Q: Our invitation reads "Adult Reception." I just received an e-mail from a friend telling me she is bringing her kids. How do I explain to her that I don't want children at my wedding? Or do I just let her bring them?

A: "Adult Reception" on the invites should have done the trick. However, some people inevitably don't get it and bring their little darlings anyway. Before the wedding you have a few choices. Call your friend and explain why you don't want kids at your wedding. Have some good reasons ready. (Explaining that your wedding rental package doesn't come with a jungle gym just won't cut it.) Maybe the reception hall is not kid proof, with breakables at every turn, or you're planning a post-reception party and would hate for them to have to leave early just as the party is getting started. Your second option is to arrange for a babysitter for your separation-anxious parents. See if you can find someone who'd be willing to come to the hotel and watch the kids for a few hours. Your generous offer should make your guests happy and keep your reception kid-free. If someone unexpectedly shows up at your wedding with a child, however, you'll just have to be gracious about it.

See all questions about wedding invitations and stationery etiquette

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