Deciding to invite kids or teens to your wedding can often be a big decision. You want them to feel included and enjoy the day but sometimes it can be a chore for the parents to keep them entertained. Here are a couple of ideas to help keep your little guests entertained during your reception.
Most likely you will have all the kids sit together during the reception so you should make it a fun place for them. Instead of having a floral centerpiece or candles (not a good idea for young, curious kids!), replace it with a fun child-friendly centerpiece. For example, fill plastic containers with activities and supplies for them to use throughout the evening. Fill a clear plastic jar with glow sticks or stickers. These things will keep the kids entertained throughout the night. Another fun idea is to have a fruit or cookie bouquet for the kid’s table centerpiece. Ask your venue if they have any kid size tables and chairs for your little guests. Kids will feel special with their own special furniture for the event.
Instead of giving your young guests the same favors as adults, create an activity bag for them. These bags can include anything! Coloring books and crayons, stickers, glow sticks, bubbles, little plastic toys, bracelets, activity books like Mad Libs or I Spy Cards, etc. There are a ton of wedding coloring pages and activities that you can print out and put in the bag. Include construction paper for the kids to draw a picture for the bride and groom. A few things to remember: stay away from markers or anything that can make a mess or stain fancy clothes. Also, be sure to label each bag with the kid’s names and put the same number of items in each bag. This will (hopefully) eliminate any fighting.
For older kids/teens, give them an “older version” of the activity bag. Create a scavenger hunt list and give them a disposable camera or Polaroid camera. Add things like, “dress”, “flowers”, “family”, “dancing”, and “cake” to the list and see what the kids capture on their camera. You can also include packs of cards, Sudoku, or crossword games.
Depending on your venue this may or may not be doable. Set up a craft area for the kids for a short time during the reception. Stock the area with foam stickers and let the little ones decorate crowns, cups, etc. Beads, yarn, and gimp are a fun activity for older kids. If you have access to an outdoor area, sand art is a fun activity for young kids. You might need to designate an older child or adult to supervise this area for a portion of your reception.
Ask your venue to have some kid-friendly appetizers during cocktail hour. Kids love pigs-in-a-blanket and mini pizza. Also, be sure to order kid-friendly dinner entrees. Spaghetti and meatballs, grilled cheese, and chicken nuggets and french fries will go over much better than Chicken Florentine. A fun idea for dessert is to give each child a sugar cookie or unfrosted cupcake. Give each kid a small bowl of frosting and put an assortment of candies on the table so the kids can decorate their own cookie or cupcake. This might be a little messy so be sure to include a plastic or paper apron.
If your budget allows and your venue can provide an additional space, designate a separate kid’s room for your little guests. You can stock this room with fun games and activities. Twister, board games or video games would be a great asset to these rooms. See if you can set up a TV to play movies. Provide popcorn and snacks for a fun movie night. A kid’s room will need to have adult supervision for the evening.
If you have access to an outdoor space, let the kids play outside! Set up kid friendly games like jump rope, hula hoops, basketballs, and sidewalk chalk. This is a great way to occupy kids before it gets too late or dark outside.
Ask your DJ or band to play some kids songs during the salad course of your dinner. Kids love to dance and will love that they have the dance floor to themselves. It will also tire them out.
Finally, if you plan on having a lot of children at your wedding, it might be a good idea to hire a babysitter to watch the kids. Have them supervise the craft table or play games with the kids. They can organize relay races outside, play different games, and help kids with crafts. Another idea is to hire a children’s entertainer. Have a face painter, balloon artist, or magician come to a portion of the reception. These entertainers will keep your little guests occupied and entertained. If you are having a photo booth, have a “kids only” time during the cocktail hour. Let them play with the fun props and take silly photos. Be sure to have the photographer supervise.
Hopefully some of these will entertain the younger guests invited to your wedding. Just arranging something for the younger guests will be a special treat for them. Their parents will thank you!