Unless you’ve indicated you don’t want children at your wedding and reception, it’s best to prepare. They’re coming–and you need to be ready! One thing we love about children is their boundless energy and inquisitive spirit, but when placed in an atmosphere with multi-tiered wedding cakes, intricate flower displays, and champagne flutes filled with bubbly good stuff, children have been known to get a bit restless, often resulting in mini disasters, or at the very least, comical moments.
While you don’t have to provide entertainment during the entire ceremony or reception (after all, kids love to be swung around the dance floor by aunts and uncles), providing some entertainment for guests’ kids offers an extra touch of consideration–and distraction–for the little ones in your life. Plus, it gives the parents an opportunity to join in the wedding reception fun!
At a loss for ideas? There’s no need to worry, as there are endless ways to entertain children during your reception.
Does considering whether to invite children to your wedding invoke visions of your then-five-year-old cousin rolling around in sand dunes on the golf course at your aunt’s 1995 country club wedding? If the thought of such antics make you cringe, you may want to provide another way for kids to burn off steam.
One perfect, modern-day solution is the bounce house. Typically, up to ten children can fit into these inflatable trampoline-esque inventions, depending on their size and weight. You may want to opt for a castle-inspired variety to play to the theme of your fairytale wedding, or perhaps you want your bounce house to be one of the slide versions, allowing kids to whoosh up and down for hours. Once they return to the reception, they may be a little sweaty and red-faced, but they’ll also be all the more docile.
Perhaps your wedding venue is a hotel, and you can designate one suite for the evening as the “children’s room.” Providing fun, age-appropriate movies, ample provisions of popcorn, pizza, and goodies should mean an easy task for your babysitters. If you want parents to be able to see their kids during the festivities, setting off a corner of your reception hall may be best. With sitters to oversee the area and provide fun for the kids, they’ll be too distracted to wonder about Mom and Dad’s whereabouts.
Coloring books and tablemat mazes are must-haves, but if you have several hours to fill, you may need a bit more to keep kids’ attention. Consider mess-free options, like activity sets with finger puppets, sticker sets, decks of cards, and more. Assemble your own or buy some pre-made; whatever suits your budget and creativity.
Consider what fun it would be for the little girls in attendance at your wedding to have tiaras, bright pink boas, and sparkly bangles at their place settings.
The same is true for boys, but perhaps you’ll substitute mini action figures, pirate hats, and superhero capes—that is, if you don’t think they’ll try to fly off their chairs!
Having themed favors for kids provides hours of make-believe fun, plus a souvenir to take home and use for years to come. Parents will appreciate the extra effort as well.
Let’s face it: kids typically aren’t thrilled with ricotta bruschetta, blue-cheese-covered grapes, filet mignon, or any other wedding-food staples. To avoid a food-fueled meltdown, offering kids’ menus may be in your best interest.
While kiddos happily chow down on hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and grilled cheeses, their parents will be free to sip on tasty libations and sample the savory appetizers.
Clowns and Other Kids’ Entertainers
From clowns and jugglers to magicians and animal balloon makers, offering entertainment for those little ones on your big day will be sure to incite giggles and smiles. Maybe your reception area has a little room tucked off to the side, where kids and some babysitters can go during those quieter moments, like the first dance or toasts.
When planning your wedding reception, providing a special activity or area for kids means more fun for all. But also keep in mind individual children’s maturity levels. If your eight-year-old niece is mature enough to sit with her older siblings and relatives, you may want to allow some leeway to let her choose. In general, when it comes to your pint-sized wedding guests, a bit of extra preparation can go a long way.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.