Etiquette

Adults-only wedding

edited January 2016 in Etiquette

Hi,

we are having an adults-only wedding, but a few of our friends have young kids or infants. (We have no children.)

We will be addressing our invitations just to the invited guests.

We are considering placing a small note on the invitation and on wedding website that it is adults-only.

But do you think it would be a nice courtesy to personally inform them before the invitations go out? To give them more advance notice?

It's a conversation my fiancé is dreading a bit.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Did it go over well?

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Re: Adults-only wedding

  • edited January 2016

    Thanks! I've updated my post to be more clear. Our intention is to address the invitations to the invited parties (i.e. writing the adults names, omitting the kids names).

    But I know a couple who had their invitation ignored and the guests showed up with their kids.

    So I wondered if it would be appropriate to:

    A. Put a small line on the invitation that it is adults-only?

    B. Put a line on the wedding website that it is adults-only?

    C. Call our friends proactively and tell them personally that it is adults-only?


    My concern is that we are sending e-vites, not paper invitations, so I am worried that the RSVP part may not be clear, or people may think they have room to add their kids in. (We are using Paperless Post to send the invitations.)

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Thanks! I've updated my post to be more clear. Our intention is to address the invitations to the invited parties (i.e. writing the adults names, omitting the kids names).

    But I know a couple who had their invitation ignored and the guests showed up with their kids.

    So I wondered if it would be appropriate to:

    A) Put a small line on the invitation that it is adults-only?

    B) Put a line on the wedding website that it is adults-only?

    C) Call our friends proactively and tell them personally that it is adults-only?


    Stuck in box

    None of these options are appropriate.

    The only appropriate course of action when inviting adults-only is exactly as you suggest: to address the invitation envelopes only to the adults and leave the kids' names off, and then, should anyone RSVP for their kids, tell them at that time that the wedding is adults-only and the kids can't be accommodated.

    If they show up with their kids, you have the options to:

    1) Turn them away at the door

    2) Admit them and treat the kids the same as any other invited guests. (It's been suggested in other threads that uninvited guests be admitted, but not offered seats or food.  I'm not wild about that option because it seems to me that if you don't avail yourself of the option of turning them away at the door (which is acceptable per etiquette), you're being just as passive-aggressive by letting them in but not "accommodating" them with food or seats as they are by bringing their uninvited guests in the first place.)

    But no, you can't put anything on your invitation or website about the wedding being adults-only or tell your friends proactively that the wedding is adults-only.

    charlotte989875Knottie1434201276HeffalumpPrettyGirlLost
  • Thanks! I've updated my post to be more clear. Our intention is to address the invitations to the invited parties (i.e. writing the adults names, omitting the kids names).

    But I know a couple who had their invitation ignored and the guests showed up with their kids.

    So I wondered if it would be appropriate to:

    A) Put a small line on the invitation that it is adults-only?

    B) Put a line on the wedding website that it is adults-only?

    C) Call our friends proactively and tell them personally that it is adults-only?

    My answer is still the same; it is against etiquette to list anywhere who is not invited, to call and tell them who is not invited, or to list that it is "adult only" on invitations or websites.

    If people ignore the invitations and RSVP with people that are not invited then you can call them up and do as @kimmiinthemitten said and tell, "I'm sorry, but the invitation was only for [insert names here], and we are unable to accommodate additional guests". If they ignore that, then they are the rude ones.

    Another suggestion, is on your RSVP card list the names of who is invited, or the number of seats that are reserved for them.

    Ex. Mr. Jones _______ Accepts ______ Declines
         Mrs. Jones ______ Accepts ______ Declines

    or ________ / 2 seats reserved in your honor.

    I understand wanting to have a kid-free wedding (I did), but there is a way to communicate this to your guests that won't hurt feelings.
    Knottie1434201276mollybarker11HeffalumpSP29
  • JediElizabethJediElizabeth
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    edited January 2016
    lyndausvi said:

    While rude to put on an invitation it's adult only.  I am a fan of spreading the information word of mouth,should the topic come up.  

    While it's pretty standard in our social group to only invite certain kids, I told my MIL and one of my aunts.  Both of them are their respective group's know-it-alls.  So via them the information was out there.  


    This. FI's family has kids (mine doesn't), and so his mother has been spreading the word when people ask. We won't put anything on our invites or website, but we'll definitely only address those invited.

