Let me start by saying, I love kids at weddings! They are generally cute, playful, willing do cut a rug on the dance floor, and they say the darnedest things. They are part of the family, and weddings are all about family, right? However, on the flip side they can be unpredictable, they cry, they mess, they get into things, and they need to be watched every second so I can see why some couples don't want kids at their wedding. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here, but if you don't want children at your wedding how do you notify your guests in the nicest way possible? Wedding etiquette says that only the guests whose names are printed on the invitation are invited. However, not all people know proper etiquette and sometimes you just can't take your chances. If you are the 'forward' type, you can simply state it in your invitation. For example, after the announcement of your ceremony, you could print something like, "Adults Only Reception to Follow". I can already see the 'non-confrontational' types cringing.
Another option is to list the number of seats you have reserved for each guest. This can be done by stating on your RSVP card, "We have reserved ___ seats in your honor." This way, you can take the liberty of filling in a "2" for that cousin of yours with 6 kids and no tact. Your invitation designer may have more tips on how to word this to match your personality and style. Or, if you only have a few wedding guests with kids, you could call only those guests and politely notify them of your wishes so they can make arrangements.
How you approach this really just comes down to your comfort level. If you do decide to go the no kids route, make sure you stay firm. By caving in and letting somebody break your rule, you run the risk of offending those who respected your request. If you are like me, and you want everybody to be happy, consider hiring a babysitting company. A company like Party Sitters charges per child, per hour to come in with games, televisions, video consoles, kids food, and tons of other things for the little ones to do while their parents party down. Everybody wins!
With All Life Has to Offer,