Adults only? Let’s take a look today what you should consider when hosting an adult only wedding reception.

I’m about to dive into a topic that has been a long-standing debate amongst many couples and families and can lead to some sticky scenarios. I’ll tread lightly in an effort not to offend readers!

I’d like to start off my stating that I am a parent as well as a wedding professional so I understand both sides of this debate. I do side with one more than the other, but I’m sure by the end of this, you will see where I stand on the topic.

Choosing to host an “Adults Only” wedding can be a difficult decision for couples. Contrary to what guests may think, the couple isn’t purposely excluding your kids to be mean and exclusive…they may have legitimate reasons and sometimes the decision isn’t easy! Reasons can include; budget, capacity of the venue, the ceremony/venue may not be appropriate for kids or maybe they don’t want smaller children disrupting their day (not everyone finds a child running around the dancefloor during speeches cute!).

You may not agree but they have a right to their choice and they are hosting the event. Below are some tips for couples who plan on hosting an Adult Reception. I have also included some tips for parents and family because over the years, I have definitely seen some poor behaviour on the part of some and perhaps some “weddiquette” about the topic will help to “see things clearer”.

Tips for the Couple:

  1. Correct Wording on the invite ~ So you’ve decided not to have children attend the wedding….how do you make this clear and be sensitive to guests feelings? The correct wording on your invitation is critical! Some say to individually name guests on the invitation so it is clear who is invited but surprisingly sometimes guests are still unsure. Others would say you shouldn’t have “Adults Only” on the invitation as it’s a surefire way to offend sensitive guests. My opinion is including “Adult Reception” on the RSVP card is perfectly acceptable and should be very clear. Another option is putting “Adults Accepting” and “Adults Declining” on the RSVP card. I would also refrain from “No Kids” on the invite because it sounds too harsh and insensitive to an already very delicate topic to some.
  2. Stand behind your decision ~ This is your day and you have every right to make a decision that you feel is best for you. Be prepared that not everyone will support the decision but you need to stand behind one another and support that it was a decision you both made together.
  3. Exceptions ~ There are some cases where you will need to be flexible. Children under the age of 1 (nursing infants) as well as immediate nieces, nephews, cousins are exceptions to this rule (should you choose). Also, if you choose to have a ring bearer or flower girl they are also an exception.

Tips for Parents/Guests

Once again, as I parent I understand why some would like to bring their children to a wedding. Weddings are a family affair however you also need to respect the wishes of the couple. You may not be aware why they chose not to include kids, but it is not something that is appropriate to debate with the couple or their family.

  1. Read the invite if you’re unsure ~ As mentioned above, the wording on the invite should be clear! Check the front of the envelope, if it says “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and not “Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Family”, then the children are not included. Once you’ve opened the invite, if the RSVP card or main invite state “Adult Reception” than it is just that….an Adult Reception!
  2. It is not o.k to call or “bully” the couple or their family! ~ Yes, for those that haven’t experienced this, this does happen, unfortunately. I have heard many couples that after they have made the decision not to include children and have sent out their invites, they receive calls from concerned parents or family asking why kids aren’t included or for an exception to be made. I have even heard of guests “threatening” they won’t attend if their kids can’t come. Let me be clear when I say, the couple and their family have enough to think about when planning a wedding and this is not o.k.! I understand if your family is attending the wedding that it may be hard to find a babysitter….but it’s not impossible! The couple has made this decision and most likely their family is aware and respect it. The last thing they want is to be put in an awkward position when you call to question their motives! Also, if you ask them to make an exception for your child, you are putting them in a very awkward position with other guests that respected their decision and didn’t ignore their request!

I hope I did my best to navigate this sensitive subject without offending anyone. I think everyone needs to take a step back sometimes and realize how much thought does go into a decision like this and I’m sure that a couple doesn’t purposely want to offend anyone that they would consider important enough to attend their special day!

Stay tuned next week for a follow-up to this topic where I will discuss “Including kids at your wedding”.

So what do you think? Should couples tread lightly when hosting an adult only wedding reception?

Comment below, we would love to hear what you think!

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