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Tricky Etiquette Question No. 1-Adults Only Weddings

Hello good readers,

Today I will be tackling a dreaded etiquette question--how to deal with the Adults Only Wedding.

There are number of tricky etiquette questions, but perhaps one of the most pertinent is the “adults only” wedding dilemma.

It’s your day. If you don’t want kids there, that is totally your prerogative. No arguments here. I have two sweet, precious darlings of my own, but if I don’t need to bring them, I sure don’t!

It becomes tricky when other people don’t understand this. For whatever reason, some guests automatically assume that children are invited, or some insist upon it. This is hard—you don’t want to offend your guests, especially if they are family, but you need to put your foot down, and here is why:

Ambiguity is just asking for trouble. If you know that you want an adults only reception, you need to be clear, otherwise people will innocently (or not so innocently) expect their children to attend.

Regardless of WHY it is adults only, it is your call.

How do we deal with this issue?

There are a few different options, some more subtle than others.

Be clear when you address your invitations. If you address it to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the assumption that it is just for two guests. If you address it to The Smiths, you might get their 5 children coming with them.

If you use inner and outer envelopes, address the inner ones to John and Judy, and that should be clear enough.

If this isn’t clear enough, or you worry that you might have some guest who don’t quite get it, you can include a line on your RSVP that says something along the lines of “we have reserved __ seats for you”, where you could then fill out the corresponding number.

Finally, if you really feel you need to hit people over the head with this one, you can always add ‘adults only’ somewhere in there, but it is a little tacky, and is the less favorable option.

If at this point, you have done these things and Auntie Margaret still wants to bring the whole brood, a gentle phone call is in order.

If it is really important to you to have a kid-free event, be sure to make it clear—otherwise you might find yourself serving caviar to the 5 year old that is running around with his tie around his head while his brother flings spoonfuls of peas across the table.

Kids are cute though, right? ;)