Polite Yet Firm: How To Specify 'Adults Only' On Your Wedding Invitations

By Shashank Jain June 18th 2024


Planning your dream wedding involves navigating sensitive decisions, such as opting for an adult-only celebration.

Why do some couples choose this route? 🤔Couples might choose this for various reasons, including the desire for a more formal atmosphere or to manage budget constraints effectively.

Whatever the motive, the key to a smooth experience lies in clear communication through your wedding invitations.

All guests must understand the nature of the event upfront, preventing any potential misunderstandings and ensuring that everyone feels respected and included in the spirit of the celebration, even if they cannot participate in person.

Wedding Etiquette for Adults-Only Invitations

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Navigating the delicate balance of wedding invitation etiquette for an adults-only event is crucial. Here’s a straightforward guide to doing it gracefully:

Overview of Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Wedding invites set the tone for your event, indicating its formality and atmosphere. It’s essential to align your wording with the overall style while clearly stating your expectations.

Specific Considerations for Stating Adults-Only

  • Be Clear: Directly state your adults-only policy to avoid any confusion. Place this information subtly at the bottom of the invitation or on a separate insert.
  • Stay Polite: Opt for courteous yet firm phrasing, such as “We kindly request an adult-only celebration” or “Please join us in a grown-up evening of celebration.”
  • Manage Expectations: Include a brief FAQ on your wedding website to preemptively answer questions about the adult-only nature of your event.

By following these etiquette guidelines, you can ensure your adult-only message is conveyed respectfully and received positively.

Deciding How to Communicate "Adults Only"

Choosing the right time and method to communicate your adults-only policy is as important as the message itself. Here’s how to effectively convey this preference:

Timing to Consider When Sending Adults-Only Invitations

Timing is critical, especially when informing guests of an adults-only wedding. Send your invitations well in advance—typically around 8-12 weeks before the wedding day.

This early notice allows guests to arrange for childcare if needed and ensures they understand the nature of the event right from the start. Including this information in your save-the-dates can further help set the expectation early on.

Assessing Your Guest List: Knowing Your Audience

Understanding who you're inviting is key to communicating effectively. If your guest list includes many families with children, consider the following:

  • Personal Touch: For close family and friends, a personal call or note explaining your decision might soften the message and reduce the chance of any hurt feelings.
  • Clarity in Communication: Ensure that your wording on the invitation is clear yet gentle. You want to avoid alienating guests while maintaining the integrity of your adults-only request.

By carefully considering the timing and your approach based on your guest list, you can ensure your adults-only message is communicated clearly and kindly, setting the stage for a joyful and focused celebration.

Tactful Phrasing Options

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Choosing the right words can help convey your adult-only request both clearly and kindly. Here are different ways to phrase this request in your invitations:

Direct but Polite Phrases to Use

When you want to be straightforward yet respectful, consider these options:

  • "We respectfully request that our celebration be adults only."
  • "Please note, the wedding will be a grown-up affair."
  • "Kindly join us for an adult evening of celebration." These phrases are clear and convey the message directly while maintaining a polite tone.

Creative and Subtle Ways to Indicate Adults Only

If you prefer a more understated approach, these creative expressions can subtly communicate your wishes:

  • "Join us for an evening of relaxation and revelry designed for adults."
  • "We invite you to enjoy a night off from the kids and celebrate with us."
  • "Our wedding will be a chance to enjoy adult time in a festive atmosphere."

These phrases imply an adults-only event in a lighter, more imaginative way.

Example Phrases That Can Be Directly Included in Invitations

To integrate these requests into your invitations seamlessly, here are example sentences you might use:

  • "To allow all guests to relax and enjoy themselves, we have chosen to make our special day adults only."
  • "We hope you appreciate our decision to host a child-free celebration and look forward to seeing you there."
  • "Please join us for an evening of mature festivities, as our wedding will be limited to adults 18 and over."

Using these tactful phrasing options, you can ensure that your adults-only request is communicated effectively, respecting your guests’ feelings while staying true to your vision for your wedding day.

Placement of Adults-Only Notice in the Invitation

The placement of your adult-only notice on the wedding invitation can influence how your guests perceive the message.

Here's a guide to choosing the right spot for this crucial piece of information:

Best Spots on the Invitation for This Notice

  1. Bottom of the Main Invitation Card:

    • Example: After the details of the time and venue, you can include, "This will be an adults-only celebration."
    • Pros: Keeps the information with the main event details, ensuring it's seen.
    • Cons: Could potentially disrupt the aesthetic flow of the invitation.
  2. On a Separate Information Card:

    • Example: Include a card in the invitation suite that says, "We love your kids but thought you might like a night off. Adults only, please!"
    • Pros: Allows for more detailed explanations and maintains the design integrity of the main invitation.
    • Cons: There's a risk the card could be overlooked if not checked carefully.
  3. RSVP Card:

    • Example: On the RSVP card, include a line stating, "We have reserved _ seats in your honor," pre-filling the number to indicate adults only.
    • Pros: Directly communicates to the guests who are explicitly invited.
    • Cons: Might not provide enough room for explanations, which could lead to questions.

