This is one of the most frequent topics, that comes up on the Bee, and all over wedding internet boards. It’s unfathomable to me that some people have never heard of an adult-only wedding, before reading it on a board. Around here, people may make the excuse of not having a babysitter, for their invitation decline, but no one really expects kids to be invited, across the board.
From my viewpoint (suburban area of large, east-coast city), I stopped being invited to weddings, along with my parents, in the late 1960s – at maybe 12 years old? That’s when they stopped offering cold buffets in church halls, for the reception. Weddings are always about what the bride/groom wants, what the host is willing to pay for, and they aren’t a democracy – asking for votes from each of the guests. They only thing you get to vote for is your entree selection.
If it’s primarily on his side, he’ll have to be the one to discuss the issue, with his parents, and then siblings. Whenever the topic is brought up, you have to be firm in your decision, and present an united front. And it’s crucial that they know ASAP, to arrange childcare. If they decline because of it, just say “I’m sorry, we’ll miss you,” and let it drop. It’s their loss.
My wedding in 1977 included my 2 flowergirls (7 & &) and 1st cousins, 15 & 18. Since I was 21, 2 of my bridesmaids, my Brother-In-Law, and a few friends, were under 21, and that was it (about 10 of 225). It’s not a new concept. My daughter had a 21+ wedding last year, on a Sunday night of a holiday weekend, with the exception of her honorary little sister (16.5, who was a bridesmaid). 225 of 250 invited guests attended, and had the time of their lives.
Of course, there’s always the guests that have to be the exception; my Brother-In-Law didn’t even bother to RSVP, to his niece’s wedding, since his kids weren’t invited. (That was 2 non RSVPs, out of 250). They’re the ones with the inflated sense of entitlement – my daughter has only met the cousins three times, anyway. I said good riddance, and when it came time to invite 125 people to my 2nd daughter’s wedding, we didn’t waste an invitation on them.