While choosing a caterer and selecting a gown are obvious tasks on every bride’s to-do list, weddings bring about a plethora of details to coordinate. Amongst all of the decisions that have to be made, it’s often easy to forget about the little ones who will be running around at the reception playing “He loves me, he loves me not” with your precious gardenia centerpieces. Since the last thing you want is a bunch of kiddos looking for trouble, we’ve gathered a few simple tips to keep you (and them) happy on the big day.
1. Pass out favors before the reception begins. While “kids only” tables are a great idea, they may get lost in the shuffle of a bustling reception. Brittany Schneider, of Over the Top Events in Fairhope, suggests passing out kid-friendly favors at the main entrance to keep them entertained throughout the day. Items such as coloring books, crayons and pick-up sticks won’t break the bank and will prevent children from getting bored.
2. Incorporate your wedding theme into a kids’ area. Budget permitting, Schneider suggests getting creative and designating a space for the kids that fits the mood of your wedding. “We once did a wedding that had a beach theme, and we built a small sandbox with a basket of sand toys for the children to play with; it was a big hit, ” says Schneider. If your wedding doesn’t have a theme, making the entertainment personal is the next best thing. Try a craft station with make-your-own crowns for girls and pirate hats for boys.
3. Find your way into a kid’s heart through his stomach. You can’t blame a child for running at the sight of pâté on toast. Keep them in their comfort zone by providing some kid-friendly snack options like gummy fruit snacks or granola bars, suggests Mallory Carey of Events by Mallory. For dessert, mini cupcakes are a fun, bite-sized alternative to an oversized portion of wedding cake.
4. Let the “tweens” feel like adults. Tweens can be a difficult audience to entertain. They would most likely love to play with the younger kids, but often want to appear mature. Try to include them as if they were adults, but with a twist. Ask the bartender to whip up some virgin cocktails in real bar glasses to help them feel included. According to Schneider, this age group likes to get involved. Asking a few girls to gather people for the bouquet toss or the cake cutting will go a long way.
5. Attract teens with technology. Teenagers these days are tech savvy, so why not cater to their interests? Schneider says the key to entertaining teenagers is to provide them with things they like. Have teens write their wishes to the couple as a tweet, and make a Twitter board on which to post them. Photo booths are another great way to draw in the teenage audience. Funky props and clothing accessories will make for funny keepsake photos to take home (and post on Instagram!).