Why We Chose An Adults-Only Wedding

Our RSVP deadline was last Friday and though we had received the majority back through the mail, we still had a few invited guests to reach out to in order to confirm their attendance. As one who dislikes any sort of confrontation, wording my messages correctly was important as I didn’t want guests to feel attacked. I considered how best to phrase my inquiries so no one took my affront as saying, “You didn’t send back your RSVP, are you coming or not?” I know better than most how busy life can get and can only imagine replying to a wedding invitation takes second/third/fiftieth priority following Spring ball games, cleaning schedules, school graduations, weekend vacations, etc.

I completely get it.

However, as I took to reaching out to those last 50 or so guests who hadn’t responded, a similar topic arose as to why some would not be able to attend our celebration. As this post’s title states, G and I chose to have an adults-only wedding. Since this is the hot topic of the week, I figured I’d dive into it in case anyone else is mucking through this sticky scenario as well. To the brides-to-be, breathe. This is a long-standing debate among many couples and families — you’re not alone — and one which takes special care to maneuver.

When G and I were settling our guest list, the topic of children emerged like a snarling dragon shortly into the discussion. As a wedding coordinator in the past, I had the majority of my weddings be adults-only. I personally liked those kids-free celebrations more than the ones which invited children. (I have a number of stories involving kids at weddings I coordinated — like the one where I had to go on the roof to track down two teens who had gotten bored and decided to go smoke a joint instead. Fun times!) But such parties were berated by a number of critics, including this certain article, and made us seriously consider our options. The Number One thing we wanted for our wedding was for it to be a fun, stress-free, and memorable celebration with our closest family and friends. We weighed the options. We asked for advice. We researched other’s weddings. And in the end we made our decision: to have an adults-only wedding.

And here is why:

1. We Love Your Children
First off, G and I absolutely adore children and we especially love the children of our loved ones! We cannot wait for the day (a few years in the future) when we become parents to our own little sunshine. In no way was our decision to host an adults-only wedding meant to be mean or exclusive. Rather we have some extremely legitimate reasons that broke our hearts to make that choice.

2. It Is A Financial Issue
When we began our guest list, we had a goal of less than 170 guests to be included. And even that amount was stretching it. Neither of us are keen on being the center of attention (I tend to have panic attacks when put in front of an audience) and neither of us wanted to spend a fortune for a large wedding. By the deadline of sending our invitations, though, our guest list had climbed to a hefty 250 guests, and that was only our adult guests. I have a fiance who has an incredibly wonderful but incredibly large family, and each member was important to us and our families to invite.

However, as we began looking into renting options, that hefty number seemed to glare at us. We realized we wouldn’t be able to utilize our inexpensive tent find of only $600 because the tent was simply too small. Which meant an increase of $800 that original amount to double the tent plus add tables and chairs. With knowing our families have been blessed with an abundance of little ones, adding children to our guest list would have meant an additional 80 seats, 10 tables, and the necessity of an even larger tent! As two people paying for the majority of their wedding and wanting to also have some money left over after the Big Day, we had to make cuts. And don’t even get me started on the additional cost of mouths to feed!

Unfortunately, when a budget is tight, the 2-year-old who will remember nothing or the 7-year-old who could care less about a wedding (but yet still cost something) were easier to cut than the friend known since kindergarten or the great-aunt who would never let you forget she wasn’t invited.

3. It Is A Legal Issue
Another huge impact on our judgment was in concern of our special event insurance. I spoke about our decision to purchase special event insurance a few months back in my post Special Event Insurance: Yay or Nay?. We opted to get insurance at our family’s private residence where we are hosting our reception. In the unlikely circumstance that something were to go awry at the farm, we wanted to have coverage for ourselves and our loved ones. Especially with alcohol being served, this was a necessity for us.

We were pleasantly surprised to find out special event insurance wasn’t expensive in terms of what is covered — we paid $125 for a great policy. This policy covers an adults-only event though. An additional $500 fee is associated with policies including minors being present. And if a minor were to be present at the reception under our current policy, the contract would be null. Legally (and financially) our only option was to keep the wedding adults-only. In one way this made things easier for us because we didn’t have a “gray area” on how we defined kids; our insurance policy states no minors so our wedding is restricted for 21-years-old and older. In another it brought some stress as it made us feel trapped in the off-chance a guest chose to bring their minor with them anyways. But we had to choose to draw the line.

4. It Is A Personal Choice, And A VERY Difficult One
The fact should be stated that G and I did make the wedding adults-only before all the financial and legal logistics became clear. And for those reasons we are thankful we did; I’m honestly not sure how we would have handled things had we invited children before coming to terms with everything else. However, it was our decision to have an adults-only wedding and we had a few personal experiences as to why.

