Ask B&B: How Do I Say We Want an “Adults Only” Wedding?

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We want to have an Adults Only wedding. We both love kids, but we want our wedding to be a formal, black-tie event that will last well into the evening. How do we convey this to our guests? 


First off, I’m saying this as a wedding planner and as a parent. You are entitled to have whatever type of wedding you and your soon-to-be spouse want to have. If that does not include the underage set, that is perfectly okay. As a parent, I know my children would not be happy at a black-tie event at 11:00 PM on a Saturday. There are a couple of things you can do to inform your guests:

  • Etiquette says that the only guests invited to the wedding are those to whom the invitation is addressed. So if you address the invitation to Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, they would assume their children would not be invited. You should not write “Adults Only” on the invitation. 
  • In the case of guests who you know have children (and mainly if these children have attended other weddings in your friend circle), give them a call to say that they are welcome to enjoy an adults-only weekend! 
  • If you receive a reply card that includes a child (or any extra guest written on the card), make a phone call sooner rather than later to clarify who is invited to the wedding.

There are also a couple of things that you could offer for your family and friends with small children. You’re not obligated to offer, but it’s a nice gesture. 

  • If there is a separate room at your venue, hire babysitters to watch the kids on the premises. Your planner would know of agencies in the area that provide this service, or they may personally know babysitters. 
  • You could also use babysitters at the hotel where your guests are staying. Order some pizzas, put on some movies, and the kiddos will be asleep before the dancing begins. Your guests can scoop them up before they go back to their room. 

Overwhelmingly, I have heard from parents who love the opportunity to reconnect during a wedding weekend, just the two of them. In the end, this is YOUR wedding. Make sure you get the wedding you want to start the marriage you want. 

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