Family Tier/Adult Only Invite Etiquette

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
12568 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

You have to set a line and stick to it across the board.  If it’s “adults only,” it’s typically 18+.  I think if you allowed some children and not others, the ones who were not allowed to bring their children will feel slighted and that their kids weren’t important enough.  It’s a really tough line to make, but you need to apply it uniformly and not look like you’re picking favorites or one side over the other.

Post # 3
78 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - lindsay lakes, cypress TX

That’s tough. I’m not sure how you would explain that some people can bring kids and others cannot. Unless, the only kids coming are actually in the wedding party. I think it’s perfectly fine to have an adult only reception, and lots of ways to politley word that, just not sure about only certain kids – tough call. Perhaps just word the RSVP card so that they can only rsvp attending, for those you want invited? 

Post # 5
12568 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Only you can decide what will count.  I can say that if I was a parent that was told my kids couldn’t come, and I saw similar aged kids there, I’d be hurt and a little upset. 

Post # 6
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

You really can’t invite some children and not others, when all the children in question are family. We didn’t want any children at our wedding, either (inviting the children of co-workers would have added greatly to the list) so we said children of family only. 

As for the age limit, I suppose you can set it at whatever you’d comfortable with. It’s probably a little conventional to put teens at the minimum age (13+) or whatever the drinking age is in your local (18, 19, or 21+). 

I suppose if this were my wedding, I’ve leave out the age limit all together and just send invites addressed specifically to whomever your inviting. For example, if your first cousins are John and Sarah and their three babies, address the card only to John and Sarah and state that you are reserving two seats in their honour. The message is pretty clear.

Post # 8
45386 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Orchid71:  It may create a “Visual” problem for some of your guests, but it is certainly acceptable to draw the line at first cousins, no matter what the age, if you want to include your first cousins. Otherwise you can draw the line at age, meaning some of the first cousins would be able to attend and others wouldn’t, but that”s ok too.

If you decide to include all first cousins, you can ask the FIL’s to spread the word that the younger children are indeed first cousins.

Post # 9
1666 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I think most people do understand tiering — agree with Julie, just  make certain people understand what is going on.

Post # 10
79 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Orchid71:  I also have a HUGE family so we had to cut it off at first cousins.  I specifically wrote the names of who was invited on the invitations and only had a few that RSVPed adding their children.  I specifically contacted them to know “We just received your RSVP in the mail and I think there’s been a misunderstanding. I’m so sorry, but we’re not able to accommodate the kids, as much as we’d love to see them!!”  They are the ones being rude adding uninvited guests, so don’t feel bad about it.  Just be clear in your response if any try to add additional people.  You can only do so much.  🙂  The RSVPs have been the worst part but the best advice I was given was to STAND YOUR GROUND!  The second that you make exceptions for some guest but not others that’s where you will get a headache.  If anyone asks, you say “We are only able to invite our first cousins, we are so sorry!”  That’s all you have to say.  It’s not their party, they don’t get to create the guest list. 

Post # 11
1185 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

We both have a lot of first cousins with kids. A lot of our friends are starting to have kids. Aside from my nephews (who will be 13, 7 and 3 when we get married) we don’t want any kids there. Everyone who knows me/us knows they’re my nephews and how close I am to them. Therefore, we are putting “Adult Reception to follow” on the invitations. 

It MIGHT bother some of our cousins… but we’ve mentioned it to friends and so far they’ve already planned for a babysitter so they can have a good time. 

 If anyone is upset about it or adds kids to the RSVP, we plan on letting our mom’s handle it.

Post # 12
118 posts
Blushing bee

The only issue I really see is that there is not a huge tier difference between first cousins who are children and first cousins children.  I would only be worried that because the first cousins who are children are part of your family, and the first cousins who have children are part of your fiancées they may feel that their children were slighted because they are fiancées family and not yours, if that makes sense! I am not awesome with etiquette though and so it may be fine to divide it that way.

Post # 13
452 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

We have a strict 100 person limit. 65% will be FIs family. He has 12 first cousins. I have 5 and they have 6 kids between them. I will be inviting all of them because we are very close to them, spend all holidays together and we even vacation together–there were 27 of us this year!!

One of the cousins kids is the same age as my niece and nephews But the rest are in their 20s. We will not be inviting FIs cousins children. if anyone complains, we will gladly explain. I know I’m an optimist, but I can’t see anyone complaining…

Post # 14
2049 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

We invited DH’s and mine first cousins only to our wedding – no second cousins or cousins children. DH’s first cousins are older – and some of them have kids (age 12 and younger – 6 kids total).  My youngest first cousin was 13, and she and her brother, who was 15, where the only ‘children’ at our wedding.

DH’s family was a little annoyed, but they got over it.  I’m glad we drew the line where we did.  First cousins children is a lot different than first cousins.

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