Who is invited to your event? Your guests should look at how the invitation envelope is addressed for a clue if they “and family” are invited. If you are having an adults-only wedding, do not include children’s names on any part of the invitation and make no exceptions for some kids and not others. If you are having an adult occasion, the only exception made is for children who are part of the wedding party usually.
You may want to add the phrase “Adult reception” on the bottom of the invitation under the main invitation text. We also like the language:
Respectfully, an adult occasion
We think this sounds softer than phrases like “adults only,” which seem kind of negative in tone to us.
A more casual and fun note is this:
Parents, this is event is just for you, so find a babysitter for the night, and put on your dancing shoes!
Handling the Kids Issue in a Positive Way
Please note that some parents with children will probably be offended by your decision to ask for an adults-only occasion. And those traveling with small children may choose not to attend your event, as they may be unable to find a babysitter for a one-night, one-time event if they have traveled to a strange city to go to your wedding.
Many of our couples try to arrange for child care at a hotel suite or somewhere near their event location for a small number of kids. Or they offer to help parents find recommended babysitters so that the adults can go out an have fun. If you are going to have an adult occasion, you might consider offering to help parents traveling with kids solve their wedding night child care issues. That’s a classy thing to do, and it definitely helps keep a positive tone around your event.
Alternatives When Seating is Limited
AN ALTERNATIVE OPTION: If seating is limited, you can put an additional note on your RSVP card about seating:
We have reserved _________ seat(s) in your honor.
As you stuff your envelopes, you write in the number of seats that each party has at the event. This reinforces the idea that a couple is invited (just put two seats), but not their kids. It also resolves issues about whether single people can bring a guest. (Do they have one seat or two seats?) Some people do this, and leave off phrases like “adults only.”
If you are inviting kids, but don’t want to pay extra for catering adult meals, many of our couples ask if children’s meals are desired on their RSVP cards. See if you can work something out with your caterer for inexpensive kids’ meals to keep your costs as low as possible, while also accommodating kids, if they are invited.