Wedding Etiquette For No Children Invited

Wedding Etiquette For No Children Invited
Wedding Etiquette For No Children Invited

The proper wedding etiquette for a “no children invited” ceremony and reception is complex. Emily Post’s website, the source I trust most for etiquette advice, recommends inferring whether children are invited based on the names included (or not included) on the inner envelope. Martha Stewart’s Wedding website concurs and adds that the bride and groom should avoid having the invitation addressed to “and family” to avoid confusion.

But what if the invitation does not have a formal envelope? And what if the bride and groom don’t yet know the name of a baby they might otherwise want to invite? My close friend from high school is getting married at a destination two thousand miles away from our home in Boston. To get addresses for the invitations, she sent a mass blind carbon copy email and, in my case, followed up with a personalized reply to my response. She and her fiancee were also gracious enough to send two useful baby gifts for our newborn daughter highlighting the fact they knew about her birth.

However, neither my friend nor I explicitly discussed whether my daughter — who will be a few months old on the wedding date — would be invited. When I received the wedding invitation in the mail, it was a cute, single piece mailer addressed to my wife and myself. The mailer included a tear-off, pre-addressed, pre-stamped postcard. While my name and my wife’s name were printed on the exterior of the single piece mailer, neither the interior of the invitation text nor the tear-off postcard had our names on it. In addition, the tear-off postcard had a blank spot where I was supposed to write-in the number of guests attending.

Based on the formal etiquette guidelines, the absence of our daughter’s name on the exterior of the invitation envelope would indicate that she is not invited. But no resource — not even an otherwise great book on etiquette by the descendents of Emily Post — explicitly covers the situation with a single-piece mailer rather than a formal exterior envelope. In addition, the fact that my daughter was not yet born when the invitations were created makes me question the applicability of standard etiquette guidelines.

How was my friend supposed to address the invitation to my baby when she did not yet know my baby’s name?

Several internet blogs provide recommendations for the situation including: helpful invitation suggestions, a discussion of the importance of the decision, and a hint about what to do if children are in the bridal party.

In our case the situation was resolved painlessly with another series of emails between myself and my friend. The whole exercise makes me question the purpose of a paper wedding invitation in a modern world.

My friend had to start the process by collecting physical mailing addresses by email since she had everyone’s email address, but very few mailing addresses. She and her fiancee included their wedding website on the invitation where guests could obtain far more information (including beautiful pictures) about the destination and wedding party than we could ever have received in the mail. Most interestingly, when we needed to communicate about the wedding, my friend and I relied on email to exchange information

Due to the timing and my concern about traveling with a young baby, my wife and I won’t be able to attend my friend’s wedding. I hope she and her husband have a wonderful life together and I will wish them my best in a future email.