Considerations for Placement

  • Visibility: Ensure the message is easy to see and read. Hidden or obscure placement might lead to misunderstandings.
  • Clarity: Regardless of where you place the notice, the wording should be clear and straightforward to prevent any confusion.
  • Aesthetic: Consider how the notice affects the overall design of your invitation suite. It should integrate seamlessly, maintaining the elegance of your invitations.

By thoughtfully considering the placement and presentation of your adults-only notice, you can convey your wishes effectively while keeping your invitations beautiful and coherent. This careful approach helps set the tone for your event, ensuring that your guests are well-informed and ready to celebrate with you on your special day.

Additional Tips for Communicating Effectively

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Navigating sensitive conversations about your adults-only wedding requires empathy and clear communication. Here’s how to handle these situations effectively:

Handling Sensitive Situations (e.g., Guests with Children)

  • Personal Touch: Reach out personally to guests with children to explain your decision. This shows respect and consideration.
  • Consistency is Key: Apply the adults-only rule consistently to all guests to prevent feelings of unfairness.
  • Clear Reasons: Explain the practical reasons for an adults-only wedding, like venue restrictions, rather than making excuses.
    • Example: "Our venue isn't very child-friendly, which led us to decide on an adults-only celebration."

Managing Follow-Up Communications and Questions

  • Prepare for Questions: Anticipate and prepare for questions with clear, polite responses.
  • Information Accessibility: Clearly state where guests can find more information or who they can contact with questions.
    • Example: "For any questions about our adults-only event, please feel free to contact us!"
  • Leverage Your Wedding Website: Use your wedding website to address common questions and provide detailed explanations.

These tips will help you manage conversations gracefully, ensuring everyone feels respected and informed about your wedding day decisions.

Alternatives to Invitation Wording

Utilizing RSVP cards and wedding websites can subtly reinforce your adults-only policy without overcrowding your main invitation.

Using RSVP Cards to Clarify Adults-Only

  • Specify Names: Pre-fill RSVP cards with invited adults' names to clarify the invite list.
    • Example: "We have reserved 2 seats in your honor."
  • Add a Note: Include a brief note about the adults-only nature of the event.
    • Example: "This celebration is reserved for adults."

How Wedding Websites Can Help Manage Expectations

A wedding website can be an effective tool for providing detailed information and managing expectations:

  • FAQ Section: Address common inquiries about the adults-only decision.
    • Example: "Why is the wedding adults-only? We’re aiming for an intimate, adult-focused celebration."
  • Send Updates: Use the site to remind guests about the adults-only policy.

These methods ensure clear communication of your adults-only policy, keeping your invitations elegant and informative.

Dealing with Responses and Exceptions

Effectively managing pushback and considering exceptions to your adults-only policy requires tact and clarity.

Handling Pushback or Misunderstandings

  • Stay Polite: Respond calmly and kindly, reinforcing your reasons with understanding.
    • Example: "We appreciate your understanding as we hold an adults-only celebration."
  • Reiterate Your Policy: Clearly state your adults-only policy again, offering to discuss further if necessary.

Deciding on Exceptions

Consider exceptions carefully:

  • Ensure Fairness: Maintain consistency; if you make exceptions (e.g., for nursing infants), justify them.
  • Communicate Clearly: Inform guests about any exceptions to manage expectations and prevent misunderstandings.
    • Example: "Exceptions will be made for nursing infants only."

By handling responses with diplomacy and clear communication, you can keep your wedding plans smooth and respectful for all guests.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What should I do if a guest RSVPs with their children included?

    • Politely reach out to them, explaining that your wedding is an adults-only event and reiterating the reasons for this choice, ensuring they understand it's a matter of event style or venue constraints.
  2. How do I address guests asking why children aren't invited on the day of the event?

    • Prepare a brief explanation to share at the event, such as, "We chose to keep our wedding adults-only to ensure a certain atmosphere and to comply with venue restrictions."
  3. Can I include children in the ceremony but not the reception?

    • Yes, this is a possible compromise. Clearly communicate this arrangement in your invitations and through direct communication to avoid any confusion.
  4. How should I handle feelings of disappointment from family who wanted to bring children?

    • Acknowledge their feelings, express your understanding, and explain the decision was made to ensure the event aligns with your personal preferences and logistical requirements.


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