Is it rude to make a party an "adults only" affair?

[This is my 2nd attempt at this thread- the first one got lost in space. Sorry if it shows up twice]

I’m throwing a party soon for about 50 adults at a hotel, dinner will be served, followed by drinking, dancing, and general revelry. It begins at around 6:30 pm.

Invitations will be addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. So and so”- I figure between that and the start time, most people will understand that they should arrange for a babysitter, as I’ll be doing for my own kids.

If everyone were to bring their kids, that’ll increase the headcount by about 30- I’m not interested in shelling out $70/head for the kids, even if the hotel gives me a reduced cost for the kids. I’m pretty much at my budget limit as it is. “Kids” includes everyone from about a year old to sixteen, the age range of the children of my family and friends.

Do you think it’s necessary to specify on the invitations that kids are not necessarily welcome, and if so, is something like “Adults only, please” acceptable?

Is your party. You are paying for it. You get to say who goes.

You will probably have to go with your gut on this. I can tell you that Miss Manners would never tell you that it’s “rude” to make a party an “adults only” affair, though I don’t know what she would say about how to get the point across on an invitation in a socially acceptable manner.

But - I promise you that someone will be offended, and claim that it’s rude. Does that make them right? I don’t believe so (I’m on your side about the expense, and I don’t really care to “socialize” with children). But it will happen. Trust me.

So, you really have to draw your own line in the sand as to whether to do it or not. That said, I’d have to check with Miss Manners on the “adults only” wording. She’d probably say that it should be understood by the recipient that only those whose names are on the invitation are invited, but we all know plenty of people who are grossly ignorant in regard to such social niceties.

Good luck with the party & all.

YaWanna has nailed it. It’s absolutely not rude and yet people will be shocked and angry that you don’t want their darlings at the party. And this will always be the parents of the brats, not the parents of the nice kids.

You’re hosting so you can decide who to invite and there’s nothing wrong with making it adults only. However, make sure that the invitation explicitly states it. There are people who assume that an invitation to them includes their children. Also, be prepared for a few people who are miffed that their little darlings have been excluded.

You could always add something to the bottom of the invitations that say something like, “If you need help finding a babysitter, let me know. I know some good ones.” Provided, of course, that you do.

However, I cannot imagine bringing a child to a party like that. Not only would I not have a good time, having to watch my child instead of dancing, drinking, etc., my child would likely be bored to tears.

Also, you could call it a cocktail party…with dinner. One would hope that anyone reading the invitation would get that it is a grown-type party.

Who doesn’t know that “[name] & [name]” only means the people named on the invitations? Otherwise you send out invitations to the “[name] Family”

“Adults Only” makes it sound like some sort of weird planned orgy with hors d’oeuvres (I’m not sure if this is what you want to get across:)). I get what you mean by your current invitations just fine and I think most people do/would-you just have to consider if child-less parties are standard for your area/culture. Because getting it is completely different from being pissed about it/trying to get around it-theoretically you could state “Adults Only” and people would still call you up and ask if they could bring their kid.

No, not rude.

I would recommend you play “spot the likely offender” and give them a friendly call. Let you know that you really want them to come, but you understand that hiring a sitter can be expensive or difficult, so you will understand if they need to send regrets.

Which, if the likely offender was going to bring kids, they will say “oh, we were just going to bring the kids.”

And you say “I’m sorry, this is one of those adults only parties.”

What if I put a line on the R.S.V.P. card something like: “Number of adults attending: ____” and just leave it at that? I’d think it would take a real doofus to write in “2, and my 3 kids”.

You’d be surprised how many people assume their children are invited to events even if they’re not explicitly included on the invitation. I’m not quite sure why, but it’s not at all uncommon.

Related anecdote: When my husband and I got married, things turned into a total nightmare because, even though we addressed the invitations to Mr. and Mrs. X, most of my husband’s family and family friends assumed their children were included and added them to the RSVP cards, which significantly increased our head count and therefore the amount we had to spend. Then again, my husband’s family is Indian; my husband has described an Indian wedding as a “free-for-all” where if you invite one person, it’s assumed that they’re invited, plus spouse and kids. In fact, when we sent his dad his portion of the invitations for our wedding, he said we didn’t send enough, had them duplicated and sent out almost 400 additional to people we’d never heard of. It was awful.

I’d put something to the effect of, “Please make other arrangements for your children, there will be no activities or facilities for them at this function”.

If you don’t specify adults only, someone will bring their kids. Probably small, noisy ones. I would specify adults only. Or rent a room in the hotel and hire a couple of teenagers to babysit.

Do not underestimate the doofi.

Sig line! Or bumper sticker, your choice. :slight_smile:

I’m Indian too and my sister just got married last Sunday. The reception hall had a 140 person limit so my parents cut off all the grown-ass children of their long-time friends (most of whom wanted to go to some desi convention somewhere else anyway). The only children invited to the wedding were our biological relatives and the two little girls of my dad’s good friend from work (he has a soft spot for them).

I don’t think a single person called and asked us about it (or my parents would have called me up to complain about that) or bugged us to let them bring their kids. Then again, my parents, my sister’s husband and his family and our friends have been here since the early 80s or even earlier so we weren’t having as traditional an Indian wedding. Although, I definitely get what you’re talking about…our guests told us the wedding was “tiny” (118 people) which I know isn’t a “tiny” wedding for most people but in Indian culture it’s positively miniscule!

I personally don’t think that it is rude - but I think you must prepare yourself for the fact that some people will, and some will be hurt and offended. Some won’t show because of it.

When I throw a party I make it clear that it is adult only.

Technically, it is rude to specifically mention those who are NOT invited on an invitation. This is because it is pretend-unthinkable that anyone might imagine that persons not named on the invitation were actually invited after all and bring them along. I think the strictly proper thing to do is collar a friend into making sure word gets around that kids aren’t welcome.

That said, a line about “adults only” might just be the only practical way to do it now, and I can’t imagine many people taking offense.

I expect there’d be someone who came to the conclusion that you aren’t being charged for kids, and so you only needed a count of adults. Unless you’re explicit, someone will misconstrue. Frankly, I expect there will be as many people relieved to read a blurb about adults only as there will be people offended that they can’t bring their little darlings.

Okay, call me a doofus, a barbarian, a hick, or whatever kind of name you want. Or chalk it up to the fact that I don’t go to cocktail parties. But if I get an invitation to a party (even if it’s addressed just to me) and do not receive what I regard as clear notice that I shouldn’t bring my 7 year-old daughter, I assume she’s welcome. I’m a single dad without much of a social life, but when I do hang out with my grown-up friends (none of whom have kids, BTW), my daughter comes along and usually behaves impeccably. On the other hand, were I to receive an invitation that says “adults only” or “leave the kiddies behind” or something along those lines, I would not think it rude at all. I recognize that not everyone loves having kids around, and that some social functions are more enjoyable for all when the smalls are left at home, but I would hope that the host of any such event to which I am being invited would make that clear to me.

Inevitably, some parents will bring along their kids. Could your hire a babysitter on site? Are there kid friendly facilities? Obviously, you wouldn’t mention this on the invitations. You would specify “adults only please” in a polite manner and then at the lobby or banquet room, politely mentions that the kids would have more fun with so-and-so or at the pool.