Your guide to everything that you need to know about having an adult only wedding.
Planning,  Weddings

Adult Only Weddings: The Ins and Outs Of How To Have One

Having an adult only wedding seems to be becoming more & more popular. And it’s an extremely touchy subject for some.

Some of your guests may feel offended that they can’t bring their children. While others will have a “what the heck does that mean” moment.

But at the end of the day guess what…it’s your day! If you want an adults only wedding then that’s what you want.

And your reasons are yours alone. Whether it’s saving money on your wedding budget, or wanting a more adult party vibe. It’s your decision to make.

This guide is set up to help you with everything that comes along with that including wording it on a invitation, how to handle guest feedback, & alternative to help attending guests out.

Deciding On Having Kids At Your Wedding

When it’s time to sit down & figure out your wedding budget, one of the first things to consider is your guest list.

So you’ll need to determine if you want to include kids on the guest list or not.

Sit down with your fiancé & decide at what age are you limiting party guests to.

Will it be 10 & under? Or 16 & under?

The choice is up to you. But once you make it, you need to stick to it.

Make It A Clear Rule

There can be no take backsies here. Once you say no kids that’s it.

Do not bend the rules for certain family members or friends. Or change the age range.

That would be very upsetting to your guests & give the illusion that you only wanted certain kids there.

Let’s avoid making you look like a bad guy that you never set out to be. You don’t hate kids, that’s just not the wedding environment you want.

Adult Only Ceremony vs Adult Only Reception

Now the question comes up on if you can invite kids to the wedding ceremony but not the reception or vice versa.

That’s tricky because it’s hard for parents to find care for only part of the time. It can also be upsetting for the children to be at the ceremony & then see everyone else leave to go to a party.

So unless you’re providing some type of child care for the adult only portion, the answer would be no. If it’s adult only for 1 part then it needs to be adult only for the entire wedding event.

How to have an adult only wedding.

Flower Girls & Ring Bearers At Adult Only Weddings

If you’re planning on having an adult only wedding then you’re probably assuming that you can’t have a flower girl or a ring bearer.

You actually can. But keep in mind that asking them to not attend the reception may be hard for the parents to cover. They may have to not attend the reception as well or you can provide a sitter for the evening.

Adult Only Wedding Invitation Wording

When it comes to wording your wedding invitation & the invitation etiquette the adult only portion is mainly in the addressing rather than the invite.

It’s important that you don’t put the words “no children allowed” or “adult only” on the invitation.

Even though that’s what it is, people go on the offensive as soon as they see words that lock our their children.

You can use words like “intimate ceremony” in hopes that guests will realize something intimate is more for adults.

So you’ll need to be as specific as possible as to how you address your envelopes.

Avoid phrases like “Mr. and Mrs. John smith and Family” or “The Smith Family”. That alludes to the entire family being invited.

Instead using the wording, Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” or “John and Susie Smith”.

You can also subtlety state the concept on your rsvp cards with switching out the “will attend” portion.

Instead of the basic “will attend” words, state “____adult guests will attend”.

There can also be enclosure cards included in the invitation. Those are the smaller square inserts that are generally used for directions & more information.

These cards should really only be used if you feel like you’re guests just won’t get it.

You can say something like,

“Due to limited seating we regretfully cannot accommodate children at our venue.”


“Although we love to watch the children run & play, our reception is an adults only affair.”

The basics of how to have an adult only wedding.

Getting The Word Out

Besides your wedding invitations there are 3 other ways that you can make sure people know that it’s an adult only wedding.

Option 1: Put the information on your wedding website.

Option 2: Let it flow by word of mouth. Friends & families can help you by letting others know that it’s an adult only wedding.

However, make sure that they’re saying it in a nice way. You don’t want them running around saying “Zoe’s being cheap so your kids can’t come” or “Zoe can’t stand kids so you’ll have to find something for them”.

That’s just rude. I was offended just typing that.

Option 3: If you notice that guests are still planning on bringing their kids, give them a call. It’s ok.

You can say something along the lines of “hey, I got your rsvp for the wedding & see you planned on bringing John. But the wedding is adult only. I hope you can still make it.”

Handling Guest Feedback

There will be feedback on you having this type of wedding. Some of you may hear & some you may not. You need to be prepared for that.

First, understand that because of your rule, some of your guests may not come.

Second, don’t go on the defensive when someone has something negative to say. Simply say “this is the way we want our wedding” or “this was a hard decision for us to make but it was the best route for us”.

Helping Your Wedding Guests

If you want to help your guests with children out then you can provide a sitter or nanny for the duration of your wedding event.

Especially if you have a lot of out of town guests with kids. It would be hard for them to find care while out of the area.

If your venue has a separate room that you could use them that would be ideal. That way your guests can attend the wedding & enjoy themselves & have a place for their kids to go.

If your venue is in a hotel then renting a hotel room for the night is another option.

You don’t have to go this route but it’s a nice gesture to offer your guests.

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Your guide to having an adult only wedding