    Also, we'll ask people to write in the number coming on their RSVP card, so we can call anyone who RSVPs for extra.

    charlotte989875Knottie1434201276
  • frenchiekinfrenchiekin
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    edited January 2016
    Ditto PPs.  I don't know how Paperless Post works, but it makes it much easier to deal with this if you have a very explicit RSVP process, such as what @charlotte989875 suggested.  When you are having an adult-only wedding and are worried about people not understanding and bringing their kids anyway, this is when paper invites are useful because you can do things like explicitly name the invited guests on the RSVP card itself or list number of seats, etc.

    FWIW, we had an adults-only wedding and had the same fear that people wouldn't understand/wouldn't care and would show up with their children even though we addressed invites only to the adults.  We did include a line on our RSVP card that read "Number of guests attending ___" so that if someone filled in more than was invited (i.e. a couple filled in "3" meaning they were bringing their child), we would have called them to explain that we couldn't accommodate extra guests.  We did not include any "adults-only" wording anywhere on our invites/website.  We did have our parents spread via word of mouth and ourselves if directly asked by guests.

    Nobody RSVPd for their kids and nobody showed up with their kids.

    Edit: cannot grammar today


    charlotte989875Knottie1434201276mollybarker11SP29
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
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    member

    Thanks! I've updated my post to be more clear. Our intention is to address the invitations to the invited parties (i.e. writing the adults names, omitting the kids names).

    But I know a couple who had their invitation ignored and the guests showed up with their kids.

    So I wondered if it would be appropriate to:

    A. Put a small line on the invitation that it is adults-only?

    B. Put a line on the wedding website that it is adults-only?

    C. Call our friends proactively and tell them personally that it is adults-only?


    My concern is that we are sending e-vites, not paper invitations, so I am worried that the RSVP part may not be clear, or people may think they have room to add their kids in. (We are using Paperless Post to send the invitations.)

    I've never used an e-vite for a wedding so don't know how an RSVP looks for that. However I agree with PPs, if someone RSVP's for a child call them and clarify the invite. DD ended up having two little ones (other than the flower girl and ring bearer) because one was a nursing infant (less than 4 months old) and the other was a toddler whose Dad was a GM. They traveled from abroad to be at the wedding, and there was no way we were having mom or grandma (both of whom were invited to the wedding) not attend so they could stay with the child in a hotel room. I'm saying this so that you know it is perfectly acceptable to make exceptions for certain children. You don't have to explain why some kids are there and others aren't.
    frenchiekinSP29adk19MairePoppy
  • Paperless Post lets you use an envelope with a formal address and set the number of people allowed to RSVP from each invitation.
    Knottie1434201276SP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited January 2016
    Paperless Post is e-vites. Not recommended for wedding invitations. There's a thread in the Invites folder about that now.
    CMGragainInLoveInQueenswink0erinJBee85
  • I've read about stating "We have reserved 2 seats in your honor" or specifically saying the number of seats. Is that OK?

    My fear was that people with babies would assume that because the baby doesn't need a chair or a meal, they could bring the baby.

    But it isn't the food etc. that concerns us; it's literally that we would like an adults-only wedding.


    Thanks everyone for the great advice! I will be sure to follow etiquette and not state who isn't invited.

    kimmiinthemittenSP29
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
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    We did the "We have reserved x seats in your honor," and it worked perfectly. Nobody RSVPd for more than were invited. 

    Word of mouth helps. My close friends have small children and they were basically like, "So, kids? No kids?" We replied, "No kids!" and they uniformly replied, "Great! I'll get my sitter!"

    I have reasonable friends, luckily. 
    ________________________________


    charlotte989875SP29collegechic
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    edited January 2016

    I've read about stating "We have reserved 2 seats in your honor" or specifically saying the number of seats. Is that OK?

    My fear was that people with babies would assume that because the baby doesn't need a chair or a meal, they could bring the baby.

    But it isn't the food etc. that concerns us; it's literally that we would like an adults-only wedding.


    Thanks everyone for the great advice! I will be sure to follow etiquette and not state who isn't invited.

    Do you have friends with infants who are still breastfeeding?  This could put new mothers in a tough predicament if they have to choose between caring for their baby or attending the wedding / reception.

    Anniversary
    MairePoppy
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
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    I can't respond to @ILoveBeachMusic  without being SITB.

    I'd argue that in those instances it is up to the family to reach out and ask out for accommodation.  She is free to welcome or decline their for whatever reasons she wants.  But if I had a friend with a due date within a month of my wedding date, I wouldn't be surprised or upset if they were a decline or a last minute cancellation because I know what my sister was like with a newborn and she wasn't up for much, let alone a dress and uncomfortable dining chair for at least 3 weeks!  Now that she's back at work, she has a pretty regular pumping and feeding schedule and has accepted or decline invitations around that.

