As the event world evolves, many people are realizing they can plan events that they wan not what others expect from them. However, this does not mean that you do not consider your guests. As an event planner, when I guide my clients in the planning process, I always encourage them to do what works for them. For me, there is no such thing as “normal or tradition” be authentic in the planning process. Plan the event or celebration you will be happy to call yours. When my clients do this, they end up with an event that makes them and the guest happy. Thus, if you want to have an adult only celebration, then go for it! I recently had a client that inquired about this. Here are a few tips that may guide you in the communication process.
First, is allowing yourself the freedom to plan what you want. The client wanted to know if this was ok. Not that anyone needs permission, but it is important to know that when you plan events, you have creative license. If you want the celebration to be a certain way, then the only thing you need to consider is communicating this to your potential guests. Do not concern yourself with how people will respond. People are going to respond to any and everything regardless. The important think is to be clear and concise in your communication.
Second, is communicating your desire within your website (if you have one), and save the date announcements. The most recent client had already sent out her invitations. After they were sent, she realized she did not communicate her desires and asked for my assistance in correcting this. It is important to note that there are many ways to communicate your intent. When I communicated this to my client, I encouraged her to avoid using words in the negative or isolation. These words can include not and only. Try to communicate in the positive. It is also important to not apologize for what you want. There are many ways to communicate your intent. I encouraged the client to share her intent via her website and ask her parents to also communicate her desires. Below is what I provided to my client:
Salutation that works for you!
Our wedding date is fast approaching. We are excited about our new life journey and sharing this special time with you. As you begin to prepare to attend our wedding, please keep in mind that we wish to have an adult celebration. We will have a few immediate family children within the wedding procession, but overall, we desire an intimate celebration experience for adults.
Thank you so much for understanding and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Closing that works for you,
This sample verbiage accomplishes two major things. First, it communicates your desire in the positive and stresses your desire. Second, it is very clear that there will be some children attending. Being transparent with your guests ensures everyone understands what to expect and are not surprised if there are some children.
Third is communicating your desire within your invitations. There are several ways to accomplish this, but one way is within the response card. When asking for responses you can include adults within the text. It does not matter the type of word choice you use, but the intent is the key. For example, within the response line you can simply have adults accepting and adults declining. Or if this matches your personality you can have adults accepting with “Hell yes” or adults declining “Oh no, sad to miss it”. You can also have the specific names of the invited guest to be very clear who is invited. I would also encourage you to communicate this concept in other ways such as your website. Having multiple ways to communicate a consistent message ensures your quests are informed of your expectations.
The most important factor with adult only celebrations is that you clearly communicate to your guests. The most common complaint of guests is not that you want to have an adult only celebration, but that it may not have been clearly communicated in advance.