Disruptive Daughters: Can the invitation say ‘no children’?

by epi on December 29, 2011

Q: I am hosting a ‘jewelry party’ at my home and want to include my female cousins. Each of them have daughters under the age of 3 that they bring everywhere. I know it’s not polite to say ‘no children’ on invites, but unless it’s in black and white my cousins will bring the children. These are not well behaved children, they are disruptive and rowdy. Their presence will distract from the event and would be inconsiderate to other guests.

I also need your advice on how I should handle the ‘I’d love to come, but I don’t have a baby sitter’ response. I was thinking ‘What a shame, we’ll miss you’ would suffice?

A: Since you have past experience with your cousins bringing their children when they are not invited, you have to be very direct and write on their invitations Adults Only. While it should be understood that only the person’s name listed on the invitation is invited, there are some who disregard this, as it seems is the case with your cousins. Ask for a response, and when they call to confirm make it clear again that you wish you could include all the children but you cannot. And yes, if they respond that they can’t get a sitter, “What a shame, we’ll miss you” is the perfect response. You have to be firm with them since they apparently disregard the basic rules of invitations otherwise.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Winifred Rosenburg December 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

In response to the “don’t have a sitter” excuse, I say “would you like me to help you find a sitter?” They always say “no.” People who use this excuse don’t actually want a sitter. They are just saying that in hopes that you’ll allow them to bring children. Making a generous offer to find them a sitter embarrasses them into backing down.


Lilli December 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Depending on what are of the country you live in the cost of a sitter can be the most expensive part of a night out and some people really just can’t afford the sitter AND the date night. I’ve worked for a couple that wanted to have a grown-up cocktail party but knew childcare would be an issue for most people. They hired me to wrangle all the kids down in the finished basement and plays games, do crafts, whatever. It saved their guests the cost and hassle of finding a sitter, but the children still weren’t disrupting the adult party that they wanted to host. Win-win for everybody!


Vtreynolds December 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I would like to add that hosting a jewelry party, if it is what I am thinking of as the awkward selling event in which you invite friends and acquaintances to buy products from you, is also somewhat inappropriate….but, otherwise, the advice given seems correct.


Ruth Peltier December 30, 2011 at 4:15 am

Oh come on !! Product selling parties are fine if the guests know that it is a product selling party and there is no pressure on them to attend if they do not want any of the product. Personally, I enjoy the chance to see friends and shop all in one place and most of the products involved are things I want to buy anyway.


Melissa December 31, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I disagree. Direct sales are not inappropriate, but a valid and successful way of promoting and distributing a high quality product.


Lady Antipode January 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I agree with Vtreynolds – there is a difference between a party and a sales pitch. And while ‘no pressure’ may be stated, guests are often ‘guilted’ into buying something by the salesperson. It’s even worse if the salesperson is a friend. Offering child-minidng services will only further emphasise the obligation to reciprocate by buying something.

As far as ‘a valid way of promoting and distributing … a product’, there are far more considerate and appropriate ways to do this.


scdeb December 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Have a teenage girl or two come to your house to watch all the kids–you’ll make more sales if the mothers know you are welcoming them kids and all and you might even get a sale from the teenagers (you will have to pay them to sit of course). This is what I’d do to keep the house from being destroyed and to keep the friendships–no one wants to be told that their kids are horrible even if they truly are.


Zakafury January 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm

In a pinch, even boys can be hired to babysit.


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