People Are Split on This Increasingly Common Wedding Trend

July 8th 2016

Laura Donovan

After choosing our wedding venue in January, my fiance and I made a difficult but necessary decision: Aside from my six nieces and nephews, all of whom are in the wedding party, we won't allow children at our nuptials ceremony next year.

My fiance and I have nothing against little ones. We look forward to having a big family of our own someday. Our venue, however, isn't kid friendly, and we want to keep costs down. Keeping children off the guest list is a significant way for us to do that.

Adults-only weddings are growing in popularity.

We're not alone. Many wedding websites now offer tips on how to word wedding invitations to indicate that a ceremony is an adults-only occasion:


Kristin Banta, a wedding planner based in Los Angeles with clients all over the world, told ATTN: via phone that most of the weddings she oversees nowadays are adults only. Of the couples she works with who host such weddings, the majority of them want "something that is really a mature, sophisticated, and adults-only party" that would have a different vibe with children present.

"Sometimes that additionally breaks down into the expense and sort of planning that goes into having secondary plans for the children," Banta said. "That can mean sitters. That can mean entertainment. That can mean alternate menus."

Alexandra Rembac, also a Los Angeles-based wedding planner who works with clients all over the world, told ATTN: over the phone that she has noticed adults-only weddings on the rise for a long time and that people seem to accept them more now than perhaps in the past:

"Maybe it was something that five, 10 years ago people were a little hesitant with. But today people have no problem and no shame in coming out and saying it's an adults-only reception to follow, or 'We have a babysitter lined up if you would like any referrals.'"

It's no secret that weddings are expensive and that not all couples can invite children. But adults-only weddings still spark a lot of mixed feelings.

Writer Melissa Petro recently penned a piece for Ravishly calling out David Andrew Stoler's Salon op-ed that encourages others to invite his children to their wedding. Petro criticized Stoler's regret that he had been "self-centered and selfish" for not allowing all of his friends to bring their kids to his own wedding.

"Stoler wrote his piece in the second person," Petro said. "So when he tells my fiance and me that we are 'self-centered and selfish' for not tacking on a couple extra thousands of dollars to our reception bill so that our friends can bring their kids, I take that as personally as it comes."

But guests who have children argue that adults-only ceremonies cost them a lot of money, too.

Adults-only weddings may force parents to use babysitting services, Chaunie Brusie wrote last year on YourTango:

"For us, to attend the ceremony and a reception, I'll easily shell out over 100 bucks on a babysitter, plus the wedding gift. It's a horrendously expensive date night, and I'm sorry (and no offense to you and the love of your life), but that's really asking a lot of your guests with young children. I know you think that you might be doing us a favor by giving us a 'night out,' but that's not really the case when $100+ could buy me a whole lot of date night elsewhere."

Banta and Rembac said that communication is key when informing guests that the wedding will be an adults-only occasion.

"When the invitation arrives, it should address exactly who is being included," Banta said. "So if it's to Mr. and Mrs. Wellesley, then it's to Mr. and Mrs. Wellesley and no one else. If it's to the Wellesley family, then that means to include the children."

Rembac told ATTN: that she frequently sees guests RVSP with their children's names, even if the children weren't explicitly included in the invitation:

"At that point, our couple has to say, 'We're so sorry, this is an adults-only reception,' or [the couple we invited are] our co-workers, we really don't want to make a big deal about it, we're just going to let it slide and make it work.'"

Providing an option for guests goes a long way.

Both Banta and Rembac said that the children who are in the wedding party tend to be exceptions for adults-only ceremonies, but that further conflict can arise if the exceptions go beyond the flower girls, ring bearers, etc. This is why Banta recommends hiring an on- or off-site babysitter so guests with children don't have to skip out on the wedding entirely because they weren't offered any help.


"Many times, they're making a huge sacrifice already and paying an exorbitant amount to travel to a location outside of their home," Banta said. "They are making sacrifices, and it's important that that sacrifice is recognized in a gracious manner by the host."

Banta added that giving couples a solution is the best way to go:

"If you're going to present them with a problem, just [as] with anything, you have to equally and thoroughly present them with a solution at the same time. 'We're giving you a free night, we're giving you a place where you don't have to worry about them.'"