    Honest question:  why is it okay for parents to be upset and decline an invitation if their children are not invited but we always tell brides not to be upset if someone declines for the same reason?

    image
  • I can't respond to @ILoveBeachMusic  without being SITB.

    I'd argue that in those instances it is up to the family to reach out and ask out for accommodation.  She is free to welcome or decline their for whatever reasons she wants.  But if I had a friend with a due date within a month of my wedding date, I wouldn't be surprised or upset if they were a decline or a last minute cancellation because I know what my sister was like with a newborn and she wasn't up for much, let alone a dress and uncomfortable dining chair for at least 3 weeks!  Now that she's back at work, she has a pretty regular pumping and feeding schedule and has accepted or decline invitations around that.

    Honest question:  why is it okay for parents to be upset and decline an invitation if their children are not invited but we always tell brides not to be upset if someone declines for the same reason?

    I think you're fine to have your own internal reaction and opinion.   It's being vocal about sharing them that's a problem.   As a bride, you should not be upset that people are declining because you created a restriction of your guests that means it's better for them not to attend.

    As a guest, please don't express to a guest that you are upset that s/he declined.

    Again, IMO, it's also about being realistic.   I remember BIL wondering why his cousins didn't make the 8+ hour drive with their kids to attend his adults only wedding when they had sitters that the parents had never met.   Now that he's a parent, I think he understands a bit better that it's hard enough to make a trip that requires a day of driving.   When that trip either involves leaving your kids for a minimum of 3 days or leaving them with unknown sitters for part of that time, it's a lot easier to mail a gift and say, "Congratulations!   We look forward to seeing you soon!"   


    tigerlily6PrettyGirlLostcollegechicadk19
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
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    I need to 'second' the person who said that if someone is really important to you and has a breastfeeding baby, see if you can accommodate them even with an "adults-only" event. A close friend of mine had a 6 week old. I told her when she was pregnant that I'd rather have her there with a newborn than not there at all. Like someone else said, a newborn doesn't need a plated entree- just room for a carrier.
    She did have a relative look after the kid and simply didn't stay late, but she chose to make those arrangements even with the offer on the table to bring her son. 
    ________________________________


    PrettyGirlLostcollegechic
  • I've read about stating "We have reserved 2 seats in your honor" or specifically saying the number of seats. Is that OK?

    My fear was that people with babies would assume that because the baby doesn't need a chair or a meal, they could bring the baby.

    But it isn't the food etc. that concerns us; it's literally that we would like an adults-only wedding.


    Thanks everyone for the great advice! I will be sure to follow etiquette and not state who isn't invited.

    Do you have friends with infants who are still breastfeeding?  This could put new mothers in a tough predicament if they have to choose between caring for their baby or attending the wedding / reception.
    I don't personally think it's that tough of a position: declining is not that hard. If it's a viable solution for parents of older children who do not like/cannot afford to use babysitters, how is it not a viable solution for parents with infants?
    As a two-time breastfeeding mom, I'm another vote for "not that tough."  Unless it were a sibling or very close friend, if it were adults-only I would a) probably be unable to attend, and b) not really feel too badly about it.  It's a finite period of your life, and unless I were dying to go to that particular wedding, I wouldn't sweat it.
    southernbelle0915
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
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    Heffalump said:

    I've read about stating "We have reserved 2 seats in your honor" or specifically saying the number of seats. Is that OK?

    My fear was that people with babies would assume that because the baby doesn't need a chair or a meal, they could bring the baby.

    But it isn't the food etc. that concerns us; it's literally that we would like an adults-only wedding.


    Thanks everyone for the great advice! I will be sure to follow etiquette and not state who isn't invited.

    Do you have friends with infants who are still breastfeeding?  This could put new mothers in a tough predicament if they have to choose between caring for their baby or attending the wedding / reception.
    I don't personally think it's that tough of a position: declining is not that hard. If it's a viable solution for parents of older children who do not like/cannot afford to use babysitters, how is it not a viable solution for parents with infants?
    As a two-time breastfeeding mom, I'm another vote for "not that tough."  Unless it were a sibling or very close friend, if it were adults-only I would a) probably be unable to attend, and b) not really feel too badly about it.  It's a finite period of your life, and unless I were dying to go to that particular wedding, I wouldn't sweat it.
    Sure, it's not tough to decline.  All I meant was to say that it's a factor that many people don't normally think about.  It seems easy enough to leave a child with a sitter, but if it's a breastfed newborn, it's not always that easy.

