(Closed) Proper etiquette for excluding children at your wedding…HELP!!

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
3947 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I’m sure everyone will say the same, but you can’t dictate who can and can’t bring kids.  I personally believe it’s one or the other.  Trust me, you’re either saving yourself a lot of grief, or a lot of money if you do it this way. 

I wanted to make a single exception for my nephew and all hell broke loose.

Post # 4
1902 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I think you should only allow children that are in the bridal party – it’s a little hard to expect parents to bring them along for the ceremony, then take them home or to a babysitter’s. I honestly don’t think immediate family should be allowed, especially if it comes to 25 kids – you’ll have cousins and friends wondering why “just two more, my two kids are really well behaved, honest!” shouldn’t be allowed.

Post # 5
705 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Immediate family and bridal party is not unreasonable.  It’s a clear and enforcable line.  On the invitations just invite the adults and make sure to have your RSVPs have the space where they fill in ___ of ___ attending.  You will fill in the number of people invited in the second blank by hand.  For all but the most dense/entitled–it will be pretty clear that the kids are not invited.  Spread the word through family and friends that only children of immediate family and the bridal party are invited.  Make up a list of the kids of everyone you’ve invited and remember the total.  If someone gives you shit say “Look Sally, I understand but we’re not made of money.  I had to draw the line somewhere.  If I invited all of the kids, it would be 175 kids at this wedding and we’re inviting 100 adults.  That would nearly triple our costs and we just can’t do it.  If I made an exception for you, I’d have to make one for 147 other children.  I’d love to see you and Doug there but I will understand if you can’t make arrangements for the kids.”

Post # 6
11752 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think you can allow some children and not others – you are doing only immediate family so that is fine.  You indicate this by not putting the children’s names or “and family” on the wedding invite. Only put those adults who are invited.  If you don’t think people will pay attention to that, have it get spread around by word of mouth.

You can do the “2 seats have been reserved in your honor” wording too on the RSVP cards.  

Post # 7
3771 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo

I would not outright say that only the children of immediate family and the bridal party are invited… I think if you indicate on the invites who is invited or how many seats are reserved it would be better than basically saying “some kids are allowed, but yours aren’t!”.

Post # 8
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

You can certainly decide WHO you want at the Wedding and WHERE to draw the line.

Bridal Party Children – CHECK

Neices & Nephews – CHECK

First Cousins Kids – CHECK

Everyone else…. NO GO

But as stated above by KateByDesign:  it can (and does) get complicated WHEN word gets out that “some Guests” are able to bring their kids while others cannot

As to your Question… how to do it Etiquette wise

The RULE is whoever is named on the Envelope is the person(s) the Invite is for.

So Mr & Mrs Bob Brown or Mary Jones & James White…  are both invites for two persons

Mr & Mrs Bob Brown and children… is an invite for the whole family

Some Brides say that they try to reiterate the difference so that Mary Jones & James White don’t just decide to bring along their kids anyhow… and they do this by using “the numbers” option on the RSVP Inserts / Replies that go out with the Invites…

So for Mary Jones & James White it would say

– 2 – Seats have been Reserved for you


ARE or ARE NOT Able to Attend

They would then fill in their names on the line (Ms Mary Jones & Mr James White)

and circle whatever applies… and if the card also has meal opitions, Beef / Chicken then they’d indicate that as well

The pre-filling in of -2- Seats isn’t always perfect, but it does help in most cases where those not familiar with Wedding Etiquette don’t understand that the names on the Addressed Envelope is WHO is invited. Period.

Lol, saldy it doesn’t fix those who haven’t got a clue… cross out the number 2 and write in their own chosen number -4- (as in planning to bring their munchkins)

NOR does it help with those who’ll call you up / email you and whine, plead, beg that you should make an EXCEPTION for their “darlings” (some will even offer to PAY THEIR WAY)

Wedding Receptions are Expensive… and cutting back a Guest List is tough work for most Brides, Grooms and Families.  You need a common front… and an agreement that wherever you draw the line for Invites is solid among ALL OF YOU

Because, once one gets in the door… then word will get out… and the dam will break, and all H3LL will break loose, you’ll be pulled under into a raging river in a downward spiral (lots of Brides posting here on Bee about how difficult it can be… the pressure that RUDE Guests put upon them, and others in the immediate family… Brides Family – Grooms Family etc)

Better to have a game plan upfront, and hang tough

Hope this helps,

Post # 9
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

I agree with all the PPs about making your invites clear and concise and cutting it somewhere sensible like the family/BP line. Totally reasonable.

However as we all have read horror stories on here, be prepared that some guests will definitely push back, offer to pay, etc! 

Post # 11
1245 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think people expect kids in the bridal party to attend the reception.  I agree with what Katebydesign says – you’re on a slippery slope if you allow some kids to come.  Even if it is just first cousins – people are going to be upset.

You can also put on your reception card “Adult reception at….”  That’s what we did, although that did not stop one cousin from bringing their teenage kids.

Post # 12
7752 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

If there are only 1 or 2 nieces or nephews I think you can get away with it. But 25? No, I think that would offend those who got babysitting, at least to a degree.

I think the fairest way is no children except nursing infants.

Post # 13
748 posts
Busy bee

I’m excluding all kids…bridal party kids, family kids, no flower girl or ring bearer either. We do love children, very much…but we just decide t not have them at our wedding:)

Maybe it would be easier to not invite any kids, than just some kids? 

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