Whether it’s due to budget restrictions, venue capacity or simply personal preference, child-free weddings are not nearly as uncommon as you may think. There are plenty of reasons to opt for an adult-only ceremony or reception, or both, and the decision is completely yours! You might be surprised how many parents appreciate the opportunity to let their hair down and celebrate your big day with you, without added responsibilities!
If you’re feeling a little nervous about your decision to throw a child-free wedding, it can be helpful to have some strategies on hand to avoid any awkwardness in the lead-up to the celebration. Planning a child-free wedding without feeling guilty comes down to quality communication and empathy. From expressing expectations early to dealing with travel and childcare dilemmas, keep reading for some tips on planning an adult-only wedding that your guests will love!
Determine Exceptions in Advance
If you’re set on hosting a child-free wedding, it’s important to prepare any exceptions to the rule.
When creating your guest list, make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Are you saying no to kids, or will there be flexibility for newborns, immediate family members, or guests who may be traveling from further away? You’ll also want to determine whether “child-free” applies to older kids, too. Are teenagers over 13 welcome, or will it be an 18+?
Ensuring you and your partner are both aware of any exceptions to the “adults-only” rule will avoid any confusion later on in the planning process.
Communicating Empathically & Respectfully
It is the secret to any great marriage, and it applies here too! Effectively communicating expectations for your guests early and upfront is the most respectful approach, and usually the most well-received. Keep in mind that parents will need to make alternative arrangements for their kids in order to join you. It’s important to be considerate of this and give them a heads-up as soon as possible.
From your save the dates to your invitations and wedding website, a varying level of detail is usually recommended for each form of communication.
Save the Dates - Save the dates are designed to be short and sweet. Guests aren’t expecting too much detail at this stage, so you don’t need to specifically reference the fact that this will be a child-free celebration. However, you can subtly begin to set these expectations by addressing your save the dates to the exact invitees by name.
Wedding Invitations - Your wedding invitations are an opportunity for you to elaborate on the details. This is where your guests are expecting to learn more about your wedding day plans, and can begin making their own preparations. Be considerate, understanding, respectful and to the point! For example:
“Although we love your little ones, please note our wedding reception will be an adult-only affair.”
We suggest leaving out words like “kid-free” or “child-free” which may come across negatively.
Wedding Website - While you don’t need to justify your decision to plan an adults-only celebration, you might want to include some insight to help your guests understand your intentions. Referencing external factors like venue suitability or guest list capacity is a good tactic to take any emotion out of the issue. For example:
“Although we love little ones (and especially yours!), unfortunately our venue is unsuitable for children under 12. Thank you for your understanding!”
“Regrettably due to venue restrictions this will be an adults-only celebration (with the exception of newborn bubs and their mamas!). We can’t wait to see you there!”
Although it’s important to get the message across clearly, you don’t want this to be a focal point of your homepage or dramatically emphasized. Be tactful and simply slot these details into your FAQs or the information tab of your wedding website.
The most important thing to remember is your wedding day is just that - yours! No matter what preferences you have, our team at Captain Anderson’s Event Center is ready to make your big day one to remember! If you are looking for available wedding venues, contact us to tour our extraordinary banquet halls and floor plans in Panama City Beach, Florida. Our waterfront views and amenities are sure to make your celebration even better! You can also view our venue on The Knot and WeddingWire!