I don’t want children at my wedding. How do I tell guests, hopefully, without offending them?

children not invited to wedding

I don’t want children at my wedding. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I want to have a good time without having to worry about kids misbehaving or being underfoot all day. I want their parents to have a good time too and, frankly, I don’t want to have to pay per head for kids who probably aren’t going to eat anything! How do I tell my guests that children are not invited to my wedding? I’m dreading it as I know some of my friends and, certainly, some of my family members, are not going to be happy. I really don’t want to offend them but I just don’t want kids – any kids – at my wedding.

Samantha says:

Ah, when it comes to wedding planning, the question of whether or not to invite children is one of the touchiest, most controversial topics a bride can broach, but it’s also an intensely private decision, one that can only be answered by the couple marrying.

Personally, I love kids at weddings. I think they get swept up by the magic of the day and may even enjoy it a lot more than most of the adults, but as you’ve stated, there are plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons to hold a child-free wedding.

So, given you’re not asking ‘should’ you invite kids, but how to do it without offending your guests, the most straightforward way to let guests know their children aren’t invited to your wedding is to tell them on the invitation.

You don’t have to be quite so brazen as to write something to the effect of:  ‘oh, by the way, don’t bring your kids. They’re not invited,’ but you can take a slightly more subtle approach by addressing the invitation only to the parents.

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Of course, it may be a little too subtle and many parents may just assume three-year-old Andrew and five-year-old Nicole are invited, so you could always add a P.S. saying any of the following that applies:


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– Unfortunately, due to space restrictions, we are unable to extend this invitation to children under the age of 12
- Regrettably, we’re unable to invite children on this occasion
With respect, we would prefer our wedding day to be an adult-only occasion
- We hope you will understand our decision not to invite children to our wedding
- Sorry, no children under the age of 12
- Unfortunately, to reduce costs, we can only accommodate the children of our immediate families. We hope you understand – and will enjoy having the day/evening off.
– We hope you’ll join us at an adults-only reception that will immediately following the ceremony
– While we love little ones, our wedding is an adult-only event
– We truly wish we could invite all our guests’ children to our wedding but, unfortunately, we are only able to invite the children of our immediate families

If you’re not comfortable in being so overt, you could use a second line such as: __ seats have been reserved in your honour. Please let us know if you will be joining us by XX/XX/XX.  Then you fill in the blank with the number of adults or children over an age you’re happy with. That should clarify the fact that children aren’t invited to your wedding.

Or, perhaps, you could write something like this:

We can’t wait to have you join our celebration!
Please respond by XXX , 20XX
_______ Adults will be attending
_______ Sorry, I/we won’t be attending

children not invited to my wedding

Of course, should any guest RSVP with their children’s names (or numbers) on the invitation, you’re just going to have to pick up the phone (or email them) and tell that your wedding is going to be a child-free affair.

A compromise that may mollify disgruntled parents is to invite the children to the wedding ceremony but not the wedding reception. And, of course, if you’re really worried, ask close friends and family to mention it in conversation when speaking with people about your wedding. Every little bit helps!

Another gentler way couples, sometimes, address the issue is to hire a babysitter at a nearby hotel or in another room in the venue, where the guests’ children can stay during the reception. It’s a potentially expensive exercise, and some parents won’t, understandably, want a stranger looking after their children, but if you can afford it, it’s a handy alternative to flat out saying ‘no kids at my wedding.’

Just remember, while your reasons for not wanting children at your wedding are perfectly fair, don’t expect every parent whose kids aren’t welcome at your nuptials to embrace them.

After all, many parents simply won’t leave their children behind for social events, even a wedding. Others may not be able to – or want to – arrange childcare for their offspring while others still, especially those with newborns or infants that are still being breastfed, are very unlikely to agree to leave their kids behind.

So, don’t be surprised if your any of your friends decline your wedding invitation based on the fact that kids aren’t invited to your wedding and try not to be hurt by their reactions either. They may feel a little wounded or feel that their children aren’t welcome at your wedding and, well, that’s probably something you won’t be able to change, so if it helps, consider the whole scenario this way: you’ve every right to set the parameters for your big day – and your guests have every right to respectfully disagree!

Hopefully, it’ll remain as simple as that and your relationship won’t be affected.

Did you have a child-free wedding? How did you tell friends and family that kids weren’t invited to your wedding? And how did they react?

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