You’ve struggled with the question of whether to invite children to your wedding, and you’ve decided it’s best to allow them to come. Now what? Well, now it’s time to make sure they’re going to be entertained, not only so they have some fun, but also so their parents can enjoy your special day with you. As you begin to dive into the essential details of wedding planning, consider these four ways to make sure your youngest guests will have as much fun as the adults.
1. Prepare Their Spot at the Table with Quiet Activities
Kids aren’t known for being quiet or sitting still, so don’t make a commonly made wedding planning mistake and forget to account for this. However, they’re more likely to at least try to take it easy if they’re entertained. One way to achieve this is to set out some quiet activities for them at the dinner table. Whether you have a separate kids’ table or want them to sit with their parents, make sure each kid seat is stocked with some crayons and coloring books or blank paper. You might even want to skip the fancy tablecloth and put down butcher paper instead, which will encourage little ones to draw to their heart’s content.
Setting out snacks at each child’s seat will also keep them busy so their parents can listen to speeches and watch your first dance in peace. You can make the snacks related to your theme or just to weddings in general, or you can stick with the classics, such as crackers, cookies or pretzels. Either way, both the children and their parents will appreciate having these tasty distractions at the table.
2. Set Aside Space for Them at the Reception
If you’re not sure you want a lot of kids underfoot at the reception, designate a kid-friendly area for them at the venue. This might be in a separate room or just a corner of a large ballroom. Either way, stock it with age-appropriate toys that won’t be so loud they overpower the rest of the reception. This could include the same items you placed at the reception tables, such as books, coloring books and Legos. But you can also add dolls, dress-up costumes and arts and crafts. Or if you have the outlets, put on a movie or set up a video game area.
If there is space outside where it’s safe for kids to be, provide bubbles to blow, or set up a game of cornhole (for the bigger kids).
If the kids will be in another room or outside at the reception, it’s important to make sure they’re supervised, especially if they’re young. Though the parents and adult relatives might be willing to keep a close eye on the kids, you can also hire a babysitter to do the job. This way, parents are more likely to stay a little longer because they can actually relax instead of chasing their children around the venue. And whether or not you hire a babysitter, try to set aside a comfortable spot for tired kids to relax or even go to sleep if all the wedding fun wears them out.
3. Choose Food That Appeals to Children
Your adult guests might appreciate the filet mignon or lobster tail you want to serve, but the kids probably won’t be impressed, so make sure you have an alternative for them. Find out if your caterer offers kids’ meals, such as chicken nuggets or sliders and fries. If you’re planning a buffet rather than a plated service, this might be a little easier, since parents can help their children find a few buffet items they’ll like.
If you’re not set on an evening reception, keep in mind that breakfast and lunch items tend to appeal more to children than most dinner options. This should make meal planning a little easier on you, so think about having your wedding earlier in the day if you plan to have lots of children there. As a bonus, an earlier wedding ensures the children who attend aren’t cranky because they’re up past their bedtime.
4. Get the Kids Involved
Your options for involving children in your wedding are not limited to just the ring bearer and flower girl. You can involve all your little guests at the reception. To start, make sure they know they’re invited to let loose on the dance floor. Of course, most kids don’t need an invitation to dance when there’s music, so you’ll probably have most of the kids on the dance floor whether you ask or not. But you can go one step further by asking the DJ to play some kids’ music.
If you have a band at the reception, arrange for the band members to hand out small instruments–such as maracas–so they can make some music, too!
Some other ideas include having a piñata to hit at the reception and encouraging kids to take pictures with disposable cameras you give them. You can even try making a game out of it by having a checklist of items for them to photograph. Similarly, you can set up a scavenger hunt so the children can look for certain wedding-related items around the venue while the adults socialize.
Are you inviting kids to your wedding? What are your plans to make sure they stay safe and have fun on your special day? We’d love to hear about your plans and experiences if you have any! And don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Pinterest pages if you’re still planning your ceremony out – they’re loaded with useful videos, photos, and various forms of inspiration.