Wedding Guests and The Reception: What To Do With The Kids
You're imagining your wedding reception. You see you, your new wife or husband, your best friends and close family -- and 30 screaming kids skidding across the dance floor, throwing handfuls of cake at each other. You love your family and friends, but wish -- just this once -- that they didn't have quite so many little ones. Here's a way out: include them in the event with some kid-friendly fun. These 5 tips will keep any group of young guests happy -- and keep you calm, cool, and collected.
1. Hire a Professional
Why not entertain the tots with a professional performer? Consider hiring a fortune teller, impersonator (think Batman, Cinderella, Elvis, Mickey Mouse, or Madonna), karaoke, magician, mime, mystery theatre, story teller, or ventriloquist. It's an easy way to keep the kids happy and the adults off the hook. Check local entertainment vendors and party-planning companies to find the right entertainer for your young audience.
2. Create a Cafe
Teenagers, while not disruptive, may not get into the festivities as much as adults do. If you have lots of teens attending, you could create a cafe (coffee-free, but still) with tables and chairs, sodas, an espresso machine serving steamed milk, a variety of herbal teas and designer water, international newspapers and magazines, and a dozen vintage board games. Assign one member of your wait staff to man the cafe.
3. Create a Craft Room
For younger kids, turn one room into an arts-and-crafts center. Have a coloring contest, with prizes for most colorful drawings. Supply beads for necklaces they can take home. Set up a table for sand art, that colorful sand craft you've seen at fairs. You'll need pails of different-colored sand (kids can make their own with white salt and colored chalk), plastic spoons, and clear plastic jars or containers for the kids to fill.
4. Stagger the Meals
Whether or not you provide a separate play area, consider dividing dinner in two -- kids and then adults. While you and your guests may enjoy lingering over a five-course meal, most children are ready to leave the table after ten minutes. If it's a buffet, let the kids load up on barbecued chicken first, while the adults are still chatting over hors d'oeuvres. When the kids are finished, they can move on to another activity. The adults will just be starting in on the rare grilled tuna and filet mignon. Bonus points: serving fewer "adult" foods may keep your catering bill on the cheaper side.
5. Write On
Provide tabletop entertainment during a long dinner. Cover the kids' table(s) with white butcher paper and spill out a pile of crayons (or put them in fun plastic cups). Let kids cover the table with drawings. They'll be so busy, they'll forget they're still actually sitting at a table.