Wediquette Wednesday: What do we say to guests who see children at our adults only reception and ask about it?


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. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My future in-laws had a couple of people drop off of their invite list. Family friends of theirs who are attending the wedding asked if it is OK to ‘replace’ those spots with their teenaged daughters. When my in-laws came to us with the request, we reminded them that we are having an adults only wedding, but they blew us off and told their friends to go ahead and bring the girls. There’s obviously nothing we can do at this point, but I’m worried about the reception. What do we say to guests who see children at our adults only reception and ask about it?

Answer: There are several breaches of etiquette in this situation and I’m sorry you are being put in an awkward position. The family friends shouldn’t have asked a) to add uninvited guests and b) to bring children to an adults only reception; your future in-laws shouldn’t have gone against your wishes; and you shouldn’t have to potentially deal with the hurt feelings of friends and family who wonder why that couple’s children were invited and not theirs. You are correct that, unfortunately, it’s too late to do anything at this point — other than show as much grace as you can muster. If people ask (or if you notice guests who are parents noticing the girls and looking upset about it), simply say “You can’t control everything” and shrug with a smile. Fingers crossed no one will ask, as that would add yet another breach of etiquette to the pile! When hosting a party it’s our job as hosts to make everyone feel welcome and at ease. Keep that in mind as you navigate the reception and do your best to have a great time celebrating your new life together.



Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email


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