Are You a Fan or Foe of Adult-Only Wedding Receptions?

Just like hair
, few topics get people to go from zero to ninety like that of their children. When I experienced a South African safari, the biggest (and sweetest) takeaway was witnessing the natural instinct living beings have to protect their offspring. So it comes as no surprise that some individuals express great disappointment when learning that they’re invited to a wedding celebration where children are not allowed to attend.

The key word is some. I know several awesome parents who have no qualms with this situation and in fact look forward to enjoying an adult-only affair. However the fact is, having an adult only reception will probably rub someone the wrong way.

My fiance and I have made the decision for our wedding reception to be adult-only with a few caveats (our godchildren, nieces/nephews and children of our bridal party). When I first shared this with a close friend — and mother of two — she quipped, “You know that’s going to upset a lot of your guests, right?!” Um, I didn’t know that but if it does we still plan to get married. This is definitely a situation where wisdom helps in wedding planning. Even my mother questioned our decision at first but she quickly let it go. Mr. TK and I realize that our reception rules indeed might make some of our loved ones huffy, call us cheap, selfish or worse. However we also realize that throughout our marriage we will not always be able to please everyone. Our first priority will be to do what works best for us and our household. We understand that in order for others to do what works best for their household they might decline attendance of our nuptials. We sleep just fine at night knowing this.

Don’t get me wrong folks, Triple B loves the kids. But the risk of exceeding my wedding budget so that little Junior can attend an event he probably won’t even remember? Eh; I’ll pass. There are some nearlyweds and newlyweds who experience a huge amount of angst over this topic. I’ve even heard unfortunate stories of family members who stopped speaking to each other after learning a wedding didn’t allow non-adult guests. So sad.

Folks, I want to hear from you on this. Leave your thoughts in the comments — whether you agree with me or not. Soundoff!

ADDENDUM – For those of you who are planning to host a large amount of children at your wedding ceremony and reception, check out Lil’ Tux N Tiaras Event Sitters!

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    1. Anonymous says:

      Good 4 u & Mr. TK 4 planning your wedding the way YOU BOTH want to! The people who truly love and are happy 4 u will understand.

    2. MommyToBe says:

      I am a mother to be and I still understand. I will have to make arrangements if I want to go. I hate when I go to ceremonies and someones child is hollering and they wont step outside for a minute so the couple can have a peaceful wedding. One kid stole the show with funny remarks but looking back that ruined the wedding memory. That child better be the worlds next great orator with that show he put on.

    3. Anonymous #2 says:

      I 2nd Anonymous #1’s remarks, so well stated. It’s going to be Mr. TK’s and your wedding, you have every right to do it your way………..

    4. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      Thanks for the feedback all!

      @ Both Anons – It isn’t always easy but we’re trying our best to keep the wedding about us. I think this is just one of many things that will cause some guests to pause…

      @Mommy to Be – I’m glad a parent (or soon to-be parent) weighed in here. In addition, I’m glad you pointed out the factors beyond money that might cause a couple to desire an adult-only reception. Mr. TK and I are also opting not to have flower girls, ring bearers or junior bridesmaids/groomsmen. I’m sure some folks will really be clutching their pearls on that one.

    5. I am a mother of 3 and I can totally understand. Shoot, i’m once of the few that looks forward to some adult-inly company. So do your thing girl! At the end of of your day its all about you and Mr. TK

    6. It’s such a personal decision that I would never judge a planning couple on this issue. I’m glad to hear the mommies above being so understanding. Why not make it an opportunity for the kid(s) to grow closer to a set of grandparents/favorite auntie & uncle who aren’t involved in the festivities. I know that some Grannies and Pop-pops out there are dying for a weekend to spoil their babies.
      As for me and my beau, all of the little people we’ve invited contribute to our joy so, we are excited to have them. I kind of drew a line, though with teenagers. If we’re not close to the teens, I invited the parents only. Why drag a surly teenager to a reception and have them drag down the party? [Just kidding- NO ONE has the power to drag our party down :-)]
      The good news is that, for those of us who do want kiddos at the celebration, many caterers/reception halls are offering half-price food for guests under a certain age (10, 12 or whatever they set it at) after you make your guaranteed attendance #. Thus, we set our guarantee waaaay below what we expect so that our little ones should all be at the discounted price. The truth is, in my clique, even some of the 4-6 year olds are just as likely to eat the whole plate of food as the adults are!

