Many couples are hesitant to include children of their friends and family as guests to their wedding because of the of the obvious challenges that especially small children might present. It is also true. however, that children at a wedding add a wonderful enthusiasm and freshness to the atmosphere.
If you decide to welcome children at the wedding, make sure that you are well prepared and provide adequate, interesting and child friendly entertainment. The venue of your choice as well as the weather will play a part but there will always be many different ways to keep the children occupied and happy.
Here are some ideas:
1. Hire a babysitter
If you expect more than 10 children ( especially in different age groups) consider a babysitting service. Ask your friends, the wedding planner and the staff of the venue for references. When you and the parents know that the children are safe because there are responsible and reliable people to entertain them, you will all be able to enjoy a stress free reception.
2. Outside activities
If the venue has a garden or decent outside area, a giant game of Jenga or dominos will go down well with children of all ages. Hopscotch, lawn bowling, twister, skipping ropes and hula hoops are other options.
3. Jumping Castles
A jumping castle is a great way to burn some energy but supervision is essential. Avoid a mix of 12 year old boys and little toddlers on the same castle. Some venues will allow you to use a conference room for the jumping castle if the weather threatens to ruin your plans.
4. Kids table
Sometimes it works well to seat all the children together at a table specially decorated for them. Call the table “WHERE THE FUN BEGINS” or “KIDS ONLY” or whatever. It should be a real fun experience to sit at the table. Be sure to add games, crayons or colouring pencils along with colouring books, bubbles, play dough and enough snacks to keep them all occupied.
5. Kids cove
Create a kids only area. Provide comfortable pillows, bean bags for kids and a popular movie which will calm them down for bed time.
6. Funny faces
If you decide to pay for a babysitter, you might as well try and find someone with some experience in face painting as well. That will certainly be an added bonus!
7. Scavenger hunt
Older children will enjoy a camera scavenger hunt… “I spy with my little eye”… Disposable cameras and a list of things to photograph will keep them busy for hours. A typical list could include items like a white dress, something red, something shiny and something sweet.
8. Kids Photo Booth
Have a kids-only Photo Booth with props like funny hats, moustaches, wigs, oversized sunglasses and balloons.
9. Quiz game
Older children will enjoy quiz games related to the wedding. Ask questions like ‘who is the oldest person at the wedding?’ or ‘what is the groom’s favourite ice cream?’ Ask them to ‘draw the wedding cake’.