simply don’t need a head count for children. In this case, you could also include a line on your RSVP card for guests to check if they need “Childcare Recommendations.”
- Use your Wedding Website. If you haven’t already created one, a wedding website is a great resource for many, many reasons. Wedding websites provide a place to list items that aren’t generally included in with your invitation suite. You may want to list your desire for an adult only affair on your site, along with some recommendations for reputable babysitters in your area.
Despite all of your best efforts, it’s possible (even likely) that you’ll receive at least one RSVP card that includes the name of an uninvited child. If this is the case and you’d still prefer they not attend, a phone call or an email may be necessary. Rather than approaching your guest with “your child isn’t invited,” opt for a nonchalant “I noticed Junior’s name on the RSVP card and worried that you were having trouble finding a sitter. We have several recommendations or we’d be happy to arrange a sitter for you.”
Finally, our friendly piece of advice– Remember to breathe! Take a step back and know that your wedding will be beautiful. It will be everything that you are hoping and dreaming that it will be, albeit a few unexpected surprises. Every wedding has one or two and that’s what makes them so unique and memorable. In fact, if a small child ends up interrupting your ceremony, it’ll end up being a funny (possibly even a cherished) memory. If one or two unexpected tykes wind up on the dance floor, jump in and dance with them! They’ll make everyone smile. Your desire to have a child free wedding day is valid, but try not to spend too much time worrying about it. In the end, it just isn’t worth losing a friendship over.