Wedding Etiquette Forum

Is it ever ok to say "Adults only" or "No children" on an invitation?

In this question I'm not talking about weddings. Say a party at somebody's home where there aren't RSVP's involved.

Scenario: Host sends out inviations to dinner party at their house and put "John and Jane Smith" on the envelope. No mention of adults only elsewhere on the invitation. I think this is the way people here would suggest the people here would say it should be done. There is no RSVP so no opportunity to let John and Jane know Bratleigh isn't welcome should they misread the invitation.

So John and Jane show up with 3-year-old Bratleigh in tow. What is the host to do? Is there a polite way to turn them away at the door? Mightn't it be more polite to head this awkward situation off ahead of time, on the invitation?

I've also read on another "etiquette" board that parents always assume their kids are invited to their friends' parties. I read a thread where many of the responders said "it is the responsibility of the host to make it clear if my kids are not invited. It is rude for them to leave me wondering."

Been thinking about this because I've read countless stories on various other boards where people have dragged their kids to an adult-only house party. The host is usually caught off-guard and can't bring themselves to turn them away. The kid(s) invariably ruin the party in one way or another - whether it's damage to the house, tormenting of resident pets, or making the other guests feel they must censor themselves.

Aaaand, go!
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