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Cocktail Party Etiquette Question

I'm not sure if I'm asking this on the right board, but here goes anyway. My wife and I have planned a cocktail party this holiday season for some friends. We are all in approximately the same age range, so some couples have young kids (as do we). Since we planned the party as a "cocktail party" for 8 pm, I thought it was fairly obvious that we did not expect kids at the party. A number of friends seemed not to get this implication, and have asked if kids are invited to the party. How do I politely explain what I thought to be obvious; namely that kids are not invited to an 8 pm cocktail party? Any help is appreciated, maybe I am simply clueless, but I thought it would be apparent, based on the time and type of party, that it is adults only. Thanks for any helpful advice.

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  1. Have you already sent out the invitations?

    4 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Yes, they went out already, with no specific wording about kids/no kids, I just thought it would be obvious considering the time and type of party it is.

      1. re: ed1066

        I don't have children, but do have friends with children, and my inclination would be to simply be upfront, and say that this is an adult only event, and that you sincerely hope that they can arrange for child care and join the festivities. Where will your children be during the event? My recollection is that when my parents had adult only events, we were cleaned up and allowed to come down for a short while to be introduced and to say hello to friends of the family, and then sent back upstairs.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Very keen advice. If a guest shows up with their child(ren) it is best to have a gracious way of dealing with that. Do you let them know politely that it was perhaps ill thought out to bring the kids (Like "Oh did you have trouble getting a sitter? If you'd like I can ring Sally our trusted sitter and see if she might be able to scoot over to your house for a few hours - I'd love for you to be able to stay and enjoy yourself" or do you suggest just scooting their children upstairs with yours. If you have a Sally, I would give her a buzz at your earliest convenience just in case.

          when my parents had guests we came down to say goodnight and were otherwise invisible and acted like mice upstairs or else! In hindsight I imagine my parents used us to signal the drawdown of the party. A reminder that the hour to leave was near.

          1. re: Sal Vanilla

            In the years we lived near my parents, whenever we had an adult party the kids spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa. When we moved far far away, life got complicated. A mobile society has its drawbacks!

    2. Nope, people will bring their kids wherever. Polite ways to say leave them home:

      We'd love for you to be able to stay late - won't the kids get sleepy?
      I think some of the guests may be smokers.
      We really don't have much to amuse younger guests - I think they'd be bored.

      34 Replies
      1. re: small h

        If you're lucky enough to have friends who at least ASK before dragging their little darlings along. The correct answer to "Can we bring the kids?" is "No". Using any of the other "excuses" offered by "small h" just leaves the door open for more discussion, and the answer is, No, children are NOT invited. And good luck with this! The idea of children at adult gatherings has been covered in other threads here. Please come back after the party and let us know how many unwilling children came along anyway!

        1. re: Cheflambo

          I took my cue from the OP's request for *polite* ways to make this clear. Just "no"? Closing the door on "more discussion"? I hatehatehate kids at adult events, but in my experience, dictatorial hosting behavior makes for a miserable evening.

          1. re: small h

            People who ask to bring uninvited guests should be handled politely, I agree. "No, this party is just for adults" is a very polite way to answer that question. For those who bring the kids without asking, (which IS rude) you can still say "Oh Dear! Did your sitter cancel? What rotten luck. I sure hope your kids like fois gras and tequila shooters!"

            Sorry, small h, but you DO have to close the door on more discussion. "We'd love for you to be able to stay late - won't the kids get sleepy?" will be met with "Oh they can nap in your spare room or on your sofa bed." "I think some of the guests may be smokers." will be countered with "Don't you ask the smokers to go outside?" "We really don't have much to amuse younger guests - I think they'd be bored" wil get you "Oh, my kids can entertain themselves. Where is your TV/Xbox/Wii and all YOUR kids toys?" The kids will "entertain" themselves by accidentally breaking something and whining to their parents all night about how bored they are. Trust me .... I have been there done that. .

            1. re: Cheflambo

              Ack. You're probably right. Why I rarely entertain, reason #104(b). I recently attended a very grown-up party where a 6-year-old guest entertained us with her Britney Spears impression. Repeatedly. And I actually LIKE this kid.

              1. re: small h

                I'm also interested/dismayed by the idea that setting boundaries is somehow dictatorial and unpleasant. This suggests that any form of assertive (not aggressive) behaviour is unattractive and impolite. This is the slippery slope to all sorts of abuse.

                Dictatorial host behaviour is more likely to involve assigning dishes outside of the bringer's comfort zone ('I know you make a mean apple pie, but it's only sweet potato for us!' Or, 'forget the meatballs, we want fruit!') or declaring that only X will be drunk at this party. Or, oh, I don't know. Frankly, I don't encounter it all that much. Lucky I guess.

                Maybe it will be good for the parents to see how setting boundaries is done. Goodness knows their children will need it. (Because all children need boundaries, not because these specific ones do...)

                1. re: Lizard

                  <I'm also interested/dismayed by the idea that setting boundaries is somehow dictatorial and unpleasant.>

                  Except that isn't what I wrote at all - scroll up. I'm against being a jerk about it. Saying "no" without further explanation is being a jerk about it. If you disagree, well, fine. But then we obviously have very different ideas about how adults should behave toward one another.

                  1. re: small h

                    Clearly I have touched a nerve. Allow me to explain.

                    In your earlier post, you wrote: 'Just "no"? Closing the door on "more discussion"?' This was immediately followed by: 'in my experience, dictatorial hosting behavior makes for a miserable evening'

                    My sense is that being unwilling to further discuss a no is not some hideous form of dictatorial hosting, nor is it even necessarily impolite. ('Are children invited? No.') In fact, those who press at 'no' (regarding coming to your home, borrowing your things, etc.) have ceased to ask and are now demanding something of us.

                    One does not need to defend the boundaries one sets. If you asked to borrow my telly, and I said no, I would not appreciate your asking, 'but why not?' If you asked to hug me, and I said no, I would not appreciate your asking, 'but why not?' If I say, 'sorry, no' and add 'adults only' for clarification, I'm not sure why I'm expected to carry on the discussion, or made to feel that I am now somehow a 'jerk' because I'd rather not explain my reasoning.

                    True, a conversation with a friend would likely not end there, but only because a friend wouldn't question my boundaries, call me a jerk, and demand more discussion so that my decision about my space/things/body has passed muster.

                    This is not to say that a tone can not stay civil.

                    1. re: Lizard

                      Great explanation, and I think you are correct- but I will bet you anything, that anybody who asks if they can bring their kids to an 8 pm cocktail party already knows the answer is no. I think some people will ask a question until they get the answer they want!

