Mastering Adults-Only Wedding Invitation Etiquette: A Guide

Making your guest list is one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning. One way to shorten your guest list is by having an adults-only wedding. Wedding etiquette expert Elaine Swann suggests that when couples say adults-only weddings, they are usually referring to the reception. It is important to communicate this clearly and tactfully to your guests.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand that an adults-only wedding typically refers to the reception, not the entire event.
  • Communicate the adults-only rule clearly and tactfully on your wedding invitations.
  • Consider addressing the issue on your wedding website and providing information for childcare options.
  • Inform your family, bridal party, and close friends about the adults-only rule to help spread the word.
  • Stay firm with your decision and be understanding of guests who may not be able to attend due to the adults-only rule.

Section 2: How to Address Your Wedding Invitations

When it comes to having an adults-only wedding, addressing your invitations correctly is crucial. It sets the tone and ensures that your guests understand the adults-only rule. Here are some guidelines and tips for wording your adults-only wedding invitations:

  1. Be Clear and Consistent: Decide on the criteria for being an “adult” and stick to it. This could be a specific age or simply the absence of children. Make sure to communicate this clearly to avoid any confusion.
  2. Exceptions for Wedding Party: If you have children in your wedding party, make it clear that they are the only children invited. This can be done by adding their names to the invitation or including a separate note specifically mentioning them.
  3. Consider Childcare: To accommodate your guests with children, you may want to provide information about local babysitting services or offer on-site childcare during the event. This shows your thoughtfulness and consideration for your guests’ needs.
  4. Use Clear Wording: On the invitation itself, only include the names of the invited guests. This avoids any confusion or assumptions about additional attendees. You can also add a line such as “Adults Only” to further emphasize your intention.
  5. Consult Wedding Etiquette Guides: If you’re unsure of how to address your invitations, consult reputable wedding etiquette guides. They often provide specific examples and wording suggestions for adults-only weddings.

Remember, addressing your wedding invitations properly sets the tone and helps your guests understand your adults-only wedding rule. By being clear and consistent, considering exceptions for the wedding party, and using appropriate wording, you can ensure that your guests have a clear understanding of your wedding’s guest list expectations.

Example: Addressing Your Wedding Invitations

Below is an example of how you can address your adults-only wedding invitations:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

123 Main Street

City, State ZIP

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith,

We are delighted to invite you to celebrate our special day at our wedding reception. Please join us for an adults-only celebration on [date] at [time] at [venue name].

R.S.V.P. by [date] to [contact information].

We look forward to celebrating with you!


[Your Names]

Table: Dos and Don’ts of Adults-Only Wedding Invitations

Clearly state “Adults Only” on the invitationPrint “No Children” on the invitation
Consider exceptions for children in the wedding partyInclude the names of children on the invitation
Provide information about local childcare optionsAssume that guests will automatically know it’s an adults-only event
Consult wedding etiquette guides for wording suggestionsUse offensive or confrontational language about excluding children

By following these guidelines and tips, you can ensure that your adults-only wedding invitations are clear, respectful, and properly convey your intentions to your guests.

Section 3: Including Information on Your Wedding Website

When it comes to planning an adults-only wedding, providing clear and detailed information on your wedding website is crucial. This is where you can address any questions or concerns your guests may have regarding children attending the event. By creating an FAQ page specifically dedicated to your adults-only policy, you can ensure that your family and friends have all the necessary information to make appropriate arrangements.

Table 1: Sample FAQ for Adults-Only Wedding

Will children be allowed at the wedding?No, this will be an adults-only celebration. We kindly request that you arrange for childcare in advance.
Can I bring my child if they are in the wedding party?Yes, we understand the importance of having the wedding party together. However, please note that this exception is only for children in the immediate wedding party.
Do you have any recommendations for local babysitting services?Yes, we have put together a list of reputable local babysitting agencies that you can find on our website. They come highly recommended by other guests.

In addition to the FAQ page, consider including a separate section on your wedding website that provides details about the venue and reception format. This will help set the tone and atmosphere for your adults-only celebration. Describe the elegant and sophisticated ambiance that you are aiming for, emphasizing that it is the perfect opportunity for your loved ones to enjoy a night without any parental responsibilities.

Remember, the key is to communicate your intentions with clarity and sensitivity. By providing this information on your wedding website, you empower your guests to make appropriate arrangements, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable event for everyone involved.

Informing Family and Friends

When planning an adults-only wedding, it’s essential to inform your family, bridal party, and close friends about your decision. By spreading the word about the adults-only rule, you can help manage guest expectations and avoid any potential conflicts. Your loved ones can play a crucial role in ensuring that everyone understands and respects your wishes.

One effective way to inform your inner circle is to have personal conversations with them. Reach out to each individual or couple and explain your decision politely and respectfully. Let them know that while you’d love to have their children at the wedding, you have opted for an adults-only celebration. Be prepared for questions or concerns, and address them with empathy while remaining firm in your decision.

