How to Tell Wedding Guests that It’s Only 18 and Over

If you are a couple who is interested in throwing an “18 and Over” wedding but don’t know where to begin then keep reading. This can be a tricky situation to tackle, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with it. In the following sections, we are going to show you how to get your message across in a non-threatening manner that you would like an adult-only wedding ceremony and reception.

How to Handle the Situation

First and foremost, realize that telling people that you don’t want children at your wedding is going to be a sensitive issue. This means that simply writing “Adult Reception” on the invitation isn’t going to work. You’ll need to take a much different route if you want to avoid hurting people’s feelings as well as maintaining the size of your wedding party.

The first step that you should take is to tell your parents, friends, and other relatives to spread the word about the “Adult Only” wedding. This will make it much less surprising when people hear about in later on. Secondly, make sure that you are only inviting the people whose name you put on the invitation. For example, inviting the “Jones Family” would mean that little Timmy can attend as well.

Instead, word with the specific names in mind: Mr. and Mrs. John Jones. They will then realize that this is a wedding that is only for adults. The next step is to explain why you are doing what you are doing. A lot of couples like to use “budget constraints” as a reason for not inviting children to the wedding. This may or may not even be true but it can be a reason that people can relate to.


Don’t Make Exceptions

No matter what, you cannot make any exceptions in regards to allowing children to attend an “Adults Only” wedding. This can be a bad move for a few reasons. For one, it will show other parents that you may not have been serious about your initial request. As a result, they may end up bringing along their own children. And if you tell them no then you’ll now need to deal with dozens of angry parents who also want the privilege of bringing their kid along.

This is the main reason why you can’t make exceptions for anyone- not even family or close friends. If you feel as though that this is going to be a significant issue then you can opt to hire a few babysitters to watch children while the ceremony and reception are going on. This is a much more cost-friendly option than allowing them to attend the wedding and it will keep everyone happy long enough for you and your fiancé to enjoy your wedding day.

When is it “Okay” to Make Exceptions?

Here is another important issue that you’ll want to take care of. More specifically, at what age are you going to draw the line regarding your adult-only wedding? Some couples like to pick a specific age while others like to draw the line at 18 years old. Either way, this is something that you’ll need to discuss with your fiancé. According to etiquette, you can make exceptions for teenage children only if they are sons or daughters of the bridal party. Otherwise, they shouldn’t be allowed to attend.

Kids hiding under table at wedding

Making Your Invitations

In regards to making your invitations, make sure that you are putting down the names of only those people that you want to attend your wedding. As we previously mentioned, this is one of the more subtle ways to ensure that children don’t unexpectedly show up. Make sure that you include a contact phone number on the invitation so that you can further address the issue should any angry parents want to speak with you.


As you already know, not inviting children to a wedding can be a tricky issue. Just keep the following tips in mind to avoid having parents create resentment towards you and your fiancé. And above anything, don’t make any exceptions.