Hosting an adults-only wedding is a new trend among couples, and one that comes with a lot of opinions (a LOT of opinions!). A bride recently wrote about her views and experience planning a hosting a wedding sans kids. One guest recently voiced her opinion that an adults-only wedding was a selfish idea.
So is an adults-only wedding right for you? You can come to an answer by asking yourself these questions:
- What kind of wedding do we want (a big party with lots of adults-only beverages, a late evening affair, or a family celebration)?
- What time do we want to hold our reception? (A later reception may be more appropriate for adults-only.)
- Do our friends and family have a lot of kids?
- Are we having kids in our wedding party? (You can still host an adults-only reception, but may need to address the presence of kids at some point.)
- Does our budget allow for kids? (Depending on your budget, you can cut the guest list with an adults-only list or have an adults-only reception by providing babysitting in a kid zone away from the reception.)
- Is our venue a kid-friendly venue? Do they allow kids? (Don’t be afraid to ask the venue staff when you first contact them.)
If you do decide that an adults-only wedding is right for you, use these tips for successful wedding planning and an awesome reception.
Decide where you want to draw the line. Be firm about who is considered a kid and who is not. Don’t “un-invite” one teen while inviting another. Try to be as consistent as possible, and don’t be afraid to tell your guests how decisions were made.
Be clear about your expectations. If you want an adults-only wedding reception, be clear with guests. Address the envelopes accordingly (no “plus family”) and put the names of only the guests invited on the response card (Mr. & Mrs. John Doe). Add a line to your wedding invitations and website that is clear about your no kids policy. A simple “Please join us for an adults-only wedding reception” will do. If a limited budget is involved, a clearly worded “We have limited seating available; therefore our dinner and reception is an adult affair” should provide a clear explanation. (More ideas for adults-only invitation wording can be found here.)
Know that it’s okay to contact some parents. If you have a close friend or a guest you know is going to have questions, it’s all right to reach out to them. Don’t feel you have to give you a huge explanation for your decision; however, it’s better to answer questions upfront and offer any assistance to guests (i.e. babysitter numbers, answer questions about your wedding “kid zone).
Expect some negative feedback. Don’t be surprised if there is some less-than-thrilled feedback from guests. When confronted, be clear with your intentions and, though tempting, don’t make exceptions. You are going to cause far more drama and get more unpleasantness when allowing some guests to bring kids while others are not. Instead, offer to connect parents with responsible babysitters or, when the budget allows, offer to assist with the financial cost of child care.