Wedding Etiquette: For Adults Only…
(Photo Credit: preparetowed.com)
So you've decided to have an adult's only wedding and reception. Ignore that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach; you are not a soulless witch! A lot of people choose to have a wedding with no kids invited. In fact, you may find that some of your guests would love an excuse to take an adults-only vacation and have a list of babysitters on hand. So how do you break it to your friends and family that your wedding is "for adults only?" The decision to label your festivities “18 and over” means you have to be gentle (but firm) with your guests; it's simple if you follow these rules:
Rule No. 1 - It’s not a good idea to include the words “adult’s only” on your wedding invites. Aside from making your invites sound like an invitation to an X-rated party, it comes off sounding very bridezilla-ish. Children are a sensitive topic for parents and seeing “hey, NO KIDS and I MEAN IT!” on invitations makes them feel as if they’re being punished for having children.
Rule No. 2 - State the number of people and their names on your invitations clearly. If “Mr. and Mrs. Perishna” don’t convey the message clearly, the RSVP 2 already labeled out on the reception card should. However if you get an RSVP back and the person has crossed out your 2 and put three or four; then you know you’ll have to call them up personally and be honest (this could even be a job for your maid of honor or mother-of-the-bride). Be prepared for some “not-so-subtle” hostility but be firm. “Aunt Marge I really do want you to be there but we’d really like to keep it adults only. You know I love little Rebecca and Henry but wouldn’t you and Uncle Simon love some alone time on an exotic island?”
Rule No. 3 - Make it seem like more of a sophisticated affair rather than a “leave your screaming brat at home” affair. If you decide to call up your parenting guests, hint towards your idea of making this reception a place where adults can have a few cocktails and reminisce their glory days. You know there will be alcohol, a few dirty jokes thrown around, possibly cigar smoking and a best man who wants to really let loose with his material. Tell your guests slow dances will be all for them and the romance doesn’t have to end with the bride and groom!
Rule No. 4 - Blame it on the budget! If all else fails, don’t be afraid to call them up personally and explain that you want a small intimate wedding and budget restraints won’t allow for children.
Rule No. 5 - Make n o exceptions. If you say adult only, you have to mean adult only. If you let your sister and her brood be the exception to the rule, expect other guests whose children weren’t allowed to stare daggers at you during the reception and feel slighted afterwards. This isn’t an issue of whose kids are more important than the others, it’s about what you and groom feel will create the environment you want for your wedding day; simple. Give everyone the same reason and hope they appreciate your honesty and position in such a delicate situation.
Don’t be afraid to be honest but do so with tact and an understanding that some guests might feel slighted. Never the less, it’s your wedding day and (hopefully) you’ll only have to do this once!