How to Say No to Kids at Your Wedding

Wedding Planning Tips


Deciding whether or not to have kids at your wedding can be tricky and it can lead to sticky situations but we are here to help!


A few reasons for having a kid free wedding – –

Formal Wedding
A formal wedding is not fun for parents if they have to look after children and it’s definitely not fun for children. We suggest options #1 and #2 (see below). You want to be straightforward but you also want to stick with tradition, hence addressing the envelopes properly.

Limited Space
Many venues have a limited amount of seating, which means you have to limit your guest list. You certainly don’t have to say “no children” but you will want to be clear who is invited. We suggest option #4 below.

All Our Friends Have Kids
We know you enjoy your friends’ children, and we’re certain your friends realize this as well. However, inviting everyone’s kids could be overwhelming (and expensive). We suggest using options #3 or #5 because they put a fun twist on “no children” wording.


A few Dos and Dont’s – Your wedding guest list is ultimately up to you, so if you want a child-free celebration, do it. That said, there are a few sticky scenarios that tend to come up when kids aren’t welcome at the wedding. Our advice? Tread lightly and follow these tips.

 Do Properly Address the Invitation

To make it clear from the start that your wedding is adults only, address your invitations to exactly who is invited, or some guests with children might assume their whole family is invited. You can also go the extra mile and write in their exact names on the response card (just like you addressed them on the outer envelope), and then all they’ll have to do is check “will attend” or “will not attend.” That way, it will be clear that “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” are the only guests invited.

Do Feel Free to Put a Note on Your Wedding Website

Your wedding website is a place to put catchall information about your wedding, like your registries, transportation options, dress code and other pertinent items you wouldn’t necessarily share on your formal invitation. This is an appropriate place to also mention that your wedding ceremony and reception are adults only and recommend any babysitting options in the area.

Don’t Make It an “Adults-Mostly” Reception

While you can have children in your wedding party and still have an adults-only reception, be mindful not to bend the rules for other people with children. If you let some guests bring their families and not others, it might look like you hand selected which children were and weren’t invited—and that could lead to a pretty uncomfortable situation. Inviting children just to the ceremony won’t probably work either, since they might get upset having to say good-bye to their parents or if they see other guests going to the party when they have to go home or to a hotel.

Do Call Any Guests Who Assume Their Children Are Invited

Hearing from family members who are questioning why your younger cousins, nieces and nephews aren’t allowed to come is normal. Address the sensitive issue right away by calling and explaining that you can’t invite everyone you’d like. You can blame it on the budget constraints (if that’s truly the case!) which often wards off further protests and avoids hurt feelings. But remember, you don’t have to give a lengthy explanation and can simply say that an adults-only wedding is a decision that you’ve made and leave it at that.

Don’t Back Down

Be prepared that if there are some close family and friends who want their kids there, you may get push back. But like with other decisions you’re making, this is your day and you and your partner get to decide who’s invited to the wedding—period. Address the issue and upset parents with sensitivity, but don’t back down. If you have a truly angry guest on your hands (and their happiness means a great deal to you) it’s a kind gesture to look into hiring a babysitter to watch their children at home for the duration of the entire wedding, ceremony included.


How to word your wedding invitations –
Address the Guests
Properly addressing your inner and outer envelopes is the first step toward letting guests know exactly who is invited. Be sure to read HOW TO ADDRESS WEDDING INVITATIONS to learn more about this important step.
A creative way to encourage no children or adult only reception – “Make it a date night!”
We really like this wording because it shares your message but it also encourages parents to have a good time. We suggest featuring this wording on your RECEPTION CARDS.
“We have X seats reserved for you!”
A great way to let people know exactly how many people are invited, this phrase becomes a part of your RESPONSE CARD wording. It’s perfect for weddings where you are allowing some children but not all children.


 photograph by Jaylim Studios