As a DFW wedding planner, we often run into a common question: “Is it okay to host a kids-free wedding?” The short answer is yes! Kids-free weddings are more common than ever. It’s your special day; the guest list should include whoever you want in attendance. However, there are a few etiquette guidelines to follow if you want to avoid stepping on any toes. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on how to be courteous (yet firm) about a no-kids wedding.
First, define your own boundaries. Have a conversation with your fiancé (and parents, if they’re involved) to decide where you want to draw the line. The easiest boundary is a hard and fast rule: absolutely no kids will be invited. However, you might use age as your rubric (whether it’s age ten, twelve, or sixteen… you decide!).
Whatever you choose, stick to the rule. No exceptions. Sticky etiquette situations are likely to occur once you make an exception—because even just one or two exceptions can lead you down a slippery slope. “If we invite Aunt Nancy’s kids, we really should include Uncle Kevin’s family too… and if they’re invited, we really can’t leave Susan’s kids out.” Create a rule that works for you… then stick to it!
Next, make it clear to guests that your wedding guest list does not include kids. It is not polite to indicate “adults only” on printed invitations. Instead, rely on formal etiquette to make your invitations clear. Address inner envelopes to specify guests within a family. Or, include a note on your RSVP card to avoid any confusion: “We have reserved 2 seats in your party’s honor. The favor of a reply is requested by July 18, 2017.”
Your wedding website is an acceptable place to make a statement: “We are so excited to celebrate with you! Because we have large extended families, we’ve decided to limit our guest list to adults-only. Thank you for understanding. We can’t wait to see you on the big day! Be courteous, but firm. The venue location and wedding timeline will also help set the appropriate tone; an evening ceremony on a downtown Dallas rooftop may not be ideal for children in the first place.
Finally, make it easy for guests who are parents. Keep in mind—you are essentially asking them to pay for a babysitter while they attend a party in your honor. Help them accommodate your kids-free wishes by sending invitations early, so they have ample time to make babysitting arrangements. And, of course, be courteous if you encounter any confusion. If a guest shows up at your wedding with a couple of little ones in tow, greet them with a warm welcome—don’t let it ruin your special day!
Any other etiquette questions? We’re here to help! In the last decade as a DFW wedding planner, we’ve heard it all. We’d be happy to assist you with any tricky formalities.
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Carrollton, Texas 75006