    7. I had to come to grips with myself with quite a few of your decisions especially an adult only wedding reception since my family is so close. It was not easy and I am constantly telling folks its Bridgette getting married, not me. Child your daddy would be sooooo proud of the young women you have become. I just want you to be happy. Love you.

    8. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      @Mommy – I will never be able to thank you enough. Love you, too!

      @Ronda – I can always count on you for an honest, thought-provoking comment. I’m happy you mentioned that most reception halls/caterers offer a discounted rate for children. This is important to note.
      Our caterer has even offered to create a special menu for those children in attendance consisting of finger food and items that require very little to no adult-assistance. I encourage all planning couples to inquire about something similar for their venue.

      Like you and your beau, my fiance and I have children in our lives that bring us joy beyond measure. It is hard for me to imagine saying “I Do” without my nieces in attendance. Mr. TK and I also felt it odd to ask people to be in our wedding but require them to leave their children behind. Some guests might feel it should be all or nothing. The great news? We all have the power to do what works best for us!

    9. Tiffany In Houston says:

      It was actually my husband’s decision to have an adults only wedding. The only children there were immediate family children (kids of siblings). I had a cap of 150 ppl that we were paying for so that helped make the decision easier to make and besides that I didn’t feel no ways tired about it. I do know that one of my husband’s relatives decided not to come because they couldn’t bring their kids (2 of which were teenagers who could have watched themselves as I had a Sunday afternoon wedding). I didn’t care really.

      I also didn’t have a ring bearer or junior bride/groom either or wedding favors. It’s your wedding, do you.

    10. Taylor2B says:

      I agree with the decision to only include children in the bridal party. First and foremost because of budgetary concerns. My fiancé and I decided to only include children in the bridal party because if not we wouldn’t be able to include many of our friends because of paying for kids who wouldn’t likely even eat the food. Seemed like a big waste to me. Also, we are having an open bar for our guests. Not that anyone will be sloppy drunk but its hard to enjoy yourself and have a drink or two if you have children running around all over the place. So for us personally, inviting a lot of kids just wasn’t something we wanted to do. It ruffled some feathers and there are guests who have decided not to attend but in the end I am ok with that. I feel like we have given them ample time to plan ahead for a sitter as our invitations were mailed 7 weeks prior to our ceremony so if they don’t come because of that then that is on them. Most people are ok with it and looking forward to a Saturday night with free food and drinks without the kids!

    11. Spikesdtr says:

      Weddings and formal events are not for children in my opinion. They require attention and often discipline. You want your guests to have a great time without watching what they say or do, within reason. Reasonable people will also understand budgetary constraints. Do you, it’s really one of the few events in life that you can.

    12. We had an adults only wedding and reception and wouldn’t change it for the world. Initially we were going to have a ring bearer (my godson) and flower girl (my cousin) but about five months out, I cut them too. My best friend, MOH, and mother of my godson/ring bearer threw a fit at first but then realized that she would have a better time without a four year old pining for her attention. My now husband and I are very social, party people and we wanted our special day to reflect that. Our wedding was in an old converted warehouse, somewhat late in the evening (ceremony started at 7 pm), and featured an open bar and hookahs– definitely not conducive to children. I informed our friends that had children of the policy prior to even save the dates going out, had it on our website that was printed on the save the dates, and had my mother reminding family as the day got closer. We did have one child (he was 7) infiltrate because my husband’s entire family came from New York and there would literally be no one to keep him since they all would be in Atlanta, but he was old enough to behave himself and I didn’t even notice him. I think that most parents would welcome a child free evening, but if they have a problem with it, they do not have to attend. When it came down to it, we only had one guest who did not come because of our policy but it didn’t ruin our day. In the end, the most important thing is that you are marrying the person of your dreams and your happiness means more than anything.

    13. I so totally agree with you BBB! While I love kids, I just don’t think that they belong at weddings unless they are in the wedding party. And even then, they shouldn’t be under five years old. And please don’t get me started on people who RSVP for two and then drag along their kids because they couldn’t find a babysitter. I was planning a New Year’s Eve wedding and made it very clear on the response cards that the reception was “Adults Only”. If people didn’t like it they were more than welcome to stay home.

    14. That’s why it’s call an invitation…an invitation does not mean you have to come…your are simply invited to come…if the event does not appeal to you, don’t come…I know it’s not always that simple but it should be:) When is your wedding Triple B?

    15. Mother of the Bride 2 says:

      As a planner I am all in favor of adult only weddings. As a parent I am all in favor of adult only weddings.

