You could be throwing an adults-only wedding for any number of reasons, but whatever your rationale, now you have certain steps you must take to enforce your no-kids rule and keep your guests in the know. Here, our experts reveal six things you must do to pull off an adults-only wedding.
1. Make your age-restrictions clear from the get-go.
Spread the word early that your wedding will be adults-only, suggests says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. When you send out your official invitations, "couples should make it clear that their wedding is adults-only by addressing invitations with only the names of those who are invited," she says. "This way, guests with children won't assume that the entire family can come."
2. Use your family and wedding party to spread the word.
You don't have to deliver the news solo, Fisher says. "Use your family and wedding party to help spread the word, especially at pre-wedding events like the bridal shower," she suggests. With a team working to get the word out, you won't have to go as far as to print "adults-only" on your invitations, she points out.
3. Add the information to your wedding website.
Because you aren't hitting your guests over the head with your adults-only requirement on your invitations, it's best to be specific on your wedding website, says Sarah Glick, wedding planner at Brilliant Event Planning in New York City. There, you can add any information related to childcare services, too. "I find that parents tend to accept this a little better when childcare alternatives are suggested on the site," says Glick. For example, write: "In order to ensure everyone has as much fun as possible, our wedding is adults-only. However, below are the names and contact information of some highly-qualified sitters who live in the area and are available.'" Taking the research out of childcare, says Glick, "makes it easy for parents to have an alternative. Plus, it means that no one has an excuse for not being able to find childcare!"
4. Be discreet with any exceptions.
Any exceptions, including those made for yourself and your closest family members, should be done on the down-low, Fisher says. "I worked with a bride whose cousin had just had a baby," Fisher recalls. "Since it was an adults-only wedding, we had a sitter watching the newborn in the bridal suite. Guests were none the wiser, so those with kids who weren't invited weren't offended."
5. Don't assume your guests will be disgruntled.
You may feel guilt over your decision. But both Fisher and Glick say you shouldn't. "Couples don't need to go out of their way to explain their decision to guests with kids," says Fisher. "Couples shouldn't assume that all parents will be offended if the entire family didn't make the guest list." Not only that, but Glick points out that parents may welcome your wedding as a date night. "Your friends will have a good time without their kids," she says. "When kids aren't permitted, parents don't have to feel guilty about choosing to not include them."
6. Stick to your guns.
"If there is a miscommunication and guests assume that their kids are invited, the couple should call them," says Fisher, rather than waiting for any further fallout. "It's a sensitive topic and something that should be addressed directly," she explains. But no matter what, "don't back down on your decision. Use this as an opportunity to explain why it's adults-only — you can always blame the budget or venue capacity — and offer childcare options."