kids having fun at weddingOne of the first things couples must do when planning their wedding is to decide upon the guest list. On the face of it, choosing who to invite to your wedding seems like the easiest part of the planning process, but even here it can get sticky. One question couples routinely wrestle with is whether or not to keep their wedding child friendly.

The ceremony and reception can make for a long day, particularly for young children who can be easily bored or distracted, so it is an important question to consider. Now, you can choose to make your wedding day, or at least the reception, an adults only experience. That’s perfectly acceptable, if not all together polite. But if you are going to include children on the guest list, you have to consider their needs. Once the ceremony is over, and the time has come to party, you need to provide some child friendly activities to keep the kids entertained.

Scavenger Hunts

Children are easily bored, so you need to give them something to do while the adults are busy mingling and chatting. A wedding themed scavenger hunt is a great way to keep the kids occupied and entertained. Provide a wedding themed list of items (bouquet, white dress, etc) and and give the children disposable cameras to record their finds. This is a fun activity for your younger guests, and will likely result in some fun candid shots to add to your wedding album.

Goodie Bags

Put together some age appropriate goodie bags for all of your younger guests. These should include games, puzzles, toys, crayons and coloring books. You should also include some healthy snacks as well. Designate a children’s area at the reception, where the kids can go to unpack their wedding goodie bags and play without distracting your other guests. Choose one or two members of your wedding party to act as chaperons so the children have some adult supervision.

Entertainment Centers

Good conversation and a fine meal may be enough to keep your adult guests entertained, but you will need to work a bit harder to please the kids. Again, set up a designated child friendly area and turn it into an entertainment center. Stock the children’s area with books and games, and set up a television and portable DVD player so the kids can watch movies while the adults have their fun. Throw in some comfy pillows and play mats so the kids can take a nap if they get sleepy.

Professional Entertainers

If you are going to have a large number of children at your wedding, you might consider hiring a professional children’s entertainer to keep them busy while their parents dance the night away at the reception. Think about booking a magician, story teller, singer, or even a child friendly comedienne to keep the kids entertained throughout the reception. You’ll want to set up a designated play area to keep the children’s entertainment from clashing with the grown-up’s party.

A Teen Cafe

You also need to consider the older kids who may be coming to your wedding. Teenagers may not find the adult activities all that interesting, so you need to provide something just for them. A teen cafe is the perfect solution. Set up an area just for the teenagers, with tables and chairs and mini bar serving soft drinks. Include some age appropriate books and magazines, as well as some games that would appeal to older kids. You might also consider hiring a separate DJ to work the teen cafe, playing music that appeals to your younger guests. Assign a member of your waitstaff to man the cafe, serving the teenagers and acting as a defacto chaperon.

In Summary

If you plan to invite children to your wedding, you need to be prepared to keep them entertained throughout the day. Planning some kid friendly activities is a great way to include children in the festivities, while sparing them the boredom that comes from watching the grown-ups party. It’s also a great way to ensure that your older guests can enjoy themselves, knowing that their children are safe and not getting up to any mischief. When planning your wedding, be sure to include some kid friendly entertainment. The kids will thank you, and so will their parents.

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