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To invite children or not to invite children that is the question...

Many couples struggle with the question whether or not to invite children to their wedding day. The decision is a hotly debated topic with no right or wrong answer. Ultimately it is a personal choice made by the bride and groom, but how do you tell your guests that children are not invited to your wedding?

The subtle way...

Addressing the wedding invitation to adults only is the simplest way of indicating that children are not invited. You can further cement this by including the names or number of those invited on the RSVP card.

The problem with the subtle way is just that - it’s subtle! There is still the risk that some guests may assume they and their kids are a package deal. This can lead to drama if parents only find out at the last minute and are unable to make alternative arrangements or if they actually bring their children to the wedding. It may be necessary to tell these guests that you are not expecting children.

Straight to the point...

It's simple, direct and there will be no confusion. Somewhere on your invitation or RSVP card indicate that children are not invited to the wedding. You can also go the extra mile and write in their exact names on the response card (the same way you addressed them on the outer envelope). Then all they'll have to do is check "will attend" or "will not attend." That way, it will be clear only "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe" are invited. Using an e-RSVP? Allow the drop-down button only for however many are invited. Although this method is effective, beware some sensitive guests may find it rude.

Sugar coat it...

Approach the situation delicately with something cute and thoughtful:

  • We love your kids but thought you might like a night off. Adults only please!
  • To give all our guests the opportunity to celebrate without having to worry about little eyes and ears, we politely request no children.
  • We hope you will understand our decision to make the wedding children-free, and take the opportunity to let your hair down and celebrate in style!
  • To allow all guests to relax and enjoy themselves, we have chosen to make our special day adults only. We thank you for your understanding.

Do Have a Flower Girl and Ring Bearer at the Ceremony (If You Want)

You're welcome to have flower girls, ring bearers and junior attendants at your ceremony. In that case, it's good to come up with a plan to treat them after the ceremony or cocktail hour. You could hire a professional nanny service to supervise in a nearby space at your reception site. Work with your nanny service to plan special, age-appropriate activities like crafts and games, and plan meals that are kid friendly and fun, like a pizza-making class or a breakfast-for-dinner mini buffet.

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