Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guest Post: Entertaining Kids at a Wedding Reception

By Hollyanne

Since my fiance Kevin and I happen to be giant kids ourselves, we didn't have to think twice about whether we wanted to allow children at our June 2011 wedding ceremony and reception. For us, our big day simply wouldn't feel complete without the love and laughter of all the favorite kids in our lives!

However, we also knew that we would need to do something to keep kids entertained, so that their parents could actually enjoy themselves instead of spending the afternoon chasing their little ones. The fact that our reception is outside makes this even more important to us.

We have decided to have the following two things available for kids at our reception:
  • Our reception is outside under a tent, but the surrounding area is relatively large and very grassy. We're planning to set up a few yard games in the grassy area to keep older children occupied, like a bean bag toss, croquet, and ladder golf. We'll also set out some fun paper and instructions to make paper airplanes.

  • For younger children, we plan to set up a couple of picnic tables just outside the tent, so that parents can still keep a watchful eye on their kids. We are hoping to put together a little "activity bucket" for each child decorated with their name (we found some adorable yellow buckets in the Target $1 aisle that coordinate with our wedding colors - score!). A few weeks before the wedding, we'll go to a dollar store and look for items we can fill the buckets with. A few of our ideas are:

-coloring books
-blank paper
-crayons and/or markers
-small frame that can be decorated
-cheap, disposable cameras
-small bag of blocks
-assorted other small toys
-and last but not least, a juice box and crackers for a small afternoon snack

We are also planning to set up a DIY photo booth
, complete with a box of fun dress-up clothes that children (and adults!) of all ages can enjoy!

One thing that we haven't planned yet is whether to designate an older teenager or adult to monitor the kids' table so parents can be even more at ease. For those of you who had kids at your wedding, is this something you would recommend?

Hollyanne is a 2nd-year graduate student at The University of Arizona, and will complete her Masters in Public Health in May 2011. Originally from Southern California, she loves the ocean, the mountains, cupcakes, and of course, wedding planning. Her fiance, Kevin, recently completed his Masters degree in Higher Education and begins a new job in campus activities this January. Hollyanne and Kevin met in college at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, were engaged in November 2009, and are planning a budget-friendly June 2011 wedding. For more about their wedding planning process, please visit their blog, two become one.

REMINDER: Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy, which starts on April 3. Register today!

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Unknown said...

We had lawn games at our wedding and it went GREAT! Adults loved it and the kids were occupied as well. It was especially fun to see adults and kids that didn't know each other playing together :)

Julia said...

I love these ideas! We were thinking of having a science/discovery area too, but I'm not sure what that'll look like yet.

One idea for your buckets though, as a preschool teacher I have a lot of various crafts like that around, and you mentioned picture frames. Have you ever seen scratch-off paper? It's black, but when you scratch it, like a lottery ticket almost, it turns rainbow underneath. Anyway, I have a whole set of picture frames in that paper. I got it from Discount School Supply, but you could probably just google it.

Anyway, I love your ideas! Lawn games are awesome. We were thinking some board games too, as we both love Scrabble. Have fun planning!

Marisa said...

YES! Definitely task (and pay) an older teenager or two to watch the kids -or hire an adult who wouldn't otherwise be at the wedding - this will really allow parents to not have to worry.

Unknown said...

We had LOTS of kids and fun activities at our wedding. We didn't ask anyone to watch them for a couple reasons. First, it seems like we invited everyone and their 3rd cousin, so there weren't many people not on the invite list to ask. Second, most of the parents were confident letting their kids run around the farm with the "community" eye on them. If they weren't comfortable with that, they probably wouldn't have been comfortable with a stranger keeping an eye on them either. Everything went well and everyone had a good time. Maybe look into hiring a supervisor if a few of the parents bring it up.

Heather said...

I got married last weekend, and we did goodie bags for the kids (Oriental Trading Company has a ton of inexpensive toys, bubbles, coloring books, etc.), but the best part was our DJ who incorporated interactive kids' games with the dancing. It was the best part of the reception if you ask me...

He did a sort of scavanger hunt and one of the things he had them look for was a hairy leg. I will NEVER forget the sight of my grandmother running to the line of kids, hiking up her pant leg. Apparently she forgot to pack her razor...

Anonymous said...

I love your ideas. My reception will be inside. I plan on printing out coloring pages for the kids who do come to my wedding. I will get them each a box of crayons. I have one little cousin who I might buy her a disposible camera so she can be the photographer for the night. I'm still trying to come up with other ideas as well. I love children! Your ideas rock! :)

M.Rude said...

Our wedding was indoors so we offered activity bags for the kids that were there. But my friends have had wedding sites that offered in and outdoor areas. The games can be really fun for everyone! Balls and frisbees are also great entertainers

I will say that only offer "sitting" for people who don't want to bring their kids. (I have babysat at hotels for kids during weddings). But you could end up liable if something happens while someone you hired is watching other people's children. You can just offer a recommendation if someone needs a sitter.

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