Having a Wedding Without Kids (Or Adults Acting Like Them)

So.  Here’s a topic that can swiftly dissolve into incoherent arguing: The child-free wedding.  If you want your wedding to be a grown-up bash, that is absolutely fine.  Let me say it one more time for the people in the back:  Having A Child-Free Wedding Is Absolutely Fine!  You are not breaking any etiquette rules, and most people understand that couples might be limited by budget, space, or the type of celebration they are planning.  Or perhaps the couple simply doesn’t like kids!  If you’re concerned that an adult soiree might not go over that well, never fear!  We’re here with some tips to help you create a wedding that is kind, fair, and adults-only.

First, some good news: of the 70 folks we surveyed, the vast majority agreed that whether kids are invited should totally be up to the couple getting married.  Most were parents themselves.

Don’t Obsess.

It is SO EASY to get bogged down in an epic search for the one inarguably correct way to approach this.  Dear god, save yourself from this fate!  There really is no solid-gold way to do it, but that’s okay!  YOU are the expert on your family & friends, and you will know the best way to pass on the message.  Some people feel that it’s rude to include a line on the invitation, but we’ve found that it eliminates all confusion from the get-go.  If you’re worried, including the wording on the landing page of a wedding website is a good alternative.  It’s really NBD – just be your authentic self!

Be Obvious and Early.

Lots of engaged people talk about the nicest possible way to inform their guests that their wedding will be 18+.  There are hundreds of suggestions for how that message should be worded or delivered, but the one thing to remember is to be clear.  Being plain is the kindest thing, because it leaves no room for confusion, or worse, guest embarrassment.  That said, being obvious isn’t the same thing as being rude.  Just use a simple, friendly wording and all will be well.  We like, “With respect, we have chosen an adults-only wedding”.

To get the word out even earlier, tell your guests on a Save-The-Date.  Lots of the feedback we collected mentioned that parents might need some time to find suitable childcare, and that’s something you can easily give them!  Keep the focus on helping each other out!  Being awesome in an awesome community is what weddings are all about.

Offer What Help You Can.  If You Want.

Helping the parents comes wrapped in many packages.  Maybe you and your beloved can afford to hire an onsite babysitter, and having the kids *nearby* doesn’t bother you.  Or maybe that makes you want to cry.

Other ideas: gather contact details for babysitters your local parent friends use, so out-of-town folks will know they are vetted, awesome childcare providers.  Maybe a couple of them can team up and provide care for all of the kids in someone’s home while the grown-ups are partying.  If that sounds daunting, don’t worry.  You’re not obligated to do any of that – it’s just a nice extra if you want to make it happen!

Be Super Chill.

Kindly accept the regrets of parents who decide not to come to the wedding because of childcare issues.  They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.  And that is 100% okay.

Keep Your Eye On What’s Important.

You’re inviting these people because they genuinely bring value to the life you and your beloved share, and because you bring value to them in return.  You are honoring them with an invitation, and they are honoring you by trying to attend.  Those relationships are what matters in this life.  If someone gets upset, or refuses to come, take the time to patiently reiterate your decision not to have children at the wedding, and your kind understanding that the guest will not attend.  You don’t owe anyone an explanation, nor should you change your decision.  But remember that if a relationship is otherwise healthy and awesome, you’ll still need each other long after the wedding is over.  Save them a cupcake and a great big hug, and enjoy having the wedding you planned!