Solving the "Adults Only" dilemma

You're engaged to the love of your life, and you've started to plan your big day.

You've got ideas for colors, centerpieces, flowers, favors, and more. Your pinterest account is overflowing with wedding inspiration boards. It's all you think about, day and night.

Everyone you ever knew (and lots of people you don't) will be at your reception. This is huge, and you're starting to feel the gravity of it all. This is your first day together as a married couple, and you want to start it off just right: with a gorgeous reception. Only kicker is- you have loads of people you would like to be there... just not their children. Nothing against kids or anything; it's just that you know you (and you're mother in-law alike) will have a heart attack at the sight of little Tommy dipping his fingers in the cake. We don't blame you!

We love kids, but a lot of times weddings aren't the best place for them to play.

If you're in this boat, you're probably concerned at what others will think of your decision to not have children at your wedding/reception. Some will support you in it, but some will have strong opinions against it (and won't hesitate one bit to share them with you). You'll have to be ready for that.

So the question is, how do you break the news that the little dears aren't invited?

This is a concern for many brides, and I'm happy to clear this up for you.

You'll be glad to hear that there are a few different ways this can be accomplished while maintaining formality and respect. Both good!

Go the traditional route

Traditionally, those who are addressed on the inner envelopes are those who are invited to the event. A problem with that is that tradition is slowly diminishing over time, and many brides these days don't have inners envelopes- just outers. And you and I both know that a lot of people disregard who an envelope is precisely addressed to. It's a piece of mail, and they're anxious to open it; the envelope ends up in the trash.

It's all in the wording

Many brides are concerned that it's tacky to mention "Adults Only" anywhere on your main invitation. Our answer to that is: it all depends on how you say it. If you were to flat out say, "Adults only," you can bet your boots that will come off as offensive to many, so make sure to check out our examples below.

RSVP round up

Check out these examples from a couple invitations we did recently. These are options we recommend to make it clear, without question, that only a limited number of guests are anticipated.




Consider this...

If leaving the kids out is out of the question, but you're still concerned they'll be a nuisance, an option is to offer a babysitting service at your reception. Plan fun activities to occupy the children's hands and minds, like a photobooth, crafts (so many great kids' crafts can be found on Pinterest), etc. The Knot has some great suggestions in this article for some ways to keep the kiddos busy.

There are various options for every event; if your event happens to be formal enough that kids would be a distraction, by all means, feel free to request that they stay at home.

Keep in mind that a great wedding maintains the balance between the comfort of the guests and the wants of the bride and groom. You know better than anyone how the event should go, so make it happen!

What's next?

You're most likely wondering what to do next. If you're still undecided, I would suggest doing some more research on options for you. Each wedding is different, so you have to be the one to really do some feeling around and see what's right for your event.

Chances are you're not quite sure whether or not your guests would cringe at the idea of a children-free event (or visa versa). Ask them! Don't hesitate to get feedback from a few choice people you trust. Visit with your spouse-to-be and see what they think. You two will decide together, and between you and me, your guests will deal.

Last, but certainly not least, don't stress! Your day will turn out great, and you'll look back on it with fond memories. Good luck and let us know if you have any questions!

-- Dana and The Ann Elizabeth Team

PS, make sure to share this with your friends! We know you know someone who could benefit from this.

Everything You Need to Know about Save the Dates

It is more than common for brides to have questions about Save the Dates. To send or not to send? What information HAS to be included?  In today's post, I'll cover the "ins and outs" of Save the Dates, and help you decide if these wedding reminders are a necessity for your wedding or not.

Do I need to send Save the Dates?

This is kind of a trick question, because it really depends on a few key things, like if your wedding is:

  • a destination wedding for everyone; you AND your guests will be traveling somewhere for the wedding.

    If you've got everyone jetting somewhere for your big day, it's best to give them as much time as possible to book their airfare, hotels, etc.

  • a destination wedding for your guests; you live in the area you're "tying the knot," but some or all of your guests will be flying in.

    Just because it's not a destination for you, doesn't mean it's not for them! Let's say you live in California, and want to get married on the beach you got engaged on. Your big, Italian family from New Jersey is flying in, so it's best to give them time to book travel and lodging.

  • your wedding date is on or over a holiday/ holiday weekend.

    This is one people tend to over-look. If you're planning on getting married over a national holiday- let's say Independence Day weekend- it's best to give people a "heads-up" so they can make sure they're there for your wedding.

  • Here's a special one: your region's traditions.

It may come as a surprise, but the United States has different traditions based on its different regions. The eastern US tends to expect more traditional correspondence, including a Save the Date (which, itself, is comparatively a newer element of wedding correspondence). The western US tends to be more relaxed about expectations for what you send and what you don't. Simply read up on what the majority of your guests would anticipate for your event and be sure to accomodate them.

Do my Save the Dates need to match my wedding invitations?

Not necessarily. Some brides-to-be panic a little bit over the myth that they need to exactly match their Save the Dates with their invitations; that they'll have to commit to a given theme prematurely, then if they end up wanting to change, it'll be too late. Your Save the Dates definitely don't need to match your invitations, but it is nice to have at least your colors, font(s), or a motif that is consistent throughout. Above all else, it is key that your Save the Dates reflect the tone of your event, whether it's formal, casual, etc.

When should I send my Save the Dates?

We recommend sending your Save the Dates six months to a year in advance. Have a shorter engagement, but still feel the need to send Save the Dates? The sooner you can send them, the better. Or, consider using a more non-traditional method of getting your wedding date known, like a wedding website.

What information do I need to include?

These may seem painfully obvious, but there are some Save the Dates we've seen that fail to mention some of this crucial information:

  1. Names of the Bride- and Groom- to-be
  2. The date of your wedding
  3. The location of your wedding
  4. Information that a formal invitation will follow
  5. List your wedding website if you have one, where information regarding lodging, wedding day information, etc may be found.

The way you give this information is completely up to you, but remember that your Save the Date sets the tone for your wedding. We don't recommend having a Save the Date that is really playful and informal when you plan to have a black tie wedding.

Who should I send Save the Dates to?

It's a common misconception that you only need to send Save the Dates to certain guests- ones who will be traveling a great distance to your wedding. Don't do this. It is best practice to send a Save the Date to anyone you want at your wedding, no matter the distance they'll have to travel. If you send a Save the Date, include everyone you want in attendance at your ceremony and/or reception.

Hopefully this post clears up some confusion about Save the Dates. Have you seen a Save the Date that stood out to you for good or bad reasons? We want to hear about it! Leave a comment below.