The Best Way to Tell Guests That Your Wedding Is Adults Only

Here's how to drop the news, without ruffling any feathers.

Couple dancing at reception

Photo by Shari + Mike Photographers

The guest list is one of the toughest parts of planning a wedding because there comes a time where you’ll have to decide who makes the cut—and who doesn’t. One of the easiest ways to shorten your guest list is to decide your wedding will be adults-only and to stick to that rule across the board. So how do you tell your guests that their children aren’t invited to the ceremony or the wedding reception? We asked our experts for tips and collated their advice for you.

The best way to make sure your guests know that the wedding will be adults-only is to be as clear as possible from the very beginning. It starts with how you address your save-the-dates and invitations: Make sure only the guests invited are named on the invitation. If you are inviting parents who do have children, be sure to use only the parents’ names on the envelope (i.e., “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith”) instead of referring to the family, which would imply that the children are included.

Worried that it's too subtle and that guests still won’t get it? On your RSVP card, in addition to a blank space where guests are to write their names, add a line that asks them to specify how many guests will be attending the ceremony and wedding reception, along with a blank space where you can fill in the total number of guests invited. This would read something like “___ of ___ invited guests,” and for families where only the parents are invited, you would put “2” on the second blank. This lets guests know that they have a maximum of two spaces to fill!

You may also want to add a note to your information card and wedding website (though you should avoid putting “adults only” directly on the invitation). A simple note that reads “While we love all of the children in our lives, we have decided to keep our wedding and reception an adults-only event” is short, to the point, and won’t ruffle any feathers.

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