Weddings are supposed to be picture perfect moments filled with love and joy. Unfortunately, as a parent, it does not matter how much of a romantic you are at heart, receiving a wedding invitation in the mail can stir up feelings of dread and fear. Attending formal events with children is anything, but sweet and idyllic.
We face being responsible for children who are sitting for extended periods in uncomfortable clothing with erratic schedule changes which can lead to epic meltdowns and tantrums that can derail even the best planned weddings. Thankfully, with a little planning it’s possible to accommodate even the youngest guests so everyone can enjoy a wedding.
Scroll through the following suggestions to include and entertain children during weddings, so the only tears being shed are those of joy and laughter:
Assign them a role.
Children enjoy helping and are often willing to lend a hand when it comes to wedding fun. Give them a part in the wedding to offer a little assistance for the day and make them feel valued. Some roles to consider: ring bearer, flower girl, junior bridesmaid, personal attendants, acolytes, greeters, ushers, or gift carriers.
Design a one-of-a-kind coloring book featuring pictures of the couple.
Provide kids with colors and black and white coloring pages made from favorite family photos. Use an app or convert the photos in a basic paint program to craft a coloring book that illustrates the bride and groom’s love story. Remember to include facts and captions!
Seek’N Find! Make it fun.
Weddings can be hard for little ones, because they have to sit and be quiet. Make the ceremony a little more entertaining, by creating a BINGO-like game that features common wedding items, people, and parts of the ceremony. As kids see or notice a listed item, they can color or cross out the square. After the ceremony, give a small prize to a children who have completed their sheets.
Channel their inner artists.
At the reception, provide crayons, markers, stickers and a blank canvas (a kiddie table covered in paper) for kids to decorate before and after the meal.
Get your game on!
Supply a variety of board or card games for all guests, making sure there are fun options available for kids. Place the games on a conveniently located table that is accessible for everyone. This will provide entertainment between the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dance.
Light it up!
Almost every child loves glow-in-the-dark novelty items. Consider giving children an assortment of balloons, necklaces, bracelets, rings, glow sticks, and other bright items to illuminate the fun on the dance floor.
Provide kid-friendly snacks.
Inevitably, there will be down time or long buffet lines during the reception. Avoid any hangry meltdowns by offering snack mixes, finger foods, veggie trays, meat platters, crackers, and drinks to tide the littles over until a meal is served.
Create a kid zone.
Designate an adjacent room or section of dance floor specifically for kids. Bring in large yard games, bounce houses, inflatables, movies, snacks, and other activities that might entertain the kids.
Take a walk down memory lane!
Add a personal touch to event by passing out goodie bags loaded with the couple’s favorite foods, candies, small games, or trinkets from their childhoods. Pog anyone? This taste of nostalgia provides a fun tribute to the bride and groom while engaging the children and guests.
Most kids are eager to take photographs and will love the idea of helping document the reception. Purchase disposable film cameras, polaroids, or pass out a hashtag so kids can upload their images to a social media site. Add to the fun by providing props, backdrops, and a selfie station.
What tips can you share to help include and entertain children during weddings?
Guest post by: Hilary Smith
Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. @HilaryS33