      My biggest problem with children at weddings or any other event is the lack of supervision by their parents.
      At the ages of 3 and 5 my own children were the only children at one of my dearest friend’s wedding because they were the ring bearer and flower girl. They were well attended to by both myself and their Godmother, but it was still a long day for my little people.

      I do think every couple has the right to have the wedding of their dreams and the people who don’t come because their feelings are hurt because little Johnny or Cindy Lou can’t come will either find a sitter or they won’t come. But the wedding will go on.

      Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

    16. I have a 4 year old, and I’m getting married in September. We are choosing to have children at our wedding, but only for some folks. We want children that we know are well behaved and whose parents know how to help them handle being at a very important ceremony and reception. It’s your wedding, your choice. People should understand that.

    17. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      Thanks so much for weighing in, everybody! Your feedback and encouraging words are much appreciated.

      @Jackie – I’m scheduled to wed this fall.

    18. Evolme4412 says:

      I am a big fan of no kid policy. My parents just celebrated their 25th Anniversary and renew their vows this past saturday. They did another ceremony and a reception. I was the maid of honor, I was very frustrated because many people brought about four kids with them, some did not rsvp and had the nerve to bring their kids. We had to create a table for the kids in the back somewhere because it is an inconvenience for the people that did rsvp. One lady said that her child will not be moving, I was going to put her and her child out, my friend stop me. I love kids and they are beautiful but many people don’t control their children and they are running around sometimes ruining the ceremony. If you cant find a person to watch your kids, well unfortunately you can’t come. I am not married yet but when that time comes that will be the policy, and you will be turn away if you break the rules.

    19. Evolme4412 says:

      My nieces and nephews will be allowed, the biggest issue is people don’t control their children and they get mad when you tell them to do so. Solve that problem and dont attend all together

    20. I also agree with the no children rule.I have my flower girls and my cousins kids attending(both are12) and maybe 2 other kids. Weddings are not for children and I’m sure the parents would want to enjoy the wedding without any interruptions.

    21. Carla A. Nelson says:

      I am planning an adult only wedding and have no reservations about it. My fiancé and me are the ones paying for the food, the seats (number of chairs costs too), the beverages, etc. Not to mention it will be in the evening. People can be so selfish (especially family) when it coms to planning YOUR party (wedding or any other celebration) yet they don’t contribute to paying for a thing! I am constantly being told by my wedding planner “this is your wedding, not anyone else’s. You have to do what works for you and your fiancé.
      Continue to do your thang’ Ms. B.

    22. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      I really do appreciate all the wonderful feedback. You guys rock! The truth is, there are a lot of folks who don’t agree with adult-only weddings (they just aren’t commenting, LOL!) but I’m so happy Mr. TK and I are doing it our way — cue the Frank Sinatra.

    23. Patricia says:

      I got married last year and it was an adult only reception. Out of fairness (and a large contingent of kids in our family) we made NO exception. I only had one person who was upset by it: an aunt on my side (mind you all of her kids are mostly grown. She did want to show off her new, under 1 year old, grand son). She told my mom she felt like I was silently uninviting her…I wasn’t. I called her (again) and let her knew that’s what it was going to be. AFTER the wedding, EVERYONE let us know how much fun they had and that they understand why it wouldn’t have been a good place for children…even my aunt. SHe had so much fun and I know she knows she would not been able to have that much of a good time if she had to watch her grandson the whole time…

    24. Each couple should do as they see fit…but I wish that a few of the pro-/ok with kids readers would comment and back me up!

    25. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      @Ronda – Be sure to check out the addendum on this post.

    26. Neat-O!!! I will see if we can incorporate this great service.

    27. Miss Holder says:

      Wow, it’s so ironic that I’m reading this article after getting into a heated disagreement with my 1st cousins 3 weeks ago over me and my fiancé not wanting children (other than the kids in the wedding) @ the wedding, speaking as a wife-to-be trying really hard to plan a stress free wedding, it really was frustrating to hear people trying to dictate to me and tell me how I should have my wedding, especially when they’re not the ones that are paying for or helping out with the wedding bill. People really need to realize and respect that a wedding is already expensive enough without adding the price for children to attend your wedding, they really don’t realize that this stuff does add up. (sorry for the essay, just venting)

    28. Latrice says:

      I’m getting married oct 1 and have two daughters (3 and 5 months) and a soon to be step daughter (7) besides them since they are in the wedding and my 13 & 16 yr old nieces who are jr bridesmaids, I am having an adult only reception and my family tends to think they don’t have to adhere to it. There are way to many kids in both of our families and I want to have a good time without them being all in the dance floor or screaming during the ceremony. Heck I’m still trying to find a way to have my children leave the reception right after dinner. We are having an open bar and I want everyone to enjoy themselves without worrying about kids

    29. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      @Miss Holder & Latrice – Many thanks for sharing your stories!

