Adults-Only Wedding Wording

Advice from a real bride!

How do you tell guests that their kids are NOT invited to your wedding? This no-kid conundrum seemed to be the stickiest wording situation we came across while making our wedding invitations. I read articles and browsed forums on adult-only weddings, each with their own tips for tackling this tricky subject. However, after reading them I realized something: We aren't having an adults- only wedding ... we're having an "adults-mostly" wedding!

Our exceptions to the no-kids rule:

  • Children under 1 year (nursing infants)
  • All nieces/nephews/cousins (regardless of age)
For us, the exceptions were based on both chronological age and familial hierarchy (e.g., our siblings can bring children, but our cousins and friends cannot). The "kid cutoff" was a tough decision to make, but it was a decision grounded in both practical and personal reasons.
Adults-Only Wedding Wording

So how do you find the right wording for an "adults- mostly" wedding?

We knew that we wanted the invitation wording to be the following:

Courteous We thought it might sound a little cold or exclusive to write "adults only" directly on the Invitation or RSVP Card (and besides, it wouldn't apply to our "mostly adults" situation). We wanted to find wording that would be polite, inclusive, and friendly.

Clear About who is invited (and therefore who is NOT invited). While some wording sounded too blunt, we also felt other wording sounded too subtle. Could we find the sweet spot for this sticky wording situation?

Flexible To complicate matters, the wording also needed to be flexible in order to accommodate invitees whose children ARE invited to the wedding. We couldn't use a blanket statement such as "adults only". We needed to come up with wording that was flexible enough to fit our "adults-mostly" wedding.

Adults-Only Wedding Wording

3 Adults-Only Wedding Wording Ideas

  1. Putting "Adults" on the RSVP Response Line M_____________________ _____ Adults accepting _____ Adults declining  
  2. Putting" Adults" at the Bottom of the Invitation Adult reception to follow   
  3. Setting a Limit to Number of Seat Reservations We have reserved _____ seats in your honor ___ of ___ Attending ___ of ___ Declining  

Wording Solution for "Adults-Mostly" Wedding

  • writing the names of invited guests on the outer envelope
  • emphasizing who was invited on the RSVP Card by writing their names under the subheading "Invited Guests"

 Although not perfect, the wording satisfied our goal of sounding polite, yet clear--while still allowing for exceptions to the no-kids rule. So how successful was this? Well, we're still figuring that out! :)

If any RSVP Cards come back with the names of uninvited children, my mom (moms are the best!) helped come up with a general plan of how to approach the guest:

  • Acknowledge their response
  • Address the miscommunication
  • Express desire for their attendance

Hi Jane, Thank you for the RSVP! We noticed that you added little Jack to your response. In order to keep the seating capacity below the maximum for our venue, we unfortunately are not able to invite Jack to our wedding. We apologize for the miscommunication! We hope you will still be able to join us on our wedding day. We'd love to have you there! Did you have an "adults-mostly" wedding? I'd love to hear how you handled the wording for your Invitations and RSVP Cards!

{Blissfully married now, the bride and groom successfully navigated this sticky wording situation with care}.