Wedding Etiquette — How to Politely NOT invite +1s and Kids

Wedding Etiquette - How to Politely Not Invite Plus Ones and Kids - Taylor'd Events Group

I have said it before and I will say it again. The biggest way to save budget is to keep your guest count low. Once make your list and check it twice, it is inevitable that you will realize “Bob Smith” started dating that girl a couple months ago, and now you are left wondering if you should invite her to your wedding or not. There is no hard and fast rule on inviting or not inviting +1s and kids, but they are an easy way to cut down the number of guests. Not to mention, maybe you have strong feelings surrounding a kids-free party or not inviting new significant others (or complete strangers) you don’t know.

Kids Free Reception

  • State that the “Venue is 21+.” Put this on your wedding website, your save the dates, and your invitations. Set the precedence early and carry it through all the way.
  • Address your Save the Dates and Invites to indicate that only the adults of the family are invited. This means the invite should go to the adults only with no mention of the kids.
  • Spread the word to trusted family and close friends that it is an Adults-only wedding. This will allow them to speak up if another guests mentions something or asks if that is indeed the case.
  • If you are comfortable being explicit, add an “Adults Only” line to your Save the Dates, Wedding Website, and Invitations.
  • If you feel like this is going to be a major problem use your RSVP card as another indicator of how many are invited. The line where guests can write in the number attending opt for “____ of ____ attending.” This means that you would have to write in the number of people invited from that party in the second blank. While this is extra work in the beginning, it can save you a lot of headache later.
  • If a guest does RSVP for their kids, then call them in advance of the wedding and explain that there will be no kids at the wedding. While this will feel harsh, it is better to have a conversation prior to the wedding day versus the matter coming up on the day-of.
  • Newborns tend to be the one exception to this rule. 6 months or younger (especially the little ones that are under 3 months) will be attached to mom the whole night and are generally quiet. New parents will come for only a few short hours and are generally very aware of more than a peep.

To Add the +1 or not…

After you start to realize the per-person cost of each guest at your wedding, it is 100% understandable to be hesitant to keep +1’s limited. I personally don’t really count someone’s long-term significant other as a “plus one.” If you know their name, they are just another guest. I am talking about the single friends or the friends with a brand new significant other they met two months prior.

  • Address the envelope to the wedding guest only with no mention of “and guest.”
  • Check out my point above about the “___ of ___ attending.” That tactic also works when you are concerned someone is going to get a plus one.
  • Stay consistent. Don’t change up the rules for one person or another. I have seen this come back to haunt couples.
  • If this is someone in your bridal party or someone invited to another wedding related event (rehearsal dinner or day-after brunch) this plus -one should also be invited to that gathering.

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