Wedding Etiquette: How to Politely Ask To Exclude the Kids

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Including the children at your wedding could be a beautiful, magical touch or it could mean potential messy, screaming disaster. If you honestly do not want to take the risk of the negative occurring with this situation then it’s your responsibility to break it to your guests. It’s an awkward situation asking to leave the kids at home and you don’t want to offend anyone. We get it- so how do you ask them politely without being rude?

Tip 1. Be VERY Clear

Starting with your save-the-date cards include your policy- no babies, only children over 5, no children- so that there are no misunderstandings. Do not include something like ‘Absolutely No Children’ because that could be a little aggressive. Maybe try one of these, ‘Due to limited venue space, adults only please’ or ‘We respectively ask that this is an adults-only ceremony and reception’.

Tip 2. The Envelope

Address the wedding invitation to just the couple: Mr. and Mrs. James and Ashley Smith. It’s specific so many people will get the hint because if you’d wanted to invite the whole family you would have addressed the invitations with Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Katie Smith and family or simply The Smith Family. You should then ask a close friend or family member or yours to make a  follow up phone call with them to deliver the bad news in a non-threatening way.

Tip 3. Include Tickets 

If this would be fit for your wedding guests, create tickets that go with your wedding invitations. Send tickets to all guests or just to the guests that do have kids so, for instance, give them two tickets for only the couple to get admittance. Two tickets, two guests in= sold out show. Another option is to make them raffle tickets as well and have the DJ announce some sweet prizes.

Tip 4. Pass the Buck

Don’t feel guilty or swayed by the parents who think their world will end if they leave junior at home. If you think you’ll cave in every time you’re asked, or are squeamish about offending, pass the buck and the phone calls to a strong-willed but polite relative who’ll happily carry on saying “no” on your behalf. Some parents will actually love you for the excuse to leave their kids at home.

Stay strong and enjoy your wedding!


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