April 15, 2009

invitation wording: adults-only party

pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around, look at my pinwheel and see what I found

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Reader Rochelle asks, "How do you tastefully tell people to leave the kids at home...it's an adult-only affair?"

Answer: Carefully, Rochelle. Very carefully.

While there are, of course, many good reasons why someone would choose to turn their party into a kids-free zone, this can be a very sensitive issue for some people, mainly parent-type people. They may feel they are less welcome at your event or that you are rejecting their kids.

Here's how to avoid hurt feelings:

  • Keep it positive. Sometimes wording can make all the difference. A phrase like "adults only" sounds a bit less negative than "no kids allowed."
  • Add an explanation. You'll avoid questions later if you pre-emptively explain your reasons in your invitation's message to guests. No need to over-apologize; just keep it honest and simple: "Sorry, money is tight right now," "Unfortunately, our place isn't kid-proof," "We're too limited on space to invite everybody," "Thought it would be fun to get together with just the grownups. Kids invited next time!"
  • Make no exceptions. Some guests may contact you to ask if their kids can attend. While you may be tempted to give in, it's best not to — or you'll risk upsetting the guests who respected your wishes. If asked, tell them you don't think it would be fair to other guests. You can also offer to help find a sitter or see if any other guests want to share a sitter so the kids can have their own mini party while you have yours.
  • Smile and roll with it. If some guests show up with children in tow, resist the urge to say something or get upset. As a host, it's your job to make guests feel welcome (even if they aren't). You might even want to have some kid-friendly food and drinks on hand, just in case.

Posted by Eva on April 15, 2009 in Etiquette

Permalink | Comments (10)

10 responses to "invitation wording: adults-only party"

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"You might even want to have some kid-friendly food and drinks on hand, just in case."

absolutely not. the guests were told it was an adults only party so they can eat caviar, stinky cheeses, crudites and drink dirty martinis, hoppy beer, and big red wines like the rest of the guests. hmph!

I'm with you Margaret!! I have 3 kids who are older, and I had better sense than to take my kids to an "Adults Only" party! People should respond "no" if they don't have a baby sitter.

If people bring their kids, send them packing! I've done it! Then the next issue will be, "I was offended at the type of language used at your party." So to avoid that, tell "OUT" and please read invitations. Sounds rude but it's rude to not honor an invite too.

When couples think this may be a problem I always recommend dealing with it BEFORE it becomes an issue. Call those friends/relatives who you think may bring children and ask them if they are traveling with their kids and if so, since it's an adults only party, will they need recommendations for a babysitter? This way, they get the hint about no kids, and you've offered a solution if they absolutely have to bring their children. Win-Win.

I think it's so rude when people assume they can bring anyone to a party who wasn't invited!

I am hosting a bridal shower with no kids. The mom-to-be is a teacher and always around kids and decided to throw an elegant luncheon. I used the line "Leave the kiddos and hubbies at home and enjoy a luncheon with the ladies to celebrate the arrival of ... I think this was to the point and showed that this an adult function.

I agree with Margaret, if people show up with their kids it's just plain rude. That's like showing up at a black tie event in sweats. If you can't make arrangements for you children, you should respectfully decline the invitation. My two cents.

I had this happen to me and I tell you it ruined the rest of my night. I had a adult party and it stated that within my evite. However, a family member brought their children. My husband got mad at me, but it was my party. Next time I will do like Patte says: I will let them know at the door, because if you want my respect, respect my wishes and do not bring your kids...

i just added this to my invite! it's kind of an adult party but if it means we won't see you otherwise, bring your little one(s). but you have to be sure it is ok with you! mine is a more casual affair, and usually my parties do include the whole family, so it was natural for people to ask. and yes, i will have a casual foods table for kids that do show up and the young at heart and i even have a kid activity on hand if need be! it takes a village....

Agreed. If someone is putting you in the position the be the bad guy/gal and ask you to make exceptions they obviously haven't thought about your feelings enough to care. It's not a crime to respectfully decline an invitation and should be done before ruining everyone else's evening.

I just had this issue with a wine tasting I'm hosting. I stated Adults only (even immature ones permitted). That seemed to work well. One person still asked and I informed them the adult themed nature of the party (all about wine and food pairing) won't just bore the wits out of a child but potentially the adults if it wasn't for the alcohol that will be flowing. LOL. I did provide them with the opportunity to bring over their child during a more appropriate window in the party where I'll have a surprise jazz singer doing xmas tunes. This helped them know it's not their child that's the issue but rather the nature of the festivity. Also, I don't want my group to have to edit themselves as it creates another layer of thought required that we don't want in a party setting.

I don't have my own children and few of my friends do have children. But any party I have is not family oriented, my friends smoke in the back outside, we enjoy a few cocktails, we don't want to edit our conversations or be cautious of how much we swear, if we do or don't doesn't matter, but we don't want to watch our language because a child is in the room.

I had a friend bring their child once and it was a nightmare. He was bored, he needed to be disciplined several times during the night, the parents were never "present" and attentive to other adults as they had to continuously switch off tending to the child so we never had satisfying moments with either of them. Overall it created a vibe that was not the vibe I had spent a lot of time creating & planning for my friends. Leave your children at home unless there are other people at the party who will have children there. It's completely unfair to the host.