First, we had a discussion on alcohol at the wedding. With G’s past and family members who do not drink, he preferred we not have any alcohol available. For me, I preferred we do. Not only because I would like to enjoy a glass of wine as the bride, but because my family do enjoy drinking (in moderation) at celebrations. Plus, in my experience, dry weddings tend to have a less-entertaining atmosphere and earlier end time. We compromised and settled for a self-service beer and wine bar with a limited number of drinks available. This meant both G and I were on alert that minors may be at risk since we were not going to hire a bartender, and chose to make the wedding 21+ only.

Second, not everyone likes kids at weddings. I don’t mean that in an insensitive or heartless way, but simply as a fact. A child’s behavior cannot be predicted at all times. G and I attended four weddings last summer, and somehow sat next to children at every single ceremony. Though the tykes were adorable, neither G nor I could hear the vows being exchanged at any of the weddings. At one ceremony we missed the final kiss because the little boy in front of us decided to stand up in the pew. At another we spent an hour having the backs of our seats kicked because Mom and Dad didn’t like discipline. As a couple wanting the best experience possible for our guests, hosting an adults-only wedding seemed ideal.

5. We Did What We Thought Best
Lastly, we knew we’d have some backlash for our decision to have a kids-free wedding. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we all make choices in our weddings that are going to offend certain people. It is inevitable. Our decision was not based on our preferences, or even our wallets. Our decision was made by what we thought was best for all involved in our Big Day — from the bridal party to the invited guests to even the vendors. We simply took what we considered the best route to take.

With all this being said, there are a few things I would have done differently. The biggest difference would have been adding “Adults Only” to the invitation. I know, I know, I know, EVERY SINGLE WEDDING ADVICE COLUMN TELLS YOU NOT TO DO THIS. Trust me, I know. That’s why I didn’t add those two words. Instead I kept to “perfect etiquette” rules: I addressed each invite to the adults only, I asked family and friends to spread the word, I made sure to mention this detail numerous times on our website, etc. If there was an award for correct etiquette when it came to this topic, I’d be receiving a trophy.

Yet there’s no trophy in my hand and a few hurt feelings from my guests.

As a bridal convict, I would highly advise adding those two words. Some may be offended. (But honestly, if they are, come on…) Some may never even notice. But maybe those who have children will, and you’ll be confronting the issue months before the RSVP is due. Frankly, you have enough to worry about when planning your wedding so just add “Adults Only” and move on to the next phase in the process.

All in all, I tried my best to navigate this sensitive subject. For the most part I succeeded, but there were still a few guests unhappy with our decision. Hopefully you can take some of my advice and use it for your benefit in your own planning.

As for this post, I hope I didn’t continue to offend anyone. The main point I am attempting to make is this: take a step back and realize how much thought goes into each and every decision of wedding planning by the couple. The vast majority of couples do not purposely offend their closest loved ones guests. I mean, they did consider you important enough to attend their multi-thousand dollar party, right? Use an adults-only wedding as an excuse to spend the night with your spouse, drinking, laughing, dancing, and celebrating one of your family member’s/friend’s most important day!

Happy planning, friends,

How We Saved Costs on Invitations & RSVPs

As I finish off my last bottle of Syrah and wait for G to finish leading his youth group, I am in a slightly better mood than when I arrived home this afternoon. I came home after a typical work day to find a sweet little gift on my front step. The gift, lovingly given by Mr. Postman, was a carton full of G’s and my wedding invitations — the invitations we had hand-crafted and dropped into the mail only two days prior. To accentuate the package, a handwritten sign was taped to the carton as well which read, “$0.21 needed on each due to enclosure.” It made me grimace…

And face-palm myself.

Now, to our defense, G and I did take a sample of our invitation to the post office when we bought postage. We tried to think ahead! This was to weigh the invite and purchase the correct amount of stamps necessary to mail. I am to blame for not including a piece of twine and paper doily to the mix though. So for any other bride-to-be out there, take your entire invitation package with you to the USPS when considering postage pricing.

I;m going to warn you: postage in itself is quite pricey, and also something I am not familiar with — I’ve never actually bought stamps before wedding planning. On top of the additional 21 cents now needed for our invites, the original postage cost was 50 cents per envelope. We opted to also provide postage for our return RSVP envelopes, so our grand total in postage was a hefty $120 (12 books of 20 stamps each, covering postage on 120 invitations and 120 RSVP envelopes.)

If those postage prices make you cringe, I urge you to stop reading now as our actual discussion today on invitations as a whole will leave you in the fetal position.

Still here?

Well let’s dive on in then…

One recurring theme in all my planning posts has been that G and I are attempting to cut costs at every corner while maintaining a fun, modern, and fashionable wedding. That means we want the majority of today’s wedding must-haves while also keeping a few dollars in our bank accounts since a large portion of the budget is coming from our pockets. This has not been an easy course as anything with the word “wedding” attached is priced high.

