April 28, 2022 4 min read

No Kids: A Guide to Child-Free Wedding Etiquette

When making your wedding guest list, you might run into questions about who you really want to have on your special day. For many couples, one of the most difficult decisions is whether to allow children to attend. There are many factors to consider, so it is important not to give into pressure to allow children if it is not the best decision for you. Read this guide to child-free wedding etiquette to plan your wedding exactly as you want without offending anybody.

1. Define Who Counts as a Child

The first thing you should do is sit down with your partner. Who counts as a child? You’ll need an agreed-upon definition before approaching any of your friends or family members.

Some couples want their guests to be over 21 years old because their reception will feature lots of drinking and dancing. Others are fine with self-sufficient teenagers at their ceremony, but not young kids who might cry or be otherwise disruptive.

Once you and your partner draw that crucial line, you can create your guest list and order invitations. Breaking the news is your next challenge to overcome together.

2. Don’t Make Any Exceptions

When people start finding out that they can’t bring their kids to your wedding, they may try to argue with you. Making one exception for your sister’s only child or your favorite nephew will look like you’re playing favorites. Other guests will get offended and then your child-free wedding rules are pointless.

Kindly remind your guests that your wedding dreams aren’t personal. You can also mention a few reasons behind your decision.

3. Emphasize Your Venue Features

Wedding venues accommodate guest lists of all sizes, but that doesn’t mean they’re all great places for kids. You might rent a nightclub if you want your reception to feel like a party. The venue would include necessary features like a DJ, lighting, and a full kitchen, but it wouldn’t be a great place for toddlers and other young children.

If it’s an inappropriate venue for kids, you can mention that to your guests if they try to persuade you to bend the rules. Other inappropriate places for kids would be a historic location with strict rules or an upscale museum.

4. Include Child-Free Intentions in Invitations

Word of mouth spreads quickly, but people often forget things that aren’t in writing. Add a short line in your invitations about how you’ll provide child care (or not). You’ll ensure that everyone becomes aware of who’s allowed at your ceremony and reception. It will also become a visual reminder that they can stick on their refrigerator or family calendar.

5. Mention It on Your Website

You can also remind your guests about your child-free rule by mentioning it on your wedding website’s homepage. Most brides create websites so guests can easily access details like the venue’s address, your gift registry, and any travel arrangements you make for everyone. Making your child-free intentions extremely clear will minimize how many people you must remind just before your big day.

6. Consider Child Care Options

Without kids at your reception, you’ll significantly reduce your catering bill. The savings could make things easier for your guests by going toward child care. You could pay a sitter to watch your guests’ kids if both sides of your family only have a few children. It’s an easy way to compromise with your guests without changing the adult nature of your wedding.

A sitter will also cost much less than paying for dinner, beverages, and desserts for all of the kids. You’ll save money and make it easier for all guests to attend.

7. Send a Reminder

Brides send save-the-dates well before their wedding date, then follow it with a reminder a month or two before their big day. The reminder should include your wedding date, time, and venue. It can also mention that guests should leave their kids at home.

You might think you’re risking fights by bringing it up multiple times, but it’s a big help to parents. If you don’t pay for child care during your wedding, they’ll need extra time to find someone like a sitter or family member to watch their kids.

8. Stick With Your Plans

Your loved ones want you to have your dream wedding, but they may try to press for exceptions regarding their kids. Feathers could get ruffled, so prepare yourself for challenging conversations. When they happen, work with your partner to solve complications together.

The most important thing is to stick with your plans. Your reasoning for wanting a child-free wedding is valid, no matter why you only want adults to attend. There are always solutions to help parents attend your wedding. Sometimes it just requires multiple minds to find the best answer to their needs.

Learn Child-Free Wedding Etiquette Rules

Use this guide to child-free wedding etiquette to plan your big day with as few complications as possible. Including your wishes in your invitations, highlighting your venue’s restrictions, and finding a sitter are a few ways to make it easier for your guests to come. Remember, it’s your special day, and you should not feel bad about making the rules.