                      1. re: Lizard

                        A civil tone is all I'm advocating. Your sample q&a is "Are children invited? No." Fair enough. But mine is more "Can I bring my child? No." Can you not see how the second exchange seems less than civil?

                        If I asked to borrow your tv, I'll bet you wouldn't just say "no" and turn away. You'd say "no, I need it" or "no, someone asked me first" or "no, I've always thought 'neither a borrower nor a lender be' was great advice."

                        Of course, you don't have justify anything. You don't have to throw parties, either, or say "Fine, thanks, and you?" when someone asks how you are. But most likely, you do.

                        1. re: small h

                          Did you read Lizards post of 11:12am? Lizard basically agreed with everything you write here. Noting, specifically, that "...a conversation with a friend would likely not end there..."

                          I feel that Lizard's main point was that we need not define someone who politely responds with a "no" to a question as uncivil. I agree with that entirely.

                          I don't think anyone is advocating a lack of civility.

                          1. re: ccbweb

                            Sure, I read it. That's why I responded to it. Between whom is this mythical conversation occurring, if not friends?

                            I think we're all basically in agreement - a hostess need not open her home to all & sundry - but some of the posts on this thread use pseudo-tough talk "my house, my rules!" language. To which I say: oh, come on.

                            1. re: ccbweb

                              Thanks ccweb! Your intervention and assessment are greatly appreciated!

            2. re: small h

              Nope, people will bring their kids wherever. Polite ways to say leave them home:
              ...................................................................small h

              s-d, I'm not exactly responding to you. Just jumping on the opportunity to jump in and make a point for my generation (I was born in the thirties).

              There is a LOT of discussion on these boards between (apparently) younger people who consider restaurant dress codes, setting a table properly, and other points of "decorum" to be attacks on their personal life styles, so here's discussion in which a little logic may shine some light. Hopefully.

              The great advantage of "rules" (I prefer to call them traditions) is that when they are widely understood by everyone (as they used to be), situations like this aren't a problem. Everyone knew you didn't take children to a party unless an invitation SPECIFIED that children were invited. That went for afternoon tea parties, Sunday brunches, cocktail parties, sit down dinners, and grand balls!

              Consider this: Your house is the repository of all of your fine things and shabby things. I don't think I'm that different from most people in that when I have a party, I like to put my best foot forward and get out all of the nice things. On those rare occasions I do have parties with children invited, it is held outside and I PRAY for good weather until about two hours after the last guest has departed. Why? Well, here's a list of a few of my things that have been damaged or broken by young guests in my lifetime because it rained: the interior drawer of a new china cabinet broken irrepairably (I suspect the child was casing the silver), a a 27.5 inch tall reproduction Greek urn shattered (for reference, that's nearly as tall as the top of a dining table, and why could the original survive intact for over two thousand yars but my reproduction coultn't make it three years? -- the answer is American children), a Murano glass (aka Venitian glass) free form dish, a precious first edition that was colored in, a one-of-a-kind mouth blown vase I loved dearly signed by the artist. I don't fault the children; they are young and curious and roaring to explore on their own at first opportunity. In ALL cases I blame the parents for two things: Not having taught them not to touch things without permission, and for bringing them to my house without a specific invitation. That is just plain rude! And all of this within a generation where it is frowned on to take your children with you!

              WHY is there such guilt among today's younger generations of adults about saying no, I want to relax with grown ups so leave the kids at home? It is YOUR house, and you have a right to choose whom you invite and/or allow into it. And you have a right to do that without guilt. If the people you invite cannot afford a baby sitter, that is their problem. If they call you and explain their problem in hope you'll say it's okay to bring the kids, instead suggest that they find other couples in their same situation with whom they can exchange baby sitting services when they go to parties. It should not cause you to have to put away all of the goodies and bring out the shabbies so the house will be relatively child proof. You should not have to intersperse the cocktail music (or dinner music) with a chorus of "London Bridge Is Falling Down" every once in a while just to keep the kiddies amused. And guests should not have to restrain their conversation because kids may be listening.

              Or to look at it another way, if you were hosting a dinner in an expensive restaurant, would you feel guilty about telling people they cannot bring their kids? I have known a few people with six kids (and more!) in my lifetime, and I am not interested in any invited guest expanding my restaurant bill by $600.00 by bringing along their uninvited offspring! It is exactly the same principle.

              So ed1066, small h, and all the rest of you guilt laden folks about banning children from grown up parties, relax! It IS okay! It IS your house! And it will probably be a really good experience for those young parents who think their children are attached to them like their shadow. Let them Peter Pan it and detach the shadow for a while!

              And yes. I am a curmudgeon. I don't like jeans of any sort in a nice restaurant. Jeans are jeans, no matter how much they cost! Yay for flannel, boo to denim! '-)

              Just thought I'd throw that last part in, but I am NOT advocating the return of girdles or stockings with seams. After all, everyone has their limits. '-)

              1. re: Caroline1

                Caroline, I just wanted to give you a little hope and let you know that I'm in my twenties, and my first reaction to the OP was "if you didn't specify children invited on the invitation, then they should already know the answer." So the little social graces aren't completely lost, at least not in my family :)

                1. re: mpjmph

                  YAAAAY...!!! You know, sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that a vocal few are not necessarily representative of the silent majority! Thanks for breaking the silence, and good to know I'm not a total anachronism. '-)

                2. re: Caroline1


                  I could not have said it better. Thank you. You are not a curmudgeon in my book--you are logical and full of common sense!

                  1. re: jarona

                    Thanks, Jarona. You know, sometimes I have to ask myself whether people would be so reticent to press charges if a friend embezzled funds from their bank account as they are to say no to allowing a friend to foist their children on them, whether they are welcome or not. I guess once you've had a personal treasure worth a great deal of money shattered by someone's little darling, then had no offer to pay for or replace it dismissed with "Oh, don't be upset! She's only a child!" as your only "recompense," it makes it a LOT easier to say "Absolutely no children, thank you for asking."

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      You're spot on! Oftentimes I think back to when my kids were young. My then-husband and I always had a babysitter and would never think of bringing the children unless they were invited. Besides, as a stay-at-home mom, and although I loved being with my kids there were times when I reveled in the company of other adults. Like you, I do put the blame on the parents. My own parents raised us very well--with wonderful social values. Parents now want to be friends with their children rather than giving them boundaries, saying "no", disciplining them and so on. It is a sad thing because dicipline, saying "no" and giving boundaries is nothing bad--in fact, it will help as these children become adults and move on----I have to get off the soap box now because I'll stay on for hours and I don't mean to pontificate. So...have a great Christmas, Hannakuh, Kwanzaa, Festivus or whatever you chose to celebrate!

