Since we have embraced the childlikeness of Dr. Seuss this week and explored pictures and the topic of children at weddings on the blog today, I thought our Throwback Thursday should go along with it too! This is a great post, written not so long ago on 6/4/2014 but gives some GREAT tips and ideas on how to help kiddos have more fun at a wedding and get through a long wedding day!
Photo By Swensen Photography
Ahhh Kids. Gotta love em. Their innocence, their fiery personalities, their spirit for life and their patience of, well for lack of a better word, a child. Kids are a lot of fun, however at weddings they can be your worst nightmare. Believe me when I say, I have been to hundreds if not thousands of weddings and while for the most part kids are great there are those who have had enough. A wedding is a long day, It is a tiring day and for kids it can be a very boring day.
We did a little research and found some fun ideas to help kids have more fun at wedding which allows for parents to feel less stressed. And when kids are having fun and parents are less stressed the whole day goes better for the bride and groom.
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.
Photo Provided By Apple Beer
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. Or children can go off to a separate location where they can be entertained.
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.
11. Send children on a photo scavenger hunt with this game of i-spy!
They have to spot a variety of typical wedding day occurrences / outfits and tick them off on their list. This works really well for older children 7-11 who will be able to do this independently but younger children will need adult help or help from older siblings.
If you wanted to, you could provide a little incentive such as a small bag of sweets or a pound shop toy for the first child to find all the things on the list or simply give the treats to the children’s parents for them to hand out as they see fit.
Staying focused on this task will be tricky for some children ~ especially younger children so parent’s could reward them when they feel they’ve tried their best.
12.Consider Kid Friendly Gifts and Treats
Rather than mints or matches, consider giving candy favors as an alternative. Among today’s delicious options are personalized M&Ms or chocolates molded into the shape of wedding bells or hearts. Some brides create candy shop favor tables, where guests can fill up bags or boxes with selections from jars filled with favorites — everything from jelly beans and sour worms to peanut butter cups and lollipops. It goes without saying that this new tradition is popular with grown-ups and kids.
But not every favor has to be edible. You can hit up the dollar store for small toy favors that kids can enjoy during the party. These extra treats don’t have to be over-the-top. A princess crown or some plastic cars are often all it takes to occupy tiny hands and minds for hours on end — or at least until the wedding cake is cut!
13. Give Them Responsibilities
Some kids are energetic by nature, while others get restless only when they’re bored.
Keep the wiggles at bay by giving children of all ages some responsibility during your ceremony and reception. Obvious role choices for children you’re close to include serving as a flower girl, junior bridesmaid or ring bearer. Other kids who might be hurt they’re not included in the festivities, or who just like to help out, can take on other tasks. Kids of all ages can roam the reception taking photos with disposable cameras. Older children can pass out wedding programs, party favors or cake on nonbreakable plates.
Whatever the role, dishing out a little bit of light responsibility on such an important occasion often leaves a child feeling appreciated and respected.
14. Consider The Time
Even the sweetest kid can morph from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde as bedtime approaches!
If you want to have young children at your wedding, it’s best to hold the event well before bedtime. But if only nighttime nuptials will do, appease parents of infants and older nappers by offering up a quiet room at the ceremony or reception site where kids can retreat for their regular siesta.
The event coordinators at these venues can arrange for the use of an extra room ahead of time, and you can stock it with a couple of playpens borrowed from the on-site nursery or from friends and family. Sometimes, a short snooze is all it takes to re-energize a baby or toddler and turn him into the life of the party.
Photo By Rachael Tyler Photography
15. If It is Too Much, Don’t Have Them
If you want to have kids at your wedding, be aware of the risks that are involved, and make an effort not to sweat the small stuff. Opt instead to see how sweet and unique their presence is at your ceremony and reception (dollar dance with the flower girl, anyone?).
If the idea of child-related disruptions is too much for you to handle, you should probably make your soiree an adults-only affair. Just be sure to communicate this in a polite way, so that parents can make other arrangements for their little ones. According to basic wedding etiquette, make this clear by addressing the inner envelope of the invitation with just the parents’ names. Should parents RSVP for four instead of two, a simple phone call can clear up the misunderstanding.
It’s not the bride’s responsibility to provide childcare for young guests, so don’t feel obligated to do so. One courtesy you can offer is to put guests with young children in touch with one another so parents can go in together on the cost of a babysitter.
Sources – TLC Weddings, The Knot.com, Bridal Musings.com, Yahoo.com, Kidfriendlyweddings.com, Weddinggamesideas.com, squidoo.com,