Not wanting kids at your wedding doesn’t mean that you don’t like kids. It just means that you want the kids’ parents to have a good time. It’s not exactly the best parenting move to start doing tequila shots at 9pm when you know that your night is going to be ending around 9:30 because it’s somebody’s bedtime.
#1 – Don’t say “adults only” and don’t print it on the invitations. Having a child-free wedding can be a sensitive topics for guests, especially out of town guests who may need to figure out over-night childcare, or close friends who have small children. Don’t make this the focus of your wedding. Instead, let it spread by word of mouth. Or by personally telling each individual directly.
#2 – Address your invitations appropriately. And what that means is, address each invitation specifically to those invited. Joe and Mary. Todd and Brittany. Not “Todd and family”. Otherwise Todd and Brittany will assume that the whole family is welcome. (Also – be prepared for phone calls with questions after the invitations go out.)
#3 – Mention it on your wedding website. Since wedding websites are for including additional details that you can’t fit onto your invitations, this is a great place to remind people about your adults-only bash. (Or if you’re going to be providing child-care services during the ceremony and reception.)
A few other suggestions to keep in mind –
#1 – Make your decision and stick to it. This is not the time for a “mostly adults” party, or an “only some kids” party. Don’t allow “some” people to bring their kids and ask “some” people to leave their little ones at home. This will only cause problems. Either let the kids in, or don’t, and then be firm on your decision.
#2 – Be prepared to get some pushback. Keep in mind that you don’t have to have an “excuse” for not wanting kids there, but you’ll likely be asked to provide one. People will be offended when they’re told they can’t bring their kid. I’m not telling you that to dissuade you – but I’m telling you that because it’s a reality and you should prepare for it. You can blame it on budget and venue restraints (if you want) but it’s also okay to say this was a personal decision and leave it at that.
#3 – Consider offering child care at your wedding. Is there some place the kids can go where someone else can watch them? This way the kids can still come, but the parents will still be able to let loose.