Guest lists - No kids

So I am stuck on this one. We don't want kids at our wedding, however we have to bend the rules for some of our guests due to no available babysitters or too young to leave alone. For the majority of our guests i dont want kids to come. How do you address this on the invitation and overall how upset do people get if their kids arent invited?

The way i see it is that most venues, ours included count that kid as a head. so if we are having 100 guests a 5 year old counts as a guest and instead of having that 5 year old i'd rather be able to invite another colleague from work.

Any brides out there run into this problem? whats the best thing to say if people call up asking if they can bring their children?

Thanks in advance!!

Re: Guest lists - No kids

  • Make sure you only list the names on the invitation of the people you are actually inviting.
    For example, if you're not inviting children, don't write "The Smith Family", but instead, write "Mr and Mrs Smith".

    You mention that you want to include some children but not others. Any chance that this cut happens to be "family kids are invited, but not friends' kids"? or maybe it turns out you're only inviting children that are in the wedding party, or children of members of the wedding party?

    If you have clear lines like that, it becomes easier. If not, you'll have to explain to guests why their children are not invited, but these other children are. People might be hurt their children aren't invited and might not come. Or they might come to the reception without children, and see that other children were invited, and be upset that theirs were not. Pick your battles carefully.

    Whatever you do, do not write "adults only" on the invitation. If people RSVP for themselves with children, and you don't want the children to come, call them and say "I'm sorry, Jane, but the invitation was for you and your husband, and we cannot accomodate little Johnnie, we hope you can still make it". Be prepared to explain yourself.
  • Also - make sure you're ready for some hurt feelings on this one. It's one thing if it's kids that are in the WP, but if it's kids in the family there will likely be some offense taken (not that I know your family, etc.).
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  • Thank you for your quick Response!!

    The reason i am finding this so difficult is exactly what you said, we are allowing some children. The ones in the wedding party & children of immediate family members.
    we have a big family so it would be children of my 2nd cousins that aren't invited. If we allowed everyone to bring their children our guest list would be at 300!!

    I dont understand why people arent more understanding on this issue. Wedding guest lists are hard because you truly cant invite everyone. Almost everyone has had a wedding themselves or been to weddings so its interesting to me that people take it so personally.

    Thanks for the advice on not putting "adult only" on the invitations. I'll address to Mr & Mrs and if they call asking to bring children i'll just have to tell them the reasons we have decided not to allow children. One of them being, our venue isnt kid friendly,
  • Ditto previous advice.  Also, if you have a wedding website, I would put something about not having kids on your FAQ page.

    For my page I put this:

    Can I Bring My Kids/Nephews/Nieces?

    Please do not bring children under the age of 14 to the ceremony or reception. The grounds and buildings of Tazer Valley Farm are not equipped or safe for unsupervised children.

    We would like for all of our guests to enjoy their time at our wedding, and not have to worry about watching any kiddos.

    Thank you for your understanding!

    OMH est. May 7, 2011
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  • Thanks again everyone for the extremely helpful advice!
    very much appreciated :)

  • My wedding is at Tazer Valley Farm as well and we dont even have kids in the ceremony (just our dogs) So we wrote the invitations specifically to people like suggested above and then put on our wedding website:
     "We encourage those with children to find sitters for the event and make it an adults night out, if this is not possible we understand and would far prefer that you are able to come and bring your child rather than not come at all."
    I personally wanted to make it more cut and dry than that but my Fiance wanted it to be "nicer". We are 2 weeks out and there are very few children coming :)
  • Thanks again everyone for your advice! I've decided to put it on my wedding website and will prepare myself for the storm that lies ahead..
  • I am in the same boat! We have some 1st cousins that are young so we don't want to say no kids all together because we want them there.  However, our venue is smaller and we cannot accommodate everyone's kids.

    We just sent our invites and here is what we did. I found this on an invite etiquette website.

    Outer Envelope - Mr. and Mrs. Smith
    Inner Envelope - (Informal) - John and Jane
    RSVP Card:
    The honor of your presence is requested. 
    We  have reserved _____ seat(s) in your honor.


    ____ Accepts    ____ Declines

    Then we actually placed the number of seats in the line above.  So for Mr. and Mrs. Smith it had two.

    Now for our family that has a young child and is our 1st cousin their invite looked like this:

    Outer Envelope - Mr. and Mrs. Smith
    Inner Envelope - (Informal) -
    John and Jane
    Jonny and Janie
    RSVP Card:
    The honor of your presence is requested. 
    We  have reserved __4___ seat(s) in your honor.


    ____ Accepts    ____ Declines

    This way there is no confusion!  I hope this helps. I have been worried sick over how to handle and when I found this I felt a sigh of relief!
  • Be prepared to have some unhappy guests. Most people will understand if it is strictly no children under 18 (or whatever age), or only the kids participating in the wedding party, or immediate family. However, I had a very unpleasant message awaiting me from my aunt, (the grandma of my second cousins) when she found out her grandkids weren't invited. It was no way her place to say anything, but she did. First thought in someones mind is that you don't think your relationship with the uninvited is as important as the next. On our wedding site we posted that nobody under the age of 21 was invited with the exception of those closest to us (ie. immediate family, or maybe a certain cousin or someone you've always been very close with who might be younger than your cutoff age.), and also with the exception of nursing infants since one of my bridesmaids has a nursing son! The best thing to do though is stick with your decision. If thats what you want, then no matter who gets offended, or what someone may think, its your wedding not theirs. And lets face it, nobody wants a bunch of kids running around, crying, throwing a tantrum on your special day and on a day thats meant to be meant for YOU. Not a child throwing a hissy fit. Yes, they may question why their child can't attend, (AND its tough to explain to your loved ones that you aren't changing your mind no matter what) and in that case state that you and your man decided that based on your venue size, location, and that alcohol might be present, you opted for an adult only reception, but maybe offer a family (all age) bbq the week after the wedding, or a month before. Just some ideas! :) Good luck!!!
  • I want to have some children I have babysat at mine due to the fact they finally like me to the point they want to help. I know it seems strange but they can hold flowers for me and look cute. They are like family at this point and even though a few of them would only be 5 years old at that point... they behave VERY well for their age.
    In love since July 2010 with the man of my geeky dreams. I want to marry him by 2015. Ooooh weeee oooooh....
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