No Kids Allowed Wedding Etiquette

by Maggie McCormick

You've had your heart set on an elegant wedding since you can remember, and the moment just doesn't include kids. Unfortunately, cousin Judy doesn't seem to get the message. It's your right to set the rules for your special day, and if this means that kids are banned, then that's the ways things will go. Use proper etiquette to let everyone know.

How-To

The proper way to show guests that children are not invited is to leave them off the invitation, according to both Martha Stewart Weddings and The Emily Post Institute. If you address the invite to "Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Rodriguez," they should realize that little Stevie and Suzie aren't able to come. Unfortunately, not everyone understands these rules and if the only weddings they've been to have included children, they may still assume that the children are able to come. Because it's generally considered bad form to write "No Kids Please" on the invitation, you may have to turn to other methods.

Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Messages

Setting the time of the wedding in the evening and mentioning that it's a formal affair might push those who were considering bringing their children to realize that it's not the best idea. You also can be a bit more blatant on the website that people go to for more information about your wedding, stating, "Adults Only" or "Please leave the kids at home."

Checking In

Despite all of your best efforts, there's still a chance that someone still might think it's acceptable to bring their children. The safest way to prevent any awkward moments the day of the wedding is to make a few phone calls to any guests with children. You might say something like, "I know it's inconvenient that children are not invited, but I do hope that you can still come." You have to realize, though, that there may be people who cannot make it because of your rule.

Offering Help

If you want to go the extra mile to make your guests more comfortable, hire a babysitter or two to handle all of the kids of wedding guests. If you can swing the cost, your guests definitely will appreciate this. At the very least, you could provide out-of-towners with a list of nearby babysitters or connect families with similarly aged children so they can share the expense of a sitter.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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