                      1. re: jarona

                        I think it's more than just saying that it's all the parents' faults. First, parents these days tend to work more hours than they did in the past and don't have as much time to spend with the kids. I think a lot feel guilty when they are spending what little free time they have on themselves instead of spending time with their children. Even for kids, everything is so much more competitive than it used to be. So many of them are overscheduled, and the ones who aren't are probably more likely to come from single-parent families where the parent is working 2+ jobs just to make ends meet.

                        1. re: queencru

                          Yes and the whole idea of "why don't they just get a babysitter" doesn't understand the reality of how things have changed for parents today. In many cases there *are* no kids around to babysit; they are all too busy with their orchestra, or sports, or other activities to want to babysit. So parents have often evolved with each other into friendships where kids are just part of the mix, because everybody's in the same boat. I'm not saying that one shouldn't be able to have an adult's only party, just that you may need to make it a bit more explicit than would have been "obvious" a generation ago.

                          1. re: DGresh

                            When parents belong to a group that shares the value of "kids included in everything," that's fine as long as they restrict that to the members of the group who are equal participants. However, they do need to recognize that that is not a universally shared viewpoint.

                            My mother was a career woman, and I grew up in the "children not invited unless specifically asked to join" generation. I knew lots of career mothers in the 30s,, 40s., 50s, right up to the present. There was a time when teaching at all but the university level was considered a woman's career, with the exception of male athletics. Before the age of computers office staffs included receptionists, stenographers, filing clerks, secretaries, executive secretaries, all "women's careers." I just can't buy the working couples/different values scenario as the reason people bring their kids along, invited or not, in today's society. I suspect it has a whole lot more to do with "post-me-generation" culture than anything else.

                            I'll share a tale the mods will probably delete about learning in a hurry to say no to other people's children. Some of you will be old enough to remember the Cold War, and the "U-2 Affair." For those of you too young to know, the U-2 is an American high altitude spy plane, and on May Day of 1960, a U-2 being piloted by Frances Gary Powers, a good friend, was shot down over Russia. It very nearly started World War III, and Chairman Kruschev, of the Soviet Union, said that if any more U-2s took off from Power's home base (where I lived) he would hit us with an H-Bomb! So the CIA and SAC required that ALL military dependents attend daily training classes on nuclear survival and evacuation. The day the evacuation route and method was set out, when questions were called for, one of the wives raised her hand and said, "I have FIVE children! I can't manage all of them at such a time. Can you appoint someone like Caroline, who has no kids, to take on some of mine? To which Caroline, being as "straight forward" then as she is now, replied, "Lady, you didn't ask my permission to get pregnant in the first place so I decline any obligation for the safety of your children in the face of disaster." Then the base commander informed her that she was on her own for making arrangements about her kids.

                            There are societies in which kids are considered a community project and everyone willingly steps in and takes care of any child of the group. We don't live in such a society. If people would rather have time with their children, that is perfectly acceptable, but to bring the children to an adults only party because they want time with the kids is totally unacceptable.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Of course, larger families had other consequences:

                              1. More babysitters (one reason there are fewer is that there are fewer kids per family)
                              2. More things for siblings to do with (or to) each other to self-entertain while their parents partied downstairs. Computers are *not* nearly as interesting but ersatz pacifiers in that regard.

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                I never said one should bring children to an adults only party. In fact, the original question was "what do I do, people are asking if they can bring their kids". I think some of us are just making the point that given different perspectives, some people are *simply asking the question*; it's not an unreasonable question given some perspectives, and they are not necessarily looking for an "of course bring them", but rather, a simple answer, as so many have said-- "no this time it's an adults only party". I don't understand how a possible confusion over whether or not they are invited is getting so much anger-- *as long as the question is asked, and the answer not assumed*.

                                1. re: DGresh

                                  I don't think it is so much "anger" as much as how this original post has turned into a very heated debate. We all have our ways of raising our children--and we all have different values. What works for one person may not work for another and that's fine. Some folks don't believe in a babysitter or may not be able to "find" a babysitter.
                                  Regardless-it is another issue. But out of respect and consideration for the host--it is HIS party. He has the right to host an adults only party. End of story;)

                                  1. re: DGresh

                                    And in turn, I never said you said...

                                    I was responding more to this:
                                    Yes and the whole idea of "why don't they just get a babysitter" doesn't understand the reality of how things have changed for parents today.

                                    That statement is inaccurate. Things have not changed for a two income nuclear family with active kids who pursue things like sports, clubs, music and art lessons, etc. But consider yourself forgiven. EVERY generation thinks the world was on hold until they came along. '-)

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      what has changed is the difficulty of finding a sitter. That is true, at least in my neighborhood. There simply weren't any available. When my daughter was a baby (15 years ago) there were several kids around willing to babysit. By the time she as about 10, couldn't find any; the kids were too busy. To my eye, that's "change" and it's real.

                                      1. re: DGresh

                                        For me and for my mother before me, the most successful method of gaining baby sitters was networking with other parents who had kids but didn't go to the same parties, then trading baby sitting. For me, whether it was me "babysitting" someone else's kids or them sitting mine, the kids would spend the night. When the kids were in elementary school in Del Mar (CA), i did most of my babysitter networking through the other "room moms" at their school. Other networking resources were PTA, soccer moms, places/people like that. And no money ever changed hands, just services exchanged, so it didn't impact on the budget. Seems logical to me that such arrangements would work today.

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          Yup! Same here. When we lived in NYC my mom friends started an actual babysitting "co-op". We had tickets to use as "payment" and it worked very well. When we moved to the 'burbs, it was a parent network--sleepovers work very well indeed! Less expensive and fun for the kids!

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            I have plenty of friends who do this and am always shocked that parents who have their children in 10 different play groups can't manage to come up with some sort of switching arrangement. You find out about an event 6 months in advance and can't manage to find one person from those play groups who would be happy to have a night out in the next six months?

                                            1. re: queencru

                                              Amazing, but yet, it happens. Go figure.

                                          2. re: DGresh

                                            When I was about 8 or 9 my parents began putting me together with another like-aged friend when they went out (usuaslly with my friend;s parents; the two of us found this a very rewarding opportunity to have rarely ordered ( in those days) delivery pizza and play with our Barbies for hours on end!

