Child-Free Weddings: How to Have One

The kids aren’t always alright, so what happens when you don't want children at your wedding?  

For a start, expect to ruffle a few feathers.  You may have to accept that some guests won't attend if they have to leave the little ones at home.  Childcare isn't always cheap and it's not always easy to arrange. Some parents will consider your request selfish.


What's the first rule of wedding planning? YOU CAN'T PLEASE EVERYONE, but telling people that you're having a child-free ceremony or reception is a delicate situation, so here's what you can do to make it easier.

  • Be CLEAR on the invitation that it's adults only.  Guests will otherwise presume that the whole family is invited.  Name each person individually to avoid confusion and then double check the RSVPs as they come back to make sure no extra names have been added.

  • The wording is key. Be clear but also be polite.

  • Decide on what you mean by child-free: under eighteen? Under twelve?  Over five?  Children outside of the immediate wedding party?  Give people a hard definition to reduce any confusion or wishful thinking.

  • Don’t be afraid of a little white lie if you think it’ll help people understand why children can't come: budget, numbers or venue space are all things that people understand and for some that’s more acceptable than ruling out children just because you don’t like them.

  • Of course, you don't have to offer an explanation if you don't want to.  

  • Be consistent. Don't cherry pick which children to invite and which not to.  Not only is this deeply hurtful, it'll create an atmosphere on the day that will be hard to lift. Of course, there may be reasonable exceptions to this rule: babies still nursing and children in the immediate wedding party.

  • Is there any way you could help arrange or suggest local babysitters or childminders? If there are enough guests with children you could offer a mobile creche. They’re expensive BUT with enough parents chipping in it could present a viable alternative. Speak to your wedding coordinator, too, and ask how other couples have approached this.

Looking for an LGBT-friendly wedding venue or service provider?  Visit the Pink Wedding Days website and start planning your dream day.

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