Ask the Wedding Maven: Children and Rehearsal Dinners

by Marta
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Dear Wedding Maven,
Could you please suggest appropriate wording for rehearsal dinner invitations, to indicate that it is for adults only? There are some invitees with young kids, but the dinner is intended only for the grown ups. But saying "adults only" sounds a little odd, as does "Leave the kids at home." Do you have any suggestions that won't hurt anyone's feelings?

Signed
Hostess

Dear Hostess,
As the mother of two adorable kids I say THANK YOU! I love going to adults-only events, and I hate it when well-meaning people try to get me to bring my children to events being held at places or times that are inappropriate for kids. It’s very difficult to enjoy my martini while my over-tired three-year-old launches bread sticks at his sister.

That being said, I believe invitations should be inviting. They should be welcoming and informative. There is no way to put restrictions on an actual invitation without offending someone. Putting restrictions sends the message "Hi, we want you, but only under these circumstances." By the way, that's also why I don't like gift registry info on an invitation because it says "You're invited, here's how much it costs."

I would insert a small note in only those invitations where it's needed that says, "Unfortunately, the place where we are holding the rehearsal dinner is not appropriate for children. If you need help finding childcare, please let me know."

This last line is only necessary if you are inviting out-of-town guests with children. Many people traveling from out of town with children will not feel comfortable leaving their children in a hotel with a sitter, so please keep in mind that in these cases, only one parent will probably attend. If you really want both parents to attend, you may want to consider hiring a sitter at the event itself. A service like Sitter City can help you find someone qualified in your area.

If the people with children are local, you can include the note without the last line. I would NOT recommend doing this for a wedding invitation. For a wedding invitation, the invitation should be addressed only to those being invited (the parents), and the issue of children should be handled on an individual basis, when the bride and groom discover that some people did not understand who was and wasn’t invited.

There’s never a guarantee that you won’t offend someone, some people are just easily offended. But as long as you and the happy couple agree that you won’t be offended if some parents don’t attend, I think it will all work out.

Do you need wedding advice? Do you have a question about wedding traditions, etiquette or relationships? Ask the Wedding Maven at weddingmaven@onewed.com.

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