Can You Put an Age Limit On Your Guests?

Etiquette, Kids, Planning Tips

Your friends and family have children — all of whom you love — but not all of whom are old enough to know to keep quiet as you exchange your vows. So while you're happy to invite your teenage nieces and nephews to your wedding, you've got second thoughts about welcoming the single-digit-aged guests. Your solution is to put an age-limit on your invitations — allowing some guests to bring their children, but barring the tinier tots from interrupting an otherwise formal affair.

While this is a perfectly rational request, Brilliant Event Planning wedding planner Sarah Glick, cautions you to think twice before imposing this age-limit on your guest list. "It creates a grey area," she explains. "For example, parents with children who are near the cutoff age but not quite old enough might feel that they can just round up to the requested age number. An even worse scenario — these parents could feel that the rule was specifically created to exclude their children."

See More: Should You Offer Kid-Friendly Wedding Favors?

If you decide to set an age limit anyway, Glick suggests making it clear who is and isn't invited on your invitations — rather than calling out guests whose children don't make the cutoff. "If the RSVP doesn't include an option for guests to bring their kids — and the children's names aren't included on the invitation itself — then etiquette dictates that they are not invited," she explains. "However, the place to make this extra clear is the wedding website or the reception card."

Be prepared for some backlash too, Glick says. While the majority of your wedding guests will respect your decision, "there is always at least one guest that will want to be an exception to the rule," she says. This is often the guests with unreliable childcare options, so "I always recommend that the wedding couple have a few names of reliable, affordable sitters in the area to provide to guests with this issue."

Consider having an adult-only reception, with the exception of the children who are involved in the ceremony advises Glick. "It's pretty traditional for your flower girl and ring bearer to attend the reception — so this isn't something other guests would question — and it enables the small children that are most important to you to still be included in the day".

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