    30. mrsCielatka says:

      My reception, 9mons ago, was an adult only affair, which was agreed upon from day one! My then fiance and I went to a wedding where children interrupted vows and all and we knew then we didnt want that with our wedding. The only children that were there was the flower girl and her two siblings, so she wouldn’t be alone. and those kids had a mother that DIDNT PLAY! They were on their A+ behavior. and our ceremony and reception were great!!!! Best decision ever!
      If ppl get offended they dont have to come! they should understand & respect you guys’ decision and be grateful that they were even invited!

    31. Mrs. Williams says:

      We did not allow children below 5 to attend the ceremony and provided child care at the church. No children were in the ceremony. I just didn’t want anyone’s behavior to interrupt my wedding. If people were offended, they didn’t share it with me. Children were free at our reception.

    32. There were a lot of kids at my wedding and I still enjoyed every minute of it. I prefer the children to be there and i wasn’t willing to cut family members out. i didn’t have the children of friends. On the flip side I can also respect the adult only policy is fine on weddings as well. However the policy needs to be the same across the board. A family member of ours recently got married and we were told for well over eight months that there were no children in the wedding or attending the wedding. I didn’t love it but I am also adult enough to know it isn’t my day. My children ages 2 and 4 were the only direct cousin of either the bride or the groom. Then a very short time before the wedding the bride chose another 4 year old girl to be in the wedding. The four year old flower girl has a 2 year old sister who was also at the wedding. It appears my children were specifically excluded. So while it is your day, if you have your own children, fine. But be equal when you start you start talking extended family or friends. If you are having a few nieces and nephews and leaving out other nieces and nephews it can cause hurt feelings.

      And just a side note. When we told the bride we were a little hurt that our children were not included when others were, we were not invited to the wedding after that. We have tried to talk to them on several occasions but they won’t talk to us.

    33. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      @Kathy – Thanks for commenting and being honest with your views on this topic. I find it odd that the couple you referenced stopped talking to you and your husband. Effective communication is key to any healthy relationship and sometimes as adults we have to agree to disagree.

      As far as the rules being the same across the board for the no children rule at weddings and receptions, I hear you but I stand by my feelings that the couple saying I Do should do what works best for them and their situation. My fiance and I are incorporating quite a few unconventional twists into our wedding. We realize a couple of these might ruffle some feathers. But such is life. We are truly trying our best to be as graceful about it all and going out of our way to cut costs for all involved when/where we can. Some people will still complain. We’re okay with this and would rather put more energy into keeping our union healthy and happy. Again, I think it is an unwise (and unrealistic) idea for a couple to go into a marriage thinking they’re always going to please all their friends and family. Marriage presents enough challenges without taking on those.

    34. When did we become so selfish? all of a sudden the way we used to do things is wrong? Children have always been part of & attending weddings. How would your day be ruined by a baby crying, or saying something? People are trying to have perfect weddings, how about a a perfect marriage? Divorce rate is now 60%? Right? Children need to be a part of love& public displays of our unions, it’s a family tradition. How else will they know about what God has put together. Selfish ass people, geeez! And we wonder what is happening to our society. Oh yeah & if you can’t afford kids @ your wedding cut back somewhere else or you can’t afford it!!! Or be creative, count 2 kids as 1 adult for the caterers, uggggh get your life!!! Sick of it!!

    35. If people are upset by this & there is so much discussion about it doesn’t that say something…hello!!!

    36. And you cannot tell people how to parent, are your friends/family kids that bad? Please! What can a kid do that is so harmful at a wedding, little girls want to Dance & see the pretty bride, to have something to dream about & so do little boys… people are just being selfish & trying to have over the top weddings, please sit down! Save your money so you won’t be arguing with your spouse later over money, #1 reason couples break up over!! what else do we want to cut kids out of?

    37. And another thing a wedding & reception is not a club party event! It is a public display if your union before God, family & friends & celebration after! If you are that deprived & want to get rid of your kids so you can party you have issues! Plan another time to have date night without the kids, Uggghh I am very upset about this, have gone to two of these selfish events, God help you all and your kids, wait until they ask you about why you didn’t let them go to the wedding!!

    38. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      @D – You seem very passionate about this topic. Thanks for stopping by Triple B and commenting!

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