Weddings are a time of celebration and commitment, they are joyous moments that bring together couples, family, friends, and community. However, for parents of little children, it can also be a dreaded affair. From the moment they receive those gorgeous invitations, their minds immediately race to how they are going to keep the kids quiet and seated during the wedding or reception. Afterall, nobody wants to be THAT family who ruined your special day.
We all know planning a wedding can be time consuming and stressful. There are a million things to accomplish on our to-do lists without compromising our work, family, friends, and relationships. Thankfully, while planning our ceremonies and receptions, there are simple steps and accommodations we can add to ensure our big days are successful and even the youngest guests are included and entertained. With a little luck and careful planning, we can keep everyone happy and enjoying the wedding.
Scroll through the following 10 tips to include and entertain children during your wedding:
Design wedding BINGO cards. It’s no secret that sitting quietly through wedding ceremonies can be tough for children. On a sheet of paper, create a BINGO game featuring people, items, and parts of the ceremony and hand copies out to the children as they enter. During the wedding, if children notice or find an item, they mark off the square. At the end of the ceremony they can hand in completed game sheets for a small prize.
Give children a job. Kids love to help and are often eager to escape the confines of mom and dad’s watchful eyes. Give them a part in the wedding by assigning them a role in the wedding party, having them man the guest table, helping people carry gifts, ushering in family members, or passing out programs and bubbles to guests.
Get colorful! Provide children crayons and coloring books that feature black and white versions of your favorite photos that show your love story. There are apps online or you can use a basic paint or photo program in a word program to transform images into black and white colorable prints. Be sure to include captions or interesting facts to add personality to the booklet.
Encourage kids to “tag” their table at the reception. Channel a child’s inner artist and cover the kiddie table with butcher paper. Provide crayons, markers, or stickers to decorate the paper to occupy their interests until dinner is served. For added fun, consider supplying simple craft kits the kids can easily assemble on their own.
Make them glow! Most children love glow-in-the-dark items. Purchase a variety of bracelets, balloons, necklaces, glow sticks, and more to light up the night or dance floor.
Bring on the games! Encourage guests to mingle and interact by placing a variety of board or card games on a centrally located table. All guests, even children, can enjoy playing simple games between events or during the reception. For an added twist, rent or build large versions of classics like Jenga or Kerplunk.
Provide kid approved snacks to curb their hunger until the meal or cake is served. There are often lulls between the ceremony, reception, cocktail hour, or dinner while the couple take pictures or travel to the venue. This can be hard on kids, especially hungry ones. Avoid meltdowns, by making sure there are snack mixes, veggie trays, meat or cracker platters, and drinks readily available to tide them over.
Hand out swag bags filled with the couple’s favorite childhood items. Add a personal touch and a bit of nostalgia to the festivity by filling goodie bags with your favorite childhood candies, games, or trinkets. Children will love the gift bags and the guests will enjoy taking trip down memory lane with the bride and groom.
Give kids a camera. Children love to take photographs and are eager to snap photos at the reception. You can purchase disposable cameras or use a hashtag so they can upload digital photos onto social media sites to help document the big night. For added creativity, provide a selfie station complete with props and backdrops. This is a great way to get one-of-a-kind shots and keep the kids entertained for hours.
Consider providing a sitter. Give parents an opportunity to enjoy a kid-free evening by hiring a sitter to watch younger children in an adjacent room. The kids will be entertained and safely cared for, while your friends get a few minutes of adult time. Supply the babysitter with games, movies, snacks, inflatables, and activities to crank up the fun.
How will you be including and entertaining children during your wedding?
Authored by contributing writer, Shannon Lochwood.
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