How to say "no children" on wedding invitations

Updated February 21, 2017

Weddings are celebratory events that are supposed to be all about the bride, groom and their wishes. Due to the formal and social details often associated with weddings, certain etiquette is typically expected and exhibited. According to etiquette expert Emily Post, it is never acceptable to write the statement "no children" or any deviation thereof. However, you must find a way to spread the word in a tactful way if you want guests to understand that children are not invited.

Include a line at the very bottom of your invitation stating, "Adult only reception" or "Adults only." This does go against traditional wedding etiquette.

Use specific terminology on RSVP cards if you want to get your message across without having it printed directly onto your invitation. For example, write, "We have reserved two seats in your honour" for a couple.

List only the adults' names on the outer and inner envelopes. Recipients of an invitation that does not include their children's names on the inner envelope should understand their children are not invited, but everyone may not understand that.

Spread the word that your wedding is for adults only through other avenues. Ask close friends and relatives to spread the word, write "Adults only reception" on your wedding website or call friends and family who have children. Let them know you're planning an adults-only reception and want to give them plenty of time to line up a babysitter.


Remain firm on your decision. Allowing your sister's kids to attend but refusing your brother-in-law's children will cause tension. The only exception is to possibly include any children in your wedding party, though that can still cause hurt feelings.


Prepare yourself for some friends and relatives who may skip your wedding because they cannot bring their children. You may find yourself explaining your reasoning to a few friends or relatives who can't imagine a wedding without their children in attendance.

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About the Author

Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.