Persona Non Grata: Politely asking guests not to bring their children

by epi on September 17, 2012

Q: What is the proper way to word an invitation for an ‘adults only’ party? I have kids of my own, and I don’t want others to feel that I don’t enjoy their children at my home also. But there are times that the adults need time to socialize.

A: It is understood that only those names appearing on the invitation/envelope are those invited to a party. If you fear some of your guests will nonetheless assume that their children are welcome, then you should be sure to request a reply — not a “regrets only” response, so that when they call you can say, “Oh, I am so happy that you and Tom will be able to be here. . .”  Should someone say their children are coming, you should feel comfortable responding that although their child (children) is/are adorable and you would love to include him/her/them, space just doesn’t permit and to make an exception for one family and not others would only cause hurt feelings, but you hope she and her husband/date/fiance will be able to come even though the children can’t be included. That is pretty direct and clear, without being offensive. You should never write “no children” on the invitation.

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