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How to Say No Kids in the Wedding Invitation

If you’re in need of some tips on how to say no kids on a wedding invitation, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out more.

By Amanda Mitchell

married couple poses after wedding
Photo by Bri Johnson Photography

There are plenty of decisions to be made when it comes to your wedding day, but who is and isn't on the guestlist can be one of the big ones. Whether you're keeping the wedding guest count small, or your venue has an adult-only policy, figuring out how to notify your guests of your child-free wedding can be emotionally taxing, awkward, and anxiety-inducing.

No matter the reason, know you’re not alone amid these complicated feelings. Now more than ever, couples are embracing intentionality when it comes to who gets an invite. Zola’s First Look Report reveals 35% of couples are requesting their guests get a sitter for their wedding day if possible; an additional 21% saying no to kids at the wedding altogether. And this is with a majority of couples’ guest lists including 100+ guests. Goes to show that for most weddings there’s no shame in “the more the merrier” being followed up by a few exceptions.

Parents can take their children's lack of inclusion personally, and sometimes, the circumstances don't work out in your favor. But remember: It's your big day, which means you're in charge of who you want in attendance. To help quell your anxiety, here’s everything you need to know about approaching the situation:

Don’t Blindside Anyone

First, it's important to note that you should rip off the bandage as soon as possible. This will allow parents to be able to coordinate childcare and babysitting ahead of the event, a generous courtesy to your guests.

Ideally, your guests will be understanding—don't try to whitewash or talk around the reasons for not including kids on the day to placate their feelings. Whether you have a venue that isn't child-friendly, would rather have a quiet, distraction-free day, are planning an adult-themed event inappropriate for children, or are keeping the guest count low for monetary reasons, just be truthful. Most people will be understanding—especially if you have a specific reason for excluding children.

How to Word Your Invitations

If you're not into having "The Chat," one way to first notify guests of your child-free wedding is via your wedding invitations. Address the invites only to who is invited. The envelope and the RSVP card should only have the names of the parents, not the children. Don't make any other mention of it on the invite itself—"adults only" can feel more aggressive than necessary.

How to Say No Kids in the Wedding Invitation Photo Credit // Shutterstock

Mention It On Your Website

If you're worried the parents might not understand the RSVP card or the invite, your wedding website is the best location for that information. Here are some easy, pain-free verbiage options:

  • If it's a venue limitation: Our sincerest apologies—due to space and safety concerns, we are unable to accommodate children at our wedding.
  • Kids are allowed, but only close family: As much as we love and adore all of the children in our life, we are only able to invite a few close family members’ children.
  • If it's cost management: We would love to have your children at our wedding, but due to cost, we are only allowing children of close family members to attend.
  • If it's a formal event: We are looking forward to having our guests relax and enjoy an evening of celebration—our wedding will be an adult-only occasion. We politely request no children at this private, intimate event.
  • Simple wording: We sincerely regret that we are unable to accommodate children.
  • Children are cool at the wedding ceremony, but not the reception: Looking forward to celebrating our wedding with your children at the ceremony and cocktail hour, but request the reception be reserved for adults only.
  • Children are welcome at the wedding reception, but not the ceremony: We are extending a formal invitation to celebrate our marriage with your children at the reception, but only children in the bridal party should be in attendance at the ceremony.
  • Be a little cheeky: Have a date night! Get a babysitter, leave the kids at home, and get into a lot of trouble with us for an evening.

Leave the littles at home this evening. We adore them, but we’re looking forward to celebrating our marriage without little ears and eyes around.

Communicate Before Assumptions Are Made

Like we said before, it's important to make sure you communicate that you are having a child-free wedding with anyone who assumes their children are on the guest list. People may not look at websites and family members may get offended on behalf of others—just stay firm and honest and remind them you're not trying to hurt their feelings.

No is a full sentence, and you do not need to give them an in-depth explanation. Stick to what you believe.

Don't Pick and Choose

Feel free to include children in the wedding party—they can attend the ceremony and not the reception or be around for the entire day—but don't let some guests bring their children and not others. That's a sure way to offend someone.

Having a child-free wedding is a personal decision that can come with a lot of emotional anxiety to carry, but it's your day and you can celebrate with who you want—family and friends, young and old.

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