While some couples delight in seeing little ones dance at the reception, others find dealing with kids to be a headache, or that they do not fit with a formal black-tie wedding. This is a perfectly valid choice, but it can often be a source of drama when it comes to prospective attendees with children. That being said, it's important to get your decision across in a tactful way. Generally, it is not always advised to be blunt and write “adults only” or “no kids” directly on the invitation, so subtle methods may need to be deployed.
Having just the names of the parents on the envelope, as well as noting how many seats are reserved on the RSVP, can help make it clear who exactly is invited. However, be prepared to receive some phone calls and texts asking about their kids – or worse, receive RSVP cards with the names of the children added on. Much like the registry information, the wedding website is a great way to share details that are considered gauche for the invitation. Under an appropriate heading – such as details, or even accommodations – find a sophisticated way to express your desire for an adults-only affair.
There is a high probability that you will get pushback from at least a couple prospective attendees, but it is important to hold your ground. If you grant an exception to some guests, others will be dismayed by the unequal treatment. Allowing a nursing mother to bring her infant is usually the only acceptable case of going against a no-kids policy.
For couples who want to be especially accommodating, while also lessening the odds of loved ones not attending because they don’t want to leave their kids behind, providing childcare is generous and will be appreciated. This can either be done by having a separate space at your venue, or hiring several (depending on the amount of children) well-vetted babysitters who can watch the children at a separate location. If you go this route, keep in mind that some parents are more cautious than others and may want the chance to interview the childcare professional(s) themselves.