                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                        Just read this for the first time. You ARE an amazing person, C1.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I'm part of a babysitting co-op with 22 families in it. We earn "points" by babysitting, and spend "points" by using the sitting services. It's fabulous.

                                            The only time we run into a problem is when a big group of us are going out together, or someone in the group is having a large party. As one might imagine, we are all mostly friends, so that can be a problem. Still, I wouldn't give it up for anything. My husband and I go out weekly and only very very rarely have to pay for a sitter.

                          2. I would just say that the menu isn't particularly kid-friendly, so as a result, your kids are staying elsewhere for the duration of the party. I think finding some way to point out that your kids aren't going to be attending is probably enough to get the sign across that it isn't a kid event. Maybe people just assumed your kids would be around?

                            1. Tell the guests with little people that there will be a spelling "B" for the tykes, at midnight, first prize is calves liver and onions. They will begin to feign symptoms of "something" the day before, or will be much more supplicant to a sitter.

                              1. I hope I don't sound too blunt here, but if your friends have asked if kids are invited, I would just say no and say that my in-laws were watching my kids that night. I'm not really sure why you would have to kind of beat around the issue and not be direct. I don't think anybody should get offended by this. We had several people ask about kids when DH and I got married. We just said no (politely, of course) and they found babysitters. However, we had one couple who brought their child which kind of peeved me as I didn't want the other guests to think that we made a special exception for them. I will say that we got numerous questions on what we meant by "cocktail attire." (which was written on the invite)

                                1. If you say things with a smile in your voice, you'd be surprised how direct yu can be without hurting anyone's feelings. I would simply say, "No kids this time. It's for grown ups. But we are thinking about a party with the kids later on." If "later on" ever rolls around, okay. If not, oh well. My personal experience is that anyone dense enough not to figure things out from the time and the word "cocktails" has to be dense enough to require direct communication. Good luck!

                                  1. Anytime I issue an invite to anyone with a child I begin with, "I hope you can find a babysitter because we would love to have you join us for....."

                                    If it's a printed invitation. I hand write a note saying, "I hope you are able to find a babysitter for that night because we would love to have you here."

                                    Today you have to be proactive to have an adult event.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: BostonZest

                                      I am agreeing with Bostonzest. When I have plans with friends with kids, I try to give hem as much warning as possible ie- I know you haven’t gotten the invite yet but I wanted to give you a heads up so you can try to arrange a sitter. Despite this, people will show up with a baby. Maybe suggest another time to see them for lunch or something with the kids? I would just be frank with them but I do sympathize bc it is difficult when someone insists on bringing a child. I hope for the OPs sake, the children don’t come.

                                    2. Tell them all kids will be given a new puppy and a shot of expresso!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: duck833

                                        Heh! I love the idea of keeping a special candy bag for all visiting children. Sugar them up and send them home...

                                      2. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I think I will take the advice to just be direct and tell people that the kids are not invited and we hope the adults can be there. I will let you know how it goes...

                                        Side note, I'm in my mid 30s, and I remember my parents' cocktail parties. I don't think anyone ever dreamed of bringing their kids to such an event. We were usually packed off to Grandma's house for the evening. I guess times have changed a lot...

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: ed1066

                                          We have learned to put on the invitation, hope you can get a sitter for the children and someone to keep the dog. Yes we have had dogs brought to our parties. If they say they can't get a sitter I always tell them I am so sorry they can't attend.

                                          Since the invitations are out, you can control it by saying, I am so glad you were able to find a sitter and can attend the party. Then they say children aren't invited and you say not this time. Good luck.

                                          1. re: ed1066

                                            times HAVE changed, my parents entertained every sat night, me and my six sibilings were never invited, not once. we had pizza and were sent upstairs early.

                                            1. re: ed1066

                                              Times have definitely changed. Used to be you could get a neighborhood teen to babysit for $1 an hour. Now they won't do it for any amount of money.

                                              1. re: bnemes3343

                                                Lack of babysitters is a big part of the problem of why "times have changed." As someone who has just graduated from the "need-a-babysitter" decade of our lives, we didn't go out much, or had casual evenings with friends with kids the same age (where kids were assumed to be invited and they played in the basement). There wasn't a single teen around willing or able to babysit for the last 6 years of our decade (and no grandparents nearby either). So yes, just be explicit, and say it's a grown-up event.

                                                1. re: bnemes3343

                                                  That's what I used to make babysitting back in the dark ages. :-) Now my coworkers say it can cost them upwards of $10-$15/hour for babysitters and often you have to have "special foods they like" available.


                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    In our area it starts at $15/hour, so even a quick dinner and movie can easily be close to a $200 evening. Not many nights out for us.

                                                2. re: ed1066

                                                  Yes they have, our parents' world did not center around us. And they knew we just weren't that darling, especially at an adult function. We tried hinting, being direct, etc. and finally removed one couple (who we like a lot) off our guest list (all of our functions are adult only) because they ALWAYS brought the little one (who is now in the 3rd grade) with them.

                                                3. It's sad, but that's why you have to put the word "adult" on the invitation. Some people will simply also refuse to go if the kids aren't invited. Maybe they can't afford a sitter, and maybe they don't want to go if their kids can't, but don't worry about them and have the event you want. Be glad some people are calling to ask. Others will not, and will show up with their kids in tow, which I would meet with, "Oh dear, little children at an adult's cocktail party? Well, hopefully your parents brought something for you to do" and then usher them into another room/area away from the party. For those who do ask, simply say in an upbeat manner (as was already suggested), nope, this one's just for the adults to have fun. We hope to have a party with children another time.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                    Also, if I were a parent who hired a babysitter I would be all kinds of pissed off when someone else brought their little darlings to the adult function.

                                                  2. First, don't be rude. But it isn't rude to say "gosh, we'd love to see the kids, but this party is just for the grown-ups."

                                                    Second, don't explain. It just invites negotiations, when your position isn't (or shouldn't be) negotiable. It's your party; you get to choose the guest list. Who cares if the kid likes foie gras, coffee, and/or tequila? It's irrelevant because s/he isn't invited.

                                                    Third, you may even want to consider a follow-up email. This is pushing the bounds of etiquette, but you might be able to pull it off by writing about how much you're looking forward to seeing them and noting that "a few folks have asked if this is a family event, and we just wanted to let you know that it's adults only." Use your judgment carefully with this one, though.

                                                    The next question is what you do if and when somebody shows up with spawn in tow...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. One more suggestion. Any way you can have a sitter to entertain the children in another part of the house for a couple of hours?

