It’s tough deciding whether or not you want children in attendance and this is a difficult decision that you and your partner must make together. When making that choice for our wedding, we obviously wanted to make sure nobody felt slighted or that we disliked children (we don’t, we love kids). Whether it’s that kids significantly increases the guest count, it’s outside of your budget, the inherent risk that kids could disturb the ambiance of an intimate ceremony, or kids maybe just aren’t your vibe, there are ways to politely let people know that their little ones aren’t invited.

How to Say It

The most common and “proper” etiquette would be to address the envelope to only those invited. So if you’re planning on inviting children then you could address the invite to “The Bueller Family” or “The Shrek Household” vs. just the parents “Mr. Hubert and Mrs. Ophelia Paddington”. However, sadly invitation etiquette isn’t as widely known anymore, so if you’re worried people might miss it on the invitation address and want to drive the point home, feel free to include any variation of the below wording on the invitation, a details card, RSVP card, and/or on your wedding website.

Lengthy But Personal:

  1. While we love your little ones, our wedding is going to be an adults-only event so that everyone can relax and enjoy the evening. We appreciate you making arrangements ahead of time and leaving the kids at home so you can celebrate with us.
    1. This is how we worded it on our website
  2. To give all our guests the opportunity to celebrate without having to worry about little eyes and ears, we politely request no children.
  3. To allow all guests to relax and enjoy themselves, we have chosen to make our special day adults only. We thank you for your understanding.
  4. This will be an adults-only reception. The only children attending are those who are part of our wedding party. If anyone needs help with making arrangements for child care, please let us know and we will do our best to assist.
  5. We hope you will understand our decision to make the wedding children-free, and take the opportunity to let your hair down and celebrate in style!

Short And Sweet:

  1. Adults only (18+) reception to follow
  2. Please note this will be an adults-only celebration.
  3. We respectfully request no children under 16 at the reception.
  4. Children of immediate family only please.
  5. Due to limited numbers, we hope you appreciate that children are only invited if named.

Blame The Budget:

  1. Due to limited venue space, adults only please.
  2. Although we adore your children, due to budget/space constraints we ask that only adults attend.
  3. [X#] of seats have been reserved in your honor.
  4. We regretfully cannot accommodate children at the venue due to restricted numbers.
  5. Unfortunately due to space limitations, we are having an adults-only reception.


While in an ideal world all of your guests will be understanding and accommodating…we don’t always live in an ideal world. If you make the decision to have no children at your wedding, knowing that several of your guests have them, then expect there to be some pushback. People will inevitably try to guilt trip you, telling them their kids will be on their best behavior or that they will just pay the extra money to give their kids a seat at the table. Just know that if you say yes to one, it will likely get out and then you’ll have many more requests to contend with or bitter guests who see some children at the wedding and wonder why they couldn’t bring theirs.

If you think that any of your guests might feel hurt or offended by this decision, perhaps reach out proactively prior to sending out invites to avoid them feeling blindsided by the invitation. Yes, this means that sadly some of your friends or relatives might not be able to attend as they may not feel comfortable leaving their children in the care of someone else or their tiny humans might be too young to be away from them. However, know that you and your partners decision to design your special day the way you see fit is your right!

Are you planning a child-free wedding? Let me know in the comments how you let people know!