How to make it VERY clear that you want an adults-only celebration

Whether you’re planning a formal, destination, or backyard vow renewal, wanting it to be child-free seems reasonable enough. There’s always a chance for an exception, unfortunately. Your grown children may not understand that includes your grandchildren. Or you may have friends with a new baby that is breastfeeding that they can’t bear to leave even for a few hours who can’t imagine that includes their baby. While you may still be happy if your child-free vow renewal is mostly kid-free, what if this is really not what you had in mind? Here are five tips to keep your vow renewal truly child-free.

Address Invitations Properly

The most traditional way to let people know children aren’t included in the invitation to your vow renewal is with proper envelope addressing. If you’re inviting only a couple, the envelope should be addressed to “Mr. Michael Barrett and Mrs. Karie Barrett.” Putting their names on the invite means they’re invited—and no one else is. If you address the invitation to “The Barrett Family,” you’re including parents and children. Make sure you only include the specific people you want to invite when addressing your envelopes.

Spell it out on the Invitation

Not everyone knows the details of the etiquette for addressing invitation envelopes, so you’ll also want to spell it out on the invitations. Start by adding the words “Adults Only” in the lower-left corner of your invitation, opposite where you’ve printed the dress code to reinforce your message. You can also add a line that reads “___ of ___ guests will be attending,” on the RSVP card and fill in that second line with the number of people the invitation is for.

Be Prepared for “No”

Some guests will be thrilled at the idea of having an adults-only night to themselves for your vow renewal. Others won’t want to leave their children at home for the night (or the weekend). Other guests might really want to attend, but can’t manage the costs and logistics involved for childcare. This means some of your invited guests with children will not be in attendance at your vow renewal.

Think through who the parents are on your guest list that your child-free policy might impact. Decide with your spouse how important it is to you to have those people at your vow renewal. If you’re concerned about which guests or about how many guests this will impact, you might need to reconsider your stance.

Offer Childcare

Make arrangements to have childcare available on-site or close by. Covering the cost of babysitting will do wonders to help ensure your vow renewal is child-free. Some venues will offer babysitting services as part of their service options. You can also arrange for your own childcare providers. Make sure to include an RSVP card for childcare with your invitations if you will be offering these arrangements.

Announce it Everywhere

The more frequently you note that children aren’t invited, the more likely your wishes are for a child-free vow renewal are to come true. Great strategies include adding “Adults Only” to your save the dates, invitations, and website. Opting for a plated dinner with a menu that is clearly not child-friendly can also reinforce the message. Finally, you can spread the word in casual conversation by mentioning how much you are looking forward to spending an adults-only evening with everyone.

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