    Anniversary
    Heffalump
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    I had an unusual situation.   I had two couples with infants just a few weeks apart.  One BF, the other didn't.  The one who BF'd had a child a little older.  Then I had other friends/family who had kids around the same age as the one BFing's older kid.  Yet they had older kids.   Then I had others who had kids close to those older kids.

     Everyone was OOT.

    If I went down that rabbit hole it would have added some 20 kids.    Hell no.    None of the kids were invited.  Plus I was not getting into the middle of a BF'ing mom gets special treatment over the non-bf'ing mom.

    Both moms who had infants still attended the wedding.  (they both brought their moms who watched the kids at the hotel.)   Actually all but one couple who had kids attended my wedding. 

    I made my choice and was completely fine letting the cards fall where they will.   








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    Knottie1434201276southernbelle0915
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
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    I need to 'second' the person who said that if someone is really important to you and has a breastfeeding baby, see if you can accommodate them even with an "adults-only" event. A close friend of mine had a 6 week old. I told her when she was pregnant that I'd rather have her there with a newborn than not there at all. Like someone else said, a newborn doesn't need a plated entree- just room for a carrier.
    She did have a relative look after the kid and simply didn't stay late, but she chose to make those arrangements even with the offer on the table to bring her son. 
    This was me with these last two weddings - they asked me to be a BM before I knew I was pregnant. At that point, I made it obvious that I wasn't going to be able to come if they weren't on board with the baby there, and that I'd either have to nurse or pump throughout the day. I would have understood if an adults-only wedding were that important to them and they'd rather have me decline than have a baby present, but not if they were upset with me for bowing out.

    Anniversary

    Knottie1434201276PrettyGirlLost
  • I need to 'second' the person who said that if someone is really important to you and has a breastfeeding baby, see if you can accommodate them even with an "adults-only" event. A close friend of mine had a 6 week old. I told her when she was pregnant that I'd rather have her there with a newborn than not there at all. Like someone else said, a newborn doesn't need a plated entree- just room for a carrier.
    She did have a relative look after the kid and simply didn't stay late, but she chose to make those arrangements even with the offer on the table to bring her son. 
    This. My brother and SIL will have a two month old infant at the time of my wedding. We are not inviting children (but not because we don't want them - because we can't afford to accommodate that many more guests), but I have already told them that they can bring the baby if they want. SIL said they won't want to do that, but this is their first kid, so she might change her mind. 

    This is probably different because I know nieces and nephews are often exempt from adults-only weddings, but I just wanted to add that I agree that infants are different and should be invited if you really want their parents there. Of course, if you're cool with them declining, then don't invite the baby. But be prepared for that decline.
  • lyndausvi said:
    While rude to put on an invitation it's adult only,  I am a fan of spreading the information word of mouth,should the topic come up.  

    While it's pretty standard in our social group to only invite certain kids, I told my MIL and one of my aunts.  Both of them are their respective group's know-it-alls.  So via them the information was out there.  


    This is exactly how we handled DD#3's wedding. They decided on no kids more than a year out so whenever we were having one of our ginormous family days with DH's side I would mention the no kid thing when someone asked about the wedding. It worked well for us and we had no surprise visitors, however both of DH's sisters declined to attend their nieces wedding due to the no kid policy. Just as it was up to them to say no kids, declines due to that rule need to be graciously accepted. The next time the family gossip asks about the wedding slip that detail in the conversation.
  • I am going to start by saying yes it is ok to not invite children of any age. Just on a personal level with out family it would have gone over like we were awful people. In fact one cousin did and the amount of back lash they got was crazy. Not saying it's ok just sharing an example of what can happen. I'll be a new mom in less then a month.. if we were invited to a wedding baby couldn't attend than as others said I would probably decline and send a gift. Not that hard but do be prepared even if it shouldn't happen for hurt feelings. BUT it's 100% ok. Just don't list it any place. Also everyone you are inviting to your wedding as a email for e-invites?? Or did I miss something maybe it's just a service (Sorry I skimmed a few messages if I missed something).. That's great if they do. HA my grandma doesn't know how to turn a computer on.
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
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    @banana468, @kimmiinthemitten, @JediElizabeth, I probably wasn't clear in my response. I don't think it is ok for parents to be upset about adult only weddings, I just disagree that it is just as easy to leave a newborn as it is an older child. I also was just suggesting that if the person is important enough to the B or G that an exception can be made. At no point did the people affected at my daughter's wedding make a big deal about it. They (B&G) just decided to allow the two children when they realized that people who were important to them wouldn't be attending. Like I said in my post, one of the children was the child of a bridal party member.
    kimmiinthemittenInLoveInQueens
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