                                                      This isn't something I'd personally want to do, but I've known people who have. Just throwing it out there.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: anni

                                                        Don't do this one. Precedent is a bitch. (It's a very pretty thought, anni, but it would invite social disaster down the road.)

                                                      2. Unless kids are explicitly invited, they are NOT invited. What kind of an idiot thinks that bringing a kid to a cocktail party is appropriate? Just tell anyone who inquires that this is not an event suitable for children. This is why babysitters were invented.

                                                        If you need more help: We'd love to include your children, but our dog is not child-friendly.

                                                        Our house is not child-proof and we have unprotected stairs and a number of toxic plants.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                            And an extensive collection of ancient and modern weapons. Tommy, can you say "katana"?

                                                          2. In our neck of the woods Cocktails are from 5:00PM till 8:00PM.
                                                            Then either people filter out to their own dinner plans or there's a roast in the oven for those who linger on.... or we have invited to stay later... Cocktail parties are not for children. Harsh as that may seem.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              It is not harsh, it is manners, I am in full agreement. My sister has three kids and would never dream of brining them to a party unless expicilty invited, anymore than I would pop over to a party with my two labradors and my kitty.

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                I also don't think it's harsh at all. Although I don't have kids, I don't feel right about drinking in front of them or having to talk to kids when I'm drunk. It makes me uncomfortable. A couple of glasses of wine over dinner is one thing, a cocktail party where I will be imbibing freely is quite another.

                                                                16 was when my friends and I were allowed to come downstairs, but by then our main goal was getting out of the house sans parents to pay their parties any attention.

                                                              2. when the little jfoods were, well, little, it would never have occurred to bring them to a cocktail party. Now that they are much older their group of friends have few, if any, little ones.

                                                                But there are people who believe that that leaqving their children at home with a sitter is not something they wish to do and drag them everywhere.

                                                                And you just have to tell them politely that the party is for adults only and if they could find a sitter for the fews hours you would appreciate it. If not, you can check calendars for a future date. No ups, no extras, do not blame the dog, do not blame the house, just be polite and honest.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  be direct. say what you mean.

                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                    Kids aren't invited. Period. Your kids have every right to be there. Its their home. And invites weren't obviously adressed to X and family. I am so tired of having to be politically correct and not hurt people's feelings. Its as easy as saying, sorry adults only, hope you can get a sitter, if not we shall toast together in the new year.

                                                                  2. almost hate to be the dissenting opinion, but anyway.....
                                                                    as a parent of young children i would assume 8pm is not a party for them and would not think of bringing them. having said that i would have to really really want to go to this party to pay $10/hr for a babysitter and struggle to find one anyway. if the children are older then what is the problem? i assume once they get tired the parents will take them home, and if they children are badly behaved or the parents are (in that they don't watch their kids) then you will know not to invite them in the future. if the kids sit and watch tv i don't see the problem.

                                                                    27 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ddelicious

                                                                      For me, I enjoy adult functions and don't want to worry about language, topic of conversation, god-forbid the "little ears" hear something. It's about the mood and atmosphere and cheer of the party as much as it is discipline.

                                                                      Not to mention the food issue and the fact that other parents took the time to get a sitter for their child.

                                                                      And I'd rather you not come than come and bring your kids with you. Simply put, they aren't invited.

                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                        I agree Janet. I love kids, but like everything, there is a time and place. univited children are not welcome,like any univited guest. it is an added stress to the host and not polite.

                                                                      2. re: ddelicious

                                                                        Why would anyone want a tv on when they are having a cocktail party?

                                                                        1. re: ddelicious

                                                                          I will have to respectfully disagree- If I have an adult only party, I do not want anyone to bring their kids. Say I invite 20 people, and 6 of them bring their kids. Your kids may behave- but what if 1 or two kids are little monsters- what do I do? I am having a party that was set at 8 pm,. meant for adults, and now have kids wreaking havoc. You are right, I would know not invite them in the future, but meantime, my party and my guests enjoyment will suffer- and if the kids are small, if some of them start acting up, it can quickly become a whine fest!

                                                                          1. re: macca

                                                                            Give the little monsters some Benadryl fruit punch.

                                                                          2. re: ddelicious

                                                                            The problem is that it's hosts, not guests, that get to decide who's invited to a party. Good party behavior doesn't excuse gate crashing. And uninvited kids brought to a party are nothing more than little gate crashers.

                                                                            If the host decides that kids won't be a problem, then that's fine. A year or two back my wife and I extended our regrets to a wedding invitation because we couldn't get a sitter, and the bride extended the invitation to our daughters as well. But it was her prerogative - not ours - to decide whether the kids could come, regardless of whether their attendance would be a problem.

                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                              My perspective is likely different as my children have always behaved well in social situations. I can't imagine hosting a party for our friends and not inviting their children, we want to see them too. Of course I wouldn't make the party at 8:00 either. Often wonder why people get so uptight about it, do they not have kids and don't realize how fun it is to include them? Or are their babysitters so plentiful and cheap that its not an issue? I have a vivid memory of a small dinner party we hosted before we had kids and a friend asked if she could bring hers and we said no. Now I cringe just thinking about it.

                                                                              1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                Not all families and not all functions are child-centered. Yours may be and that is your right, but it's not about being uptight. I love dogs, and we have two, but I wouldn't want you bringing your dogs to my cocktail party either.

                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                  Janet is right on. And not everyone likes kids, particularly your kids, who you might think are angels, but are in the basement telling other kids "we hate you, we can't wait until you go home" (happened at a dinner party I went to where kids were invited, the host kids said this to my co-worker's kids; the host wouldn't dream of having a no-kids event because she loves her "little angels" and cannot fathom an adults-only good time).

                                                                                  I agree, having to watch your mouth, the kids wandering in and out, whining, wondering when it's time to go, what they can eat, crying about an injury, breaking things, screaming and running around, it's a big distraction. It's not like the kids aren't invited to Thanksgiving dinner or some typical family gathering, it's an adult cocktail reception, kids shouldn't be there.

                                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                    Most people would not take their children to a night out at the bars, so I don't see how an at-home cocktail party is any different. The reality is that any event that revolves around alcoholic beverages is simply not one where children should be welcome or even allowed. As a non-drinker myself, I find there is a certain point at which I really want to go home at any cocktail party/bar-related event. The difference for me is that I am an adult and can excuse myself when I feel like it is time for me to be moving on.

                                                                                    For children, not only are people acting weird, but the conversation is probably not to their level, the entertainment is mediocre, they're tired because it's well past their bedtime, and they're stuck because they can't go home until Mommy decides she's good and ready.

