As you plan your wedding day vision, you’ll need to consider if you want to include children in the celebration. Couples may choose to host a child-free wedding for a number of completely understandable reasons. If your heart is set on an adults-only occasion, you should get the celebration you’ve envisioned. As long as you respect your wedding guests and clearly communicate your policy, they should respect your wishes too. Read ahead for advice on how to say no to kids at your wedding in a polite, courteous way. 

Why do some couples want a kid-free wedding?

You love the children in your life, but the truth is that kids can be unpredictable. And sometimes that can cause issues in the context of a meticulously planned event. For instance, if you have a venue with lots of stairs or an outdoor space with open ponds, child safety is a valid concern. The last thing you want to worry about on your big day is someone getting hurt. 

It’s also totally reasonable if you simply don’t want your wedding vows to be interrupted by fussy children. (And to be fair, most kids might actually prefer to not have to get dressed up and sit still through a wedding ceremony.) Or it may just be a logistical issue if you have an intimate venue with limited seating. Whether your personal motivation seems big or small, there’s no right or wrong reason to host an adults-only wedding. However, there is a right way to let your guests know that the wedding will be an adults-only affair.

Planning a Kid-Free Wedding

How to address a kid-free policy in your invitation

Communicating your policy as early as possible is key, and your wedding invitation gives you the perfect opportunity to do just that. This gives your guests with children enough time to make proper arrangements before they RSVP. It also demonstrates that this policy applies to all guests, so no one guest feels excluded. 

State clearly on your invitation that you’ve chosen not to invite children to the wedding. If you’re not sure of the best way to state your decision, consider using any of the following phrases on your wedding invitation. 

  • Please note, the wedding will be an adults only occasion.
  • We are very sorry, but our wedding will be child free. We hope you can still join us for our special day. 
  • Please join us for an evening of grown-up celebration.

You may also want to include language on the RSVP card that confirms your policy. Something along the lines of “We have reserved seats for [insert number of] adults” can graciously get your message across. 

What to say if guests ask about your no-kids policy

Guests with children may have some understandable questions about your adults-only rule, including their logistical needs. If you’ve set up a wedding website, you may be able to address some of their concerns when you list out your event details. Consider including information about local childcare services, so it’s easier for your guests to make the arrangements they need for their little ones. This extra effort also shows how much you want them to attend your special day. 

It can also help to have a conversation in person or over the phone, in case any guests might be sensitive about your decision. You can even have a conversation with the kids themselves to explain why it’s a grown-ups only party. Something like “we’ll miss you, but our party goes past your bedtime,” can let kids (and parents) know you care about their feelings. The important thing, again, is to communicate your policies early, with plenty of tact and consideration. 

How to Address a Kid-Free Wedding Policy

Preparing for potential pushback about your kid-free wedding

Despite your best efforts, some guests may still be unhappy with a no-child policy. If any of your guests ask you to bend your rule, it’s okay to remain firm. As long as you approach the conversation with kindness and respect, you’re allowed to ask for the wedding day you want. If your decision is related to a logistical issue out of your hands, you can always reiterate that the policy is related to venue restrictions. You can also show how much you want your guest there by offering to help with childcare arrangements. 

And if they continue to push back, it’s okay to hold fast against any pressure to change your mind. Yes, it’s important to respect your guests, but that doesn’t mean you can’t say “no” when you’ve followed all polite decorum when communicating your wishes. As long as you’re diplomatic, let them know that you and your partner have decided a child-free wedding is what’s best for you. Tell them you would love to celebrate with them on your big day, but completely understand if the policy means they can’t attend. 

Should you allow kids at your kid-free wedding?

You make the rules on your day, so you can be allowed to break them — as long as you’re considerate of your guests, of course. There may be some reasonable exceptions for going against your no-children rule on your wedding day. For instance, if the rule is simply because of space, some couples choose to invite only the children of close family or wedding party members. Or you might want to invite children for only part of the wedding. 

If you are making an exception to a no-kids rule, communication will be especially important, so you don’t accidentally make anyone feel left out. Imagine going to all the trouble of finding a babysitter, only to arrive at a wedding and see the child of a bridal party member running around. But if you make your guests aware of your reasoning at the get go, they should understand. 

Announcing a Kid-Free Wedding Policy

If you have only a partial adults-only policy, your wedding invitation is once again a great place to state your rules. That way, you show you’re being fair and not playing favorites. If some children are allowed to attend, here are a few examples of what to write on your invitation. 

  • The ceremony will be adults only, but children are welcome to join the celebration at the reception. 
  • Because of limited venue seating, we can unfortunately only accommodate children of close family and/or wedding party members. 
  • Children are welcome to join the celebration, but the reception will be for adults only after 8 p.m. [or another time that’s best for you]

Be polite, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you want

The bottom line is that your big day should be your day. You may decide to host a child-free wedding for any number of reasons, and absolutely none of them are wrong. Whatever the reason, planning your day is all about what’s right for you and your partner. 

The main rule for a kid-free wedding policy is to let your guests know in the most respectful manner possible. Give them clear information, plenty of time to plan ahead, and when you’re able to, help them out with accommodations. It’ll show your guests how much you appreciate their efforts to make it to your big day. And they may even enjoy the benefits of a child-free wedding themselves. After all, it couldn’t hurt to get a night off where they can eat, drink, and be merry without having to worry about taking care of anyone. 

Announcing Your Kid-Free Wedding Policy