How To Say No Kids At Wedding Without Causing Offense

Story Amour
Written by Story Amour · Posted in Advice Last Updated February 7, 2024 · minute read
In This Article

    We get it, kids at weddings can be annoying! They’ve ruined many of our wedding videos when we’re capturing the perfect heartfelt speech with their screaming. One child even vomited on the dance floor during the first dance! Too much candy and fizzy drinks throughout the day… urgh we feel sick just thinking about it now.

    So how do you say no kids at weddings without offending anyone? Is it offensive anyway? After all, it’s your wedding! shouldn’t you do what you want?

    There are definitely pluses and minuses to inviting children to your wedding. However, if you’ve decided you definitely don’t want kids at your wedding what’s the best way to let your guests know?

    child playing at a wedding

    How To Say “No Kids At Your Wedding”

    In this article, we hope to set the record straight. You’ll leave confident in the knowledge that you’re making the right decision and not going to offend anyone in the process.

    We’ll also provide you with some tips and tricks on the best ways to hammer home the point. Additionally, we will tell you how you can set this tone early with your invite.

    Is it possible to have a kid-free Wedding?

    The option to host a wedding and not invite children has definitely become more popular recently. There was a time not too long ago when it would have been unthinkable. But get with the times sister, if you don’t want kids at your wedding then that’s fine by us.

    Lots of people agree with us as well. According to a YouGovAmerica survey of 4202 US adults [1] 60% of people say it’s acceptable for people hosting a wedding to not allow children, 21% say it’s unacceptable and the remaining 19% are clearly sitting on the fence.

    That 19% and 21% clearly haven’t experienced the joys of a vomit filled dance floor (we’re sorry ok but we’re scarred for life)

    Your decision whether or not to have kids at your wedding will predominantly be on personal preference but it could also be to do with the practicality of your venue, the timing of your wedding, or the vibe you’re trying to create for your big day.

    How Do We Know So Much About Kids At Weddings?

    We’ve shot thousands of weddings over the years as photographers and videographers so we’ve seen it all.

    From crying babies during the ceremony to a kid doing a dance floor knee slide that saw the mother of the bride carted off to the ER.

    However, we’ve also seen touching moments like the cute flower girl leading the bride out to her future groom as well as lovely church readings that touch the heart.

    We, therefore, feel well placed and duty bound to share our knowledge with you, our lovely readers.

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    Why Would You Want to Say “No Kids” At Your Wedding?

    Whilst we’re clearly on the side of the fence of not inviting kids we can see the other side of the argument. Here are some advantages and disadvantages for you to consider:

    Advantages of a kid-free wedding

    • Your wedding video will be much better. As we’ve already said, crying children have ruined many a beautiful wedding ceremony or speeches video.
    • You won’t have vomit on your dance floor during the first dance. Actually, we can’t guarantee that depending on how much you and your guests sip back on the day.
    • The vibe of your wedding can be much more chilled or sophisticated if you make it an adult only event. The atmosphere will likely be a lot more serene without kids running about screaming high on candy.
    • It can save you money. Children may not want to eat the same food as adults or may require a separate area at your wedding. If you have to buy toys and games to keep them occupied this can all add up.
    • A day off for the parents means they can relax without needing to tend to their children all day. This is particularly true of those with young children who can’t necessarily entertain themselves away from the adults.
    • Planning can be a lot more streamlined as you won’t need to consider any requirements that inviting children may entail.

    Disadvantages of a kid-free wedding

    • Your RSVPs might suffer from having a kid-free wedding. Guests may either take offense or have trouble finding childcare arrangements and may not be able to attend themselves.
    • If you’re excluding children of regular guests you’re also probably excluding the children of close family. They might take this personally and not understand the position you’re coming from. Similarly to above this could cause them to not attend your wedding but even worse could mean you fall out well beyond that.
    • Children can provide entertainment due to their carefree energy. We even once had an 11-year-old deliver a gorgeous speech at a wedding reception that left everyone in tears.
    • If you have kids at your wedding you can also hire a bounce house or have fun games to play with guests. Without children at your wedding this might look a bit odd and like you’re trying to capture your youth.
    • In some cultures having a kid-free wedding could be seen as disrespectful. Weddings are generally all about bringing families together and excluding children may not go down too well with the older generations.
    • Kids bring energy and liveliness to any event. If you’re after a high-energy vibe then not inviting them might mean your party suffers. Children are always the first to get on the dancefloor and party when the DJ puts on a bit of T.Swift.

    Tips On The Best Way To Let Guests Know That It’s a Kid-Free Wedding

    So you’ve read all that and have decided that’s that, you’re having no kids at your wedding?

    Well ok, what’s the next step? You need to think about the best way to inform your potential guests.

    We think it’s important to reinforce this at every opportunity. Equally, we think you should set the tone as early as possible so that guests know the score and have plenty of time to plan.