                                                                                2. re: ddelicious

                                                                                  I dont think the point is well behaved children, or the host having or not having children. It is simply that the host wanted to have an adults only party. In my family ( my siblings and I), we have children ranging in age from 8 months to 28 years. On my moms birthday, we have an adults only evening. We set the age to attend at 21, so all the neices/nephews know the rule. No kids, and we all enjoy the evening. We also host a birthday party for my mom for the entire family.

                                                                                  1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                    I have been to some parties in recent years that were most definitely not for children, like the jello-shot Easter egg hunt last spring... As others have said up thread, kids are great, we don't dislike them, but sometimes it's nice to have adults-only social time when you can say whatever you want and not worry about little Susy repeating it at show and tell the next day (as I most certainly would have as a 6 year old).

                                                                                    I don't have children, but many friends do. We may be spoiled because there are 7 colleges and universities in our area, so there are a lot of potential babysitters, but other than the occasional emergency cancellation no one has a lot of trouble finding sitters. If potential guests are having trouble, the host(ess) can always connect several families together and suggest they share a sitter...

                                                                                    1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                      I don't have children, and sometimes we invite some dear friends to dinner and usually their 12 year son comes along, at our invitation. However, the dynamic is different when he is there, than when he isn't. His parents fret a bit about how he is eating, how much he is eating, etc. I think that one should be able to have an adult only party if one chooses to though, and guests should not be offended. Also, while pretty spacious by NY standards, my apartment is still pretty small, kids get bored (though they can go into the bedroom and watch TV), things get broken, spilled etc. Sometimes it's fun to have kids around, and sometimes it's nicer not to.

                                                                                      1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                        Is it really that difficult to understand that not all people want someone else's children around each and every time they get together?

                                                                                        Heck, I know a few people who also like the chance to not have their own children around now and again. Thus, babysitters. My wife and I babysit for some friends of ours on something of a regular basis specifically so that they can get out on their own not with their kids for a night. Not inviting children to one event is not the same as declaring that once someone you know has children you never want to see them or their kids again.

                                                                                        1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                          No, your perspective is not different. My children, too, have always behaved well in social situations. And they're invited to and welcome at almost every social event we attend.

                                                                                          The magic word here is **almost**. There are some events that are adult-only. The hosts don't have any obligation to explain why kids aren't invited, any more than they have an obligation to explain any other decisions they make with regard to the guest list.

                                                                                          Having an event and including kids is great. But having an event without kids can also be fun. If you disagree, you're free to decline the invitation. But please, please, please don't bring your kids when they aren't invited. It gives the rest of us parents a bad name.

                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                            I would not bring my kids univited, I didn't say that. My point is that I would invite them, especially if someone specifically asks. Obviously I'm in the minority here.

                                                                                            1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                              Sorry if I misunderstood you. On closer reading, your comment that you "don't see the problem" is susceptible to two interpretations: that you don't see the problem with inviting kids, or that you don't see the problem with bringing them uninvited. I read it as the latter, and it appears that you meant the former. Ah, the joys of miscommunication.

                                                                                              So I think we're on the same page. When we have parties, we invite kids. It's half the fun. But when other people have parties, they get to choose the guest list. They might not invite the same people I would - adults or kids - but it's not my place to second-guess them. The only two choices are to attend the party on the hosts' terms or to decline the invite.

                                                                                              1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                                You would invite children to an adult cocktail party?

                                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                  If the host is inviting kids, it isn't an "adult" party now, is it?

                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                    I don't know too many parties that begin at 8:00pm, billed as cocktail parties, that wouldn't be adult parties. ;)

                                                                                                    EDIT: By your argument, if I brought a child to a sex toy party, it wouldn't be an adult party simply because a child was there? I disagree.

                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                      The key distinction that you seem to be missing is between a party where a guest **brings** an uninvited child and a guest where the host **invites** children. The former is an adult party with a juvenile gate-crasher; the latter isn't an adult party, no matter what else it's called.

                                                                                                      If someone throws a sex toy party and invites children, I wouldn't know what to call the party, but would have no shortage of choice words to describe the host. If someone throws a party with clowns and pony rides, but only invites adults, then it's an adult party. Period.

                                                                                                      Serving cocktails doesn't necessarily make an event unsuitable for children. Neither does calling the event a cocktail party. It's always socially acceptable to bring kids to parties when they've been invited. It's never appropriate to bring them when they haven't. What's so hard about that?

                                                                                                      This Halloween some friends decided to have a party. They invited a number of families to come over around 8 or whenever the trick-or-treaters were done. Cocktails were served. Children of all ages were present. I guess some here would claim that we were all committing a social crime by getting together for drinks in the presence of our kids after 8pm. All I know is that we had fun.

                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                        I'm not missing anything. I was basing my response upon the fact that the OP wasn't inviting children. I was also interested in ddelicious' point of view.

                                                                                                        I stand firmly in the camp that kids don't belong at a cocktail party during the evening. You and your friends may disagree. Good for you.

                                                                                            2. re: ddelicious

                                                                                              YOUR children might be well behaved in social situations; many are not.

                                                                                              YOU wouldn't host the party starting at 8:00pm or not invite children; the OP is doing so.

                                                                                              YOU think it's fun to include children; perhaps the OP does, but not in this particular situation.

                                                                                              This is an "adult cocktail party"...as Janet from Richmond has said - adults at a party shouldn't have to be wary of what they say, drink, etc. because there are children there that weren't invited. It has absolutely nothing to do with being uptight; it's the style of the party that the OP is throwing - a cocktail party. That's not children-centric.

                                                                                              The adults want to be adults for a few hours and not have to worry about things being broken; kids getting into fights, making sure that little Susie doesn't squish the cat because she's loving it so much, or that little Johnny isn't beating the snot out of little Billy because Billy took his favorite toy.

                                                                                              ETA: I *just* noticed that this thread is from 12/16/08 that seems to have gotten new responses, which is what probably prompted me to respond. I *hate* it when that happens! LOL

                                                                                          2. re: ddelicious

                                                                                            I don't want people to come and sit and watch TV at a cocktail party at my house as the whole purpose of such a party is for people to have a chance to spend time together and talk and visit and catch up and meet new people and so on.

                                                                                            I'm not a parent, but I'll make one assumption of my own based on my observations of my nieces and nephews and my friends' kids. Children who are not old enough to be left at home on their own for an evening are almost certainly already pretty close to tired at 8pm. Thus, they're likely tired when they show up at the party. Children also need not be badly behaved to totally alter an event. The most well behaved 4 year old ever is still a 4 year old and with a 4 year old around, the conversations, attitudes and attention of the guests will be very different. Not necessarily bad, mind you, just different.

