I’ve been at weddings that included kids- and had a full spectrum of experiences. Some stole the show- not in a good way- but others were a lovely part of the family celebration… you couldn’t possibly leave them out. With a little planning you can include the whole family and the younger set won’t feel ignored or bored.
Some notes on keeping the kids busy and happy:
Kids want to feel important and included. Keep them going with small responsibilities- disposable cameras, passing out programs, party favors, mass books, yarmulkes, or cake. It’s adorable, helpful, and they will feel good about contributing to your big day. Make sure to get pictures (see: adorable) and thank them individually.
To keep them engaged during the ceremony, give them a list of photos to get (The bride smiling, the kiss, the groomsmen laughing, etc) and a disposable camera. It will make the time fly by for them and you may get some pretty cute pictures. The same for the reception.
The 13-year-olds and up can probably eat and enjoy the adult food, but younger children should have their own menu. Talk to your caterers about kid friendly menu items. Santoni’s offers Chicken Tenders and Macaroni & Cheese, and highly suggests kid friendly appetizers: Fruit and Cheese, and Meatballs with different sauces. Not to mention… it cuts down on your cost!
We also suggest that if you are inviting lots of teenagers and there is an open bar, go ahead and get some plastic wristbands to keep them on the up and up! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of teenagers getting home safely.
For the Reception: If you have young kids, or babies, seriously consider hiring an event babysitter to cover all the kids- this way their parents can really be a part of your event and the kids still get the attention and care they need. The sitter can make sure they are in the main room for all the important fun parts, and can pop in some Disney during toasts and readings. If this is beyond your budget, be sure to put all the parents who are bringing their children in touch with each other so they can discuss. Either way have a nap/ movie watching area set aside for the kids.
If you have it in the budget, try a “candy shop” or set up a fake tattoo/ face painting/ manicure parlor. I’ve seen many in- theme efforts that really set apart the reception. It’s super fun, and everyone can enjoy. Actually my research turned up many ideas that would work for kids of all ages. Consider some entertainment in the way of a balloon artist, storyteller, or magician. If this is too much, go non- messy crafts and games or a photo booth and silly props (giant plastic glasses, wigs, fake mustaches.) Aside from all the in the moment fun it is memory making gold.
My favorite- lawn games! (bocce ball, badminton, hopscotch, corn hole, frisbee, football) This can be a major part of your reception, and it definitely is perfect for a great big multi- age family. Just be sure to let the parents know if they should bring clothes for kids to change into for the reception.
Lastly, when in doubt, low budget, or out of time grab a paper tablecloth and enough crayons for everyone and let them go to work!
Enjoy your day, and give us a call- it’s not too late to get started! 410-833-6610.
The photos do NOT belong to us, I found them on pinterest. Go to http://pinterest.com/all/weddings/ for more visual inspiration.