It’s not always easy to avoid inviting kids to your wedding, and when you have kids of your own it’s pretty much impossible. How can you say to your sister or any of your family members, ‘we want it to be an adult-only wedding’, and then have your daughter be the flower girl?
We’re here to prevent any kind of awkward interactions like mentioned above! Here are seventeen ways to have a kid-friendly wedding:
Wide open spaces. Pick a venue that has some area where kids can run around and need only one adult to supervise. Like a field, or a built in bowling alley at your reception venue.
Incorporate little ones in your wedding. Whether it be a first look with their mommy (the bride) or as part of the wedding party (flower girl or ring bearer). Including them in this special event might end up being more precious than you thought possible.
Distractions. Some kids get squirmy right when the ceremony starts, provide coloring books or bubbles to help parents cope.
Kids menu. This is definitely a must! Have options that you’ll pay less for and that kids will eat more of… eat at all.
Hire a DJ who has a good playlist. Have the DJ play those kid favorites during cocktail hour, when adults don’t want to dance but children have an inordinate amount of energy. Like seriously, where does it come from?
Baby friendly bathrooms. Yes, definitely bathrooms! Ones with changing tables, or even a nursing room for moms who are still providing that previous self-made baby food to their tiny ones.
A good non-alcoholic drink menu. This means more than just soda. How about chocolate milk and apple juice? It doesn’t take a lot to appease the thirsty kiddos.
NO GLASSWARE. Because if you have glassware it might get dropped, and if it falls it’s likely to shatter, and when it shatters you’ll need to clean it up, and after cleaning it up there might be a few slivers or shards left behind.
Childcare. Feeling really fancy? Provide childcare for kids for the entire wedding or just after dinner. That way your friends and family don’t have to miss out on your big day, as it turns into night.
Embrace the unexpected. Honestly, with anything wedding related (and anything in life) you can’t control completely what will or won’t happen. Make your wedding kid friendly by letting go of expectations, rolling with the punches, and being in the moment.
Give Them Treats If your little wedding party attendants are acting up before, during or after the ceremony, they’re probably wound up from all the excitement, upset they’re not getting attention or, honestly, just hungry. Keep them cheerful with something sweet—under the condition they stay on their best behavior. One tip: Choose something white or clear that won’t stain their attire like marshmallows or clear gummy bears. Also, kids love a little competition. Tell them whoever is the best behaved in the group will be rewarded with a sweet surprise at the reception—just don’t forget to deliver on your promise.
Hire Professional Childcare Many couples opt to hire a babysitter responsible for keeping an eye on the munchkins so no one gets hurt—or puts their fingers in the cake. The babysitter can be in charge of whatever other designated kids-only activities you have set up too, like arts and crafts, a movie, a nature walk or a game room.
Provide Coloring and Writing Tools Offer tabletop entertainment during a long dinner by covering the kids' table(s) with white butcher paper and cups of crayons (or any other drawing tool that doesn’t stain). They'll be so busy, they'll forget they're still actually sitting at a table.
Get an Entertainer If your budget allows, go all out and hire professional entertainment, like a caricature artist, fortune teller, clown, storyteller, magician or impersonator (think Spiderman, Cinderella or Mickey Mouse)—and if you’re having a themed wedding, definitely play into it. It's an easy way to keep the kids happy and distracted while the adults mingle and enjoy champagne.
Set Up a Game Room For an active bunch, turn the play space into a game room. Rent or borrow ping-pong or air hockey tables, a Nerf ball, a basketball, Twister, Hula-Hoops, jump ropes and more. If you’re having a hotel or country club wedding, you may find all the equipment you need right on the grounds. If yours is a more relaxed outdoor wedding, set up lawn games and activities like a three-legged race, cornhole or a classic game of hide-and-seek.
Stagger the Meals Whether or not you provide a separate play area, consider dividing dinner in two—first kids, then adults. While you and your guests may enjoy lingering over a five-course meal, most children are ready to leave the table after 15 minutes. If it's a buffet, let the kids help themselves while the adults chat over hors d'oeuvres. When the young ones are finished, they can move on to another activity so the grown-ups can sit down to eat.
Naptime If you're expecting very young children, chances are they'll be asleep before the event’s over, but you may also have some sleepy kids even if they’re far from their napping days. Set up a quiet room where they can rest after a long, exhausting day of chatter, play, new faces and excitement.