                                                                                            In much the same way that someone might choose not to invite their boss to a party they invite a couple of co-workers to, hosts may not want to invite children because they want an environment that is different than if there were kids there.

                                                                                            1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                              Can't the kids "sit and watch tv" with a sitter? If the sole function of the child's presence at the party is to be distracted, why bother?

                                                                                              Responding to your second post, no, it's not fun for kids to be at an adult party. It's not fun at all. Kids have a time and a place, and it's certainly not around my Riedel.

                                                                                              1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                                Echoing other posters' sentiments, there is a different social dynamic when kids are present. It really has nothing to do with whether or not kids are well behaved or whether or not we like kids. We're not saying that we can't enjoy get-togethers with kids. But there are times when adults want to be just by themselves -- similar with the concept of "girls night out" and "guys night out." DH is having a guys night out tomorrow -- I'm sure the last thing he would want is for me to tag along. Doesn't mean he doesn't want to spend time with me. Just means he wants to spend time alone with his friends. Nothing wrong with that. Different relationships with different social dynamics.

                                                                                              2. You have the ideal alibi here: you can say that no children are invited, including your own.

                                                                                                Hosts do need to set firm boundaries. Part of the problem with the decline in understanding the respective role of host and guests is that too many hosts have gotten too wobbly.

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                  Agreed, though I don't think it is inappropriate for the hosts' children to make a brief appearance before "retiring".

                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                    True, but no performances. Please.

                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                      I would be up for a performance like the one when the VonTrapp children said goodnight a the party the captain threw for the baroness, that would be ok : )

                                                                                                      1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                                        That was my first thought as well, Von Tapp kids.

                                                                                                2. I just recalled an almost reverse situation that occurred when I was hosting a dinner party for 8 adult friends a number of years ago. My daughter (14 at the time) knew the ground rules: She could come in for a few minutes early in the evening, then disappear.

                                                                                                  She came into the living room, sat down, said hello to everyone, and started chatting with someone. Meanwhile, the rest of the guests resumed discussing a very raunchy story involving someone we knew.

                                                                                                  When I pointedly informed my daughter that it was time for her to depart, one of the women present loudly exclaimed, "Oh, let her stay." I rather indignantly reminded her that my daughter was only 14, and did not need to hear what was being discussed.

                                                                                                  Not all parties are improved by the presence of children, even well-behaved and charming adolescent ones.

                                                                                                  1. My suggestion, and I am the parent of yound kids, is to send your kids off to someone to spend the night, and tell your invitees, your kids are not even going to be there. The only exception I would make is for nursing parents.

                                                                                                    1. I agree with the direct approach. How about:

                                                                                                      Oh! I am so sorry if the invitation was unclear, but this is an adults-only party. I do really appreciate you checking with me and I really hope you can make it!

                                                                                                      There is nothing rude about throwing an adults-only party and making it clear to guests is the best route. Most likely the guests figured that since you have kids, they would probably be there or you had set up some kind of supervision for the kids and they could just bring theirs along. I remember going to lots of parties like that when I was a kid - the hosts had hired a babysitter or something and set up a sort of "kids party" in another area of the house (like a supervised Christmas cookie decorating or something). 8pm might be a little late for that but I could totally see a host saying "oh yeah, we got a sitter who is going to put on a dvd for the kids and then they can crash out in the kids room so bring pjs and sleeping bags!"

                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: akq

                                                                                                        I think you've hit on what I was thinking earlier and perhaps didn't articulate. Among my friends, we always included kids because of "babysitter issues". If we were going to have an adults-only affair, we needed to make it really explicit. So your phrasing is absolutely perfect "Oh! I am so sorry if the invitation was unclear, but this is an adults-only party. I do really appreciate you checking with me and I really hope you can make it!"

                                                                                                        1. re: akq

                                                                                                          But when that happens, it's not an adults only party, is it?

                                                                                                          You know, both as a guest and as a hostess of many an adults only party, the time shared with a spouse or date on an adults only occasion does not only include time at the party. There were times when the male-in-my-life (husbands and dates) and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to have time alone in the car on the way to the party, maybe stopped for a drink in a favorite bar we used to go to way back when but just never got the chance that often with the kids to think of constantly. When you host an adults only party, you just never know what kind of special moments you may be bringing into your guests lives by insisting they leave the kids at home... '-)

                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                            I guess there were three (not well articulated options): (1) adults-only party, leave kids at home, (2) adults-only party with in-house childcare option (but the kids won't be mingling with the adults while the party is going on because they'll be in a different room), or (3) not an adults-only party - kids and grown-ups are all invited and will be mingling together (theoretically). The possibility of (2) was the reason I was thinking that the guests might have thought they could bring their kids to an 8pm cocktail party.

                                                                                                            1. re: akq

                                                                                                              Well, my only problem with option 2 is that it puts the onus on the hosts to pick up the babysitting tab, so to speak, and they're already footing the bill for the party. I don't think they owe someone a babysitter just because they invited them to an adults only party! (curmudge curmudge curmudge) '-)

                                                                                                              1. re: akq

                                                                                                                Things were so much easier when I was a kid in the 70's--stick everyone's kids in the basement to fend for themselves while the adults took over the house, playing cards, drinking, gambling, swearing...leaving the older kids *in charge*, LOL! Just kidding...but it makes me wonder if this is why parents are so indulgent with their children these days.

                                                                                                                1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                                  Because there are not enough kids around for that to work as well as it used to.

                                                                                                          2. Some people are clueless even when you're direct, and will expect you to take care of their children. Even if you say there will be drinking, smoking, swearing, loose women, strippers...but hey, it could be worse--my sister and her husband brought their 2 year old to our bachelor party in Vegas, then expected us to give up *our* room to sit their daughter after the other guests needed their rooms back, because they wanted to stay out later.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                                We must have the same sister....

                                                                                                              2. Ed, as someone who has BTDT more than once, I can be brutally honest when I say be blunt. If they ask say "Sorry this is 100% adults only" I have had more than one coctail party be completely ruined by a guests "precious darlings" throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the living room because she was miffed I would not allow her to play with my original 1960s Barbies in the display case! Let us just say that guest (who just laughed it off) was never invited again. And lets not forget the darlings who screamed bloody murder when I asked them to please not triple dip, and lick their fingers and eat off the party trays.


