(Closed) Invitation Wording…About Having Only Adults at the Reception…

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
7992 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

@lovelylight99:  I think you should make it clear on the invitations, and say something like “sadly, because of costing/space issues… but we hope that….”

To me, that is the only reason children cannot legitimately be invited to weddings.

Post # 4
2781 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@lovelylight99:  Add in Adult only reception to follow on the invite, or simply put Adult only reception on the reception cards. If you don’t put it somewhere, you will end up with kids at the reception.


I would leave it asimple and to the point. “Adult only reception” If you start making excuses you will end up with people offering to cover their children’s plates, or telling you that they heard so-and-so  is only going to the ceremony so their kids can take his place at the reception. No excuses. Just leave it simple, and leave it at that.

Post # 5
540 posts
Busy bee

@drummerbride:  I agree, there’s no need for an explanation. Simple is good in this case.

And if you don’t use practically the exact words “Adults Only,” I can guarantee there will be a kid there.

Post # 6
4687 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY

We had this on the invites:

Adult only reception


and I did this on our website:

Due to the intimate nature of the venue, we ask that you leave the little ones at home

But people are, in general, stupid and rude so you will probably have to make some phone calls.

Post # 8
11234 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

@lealorali:  Ha, this.

Traditionalists will say to never, ever include anything like this, and just address the invites only to the people who are invited (so, John and Jane Doe), and that people should get the hint. However, I agree that people are stupid and rude and you’ll either get a bunch of calls asking if people can bring their kids or you’ll get a bunch of RSVPs back with kids on them and have to make the calls yourself (or both!).

Post # 9
1294 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@vorpalette:  +1.  I tried to do the respectful route, but to save me the headaches I wrote Adult reception to follow at.  Also your Future Mother-In-Law, your parents, your groom, your wedding party, need to spread the word when guests speak to them regarding this and drive the point home further, and also to just respect your decisions and have your back.  It’s hard to pitch a fit when everyone is agreeing that adults only is the way it will be.  It makes it hard when you and your groom decide this and then everyone else acts as though youre being irrational.

Post # 11
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

On your response card I would have a line like “x number of seats have been reserved for you” and then you fill it out just for the adults. Most people should get the hint.

Post # 12
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Ok, I admit it, I am a bit of an Etiquette Snob (comes with my career)

In truth… there is no “proper” way to do this… as you’ve outlined in your Original Post

BECAUSE saying so in anyway is considered RUDE

BUT unfortunately, the truth is that Weddings these Days are expensive.

So more and more people are opting to just have Adults at their Receptions… and to be honest with full meals costing $ 50 to $ 200+ per person, I can certainly understand the motivation (most folks don’t want to pay $ 200 for a 12 year old, never mind a 5 year old… and even if the place will provide “child meals”… those can be astronomically priced as well $ 50 for a plate of Chicken Fingers is not unheard of)

Ok, I digress.

It used to be that people understood the practices of basic etiquette…

If your name was on the Inside Envelope you were invited… not there… not invited.

This seems to be less understood these days… so consequently Brides have had to find ways to be a bit more direct with their Guests, while still trying to be polite (being polite in the face of rudeness is NEVER easy)

From an Etiquette perspective, it is ok for at the bottom of the Invite to say… Reception to follow

So naturally it has become in recent years ok to alter that to say… Adult Reception to follow

Sadly, there are still some who can’t follow instructions, read very well… so Brides have now adapted their RSVP Cards to be even more direct

“___ seats are being held in your Honour” … and writing in the exact number that the Invitation is for…

Still tho there seem to be some folks who will balk or insist that their precious children aren’t to be left out and their names have been added to the Reply Card… or the pre-printed number scratched out an altered

In which case, sadly… the Host has to call the offender back to apologize and explain the situation (putting the Host in an awkward situation to say the least)… most who have been thru it say the best plan here is to have a fixed sentence to fall back on “We are sorry, but due to the size of our venue, our numbers are restricted … we understand that this means you may not be able to attend, and we will miss you”

As for the Wedding Ceremony itself…

“Technically” churches are open to the public… so restricting who actually comes out to the Church Service is pretty futile.  So if Mary & Bob are coming into town for the Wedding and brought along Baby Sue for the Weekend, don’t be surprised if all 3 appear at the church.  Although it would be understood that Baby Sue would be babysat by someone during the Reception

And on that note… having Babysitting services arranged, usually means that there is a greater chance that your Guests who are parents will attend… and also be able to relax and enjoy themselves.  Something to think about.  (And fewer noses out of joint potentially)

As for Cut-offs.  Most Brides allow the Children who have been in the Wedding to attend at least the Dinner portion of the Reception (so Flower Girls, Ring Bearers, Pages, Jr Bridesmaids etc).  And then in the process of planning make the decision on whether these children are included for the whole Evening… or that there will be a cut-off time when babysitting will be available for them as well.

Likewise, in planning most couples crunching their numbers, also have to make a call on at what age they will make as their cut-off point for the Adult Reception.  So is that 12, 14, 16, or strictly folks over 18 only.

Lots to consider / think about.  And no easy chore.

Hope this helps,



Post # 13
882 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Ugh. HOW do poeple not understand that if your childs name or the words “and family” are not included on the envelope, children are not invited. I legitimately do NOT get how people do not get this. 

Before weddingbee I had NEVER once heard of someone brining an uninvited anyone (kid or plaus one even) to a wedding. Growing up, my parents went to weddings all of the time without us. It’s called hiring a babysitter, people. 

I know I don’t have kids, but I have nieces and nephews, and many friends with kids—and I know for a fact that they look forward to going to a wedding, for a night out WITHOUT thieir kids. 

@lovelylight99, sorry I know I didn’t answer your question! I just had to rant! Good luck and I hope you get to have the wedding you want to have without too much grief from people not able to keep their kids at home!

Post # 14
1011 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@lovelylight99:  Just out of curiosity, are you allowing little ones to the wedding itself? If it’s an adults-only reception, some people may be put off by that if they brought any children to the wedding. Not trying to point out flaws or anything, just wondered. Other than that, I think it’d be a good idea to reinforce the no-kids policy on your website AND word-of-mouth. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 15
673 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@lovelylight99: I am having this same problem. I have some family members who have kids who are over 10 and I am fine with them coming I just don’t want little ones so I don’t know how to word this.  

Post # 16
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

TO @Mrs_Harmer_to_be:  as others have said, the key is in how you address the Invites… spell it out there

* Mr & Mrs Joe Black (means just them)

* Mr & Mrs Joe Black and Family means the kids are included

* Mr & Mrs Joe Black

   Joe Jr – Susan – Anne

(means Mom & Dad & 3 Kids)… can be awkward tho if there is a 4th child… say under 10 as in your example.


And Reply / RSVP cards would be styled to match  ”   seats are being held in your honour”

Hope this helps,



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