When it came to our invitations, I didn’t know much about stationary. I did know the theme I wanted them to have though: romantic and rustic.

By searching the multitude of websites boasting beautiful invitation designs available, I found the “funky names” invite on Minted and fell in love with its simplicity.

Cute scrawled letters and easy-to-read information on kraft paper was exactly what I was looking for! And with Minted, all the necessities (envelopes, RSVPs, details cards, etc.) are available with the same design. It seemed like a perfect match for #SlackTieEvent!

MIN-YRA-INV-001_E_PZ

As I began to input some numbers for budgeting’s sake, though, I quickly found my love melting away. For a guest list of 250 loved ones, we needed about 125 invitations. With “funky names” this meant that a flat card in kraft paper would come to $2.15 each. That made for a hefty price of $269.

Capture

This is not including any additives. Our guest list has a vast millennial deficit to it, meaning many of our guests would not be privy to online RSVPing. Since we kind of need to know a body count for food’s sake, this meant we needed RSVP cards. Add those little beauties to the package and you’re looking at an additional $172.

Then there is the necessary Reception — to remind guests that YES there is a party after the ceremony — and Direction cards for numerous out-of-town guests, and you’re looking at an additional $187 for each type. Since I also was wanting a bit of embellishment to the invites, I also threw in belly bands for an extra kick bringing my grand total for invitations to $886.

Say what?!

I could think of a whole lotta other things I’d rather spend that money on than some pieces of paper. So I started thinking of thriftier options…

It so happened that while I was searching for less expensive stationary, I came across a Pinterest board pointing me to the quaint little Etsy shop VineWedding. And all my hopes and dreams were answered by the click of a button!

VineWedding, as well as many other Etsy shops, provide all-inclusive, printable invitation templates. This means you could purchase a pre-designed invite to edit and print on your own. I am all about supporting artists on Etsy, and VineWedding had some of the most adorable templates imaginable! Plus, I could buy an invitation, detail card, RSVP, and small embellishments for the very-welcomed price of only $12.00. (My invitation choice has actually gone up in price to $15.60, but that is because the shop now offers a range in sizes for the templates.)

Since G and I already opted to have our Save the Dates printed at a local printer and we were adamantly against paying over $800 for stationary, we were on board to do the same with our invites. I contacted the printer with a template of our needed invites, and waited patiently for a response.

And we were so pleased with the results!

This is what we sought pricing on:

  • 125 invitations with our ceremony information on the front and our additional details on the back on a “light brown” cardstock
  • 125 ivory envelopes to fit these 5×7 invites
  • 125 RSVP cards on ivory cardstock
  • 125 RSVP ivory envelopes

Figuring we would print our own address labels, we did not utilize the printer’s offer to also address the envelopes. So, with those 500 pieces of stationary the printer came back with a quote of $149.57.

Thinking we were getting away with something, we jumped at approving the quote and sent our order to the printer.

Our order was ready within three days and the final product was nothing short of amazing.


To add even more spice to the invites, I used VineWedding’s suggested embellishments and went to my local craft store for a stamp, paper doilies, and twine. The shopping cart came to around $13.

So, instead of paying a (IMO ridiculous) fee of over $850, not including postage, G and I bought all our invitation supplies for a fraction of the price! And we could not have been more happy with our decision.

Not only were we able to edit the wording on our invitations to exactly what we wanted, but we also were able to add our own personal touch to the invites. The stamp I chose actually looked like a doily, and the twine with lace gave a rustic nudge to the otherwise classy feel of the stationary. Adding a few pops of rose, and our invites were better than we could ever have purchased on a premade invitation website.

The only aspect of buying online which was still appealing was the issue on time of putting the invites together. Luckily, we had an answer for that as well!

Two of our wonderful bridal party members joined us this past weekend for a “wedding work day.” The four of us were able to put all 125 invitations together in about four hours time. This meant cutting out our date tags, color stamping the RSVPs, labeling both invite and RSVP envelopes, stamping both envelopes, folding doilies around the invites, wrapping twine around the entire package, and stuffing and closing each envelope. It was quite the process, but the good company sure made the time go quickly! (A BIG thank you to those two awesome people!!)

Baddabing, baddaboom, our finished product:

Now, maybe doing this isn’t your forte/idea of fun/etc. That. Is. Totally. Fine. There are so many options out there in regards to invitations, that I know you can find something to fit your needs and your budget. Fortunately for G and I, we found what we wanted on the second try.

If you do go another route, I would love to know what it is! What are some other options you’ve found to be savvy with your stationary dollars while wedding planning? Please feel free to leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram @uncorkingpeonies. I would love to hear from you!

Until next time, friends,