In addition to speaking directly with your family and friends, consider sending out a follow-up written communication. You can send an email or create a separate insert to include along with the invitation. This written communication should reiterate the adults-only rule and provide any additional details or clarifications that may be necessary.

Informing Bridal Party and Close Family

It’s particularly important to inform your bridal party and immediate family members early on. These individuals will likely be involved in various aspects of the wedding planning process and can help reinforce the adults-only rule.

Sarah ThompsonBridesmaidCall to explain the adults-only rule and ask for assistance in informing others.
Tom SmithBest ManDiscuss the adults-only decision during a meetup and emphasize the importance of respecting your wishes.
Emily JohnsonMother of the BrideHost a family gathering to announce the adults-only wedding and address any questions.

By proactively communicating with your bridal party and close family members, you can rely on their support and ensure that they act as ambassadors, promoting understanding and acceptance of your adults-only wedding.

Addressing Wedding Invitation Wording

When it comes to planning an adults-only wedding, one of the key aspects to consider is how to address your wedding invitations. The wording on your invitations should be clear and concise, making it evident that the event is for adults only. Here are a few wording examples that you can use as inspiration:

  • “We kindly request the pleasure of your company at an adults-only wedding reception.”
  • “Join us for a celebration honoring our marriage, limited to adult guests only.”
  • “Please join us for an evening of dinner and dancing at our adult reception following the ceremony.”

These examples clearly communicate that the event is intended for adults only, without being offensive or exclusionary. Remember to always address the invitations properly, including only the names of the invited guests, and consider adding a brief note to further emphasize the adults-only nature of the occasion.

By using well-crafted wedding invitation wording, you can ensure that your guests understand and respect your decision to have an adults-only wedding. It is essential to be direct but tactful, making it clear that the event is for adults only without causing any offense or confusion. Take the time to carefully choose the wording that best fits your vision for the wedding and reflects your personal style.

“We kindly request the pleasure of your company at an adults-only wedding reception.”

Addressing Wedding Invitation Wording: Dos and Don’ts

When addressing the wording for your wedding invitations, there are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Here are some important guidelines to follow:

  • Do: Clearly state that the event is adults-only.
  • Do: Address the invitations properly, including only the names of the invited guests.
  • Do: Consider using subtle phrasing, such as “adult reception to follow,” to avoid any confusion.
  • Don’t: Print “adults only” on the invitations themselves, as this can be seen as offensive.
  • Don’t: Use wording that may be open to interpretation or could lead to confusion.
  • Don’t: Apologize or make excuses for your decision to have an adults-only wedding.

By following these dos and don’ts, you can ensure that your wedding invitation wording effectively communicates your desire for an adults-only celebration while maintaining a tactful and respectful tone.

Alluding to Adults-Only Wedding on Reception Card

When planning an adults-only wedding, it’s important to find subtle ways to communicate this information to your guests. While explicitly stating “adults only” on the main wedding invitation may come off as offensive, you can allude to it on the reception card. This can help set the tone for a child-free celebration without causing any confusion.

Consider using phrases such as “intimate ceremony” or “cocktail reception at adult-centric venues” on the reception card. These phrases indicate that the event is intended for adults and imply that children are not invited. It’s crucial to choose your wording carefully, ensuring guests understand that the celebration is child-free without explicitly stating it.

“Our celebration will be an intimate ceremony followed by an adults-only reception at a sophisticated venue”

By using these subtle cues, you can effectively convey the adults-only nature of your wedding without causing any discomfort or confusion among your guests. Remember to prioritize tact and clarity when wording your reception card to avoid any misunderstandings.

Use phrases like “intimate ceremony” or “adult-centric venue” on the reception cardExplicitly state “adults-only” on the main wedding invitation
Choose wording that implies the event is child-free without explicitly stating itInclude any wording that may cause confusion or discomfort
Be clear and tactful in conveying the adults-only ruleUse offensive or confrontational language


Alluding to an adults-only wedding on the reception card is an effective way to communicate your intentions without explicitly stating “adults only.” By using phrases that imply an adult-centric celebration, you can set the tone and avoid any confusion regarding the presence of children. Remember to choose your wording carefully and prioritize clarity and tact to ensure your guests understand and respect your decision.

Section 7: Dealing with Guests Who Assume Kids Are Invited

It is not uncommon for some guests to assume that their children are invited to the wedding, even if you have made it clear that it is an adults-only event. When faced with this situation, it is important to address it with a tactful and compassionate approach. Here are some tips on how to handle guests who assume kids are invited:

  1. Be direct but understanding: Clearly state that the wedding is adults-only and express that you would love to have the guest there, but children are not included. Remind them of the invitation wording and the adults-only policy.
  2. Offer alternative arrangements: If the guest is having difficulty finding childcare, you can consider providing suggestions or recommendations for local babysitting services. This shows that you understand their situation and are willing to help find a solution.
  3. Explain your reasons: If the guest asks for an explanation as to why children are not invited, you can politely state your reasons, such as wanting a more formal or intimate atmosphere, budget limitations, or limited space at the venue.

