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July 23, 2016

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

Scottsdale Wedding Planner |

Paradise Valley Wedding Planner |

Chandler Wedding Planner | Phoenix Wedding Planner |

Sedona Wedding Planner | Destination Weddings | Weddings Worldwide

Publisher | President |

O 480.921.7891

M 602.418.9089

F 480.829.6292





December 30, 2011


Organize your guest list (if you haven’t already) all in one place.  Make an alphabetized guest list which includes your guests’ full names with their complete addresses.  Depending on which program you use, would highly recommend separating each field (so you may sort as the need arises) by:

  • assign a “special” number to each guest as a “couple”* (see #1 below for details on why you will thank me a billion times for this tip)
  • first name
  • last name (easy to make an alphabetical list by last name of each guest) and title (if any)
  • address
  • city
  • state/country
  • zip/postal code
  • phone number (in case they don’t RSVP and you need to call them)
  • # RSVPed for reception
  • # RSVPed for brunch (the day after your wedding)
    dietary restrictions (if any, especially if you are having a choice of beef, fish, vegetarian, etc.)
  • table number (if you are having assigned seating at your reception)
  • thank-you sent
  • make brief notes of relationships (“Andrew’s mom’s best friend,” “Elena’s fiancé”) NOTE:  as you assemble your list these details will be helpful when you greet guests, arrange table seating, and when you write your thank-you notes.

Read through these tips to make it easier for you:

1).  Make an assembly line so you do each step one by one (one task at a time will make sure you don’t forget to do it for one invitation)!

2).   To keep your sanity once you receive your RSVPs, use your “special” assigned number to each guest on the back of their RSVP card.  Many of your guests will forget to write or fill in their name on their RSVP card when they see the M________________.  When this happens, you receive their RSVP with the number attending, yet you do NOT know who they are!  Easily solve this by being proactive and printing the guest’s “special” number lightly in pencil or an invisible ink pen on the back of your RSVP card.  If your guest forgets to write their name on the line, you will know who is responding.

3).  Consider hiring a calligrapher, or ask your wedding planner for a recommendation of someone who has nice hand writing to address your invitations.   Depending on your envelopes, they may fit into your printer if you are a DIY, check one before continuing this so you don’t damage multiple envelopes.

4).  Do not abbreviate streets, cities, or states.

5).  Write the guests’ full names on the outer envelope (without abbreviations).  Traditionally invitations are inserted into two envelopes, an inner envelope and an outer envelope.  The outer envelope is the one that is addressed and stamped, while the inner envelope has only the names of the people the invitation is addressed to.  For example a married couple’s inner envelope is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs.  Anderson” with neither first names nor address.   You may want to write the names of intimate relatives and lifelong friends in informal terms such as “Uncle Tom and Aunt Sadie”. 

6).  Avoid writing “and guest” or “and family” so everyone invited feels the invitation is especially for him or her.

7).  Before mailing, take an assembled invitation (don’t forget all of your enclosures such as  your maps, RSVP cards, etc.) to your local post office to have them measure and weigh your assembled invitation and confirm you have the correct postage on your invitations.  (The last thing you need is to have your invitations  returned for improper postage or even worse having them delivered to your guests with “postage due”).

8).  In addition to your invitation you may have other enclosures  such as response cards, maps, and tissues.  Make sure everything is assembled one by one so you don’t omit an important item from your invitation mailing.

9).  Stuffing the envelopes:

  • When 2 envelopes are used (inner and outer envelope) put all the enclosures in the inner envelope facing the back.
  • The inner envelope is placed unsealed in the outer envelope with the flap away from the person.
  • When there are insertions, they are placed in front of the invitation, so they face the flap (and the person inserting them).
  • In the case of a folded invitation, insertions are placed in the same direction but within the fold.

10).  Mail invitations eight weeks before the wedding (especially if you are inviting many out-of-town guests). 

11).  Make sure your return address appears on the invitation on the upper left-hand corner, or on the envelope’s flap.  This lets your guests know where to send replies and gifts to in case your return address does not appear on the invitation.

12).  Expect that not everyone will attend.  25 percent of those you invite will not be able to attend.   You will receive your “yes” RSVPs before the “can’t make it”.  

13).  A and B list etiquette.  If you have a “wish” list or “B” list, try to mail all your invitations on the same day regardless of their “list” category.  Remember your “B” list may know some of your “A” list, and vice versa.  You don’t want to hurt the feelings of others by thinking they are not invited to your wedding.

Copyright 2012, Kim Horn, MBC™

To hire Kim as your wedding planner, call 480.921.7891 or text your name, wedding date, and wedding planner request to 602.418.9089.

Kim M. Horn, MBC™

Master Bridal Consultant | 1 of 59 in the World

Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Phoenix and Destination Weddings

Publisher | Pres. |

AZ State Coordinator | Assoc. of Bridal Consultants May 2003 – May 2012

ABC 2010 Conference Chair worked with David Tutera

O 480.921.7891

C 602.418.9089

F 480.829.6292


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