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July 23, 2016

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Landon, Ring Bearer

Landon, Ring Bearer

You may approach not inviting children to your wedding in many ways.  Remember, for some families, they may not be satisfied with your choice, feel their kids are a “package deal,” and may plan to disregard your request by bringing their children anyway.  How will you feel if those guests show up with their children at your wedding?

How would you feel if you were invited to a close family member’s out-of-state wedding, and you have young children, and found out they were not invited?  Some people are okay with child-free weddings, others aren’t.

Are you planning to have children in your wedding party as flower girls, ring bearers, junior bridesmaids, or junior groomsmen?  If so, you may already be okay with having children at the wedding ceremony, just not at your cocktail reception, dinner, and dance.  Make an educated decision by talking to each other, and include your parents to get their feedback on what has been done in your family previously at weddings and other social events.

You may choose to include children of family members only, children of a certain age, or no children at all.  It is inappropriate per etiquette to write “No Children” on your invitations.  Instead, communicate your wishes by leaving childrens’ names off the invitations, and write only the parents’ names on the invitation outer and inner envelope.  Make sure you do not address the invitations to “and family,” or “and guests.”  Address your wedding invitation to the specific individual(s) you are asking to share your wedding with you, (i.e., Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Anderson).  You may not want your cousin’s boyfriend of the week invited.

Wishful thinking is that the parents will read and understand by you addressing the envelope to Mr. and Mrs. Steven Horn this implies their kids aren’t invited…great idea and tip above, yet some parents may discard the envelope(s), and “assume” their entire family is invited.  The last thing you want is to not mention this on your save-the-date, or the wedding website, and the parents “assume” the kids are invited and are excited for a family get-away, to receive your invitation 6 – 7 weeks prior to the wedding date to find out their children are not invited.

You may want to tell certain relatives or friends about your plans for not inviting children.  As a courtesy, you may hire an experienced licensed and insured childcare provider during the hours of the wedding to watch the children of the out-of-town guests at a nearby hotel, or allow the guests to pay, provide and select childcare options from a list provided by you on your wedding website.  Nanny or childcare provider services are available to come to you at a location, and most have been fingerprinted, and have background checks for their employees.  Make sure you check their references, and the Better Business Bureau, and get recommendations and referrals from your wedding planner, catering manager, and hotel sales manager.

If you have predominantly locally guests attending, it will be easier for them to arrange reliable childcare.  For a new mother traveling with newborn, and nursing, it will be difficult for her to find reliable childcare in an unknown area, and she may need to be close in case the newborn isn’t taking a bottle from a stranger yet.  This may be the first time they have flown or traveled together with their newborn.  If you have toddlers, they may be clingy and resistant to going with someone they don’t know, especially in the evening, and the parents will be nervous throughout the evening.  In that instance, would recommend to arrange for childcare nearby at their hotel.  This would be close by, and in case they want to check-in during the evening, it would be easy and comfortable for all involved.

Define your version of “child-free.”  Will this be for your wedding cocktail reception, dinner, and dance only, where you are fine with children attending your rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, and the brunch the day after your wedding, or will you have an entire adult only wedding weekend?  You may already have in your mind the set of parents which are going to be upset with you, right?

Advance communication as clear and kindly as possible with specific wedding details like this needs to be included with your save-the-dates and on your wedding website.  Save-the-dates with your wedding website address should be mailed out as soon as possible.  You could provide a list of trusted childcare providers for the parents to reach out and interview, and this would be a way (depending on how many children would be traveling) for the children to be all together.  You may want to provide a room at your out-of-town guest hotel where the children have Netflix movies which are age related and kid activities in the hotel room so the children have an incredible time, are fed, are supervised, may go to sleep comfortably, and the parents enjoy their evening knowing their children are in good hands too, as a win-win.

Once you and your fiancé make a decision on your choice and definition of “child-free wedding”, would recommend keeping it equal for both sides of your families.  If someone RSVPs with more people than you invited, who will be the person to call them and let them know the invitation was for 2 adults, and because of budget, space, or safety (if there is a pool or water feature which may mean unattended children may be at risk) in order for them to enjoy their evening, we have chosen an adult reception only.  The last confrontation you want is, “Why did they get to bring their children, and we couldn’t bring ours?”

If you are having only a few couples which have families, it may be easiest to e-mail, text, or call them to let them know you want them to come for a “date night” at your wedding, and if they need help arranging childcare for “Tommy and Anna”, you have a list of reliable childcare providers referred to you which are insured and licensed on your wedding website to check out since it is an adult reception only wedding.

On your RSVP card, as well as your wedding website here are some ideas to consider:

  • Please reserve ________ adult seats at the cocktail reception, dinner, and dance.
  • Please reserve (circle) 1 or 2 adult seats at the cocktail reception, dinner, and dance.
  • Adult Reception Only
  • While we love the little ones, this is an adult only affair.
  • We would love for your children to attend the wedding ceremony, however, the reception will be an adult affair. We would love to help you arrange for childcare please see our wedding website www.MattandCindi8.8.2018 for details.
  • ________ children RSVPs for childcare with age(s) being ______________

On your RSVP card, you may want to put a #1, or #2 for the maximum quantity of RSVPs.  This gets difficult if you invite many single guests, since this may allow them to invite their “+1,” although you aren’t interested in inviting their “+1.”

If you and your fiancé are okay with children attending the ceremony, you may want to try:

  • Children are welcome to attend the wedding ceremony, yet the cocktail reception, dinner, and dance is an adults-only affair.
  • Children are welcome at the ceremony, yet to allow all guests to enjoy their evening, we have chosen an adults only cocktail reception, dinner, and dance.

Whatever your choice, please communicate clearly with kind words, and treat people the way you would like to be treated.

Copyright 2016, Kim Horn, MWP™

HIRE expert, Kim Horn, MWP™ to help design, negotiate, mediate, plan, and implement your wedding details.

Kim M. Horn, MWP™

Master Wedding Planner | 1 of 75 in the World

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