Having an Adult-Only Wedding | Ultimate Guide

One of the most contentious issues on Only a Wedding’s Instagram polls has been the growing popularity of adult-only weddings. Nothing else has divided opinion as much.

While we’ll definitely discuss pros and cons in future, today’s piece is for couples who are already dead set on a child-free wedding. Pitchforks down, here is your Only a Wedding guide to having an adult-only wedding and staying out of trouble’s way.

Exceptions to the Rule

Look through your guest list. Are there any families who would be disproportionately inconvenienced by an adult-only wedding? New mothers might be breastfeeding at the time of your wedding. Parents of children with additional needs might not have spare respite hours or access to suitable childcare.

In these instances you’ll either have to make exceptions, assist with sorting childcare or accept the fact that these guests can’t make the wedding, even if they are close friends or family.

Otherwise, Be Consistently Child-Free

Aside from those extenuating circumstances, you’ve got to be consistent with where you’re drawing the line. This will ensure costs don’t spiral, but also, guests will feel frustrated if they’ve gone to lots of trouble to respect your wishes, only to see their pals’ kids sliding around the dancefloor into the small hours.

For couples who want to save on reception expense, it can be tempting to allow kids at the ceremony but give them their marching orders before the dinner is served. Unfortunately, this can be an awkward compromise; parents will carry all the costs of bringing their kids to then wedding and then finding a minder to feed them for half a day and night – the worst of both worlds.

The takeaway: consistency is key. If you want children at the ceremony, it’s good etiquette to let them get fed and watered. If you don’t, make your choice clear and stand your ground.

How to Invite Guests to an Adult-Only Wedding

Look what we have here, it’s another aspect of wedding planning that’s become needlessly tricky! Unfortunately, announcing that you’re having an adult-only wedding on your invitations isn’t the done thing. It’s seen as rude by many. If you’re worried about stepping on toes, leave it off your official invitations.

Most commonly, couples find that addressing their invitations to named individuals gets the message across without causing offence. If the invitation is extended to just John and Gemma, it follows that little Rosie will be with her babysitter for the duration.

How to Troubleshoot

You can say ‘Don’t bring kids, I’m the actual Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.’ Some people will still ask if their little ones are welcome.

If you think there’s room for confusion, your best bet is getting in touch with parents directly and privately. Set aside a few minutes to make phone calls and drop the adult-only caveat into the conversation. This might be a task that your own parents or in-laws can help with.

Dealing with the Backlash

Your pals might not have any issue with leaving the kids at home. If that’s the case, cool! Skip on over to our cake section and watch the battle between buttercream and fondant rage on.

Otherwise, you’ll have to get good at owning your choice. It’s fair enough for guests to ask about the child-free policy, but you really shouldn’t let anyone give you a hard time for it. And yep, it’s not unheard for this to happen. You know your pals well enough to know what’s genuine concern and what’s a guilt trip. Don’t entertain the latter.

The Golden Rule at Child-Free Weddings

No matter what, make sure you spread the word as early as you can. Arranging childcare isn’t straightforward for everyone –  you want to give your pals the best chance of making it to your big day.


1 reply
  1. Avatar
    Yvonne says:

    Some people won’t even ask. We only asked kids from immediate family & still had people turn up with their kids even though the invitation was addressed only to themselves. Some people will suit themselves no matter what you do.


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