The rules of wedding etiquette are ever changing and we know that it can be difficult for today’s brides, grooms and their guests to find the correct, most up-to-date information. That’s why we are excited to launch #RaspberryWeddiquette, a weekly series in which we ask our clients, followers on Twitter and Facebook, etc. to submit their most burning etiquette-related questions. We’ll compile them and together, our experienced team of experts will provide you with clear answers on your biggest, Wedding Day dilemmas! You can send your questions via Facebook or tweet us @RaspCreative with the hashtag #RaspberryWeddiquette.
Check out our first question below!
How do we tell our guests that children are not invited to our wedding?
This is a very polarizing topic and one of the most difficult questions to get a good clear answer to. We’ve consulted some of the best known wedding professionals from theknot.com, Wedding Wire, Martha Stewart Weddings and more and have come up with 5 key tips to best handle this complicated question. While there is no real right or wrong, stating and executing your position is key to standing by your intentions and avoid confusion and hurt feelings.
#1 Address the invitation properly.
The simplest, most clear way to get your point across is to address your invitations to exactly who is invited. Some guests with children may just assume their whole family is invited so this is a great first step.
We at Raspberry Creative believe it’s best to take this a step further by writing in the exact names of the people invited on the response card and have them check “will attend” or “will not attend”. Another great option is simply adding a line to the response card that says “___ seats have been reserved in your honor.”
If you aren’t including children and have followed these tips but have someone RSVP with their children included anyway, you may be put in the awkward position of calling them to explain that while you are sorry for the inconvenience, you just are not able to invite everyone’s children. To avoid hurt feelings if you are allowing some children (flower girl & ring bearer) be sure to explain your inviting parameters.
#2 Don’t put “Adults only” on the invitation or enclosure cards.
We’ve seen examples of invitations with “adults-only” floating around but we feel that a child-free wedding can be a sensitive issue with guests that have children. For that reason, we feel that labeling and invitation with “adults only” could hurt feelings easily, especially when it’s done in addition to the address tip above.
What we tell our clients to do instead is to have your parents, wedding party and even friends help casually spread the word that you are having a kid-free wedding. We also love the idea of including this as part of your wedding website. This is all to ensure the guests will children won’t be blindsided when they get your invitation and it also gives them time to start making plans for a babysitter.
#3 If you are having a kid-free wedding but have children in your wedding party; don’t invite other children to attend.
There is nothing wrong with having children in your wedding party while still having a kid-free wedding. The important thing here is to be very careful to not make exceptions and let other family members or even close friends bring theirs to the reception. If you allow some children and not others, guests may be hurt or offended because it looks like you selected which children you wanted to attend and which children you didn’t want.
With that being said, it may be a good idea to have a babysitter come after the cocktail hour and sit with the kids in the wedding party during the reception. We suggest this because if you didn’t want children at your wedding there was most likely a reason. Whatever the reason, having someone watch these children will enable you to have them be a part of your ceremony but give their parents a break at the reception during the adult-party and they won’t be running around the whole night either.
As an alternative to a babysitter, and because the parents of the children in your wedding party are most likely close family or friends, speak with them about making arrangements to take the children home or to stay with another family member such as a grandparent so the children do not have to be at the reception at all.
#4 Don’t back down, stand your ground.
If you hear that family or friends are upset with your decision to exclude children from your big day, don’t be surprised. It’s perfectly acceptable to want a child-free wedding, especially if you are having an elegant evening affair. If you feel you need to call them, you can simply explain that because of “budget constraints” you can only invite adults. You may feel bad and it may be awkward but don’t waver. This is your day and you get to decide who’s invited.
#5 Hire a Babysitter
This may come as a surprise but even if you choose not to have children at your wedding, it’s a pretty good idea to have a babysitter or two on hand. If you are planning to have children in your wedding party, this is a great way to allow their parents, (most likely family or close friends) to enjoy the adult party while knowing their children are still close by. It is also possible that a scenario will arise like someone very close to you (best friend, sibling, etc.) truly cannot attend unless their children can come. This also alleviates the stress if a guest would choose to bring their children along against your wishes.
In any of these situations, you will still be able to have a kid-free reception because someone will be able to care for your guests’ children elsewhere.
Our very own Tara, got married this past June and she had babysitters on hand at her reception for the children. She and her husband chose to have a children’s table set up in the far back corner with lots of activities like coloring books, games and puzzles to keep the kids busy. The babysitters also took the children outside to run and play in the grass away from the other guests. This kept the children nearby for the parents’ peace of mind while still allowing the adults to enjoy their time at the party.
If you do decide to have a babysitter or two on hand for your wedding, it is a good idea to let your guests know either on your wedding website or on your information card. This not only sends a very clear message about your intentions of having and adults-only wedding but will also give your guests some peace of mind knowing if they have to bring their children along, there are options available.
Whatever your decision is on children and your wedding, the most important thing is informing your guests in a clear and concise way and then standing firm in that decision.