How to Handle the “No Children” Topic for Your Wedding

Bored flowergirls at wedding

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime…

Just imagine it – it’s finally your big day and you are walking down the aisle to your forever person. The ceremony begins and as you start your vows, somewhere amongst the guests, you hear a baby screaming. Or, maybe your cousin’s son won’t sit still and is running around the back of the building. Not the most romantic moment, right?

Whether or not to invite children to your wedding can be somewhat of a touchy subject. Whenever a wedding is planned, there’s always many people involved, often with differing opinions and feelings. Inviting children to your wedding is by no means a faux pas, and many people opt for that, so the choice is ultimately up to you and your fiancé.

Children at wedding

Why A “No Children Invited” Policy At Wedding Ceremonies Or Receptions

Common reasons people opt to not include children might be:

1. Cost

Inviting children means a higher guest count, with added budget needed for kids meals and beverages. If you are tight on cash for your big day, discluding children and just inviting your adult friends and family is the best way to keep costs at a minimum.

Too many children

2. Large Numbers

If you are getting married later in life (as I just did, at 35) it means probably most of your friends already have kids which means potentially adding 40+ kids to your wedding day, and let’s be honest, this isn’t a carnival. So, just keep any kids at a minimum by just allowing nieces/nephews to attend and even better, add them in as ring bearers or flower girls!

3. Alcohol Being Served

Alcohol is flowing and therefore you want the atmosphere as mature as possible so everyone can let loose for the night!

Distraught child at wedding

4. Disruption

Finally, you may want an intimate ceremony with your best and closest and don’t want to run the risk of a crying child interrupting your most vulnerable, emotional moments with your new spouse.

Informing Your Guests It’s Adults Only

All of the above are perfectly legitimate reasons, but how do you go about telling your guests this without offending? Read on below for some pointers!

Invitation wording for Adults Only

Invitation Wording: 

Main invite: This is the best and most direct, while still polite, way to let your guests know children are not invited. At the bottom of your invite, instead of the typical, “Reception to follow” you can simply add “Adult reception to follow”. That one keyword helps to let people know – no kids.

Reply card: Add a line that says “We have reserved ___ seats in your honor”. If you are inviting, for example, John and Jane Smith (who also have 2 kids), you would simply put the number “2” in that blank before sending it so that John and Jane know there’s only room at the table for the two of them and no more. Alternately, you can add under the “accepts with pleasure” line “___ of ___ attending”.

Envelope addressing: How you address your envelope should also dictate who’s invited. If you want just the parents, you address to just them. If you are inviting their kids then it could be worded “The Smith Family” or with the kids’ names written out on the line below their parents.

Be blunt! Lastly, you can be super direct and on an insert card or elsewhere. Some sensitive guests may find it rude but it is the most effective.

  • Please, no children
  • Adult only affair
  • This invitation is extended to adults only
  • Adults only ceremony and reception

Wedding Website Wording:

Events tab: Your wedding website is another place you can add this wording, under the schedule of events tab for the wedding day.

Adults' only wedding

While family members and friends may disagree with your decision about inviting children to your wedding ceremony and reception, it’s your wedding. Taking a direct approach is to state your preference, minimize hard feelings, and allow your guests to make plans for childcare.

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BIO: Louise & Third is a Southern California-based, boutique planning and design company specializing in weddings and social events. With our high level of service and a focus on design, we cater to each client’s specific personal style in order to deliver the most unique event possible.  We crave creative details and love transforming a space into something truly breath-taking.  We love what we do and can’t wait to meet you!

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