Post # 1
FH and I are having a domestic destination wedding. We have both lived in many places and wanted to pick a location that is central for all of our friends and family. For a destination wedding, we have a large guest list (at 180 right now, I expect a turnout of ~150). We are hosting two events for the weekend for everyone- the first is a welcome party at a bar on Friday and the second is obviously our wedding on Saturday. The saloon is only 21+ and we want our wedding to be adults only. I get how difficult this makes it for those with kids, but FH and I prefer an adults only wedding and we simply do not have the capacity for kids.
We are addressing our save the dates and invitations “strategically,” and are only including the names of those actually invited. We are also being strategic with our RSVPs (for example, we will use the “we have reserved x seats for you verbage or for online RSVPs have the names autopopulated). Is there anything that we should write on our website? We do not explicitly say that the bar is 21+ or that our wedding is adults only. I was hoping that the invitation addressing should be enough to give a hint.
Post # 2
Personally, I much prefer important information to be given to me outright instead of just hinted at! I don’t like having to guess or feel unsure. If your wedding is adults only, I think you should do everyone a favor and just say so! I’m sure there’s plenty of wording available online for you to copy, but I’d probably just say something like, “Please note that our wedding celebration will be an adults-only event. Thank you for your understanding!”
Post # 3
I think you should just be straightforward. People who haven’t attended a lot of weddings will quite reasonably not get your hints, and might act wrongly without meaning to be jerks. (I’ve been guilty of that when I was younger!) You’ll avoid more hurt feelings being explicit. Those who are going to be annoyed or unable to come would be annoyed or unable to come either way.
Post # 4
Strictly from an etiquette standpoint, you need to do nothing but list only the invitees on the invitation. Those are the only people who are invited. If you get an RSVP for someone not on the invitation, that’s when you call or email them and explain why the other person or people can’t be accommodated.
However, unless you are inviting everyone by name (no plus ones or guests), you need to address the “adults only” aspect of it as it pertains to guests of one’s choosing. There is nothing stopping someone from taking their tween or teen (or a sibling or cousin of that age) as their guest (it is not as uncommon as you might think). Additionally, you do need to address the fact that an 18-20 year old might be invited to your adults-only wedding but cannot go to the saloon. I think a small slip of paper as an additional enclosure (not printed on the invitation itself) can be sent for those invitees. Not only is it less tacky than having it on the invitation, but it would pertain to only a modest number of invitees (if that).
Post # 5
Just say adults only on the RSVP card.
Don’t state Child free (who you don’t want). Do state Adults only (who you do want).
Also, anticipate a large chunk of parents to decline your event.
People tend not to care as much about your wedding as they do their family.
Post # 6
agree with this.
Adults only and 21+ are two very different categories, and that needs to be clarified. Do you want 21+ only to attend, or do you want adults only but 18-20 just have to find another activity on Friday night? Confirm which one you truly mean and then make it clear to everyone invited.
Also, be prepared for anyone with small kids to decline depending on how far away it is. We recently did a mini-destination wedding 45 mins away and only stayed one night. My best friend was able to babysit, but it was only for 24 hours. If may have been much harder to coordinate for a further trip requiring air travel or 2-3 days.
Post # 7
It should only be necessary to send invites to named individuals who are over 21. But having heard so many horror stories of people who have ignored this and turned up with multiple random people in tow, I think you do need to specify – ‘please note, our wedding is for over 21s only.’
Post # 8
Well technically you should have two seperate invites within your suite – one invitiation for the wedding, and one invitation for the welcome party. Just provide the appropriate info on each one.
Address it only to whomever you are inviting. I’m generally a stickler for ettiquette, but one thing I’ve found as a wedding vendor is the farther we get into younger generations the less people know about ettiquette because they’ve never been taught it (and certainly some older practices have evolved). However, many many people don’t understand the concept of “only the people on the address are invited”. For that reason, when I got married the reception card said “Please join us for an adult evening of dinner, drinks & dancing”. It was the nicest way I felt I could get the point across without flat out putting ‘no kids’ on the card.