Remember to remain calm and composed when addressing these situations. It is important to stick to your decision and not waver on the child-free policy. By handling these conversations with empathy and understanding, you can minimize any potential conflict and maintain positive relationships with your guests.

“We understand that it may be difficult to find childcare for the wedding day. We recommend checking with local babysitting services in the area. We truly value your presence at our special day and hope you can still join us.”

Tactful and understandingGuests feel respected and understood
Offering alternative arrangementsGuests appreciate the assistance and may find a solution
Explaining reasons politelyGuests gain insight into the decision and may be more understanding

By employing these strategies, you can effectively address guests who assume kids are invited to your adults-only wedding. Remember to prioritize clear communication and empathy, ensuring that guests feel respected and understood.

Staying Firm with Your Decision

When it comes to hosting an adults-only wedding, it’s essential to stand by your decision and not waver on your child-free policy. While some guests may express disappointment or even pushback, it’s important to remember that it’s your special day, and you have the right to celebrate it in the way that makes you the happiest.

Communicating your decision with sensitivity is key. If guests inquire about bringing their children, respond with kindness but firmness. Let them know that your wedding is an adults-only event and that you hope they understand and respect your wishes. It may be helpful to emphasize that you want all guests, including parents, to have a wonderful time without having to worry about childcare responsibilities.

Prepare yourself for the possibility of some guests being upset or unable to attend due to the adults-only rule. While it can be challenging to navigate these situations, remember that it’s ultimately about celebrating your love and commitment. Offer reassurance that you would love to have them there, but the decision to have an adults-only wedding is one that you’ve made and stand by.

Handling Pushback with Grace

It’s natural for some guests to struggle with the idea of leaving their children behind for a wedding. However, it’s important to stay firm and not let guilt or pressure sway your decision. Keep in mind that this is your special day and that hosting an adults-only wedding is a common choice many couples make.

Here’s an example of how you can address pushback with grace:

“Thank you so much for understanding our decision to have an adults-only wedding. We truly appreciate your support and respect for our wishes. We hope you can still join us for this joyous occasion and celebrate with us. If you need any help with finding childcare options or recommendations, please let us know, and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.”

Benefits of Staying FirmConsiderations for Guests
Allows for a more relaxed and adult-focused celebrationProvides an opportunity for parents to have a child-free night and enjoy themselves
Reduces the logistical challenges and costs associated with accommodating childrenEnsures a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere during the ceremony and reception
Eliminates the potential disruption children might cause during formal momentsEnables parents to fully participate in wedding activities and socialize with other guests

By staying firm with your decision, you ensure that your adults-only wedding remains a memorable and enjoyable event for all. Remember, this is your special day, and it’s essential to celebrate it in a way that reflects your vision and desires.


Mastering adults-only wedding invitation etiquette can seem daunting, but with clear guidelines and thoughtful communication, you can navigate this delicate subject with grace. By following these tips for navigating adults-only wedding invitations, you can ensure that your guests understand and respect your decision.

Remember to address your wedding invitations properly, clearly indicating that the event is for adults only. Utilize your wedding website as a helpful resource, providing details about the adults-only rule and answering frequently asked questions. Inform your family and friends personally, enlisting their support in spreading the word about your child-free celebration.

While it is important to stay firm with your decision, it’s also important to be understanding of those guests who may not be able to attend due to the adults-only rule. By being compassionate and offering childcare options, you can help alleviate any concerns or disappointment.

Ultimately, by approaching the adults-only invitation etiquette with tact and sensitivity, you can set the tone for a joyous and memorable wedding celebration that caters to your preferences while honoring your guests’ understanding and support.


Can I include the phrase “adults only” on the main wedding invitation?

It is best to avoid printing “adults only” on the invitations themselves, as this can be seen as offensive. Instead, address the invitations properly to make it clear who is invited.

How should I address the invitations to indicate that it is an adults-only wedding?

You can include wording such as “adult (21 and older) reception to follow” or “we respectfully request no children under 18 at the reception.”

Is it appropriate to mention “adults only” or “no children” on the main wedding invitation?

While it may not be appropriate to mention “adults only” or “no children” on the main wedding invitation, you can allude to it on the reception card. Use phrases such as “intimate ceremony” or “cocktail reception” at adult-centric venues to indicate that the event is not child-friendly.

How can I explain the adults-only rule to guests who assume their children are invited?

It is important to be direct but compassionate when explaining the adults-only rule. Clearly state that the occasion is adults-only and express that you would love to have the guest there but they cannot bring children. It may also be necessary to address situations where guests ask to bring their children instead of another invited guest.

What should I do if some guests are upset about the adults-only rule?

It is important to stay firm with your decision to have an adults-only wedding, even if some guests may be upset. Communicate the decision with sensitivity, but do not back down. Be prepared for pushback and be ready to explain that it is a personal decision you have made. Consider offering childcare options for those guests with children who may be upset about the rule.

Source Links