You can certainly decide WHO you want at the Wedding and WHERE to draw the line.
Bridal Party Children – CHECK
Neices & Nephews – CHECK
First Cousins Kids – CHECK
Everyone else…. NO GO
But as stated above by KateByDesign: it can (and does) get complicated WHEN word gets out that “some Guests” are able to bring their kids while others cannot
As to your Question… how to do it Etiquette wise
The RULE is whoever is named on the Envelope is the person(s) the Invite is for.
So Mr & Mrs Bob Brown or Mary Jones & James White… are both invites for two persons
Mr & Mrs Bob Brown and children… is an invite for the whole family
Some Brides say that they try to reiterate the difference so that Mary Jones & James White don’t just decide to bring along their kids anyhow… and they do this by using “the numbers” option on the RSVP Inserts / Replies that go out with the Invites…
So for Mary Jones & James White it would say
– 2 – Seats have been Reserved for you
ARE or ARE NOT Able to Attend
They would then fill in their names on the line (Ms Mary Jones & Mr James White)
and circle whatever applies… and if the card also has meal opitions, Beef / Chicken then they’d indicate that as well
The pre-filling in of -2- Seats isn’t always perfect, but it does help in most cases where those not familiar with Wedding Etiquette don’t understand that the names on the Addressed Envelope is WHO is invited. Period.
Lol, saldy it doesn’t fix those who haven’t got a clue… cross out the number 2 and write in their own chosen number -4- (as in planning to bring their munchkins)
NOR does it help with those who’ll call you up / email you and whine, plead, beg that you should make an EXCEPTION for their “darlings” (some will even offer to PAY THEIR WAY)
Wedding Receptions are Expensive… and cutting back a Guest List is tough work for most Brides, Grooms and Families. You need a common front… and an agreement that wherever you draw the line for Invites is solid among ALL OF YOU
Because, once one gets in the door… then word will get out… and the dam will break, and all H3LL will break loose, you’ll be pulled under into a raging river in a downward spiral (lots of Brides posting here on Bee about how difficult it can be… the pressure that RUDE Guests put upon them, and others in the immediate family… Brides Family – Grooms Family etc)
Better to have a game plan upfront, and hang tough
Hope this helps,