For the welcome party I think providing the info and maybe including something like :
“While we are hosting an adult only weekend, please note the welcome party venue is 21+”
Post # 9
Definitely note that it is an adult only event. Most people will probably get that its implied given who the invites are addressed to but some might not. No one wants to play the guessing game and it will make it easier for people to arrange child care in advance.
Post # 10
I agree you should be quite direct about it. Most people will pick up on it, but knowing wedding etiquette is a lot less common these days, so a few might miss it.
Plus, a lot of people aren’t able to find/afford childcare for a full weekend, so they may not be expecting a no-kids destination wedding. It’s not something they’ll want to realize last minute.
Post # 11
I would also state “21+ adults only” on the invites, and also have your family (your moms or whatever) spread the word.
For a destination wedding, people might not be expecting that their children are not invited, and it would be good for them to know that before they make travel plans. I know my husband and I probably wouldn’t travel to a wedding if we would have to leave our toddler with some random person in that town while we attended two nights’ worth of events. And we likely would not leave him behind at home for an entire weekend, either. No offense to you, it just gets a lot harder when you have little people’s happiness to plan around!
Post # 12
I think you are in a tough position because practically you are excluding the 18-21 age group as well as children.
Somehow make it absolutely clear. As previous posters have said, too many people do not understand the idea of only those listed on the invite are invited. I had one couple write in the names of their three kids on the RSVP. Sure, you can call those people who misunderstand and clarify, but those are awkward conversations to have.
In addition to making it clear on the invite, I think word of mouth goes a long way too, as sometimes a couple of your close relatives can spread some of the details of your event with other relatives.
I think excluding kids from a wedding is reasonable, even if it is a destination wedding. It is reasonable for people to decline if this places too much of a burden on them. If you are firm in your decision about the age restrictions then just be clear and let the chips fall where they may. Some parents will decline; others will look forward to having some fun without their kids around.
Post # 14
Invitations are inclusive and meant to offer hospitality, not deny it. I think your plan will catch anyone who tries to RSVP for extras.
Personally, I think it’s even too heavy handed to have the X seats reserved for you language, which I dislike because of its very obvious intent. To me it’s passive aggressive. I would rather contact a few uninformed or rude people about their misunderstanding than make broad assumptions that none of your guests knows how to read.
You could also have a line on your website with your # and offering to assist with finding local sitters, offer up the number of a nanny service for travelling guests, or actually hire one yourself. That way you are approaching from a position of helpfulness not exclusion.
Post # 15
OP, in addition to my above comment I just want to add that I don’t think you should attempt to assist your guests with finding childcare. Nor do I think you should hire childcare yourself. I have heard that idea occasionally here on the boards, and perhaps some find that useful, but to me it is strange and unnecessary.
I was a single parent for many years, so I certainly know what is like to be unable to do something unless I can make childcare arrangements. There is no way that I would leave my child with a stranger in another city, using a name provided off a list of local sitters. What would that mean, that the sitter would come to my hotel room or that I would leave the child at some stranger’s house and come back to pick the child up, possibly late at night?
If I really wanted to go to your wedding, I would leave my child with one of my relatives or a trusted close friend for 2 or three days. If that wasn’t possible, or I felt the child was too young to be away from me, I wouldn’t go.
With all the work involved in planning a wedding, I don’t think brides should take on the additional task of trying to assist guests with childcare. Just make it super clear to me that children aren’t included; I won’t be offended – don’t worry about trying to sound “inclusive” if certain ages aren’t included.
Post # 16
- Wedding: April 2017 - City, State
I had a child free wedding and on both the paper RSVP and the online RSVP, we wrote in the guests name and then put their food options next to their name to select their entree. That way there was zero confusion about who was invited because the names were there on the cards and there was no option to add anyone else. We also put on our website that it was child free.
We did have some people decline nectar it was child free and I totally understood that. Also want to say I agree with PP that setting up childcare isn’t necessary. I have a 7 month old and there is no way I would leave her with a complete stranger, no matter how highly rated or recommended they were, if I hadn’t gotten a chance to interview then and call references myself. I think that’s putting more work on yourself than necessary.