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Wediquette Wednesday: How do I let guests know it’s an adults-only wedding?

Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. This week, we are answering a reader question about child-free weddings.


Question: My husband-to-be and I love children and plan to have some of our own over the next few years, but we want our wedding and reception to be an elegant, fun night out for our friends and family. We are planning a New Orleans-style blowout with a champagne-infused second line, free-flowing cocktails, beautifully prepared food, live music and then, of course, an after party complete with late night bites. We’re even springing for various forms of transportation to get everyone home or back to their hotels safe via party bus, cabs and Uber. It’ll also be much easier to work all of this into the budget if the kiddos aren’t on the guest list. How do we let guests know it’s an adults-only wedding?


Answer: Wow, this sounds like quite the party! It also sounds like a perfect night out for grownups. The first step is making it clear on the invitations. Each one should be addressed to only the adults in the household. An additional measure is to repeat the names of the adults on the R.S.V.P. card with a space for each one to indicate whether or not they are attending the ceremony and reception. It’s important that you don’t make exceptions, because if other friends and family members see children at the ceremony or reception, they might believe their children were singled out, which is a recipe for hurt feelings and resentment. You can have a flower girl and ring bearer without being labeled a double-dealer, but that’s it, no exceptions. It’s poor form for anyone to ask you to allow additional guests, but if it happens, cite budget constraints and stand your ground. Finally, enlist friends and family members as ambassadors to spread the word that this is an adults-only wedding.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.




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