    Here are some of our top tips on the best ways to inform your guests.

    Address the Invitations Properly

    It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But this can be a very effective and simple way to get your point across that you’re not inviting children. Address your invite to the adults-only rather than the whole family.

    You might get some people asking the question but we think most will understand this subtle hint.

    Related Reading: How To Choose The Best Wedding Invites

    Put It On The RSVP

    The RSVP is not only a great way to inform guests of the practicalities of your day but also express your wishes for a no-kid wedding.

    As we’ve already mentioned we believe it’s important to be empathetic and polite in the way you make your request. Many parents will just naturally assume that the wedding is child friendly.

    Here are some ideas of how you could word it:

    • “We’re making our wedding adult only, please respect our decision”
    • “Due to restrictions at our wedding, we are unable to accommodate children, we hope you understand”
    • “We’re kindly asking that all guests leave their little ones at home”

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    Mention It On Your Wedding Website

    Have you got a wedding website yet? If not, why not? It’s a great modern way to let your guests know about the details of your wedding.

    It can also be a brilliant way to put the message across of your desire for a child free day.

    Placing something like “Please remember our request for a child free wedding” would work great throughout your website.

    Reinforce It Whenever Possible

    This point is really important and can’t be underestimated.

    We believe you should reinforce your request at every opportunity. By doing this you should prevent any awkwardness or potential arguments should someone show up on the day with their child in tow.

    The more you drive home the point the more it will stick in the minds of your guests. You can bring it up in conversation or in texts and emails.

    Explain some of the advantages to them as guests of an adult-only affair.

    If you’re persistent enough we think most people will get it.

    Don’t Make Any Exceptions

    We’ve seen this at a wedding we photographed and it didn’t go down well with the bride let us tell you.

    Once you’ve made that decision to not invite children we don’t think you should make any exceptions.

    Simply put it’s not fair on the people who have stuck to the rules of your event.

    Equally, if there’s a genuine reason you can’t have children at your wedding such as insurance or age restrictions it can cause unwanted headaches or arguments.

    Clearly Convey It Is An Adult-Only Wedding

    Using language such as “a day for the adults” or “our wedding is an adult only affair” is a much softer way of saying “no kids at wedding”

    This method will make your wedding seem sophisticated whilst at the same time putting your message across.

    Your goal here is to appeal to your guests who ultimately do want a night off from the kids.

    Offer Alternative Arrangements

    A way that you can really soften the blow to guests of having a no-kid wedding is to offer them alternative arrangements. They’ll really appreciate it if you’ve shown you’ve thought about them and their situation.

    Weddings generally bring people together from all over the place so you might have guests traveling vast distances. You can research local places that offer childcare or offer to assist in paying for a babysitter.

    Equally, you could have a designated area at your wedding set up just for children if your budget allows. This could allow the children to be supervised throughout the day whilst being close by but causing minimal disruption to your ceremony.

    FAQs About Saying No Kids Allowed

    Is it Rude to Say Adults Only?

    In our opinion saying no to kids at your wedding is similar to the recent rise in unplugged ceremonies [3]. You’re essentially controlling the environment and preventing distractions.

    You’ll be paying a lot for your wedding and want your day to be perfect.

    If you’ve hired videographers to capture the day they’ll struggle to remove the audio of a crying child in post-production. This can then tarnish your video when you look back on your big day.

    As long as you are upfront about your desire for a kid-free wedding and explain your logic behind it we think it can be best for you and your guests.

    Will There Be Some Backlash from Invitees?

    There is always the possibility that some guests might take your decision to heart.

    Ultimately it’s your day and as Britney Spears would say “that’s my prerogative”. At the end of the day if you think this will be the best way to create the best vibe for you and your guests you need to stick to your guns.

    Any backlash will quickly be forgotten by your best friends when they’re having such a great time with a day off from their parental responsibilities.

    How Do You Politely Say No Kids At The Wedding?

    We think the best way is to be empathetic and set the tone early on your invitation.

    Instead of saying “strictly no children!” opt for something like “we respectfully request an adult only wedding”

    There’s no need to get agitated by people asking you questions about your decision either. Consult our advantages and disadvantages section and explain some of the benefits to the vibe of your party.

    Most people will understand your decision.

    You can also offer to help with a babysitter and assist them in any way possible. Equally, if you want to pass the buck a little you could say the venue doesn’t allow children.

    What Should I Do If Guests Bring Their Children Anyway?

    This can be tricky; we’re not going to sugarcoat it.

    On one hand, you could let it slide. However, that’s then not fair to other guests who have had to make childcare arrangements.

    On the other hand, asking them to leave with their child in tow isn’t what you want to be dealing with on your wedding day.

    First of all, you need to designate someone to handle this should it arise. A bride or groom shouldn’t be involved in any on-the-day confrontation as they’ll be stressed enough.

