Keep Kids, Parents, Guests and the Bride Happy!
Traditionally, children have always been included on the guest list of wedding celebrations with the entire family attending together. After all, marriage is a major factor in the circle of life and it is important to be allowed to grow up participating in these life-changing events. Only in the past few decades as receptions have become more elaborate, expensive, and lengthy have children been slowly excluded from the celebrations. They have been given a bad rap as the "spoilers of the day". The feared misbehavior so many brides discuss is usually quite innocent and simply brought on by boredom. With a few "Kid-Friendly" preparations you can still have children attend your celebration and also have the perfect wedding day. Here are some ideas that you may want to incorporate at your special event.
Our Kid-Friendly Wedding Ideas
1. Delegate someone to supervise young wedding guests during the entire event.
If children are sitting with their parents, this will be a simple role involving distribution of activity bags or books to kids upon arrival and handling any unexpected kid emergencies. Have a small first aid kit available. If you are able to provide a private "Kids Only" room, this position expands into a much greater role involving some pre-planning with activities limited only to your imagination. Fill a pinata with wedding treats, play musical chairs to wedding themed music, have a special cinema corner set up with comfy pillows, or play bingo. Let children express their artistic ability by covering a table in butcher paper for a gigantic drawing canvas. Supply sleeping mats or blankets for the exhausted child who has fallen asleep during the evening.
2. In search of qualified, reputable babysitting services?
Ask family members or friends for names of trusted sitters. Hire a nanny or use the country club or hotel's on site babysitting service. Ask your church for an experienced nursery staff attendants or responsible teens from the youth group. Check out nearby universities for college students studying teaching and looking to earn some extra money. Inquire at local day care facilities to see if there are teachers available for hire during your event. Be certain to check references, referrals, and CPR certification before employing any child-care worker.
3. Prepare for the possibility of crying and secure a nursery during the ceremony.
A nursery representative can be present as guests arrive to inform parents that there is a cry room available if needed.
4. If space allows, arrange a small game tables for older children.
Puzzles, playing cards, and board games will be popular with pre-teens and teen-agers.
5. For a more controlled environment and less disruptions, seat children at their parent's table.
Kids are usually more behaved and less rambunctious when seated next to mom and dad rather than other children. This will also eliminate children from running between their own seats and their parents table throughout the event. The wedding activity bag will keep children quietly entertained and in their seats rather than racing around the reception hall.
6. Add a juice box, fruit bar, or crackers to each kid's activity bag or place in them in the center of the kid's table.
Children can become cranky when hungry or thirsty and often do not have the patience to wait until the meal is ready to be served. Parents will appreciate your thoughtfulness at providing snacks to hold them over.
7. Ask for Kid Friendly meal options.
Most caterers are willing to provide a separate meal plan for children. It will be less expensive for you and the kids will be happier with food they love. Some popular ideas include chicken nuggets, mini-pizza's, pasta, fish sticks, hamburger sliders, macaroni and cheese, and Jello. Request cups with lids and straws to avoid messy spills.
8. Invest in fun by hiring a face painting artist, magician, or balloon artist.
The performer can mingle among the tables entertaining guests of all ages.
9. Encourage the band or DJ to play songs that children will recognize and enjoy.
Ask The Master of Ceremonies to announce a "kids only" dance. Have a dance off contest, a Dad and Daughter dance, or an opportunity to dance with just the bride and groom. These are great moments for the photographer to capture. When it comes time to write thank you notes, add a copy of these photos as a small gift to the parents.
10. For an outdoor wedding, organize a nature walk around the grounds.
Kids will love the opportunity to run and stretch their legs. If your venue allows, bring seed to feed the birds. Or provide each child with a bottle of bubbles. Another great photo opportunity.
Share your own "Kid-Friendly" wedding idea with other brides:
Note: This board is limited to "kid-friendly" wedding ideas and is not designed for conversations or unrelated topics. Inappropriate text will not be posted.
More Kid-Friendly Wedding Ideas From Our Customers
A friend of mine suggested this for our wedding -- We will probably have over 20 children under the age of 8 and many of them are close (our own children, nieces, nephews, godchildren, etc.). So we are going to give several of the kids little jobs of their own (mini-ushers, program distributors, etc.) so that they each feel like they are part of the wedding. We also thought about letting the kids do the "dance down the aisle" since my fiance hates the idea of the adults doing it. That way, by the time that the reception starts they haven't even BEGUN to get the least bit bored.
