Chances are that you might be having some kids at your wedding reception. There’s always the Flower Girl and the Ring Bearer. If you are looking for some creative and fun ways to entertain your little guests (and help their parents have a good time at the party without having to worry about them) try these ideas:
If you are having an outdoor reception or using a very large hall, get one of those huge, inflatable Jumping castles. Kids of all ages will love it. You can rent one from Birthday Party supply stores. Just be sure that someone will supervise the kids when they are on it.
A magician, clown or other type of children’s entertainer can provide kids with a very welcome distraction for a couple of hours. Another good option is a balloon pump and modeling balloons, which can be made into hats, animals, and other fun shape. If you want to go all out for your little friends, professional crèche organizers can entertain children with anything from dolls and ball pits to dance mats and Playstation games.
The single ladies may not enjoy vying for the bouquet with a bunch of kids! (And the kids’ moms might not like if their kids are jumping for the garter either!) Solve the problem creatively by having a Candy toss for the kids first. Buy assorted soft and hard candies and toss them for the kids to collect. Provide for little bags for the kids to take home their loot.
Outdoor weddings can accommodate some more things for the kids. You could choose some kind of sports like croquet, beach balls, kite flying etc. to keep the kids busy. Choose a far end of the reception venue for the purpose and once again, make sure that everything is supervised by an older kid or an adult.
An Activity Table
Devote one table to the kids and give them a lot of activities to keep busy with. Coloring books, washable crayons, stickers, legos, jigsaw puzzles, piñatas, board games etc. Be warned that kids can get messy so keep the table in a separate corner of the room and have someone to supervise (and clean) them.
Flower Girl Doll
Give your flower girl a sweet gift that will provide not only sweet memories, but also something to play with at the wedding. You can get her a doll who wears a matching dress, or any other type of doll you think she would like, such as a fashion Barbie.
Think about your kid guests when planning the menu. Include some fun kid-friendly food such as macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, or pizza in the menu. Or you can also order fast food, such as McDonald’s kiddie meals (complete with toys which double as favors). Keep bowls of candy (or easy-to-eat fruits like grapes and melon balls) on the kids tables, or make a lollipop “topiary” by inserting round, colorful lollipops into a floral foam base form the local craft shop. It looks pretty and the kids will enjoy it more than the flower centerpieces!
Put Them to Work
Kids are amazingly capable of rising to the occasion — especially when they have an “important” job to do, like passing out wedding programs, manning the kippah station or ushering guests to their seats. And they needn’t clock out after the ceremony. At the beginning of the party, give each child a disposable camera labeled with his or her name and explain that they have been hired as a junior photographer. In doing so, you’ll not only keep little hands snapping and out of trouble, you’ll capture unique, child’s-eye-view imagery of your celebration that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Wind Them Down With a Video
If your wedding celebration will last into the wee hours, arrange for someone to set up a television and DVD player in a nearby-but-out-of-earshot spot. As the bewitching hour draws near, have your counselors invite all of the children to watch a G-rated late-night flick. Supply pillows, blankets and a couple of bags of popcorn and — with a little luck and a well-chosen movie (nothing too peppy or scary) — your crowd will be crashed by the closing credits.
The bottom line
Kids seem to have fun at weddings, regardless of whether there are bouncy castles or coloring books or assigned jobs to keep them busy. The novelty of the experience, and the obvious enjoyment and happiness that the adults are having, will keep most of them in good spirits. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with a few back-up ideas!