    Woman Getting Married’s advice is to have the wedding coordinator approach the parents and ask the children to wait outside during the ceremony [2] since that’s the one part of the wedding that children, especially very young ones, can potentially disrupt. Other than that, I would say just roll with it. Once you say your “I Do’s” hopefully you’ll be so blissfully happy you won’t care about that inconsiderate guest one bit.’

    This seems like very good advice. To us, it seems very unlikely that this would happen provided you’ve made it crystal clear from the outset. If it does happen there must be genuine reasons and it might be best to compromise for the sake of the happiness of your big day.

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    How To Word Your Invites To Say No Kids At Wedding

    So you and your partner have been discussing the pro’s and con’s of a kid-free wedding.

    You’ve just created your guest list and now it’s time to send out those gorgeous invites you’ve commissioned someone to design.

    The way you word your request for a child-free wedding is of the utmost importance.

    This is your first opportunity to break the news to your potential guests. We believe there are certain ways to word your invites depending on your reasons for having a kid-free wedding.

    Get To The Point Already

    Sometimes being direct is the best way to get your point across. It rules out any ambiguity. The only downside is that it could come across as a little cold and confrontational.

    You’ll have to decide if this is the route you want to go but here are some of our suggestions for how you could word it:

    • “Please respect our decision to have a child-free wedding”
    • “Over 18’s only”
    • “We’ve decided our wedding will be adult only, we hope you understand”
    • “Please only attend if you’re a named guest”

    Using Venue Restrictions To Your Advantage

    Venue restriction can be a blessing in disguise if you want a child-free wedding but feel uneasy expressing it in words.

    Essentially you’re passing the blame on to the venue which may have restrictions on children being allowed to attend. The perfect excuse that will prevent you from coming across as the bad guy.

    • “Our venue has an age restriction of XX therefore we kindly ask that you leave any children under that age at home”
    • “The venue we’ve chosen has a maximum capacity of XX, we’ve therefore taken the difficult decision to invite only adults to our wedding”
    • “Our wedding venue has no facilities for little ones and for this reason we’ve decided to only celebrate with the adults”

    One Rule For One And Another Rule For Others

    If you’re inviting your nephews but not allowing your bridesmaid to bring their child it can be a tricky one to navigate.

    However, as long as you explain it in a clear and concise way we’re sure your guests will understand.

    You can even combine this with the venue restrictions if you like. Or decide on an age range for your event

    • “Our venue can accommodate a maximum of 8 children. We’ve chosen to invite the children of the immediate family. We hope you understand”
    • “Whilst our wedding will be predominantly children free, those from the immediate family are still invited. Please respect our decision”
    • “We kindly request that children under the age of 18 stay at home. Thank you for your understanding”

    When Only Half of Your Day Is Adult Only

    A popular compromise is to split your day. You could have a child-free ceremony but allow them to come to the reception.

    This may work to discourage children from attending altogether if that’s what you ultimately want but are scared to say. If this is the method you’ve chosen, here are some ideas about how you could word it.

    • “We’ve decided that the ceremony will be for adults only. Children are invited to hit the dancefloor for our reception”
    • “Please respect our decision for a child-free ceremony. You’re welcome to bring your little ones to the rest of the wedding”
    • To ensure a peaceful service we kindly ask that little ones don’t attend our ceremony. They’re very welcome to attend our reception and party”

    When You Want To Make It A Little Jokey

    If you don’t want children at your wedding and you have no problem letting people know that’s fine.

    Equally, if the majority of people get your sense of humor this can be a great chance to get lively with your wording.

    Ultimately you want to inspire your guests about the great time they’ll be having with a day off from the children.

    • “Right, we’ve decided the drinks will be flowing and we’ll all be hitting the D floor hard. Sorry but please leave the kiddos at home. They might die of embarrassment seeing their parents boogying. We can’t have that on our conscience”
    • “There’s a free bar but your children must stay at home. Sorry not sorry”
    • “You wouldn’t take your children on a date night. So don’t bring them to our wedding! Kick back and have some fun at our adult-only event.”

    Conclusion

    Well, there you have it. Hopefully, you’re now a bit clearer on how to say no to kids at your wedding.

    We get that it can be a difficult topic to talk about but you need to remember that this is your day. You need to prioritize your happiness especially as this is a once in a lifetime occasion.

    If that means that you don’t want children at your wedding then your guests should fully support your decision.

    As long as you communicate your decision and explain your reasons should a conversation arise most people will be understanding.

    Get in early with those invites and then reinforce your message at every opportunity and you should end up with the perfect day for you and your adult guests.

    [1] – https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/survey-results/daily/2022/07/08/f24e5/1

    [2] – https://www.womangettingmarried.com/child-free-wedding-with-kids/

    [3] – https://www.marthastewart.com/8374313/bachelorette-party-ideas