When planning a wedding there is so much to consider and think of that you don't want to forget about the little people...literally. Motherhood has allowed me to discover that there are two things in life children utterly despise ... sitting still and staying quiet. Proper planning is needed because both of these will be required at your ceremony and reception. Keeping children quiet during a wedding ceremony and occupied during a lengthy dinner will be exhausting for parents and maddening for children. As a wedding planner and mother I have combined a few helpful ideas of how your wedding can be fun for children while subsequently being enjoyable for parent guests.
1. Designated Kids Station - Activities can be specific to their ages. A few ideas are: legos, coloring books with crayons, stickers (kids love stickers), jars of play-doh with molds, bubbles (if it is outdoors), goldfish crackers, pipe cleaners, glow sticks, etc. If a station is not an option, put together a little goody bag at their place setting. The idea is to engage their senses to keep them busy, happy and quiet along with avoiding sugary treats...for obvious reasons. The kids will be excited and the parents will be appreciative.
2. Babysitting - Hire a babysitter to watch the kids in a designated area during dinner or after. Let the parents know in advance that they will have this as an option if they would like. Honestly, it will probably give them some peace of mind that they won't need to keep their kids occupied at a lengthy dinner, as almost all wedding receptions are, this is great for adults but a small form of torture for a child.
If you are at a hotel, one of the hotel rooms would be great option. If you are at a wedding venue, sometimes they will have a small banquet room that they can rent out at a minimal charge. Depending on how many kids will be coming you may need a few babysitters. A good ratio is one babysitter for every four kids. You could order a pizza to the room or if it is a venue that will not allow outside food, they might be able to provide this in house. Have a few activities for the room. If there is a TV available you could turn it into a movie night, but do remember popcorn is a choking hazard for very small children. Here is a list of movie ideas that are kid friendly. Parents will really appreciate this as an option. This gives them an opportunity to enjoy a dinner or conversation while knowing their children are nearby and in good hands.
3. Kids Only Dance - If kids are staying within the reception, have a "kids only" time on the dance floor. Kids love to dance at a wedding. I learned this when my 4-year-old daughter stole the show on the dance floor at a wedding. She still sings the song "walk like a magician" - it's too cute to correct. This is fun and memorable for the kids and it's adorable to watch as an adult.
4. Assign Them a Task - Kids love responsibility and this may come in handy for you, a win win. At the last wedding we went to, I noticed that the bride and groom had an adorably decorated vintage suitcase with personalized luggage tag cards for guests to write their well wishes. It was staged perfectly, only one problem... nobody had participated. So after receiving permission, my daughter went up to each guest, brought them the card and pen and instructed them to write a note for the happy couple. By the time we left, she had made sure to get a note from every single person at that wedding and the suitcase was completely full. The guests loved it because they didn't have to stand in line, she loved it because she had a reason to talk to adults and the couple was so happy because they have a wonderful keepsake from their guests. Here is a shop that sells these suitcases for cards, it is called Rusticglamdesigns .
5. Card Station - Set up a station for kids to make the bride and groom personalized wedding cards. This will be a fun craft project for the kids and a treasured keepsake for the wedding couple. Have a table dedicated with some blank cards, crayons, washable markers, glue sticks, glitter, googly eyes, stickers, puff balls, feathers, and pretty much anything from your local craft store, with the exception of paint, for obvious reasons. With their monetary resources being limited to the tooth fairy and allowances, kids really like making gifts for other people. This activity will provide them an opportunity to do this and will make them feel good.
About the Author:
As a wedding planner with a passion for wedding décor, Jaffe Wojcik started www.gracefulevents.net, a resource for event decor, wedding planning advice, and inspiration for special events. Jaffe is a work-at-home mom with two energetic children who love to dance…especially at weddings.
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