Ask AANW: How Do I Enforce an Adult Only Nigerian Wedding?

I am having a bit of an issue. I recently sent out my RSVP for my upcoming wedding and made sure I indicated it was an adult-only wedding. However, I am getting some responses back and people are RSVPing their little kids. I am aware that it’s hard to enforce such in a Nigerian setting but I must for cost and order reasons. This is what we want on our big day. How do I fix this boo-boo?


Hi Bunmi,
Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! Ha…your dilemma is not a new one. I have attended weddings similar to what you are planning and trust some of our people to still disobey the rules. Well, first thing you need to do is rectify the situation; especially those you are certain RSVPed their kids. You’ll need to pick up the phone right away and let them know. A call is better than an email or text, and you can engage in the conversation in a friendly tone.

Wondering about what you need to say? Let us guide you :). Start with the regular pleasantries, and thank them for sending in a response. Next apologize for any confusion the wording or note within the invitation/RSVP card may have caused (we know there wasn’t any confusion; they chose to ignore your request but that’s besides the point now).

Indicate that the invitation is for the adults in the family and if you have the specific names, mention it as well. Let them know you hope they understand and can attend without the kids. It’s important to let them know it will be strictly by invitation and that anyone not on the list has been ordered not to be allowed in, regardless of age. Let them know, henceforth, you have removed the kid’s name from the list of guests. End your call as you please.

Remember to stay firm if your guest pressures you. This is important for your budget or desire for a kids-free event, and it’s also respectful to any other guests with kids who did arrange for childcare. I should note that the choice of whether or not to invite children is up to the couple — there’s no etiquette that says children must be invited.

Another alternative is to have a kids reception area with a communal babysitter which you pay for [For those that don’t listen]. That way, guests can bring their kids but kids are in a designated kids-only zone and not allowed to come in the adults-only area. By doing this, you will not only save your guest the cost of hiring a baby-sitter, but you can be assured they would show up! Just don’t forget to include the kids in the festivities also: have a screen to show them what’s going on so they can watch as the day unfolds. Don’t forget to share your wedding cake with them also 🙂

We hope this helps!


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