How to Inform Guests Children Aren’t Invited to Your Wedding

Does the thought of kids at your wedding make you cringe just a bit?  It’s OK to admit it.  The truth is more and more brides, and grooms too, aren’t so enamored with the idea of children at their weddings.  Just the thought of crying children or sticky hands around your gown or your bridesmaids can make any bride extremely anxious.  

How to Let Guests Know Children aren't invited to your wedding

Being fair, not all parents are sensitive to the issue.  Some people just can’t imagine why a bride wouldn’t want their cute and lovable kids at her wedding.  I had a mother of a groom once say she didn’t want to have to worry about stepping over small children while others don’t want young children around alcohol.  

As a wedding planner, I am often asked how to tell guests children aren’t invited to their wedding.  Etiquette books state that the best way to exclude children from your wedding is to not mention the children’s names on the wedding invitation.  The inner envelope let’s your guests know who is invited.  If the inner envelope does not have their children’s names on it, they are not invited.

 This is the proper way to address a wedding invitation to a couple with children:

  • Outer Envelope:  Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McKee
  • Inner Envelope:  Mr. and Mrs. McKee
                                        Child and Child (first names)
  • The name of the oldest child is listed first followed by the names of his or her siblings in reverse chronological order.
  • Children over the age of 18 should receive a separate invitation

Nowadays, most custom invitations come with just the outer envelope.   If this is the case the proper way to address the outer envelope is as follows: 

Outer Envelope (when no inner envelope is included)

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McKee
Miss Daughter McKee
Master Son McKee

Therefore, if a child’s name is not listed on the outer envelope, they should know they are not invited.

Another proper way to exclude children on your wedding invitations is for the invitation to read:  Adult Reception to Follow, then include the name of the reception venue. If all else fails, and a guest still seems clueless and insists on bringing their children with them, call them before the wedding and explain why children should not be attending the wedding. 


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