We served frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the box juice drinks. The children had playdough and wedding bell cookie cutters that they carried home with them as treats. We also had butcher paper with crayons that they carried home also.
I just got married in December and kids were most certainly welcome! I did my own invitations on the printer and specified "Your children are welcome!" At the far corner of the reception area I had a kids activity table (2 round tables of different heights put together) I had all kinds of foam activity stuff, including self stick and also glitter glue, so they could make bookmarks, door hangers, and Christmas ornaments. I had coloring books and crayons, and for the girls, some feather boas. I looked over during the reception and the activity center was MOBBED - not a free seat at all! It was cute because the parents and kids came up to us to show what the kids had made. They all had a blast! We had the wedding and reception at the church so there was a cry room downstairs in the nursery if needed. We also had a candy buffet that was a HUGE hit as well. (even with the elderly!!)
For my wedding, I plan to have croquet set up for the kids to play, as well as a special picnic are for them to eat at.
My wedding is Oct 2012. So far there are about 15 kids coming aged 1yr to 16 yrs. I am looking at practical, cheap ideas to keep all of the kids happy.
Coloring Competitions: The winner gets a prize
Where's the flower bouquet for the bride? (Like Pin the Tail on the Donkey)
We are also going to play little jokes for the kids to pick up throughout the reception:
Changing the wedding cake topper
Hiding a thank you gift for them to find
Setting up a WII and/or DVD and asking parents to bring DS consoles ect
Board game corner
-Beth, Bride to Be
I was thinking about a very popular trend where kids make their own stuffed animals. They can dress them up with their outfits or get t-shirts and use fabric markers to decorate them. The kids have an awesome time and it makes a great wedding favor.
-June, Event Planner
If your venue will allow it... Bounce House. I saw this at a wedding once and some adults as well as the kids were having a ball on it!
We are planning on having "kid-friendly" virgin cocktails for all of the children at the wedding reception. This will allow them to not only participate in the wedding toasts but make them feel like they are part of the party!
-Michelle, Bride to Be in Seattle, WA
I am going to hire a cartoon caricaturist to sketch fun portraits for each child during the wedding.
-Darcy, Bride to Be from L.A.
Here is an idea for a "project table". I thought it would be neat to create masks for the kids... like from Phantom of the Opera. Just posterboard already cut into templates glued onto tongue depressors and then have the kids color them. I also had the idea of them having a small tube and putting colored sand into it. Definitely something which will need supervision! I really want something which will make the kids happy. I am devoting a lof of time to it!
While looking through a website, I saw an idea I'm doing. I'm getting each child a digital camera as a gift (as all but one are in our wedding party) and giving them a list of pictures to take and offering prizes for the best one (I've told them to ask an adult for help). Pictures like a lady wearing no shoes, or a man wearing a flower, etc. I had fun coming up with them and they'll have fun doing it!
We are going to have edible bubbles so they do not get all over the carpet. We are going to have little treats like sandwiches so the kids don't get tired and cranky. Also for dessert we are going to have cookies for the kids with their names on them.
Along with having a bouquet toss at my wedding for the adult ladies, I also got a small bouquet for the younger girls so they don't feel left out! My wedding in not for a few weeks yet, so I hope the idea is a good one!
-Amber, Bride to Be in Washington, PA
I was reading all the great ideas for a Kid Friendly Wedding... I notice Amber was going to have a mini bouquet toss for the little ones... what a bout a bride/groom teddy bear toss!! It would be a great keepsake for the little on that gets it.
I loved the idea of the activity bag. Another idea is having a separate room for the children and having them do their fun activities in there.
I went to a wedding a while ago where the reception had a lot of children. The Bride and Groom played Musical Chairs and each child that was "OUT" receieved ONE Tootsie Pop Sucker and the "Winner" recieved a "bouquet" of them. Pretty cool idea.
I plan on having a small stage and play area in an area for kids to play on inside.
My wedding is in the fall just before Halloween. I was thinking it would be cute for them to design their own pumpkins on a cut out, then take them home to enjoy for Halloween. Or make noise makers with paper plates and beans, and they can decorate their plates to look like a pumpkin for toasts.
-Carla G, Bride