Today we tackle the touchy subject of wedding etiquette and children.  This came up with one of our couples who cannot decide whether to allow plus-ones and children.  For this couple, the budget is tight and their venue can only accommodate a certain number of guests. So how does one tactfully tell guests to leave the ‘apples of their eyes’ at home?

I have two little ones of my own and I would not be offended if I was invited to a wedding but told to leave the kiddies at home. A night out without the kids? Ummm, yes, please!  A few months ago we went to such a wedding – it was made very clear on the invitation that under no circumstances should we bring children as the venue was not child-friendly (it wasn’t – it had a gigantic lake which was beautiful as a backdrop but a nightmare for any parent if the kids were to run around, as they do).

So of course not all parents want to leave their children behind and not all can hire a babysitter therefore, as a couple, you may cause offence by telling parents to leave their children at home. Here are a few suggestions on how to deal with this sticky subject:

The Direct Approach:

Put somewhere on your invites or RSVP cards that the event is adult-only. Acceptable wording would be ‘Adult-only ceremony and reception’ or ‘This invitation is extended to adults only’.  However blunt wording such as ‘No children‘ or ‘Keep your children at home‘ is just plain rude and is not advised!

The Subtle Approach:

Addressing the wedding invitation to adults only is the simplest way of indicating that children are not invited. You can further cement this by including the names or number of those invited on the RSVP card. The problem with this approach is that the guests may not get the message and come with their children anyway. A follow-up call would be best to explain.

The Sugar-Coated Approach:

Include wording on your invite inserts such as ‘In order to allow all guests, including parents, an evening of relaxation we have chosen for our wedding day to be an adult only occasion. We hope this advance notice means you are still able to share our big day and will enjoy having the evening off!‘ This is thoughtful and should cause the least offence.

The Pass-The-Buck Approach:

It’s not uncommon for wedding venues to specify no children, and sometimes you just know that a venue isn’t child-friendly. You can include one of the following statements on your invitation if this is the case:

  • Due to restrictions at our venue, children are not invited.
  • Management request no children under 16.
  • Regrettably children are unable to attend, by request of management

This approach protects you from the ire of any disgruntled guests!

The Make-Everyone-Happy Approach

Just let the kiddies come if your budget will stretch and be sure to provide some child-friendly entertainment and nibbles!

Good luck!

Do let us know in the Comments section below if you have had to address this issue and how you dealt with it!  We did a combination of the Sugar-Coated and Pass-The-Buck approaches!  We’d love to hear your stories! IMG_0211