                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. Oblivious guests don't pick up on hints like "Won't the kids get sleepy?" or that fact that most of them should be in bed by eight and really don't belong at a COCKTAIL PARTY. I had a relative start a family war many years ago when my wedding invitation, which began with an evening ceremony at 8:00 PM, did not include the names of her two and four year old sons. Some people just don't care -- they expect to bring their kids everywhere, even if it is inappropriate.

                                                                                                                  Nope, I might just call all of them, or send an e-mail, which is intended for everyone:

                                                                                                                  "Sorry to call, even though I assume YOU knew this, is an adult party. We have had a couple of people call to clarify, so I apologize if we weren't clear. I just want to make sure everyone knows so that there are no misunderstandings. "

                                                                                                                  If they don't come, they don't come. Don't worry about it.

                                                                                                                  1. I'd be interested to find out how this turns out; please post and let us know.

                                                                                                                    Secondly, it makes me very glad that I am too old to have friends who want to bring their children over. We only have to worry about staying awake.

                                                                                                                    1. Forget excuses - simply say that you wanted to have an evening with your friends where everyone could get away from their kids for a couple hours. This has worked for us on a number of occassions when we were trying to plan adult only events.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                        The night out with out kids is never appreciated if the organizer is not a parent.

                                                                                                                      2. Table Manners addressed this issue a while back. Here's the link:

                                                                                                                        1. i'd love to know what finally happened -- and how ed1066 (a very good year) handled things!

                                                                                                                          1. I always put "Adults Only Please" . My friends were only too glad to leave the kids at home.
                                                                                                                            We never had kids, so it wasn't a matter of where ours would be. I always did a party or two that included the kids during the year anyway - especially for the pool, etc. Never had any hard feelings.

                                                                                                                            22 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                              My wedding RSVP cards will have a small notation: "This event is for adults only." Yes, I love my nieces and nephews and actually love some of my friends' kids. I just want our wedding to be an adult party and want all my friends to have fun without having to watch out for the little ones.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                                                I was deeply offended when I was informed that my two children were not welcome at my niece's wedding (especially since her 5-year-old self had attended mine). I did not attend. If weddings are no longer family affairs, but "adult parties," our society has gone off the rails.

                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                  You don't think the bride has the option to decide which type of wedding she'd like?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                    Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I think we need to take a look here. My second wedding was an "all inclusive" pot luck in the park, kids welcome but they cannot drink any of the champagne type of affair, and it was great fun. Everyone was asked to bring a dish to share in lieu of a wedding gift. Since we'd both been married before, we already had two toasters, among many other duplicates!


                                                                                                                                    Shortly before that, a friend's first wedding was extremely formal and the reception was catered at $100.00 a head! And invitations were sent out in the hundreds. But even if it was just one hundred, that probably comes to two hundred people because single people will want to bring a date. So half of the two hundred are married with 2.3 children per couple. That's $11,500.00 in extra "covers" the caterers will charge for in full because fancy caterers don't do "kids meals"!

                                                                                                                                    No. There are times when it is EXTREMELY rude to insist on bringing your children. And if a wedding day is indeed "the bride's special day," she has every right to call the shots. If you love her, or even just like her a little, be kind and honor her wishes.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                      Unless they are a lesbian couple, it is the groom's special day as well.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1


                                                                                                                                        Your last paragraph is perfect.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                          Thank you kindly, sir. er... uh... Poochie! '-)

                                                                                                                                      2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                        Sorry if people are offended by not having children at a wedding. the bride and groom will decide the type of affair, the cutoff on who will and will not be invited and the other hundreds of decision that go into a wedding. Any one of them will cause some angst from the guests.

                                                                                                                                        If the guest does not approve of any of the decisions of the bride and groom they can either attend and suck it up or decline and not attend.

                                                                                                                                        Being "offended" by not having children invited is way too much drama for jfood.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                          j, I am not a drama queen, and would certainly never have expected to take my kids to a cocktail party when they were little. To exclude close family members from your wedding based on their age, is IMO, plain wrong, and something I never encountered when I was young.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca


                                                                                                                                            everyone gets a bit miffed when the kids are excluded from anything, it is natural. But you gotta understand that not everyone is of that opinion.

                                                                                                                                            Jfood is firmly in the camp of the wedding day is for the wedding couple. Everyone else is a guest. and the rules of weddings are so far to the right that people accept some mighty weird stuff from the couple. Getting offended is just a complete waste of emotions. Either go and suck it up like every other guest sitting through all that hoopla or stay home and explain it in 10 years when the couple is still angry at you for coming to their big day. Memories of a bride on their wedding day make an elephant look like a forget-me-not. It just ain't worth the long term aggrevation

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                              Wow. The hosts of a wedding have no explicit or implicit social or familial obligation to invite children of guests. In all the weddings of my many cousins, brothers and sisters, I don't think there was a single wedding where children (other than younger brothers and sisters of the bride or groom) were invited or in attendance. Not a one.

                                                                                                                                              Even among my peer group, I would say children in attendance were rarely permitted.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                amazing how many subcultures exist side by side, practically family by family. I cannot imagine a jewish wedding that wasn't as multi generational as can be

                                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                  interesting...even within Judaism there are subcultures. Very few of the Jewish weddings jfood has attended, including his own, included children. Jfood wonders if it is a Jewish City vs. Jewish Suburb thing though.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                    maybe its just my family - what do i know?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                      ditto as well.

                                                                                                                                                      gotta rent goodby columbus and the heartbreak kid. :-))

                                                                                                                                          2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                            I think if the bride and groom want an "adult party" that includes friends and family members, they should have it. We've been to weddings with kids and ones without. They are very different kinds of events and we prefer the latter.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                              LOL. Weddings are WHATEVER the paying party wish it to be, whether all inclusive or adulty-only.

                                                                                                                                              Parents who are deeply offended when their kids aren't invited (who probably don't want to go) weigh their own feelings and self-importance over others way too much.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                                                                You said it perfectly! Our older daughter had an outdoor wedding at Lake Tahoe where we live. The other had their wedding at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. The former had children there and part of the ceremony. The latter had no children. Both were appropriate.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                                                              Seems like a great way to handle it. Is this an event you are planning now? If so, enjoy your lovely day!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                                                We've been "planning" forever. Looks like 2010 it will finally happen!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                                                                I did the same thing, but a word of warning, putting "adults only" on the invite can raise a few eyebrows! We held our wedding in Vegas, so folks wondered what exactly we had in mind.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                                  I like the idea of raised eyebrows ;)