How Best to tell Wedding Guests it’s “Adults” only?

I recently came across a post online where a bride was asking about her wedding guests and the best way to communicate to them that they didn’t want children at the wedding or reception.

Well, that’s a difficult pill to swallow, not having kids at the wedding, but we completely get it and understand.

Luckily, we have a bit of experience with this, and today, I want to share with you the best ways possible to communicate this without sounding too harsh.

First, adults-only weddings are one where smaller kids are not at the wedding or reception.

Use the Wedding Invite

One of the best ways you can communicate this to wedding guests is to put information on your wedding invitations that go out to friends and family. We suggest that instead of just saying “no children allowed at the wedding”, you use more subtle terms in your wedding invite.

  • “Adult reception to follow”
  • “Although we love your little ones, this is an adult-only affair”
  • “Adults only, please”

These are the most common terms couples will post on the wedding invitations and if you plan on having just adults at the wedding and reception, we suggest that you use them.

Putting this on your wedding invites in an easy way helps deter people from bringing them to your wedding day.

In fact, it’s becoming more commonplace.

According to Wedding Wire, in 2014 just 9% of couples had an adults-only wedding, in 2020 that number just to 16%.

Couples will want only adults at the wedding for various reasons, some of the top ones can include the venue and it’s limitations (like a winery or museum with lots of breakable objects), perhaps there will be lots of alcohol at the reception, or the venue simply can’t entertain guests with children.

We will say that if you decide to have no kids at the wedding, that means you will want to skip any ring bearer or flower girl.

Having them at the wedding without any other kids send a bad message to your guests that have children and that’s not fair to everyone involved.

In either case, even if you post this on the invitations, wedding website, or both, guests sometimes still bring kids.

What if Guest Still bring Children?

Sometimes this still happens.

Here at Silver hearth Lodge we actually have various things for children to do, this helps keep kids occupied with having fun while at the wedding venue.

  • Complete with a kid’s playground
  • Outdoor games court
  • Family area with two HD televisions

Our playground features a clubhouse, swings, slides, and other fun activities for kids to play on during the wedding. We have a picnic table area and grass for kids to run around and just be kids too.

The games court has a couple of horseshoes courts, tic-tac-toe, and an area for bean-bag toss while our living room area has Ralph Lauren chairs and couches with two large HDTV’s you can watch.

But, most wedding venues simply don’t have the capacity to do this, so the next best thing is to have a table with activities for the kids.

So, What Can We Do?

Coloring books with crayons, crafts for them to do, books, and even things like legos or toys will keep kids occupied.

Bring something along to the wedding and keeping those things tucked away may be a good thing to have on hand, in fact, some wedding planners that you hire may have things for kids to do in their packages or emergency kits. Be sure to ask them about that.

The benefit?

The longer the kids are happy, the longer the parents will stay at the wedding and enjoy themselves, it’s a win-win for all involved.

Be Prepared to Answer Guests

You should, however, be prepared to answer your guest’s questions about bringing children to the wedding. That may be a hard pill to swallow, but according to an article form Brides.com, you should be upfront with your guests and do it in a meaningful, positive way if you can.

As they indicate, a good example of this would be:

“In this particular instance, you would not be able to bring little Johnny as we are requesting for this to be an adult-only occasion. We’d love to have you there but we are not going to have children.’

Just make sure that you are clear upfront, you say it not he invites and the wedding website, you may get some couples that will not come because of them having kids, and quite honestly there may be guests that bring them regardless.

If they do, try to have something for them to keep entertained if possible, so be sure to have something in the back of your planning just in case.