To have or have not is the usual question regarding children at wedding receptions. Personally, as the mother of three, I love having a dressy night out without having to worry about what my children are doing, but not all parents feel the same way. Here are some tips to entertaining young children at the reception, or in a separate area.
Tips for the Wedding Reception:
1. Create a child-friendly seating area. My favorite thing to do is have the reception site setup a short table, cover it with butcher paper and provide the kids with crayons. Children love creating works of art. It will keep them busy… for a little while. One of my clients gave each child a small personalized lawn chair, they served as favors and place cards in one tidy package.
2. Have child-friendly food. When it comes to young kids, I love buffets. Again, ask your reception site to setup short buffet tables. Fill the buffet with the food kids like best… chicken fingers, French fries, fruit, macaroni and cheese. Your biggest challenge will be keeping the adults away from the buffet.
3. Ask your entertainment to do something that will entertain the kids. Have the DJ play The Electric Slide or another group dance that the kids can dance to with their families.
4. Do not fill the table with candy and chocolate. Children have tons of energy, they don’t need to be revved up with lots of sugar and caffeine. Also, the chocolate melts and makes a mess.
5. Make sure you have a sense of humor, or that you genuinely like children. Even the best behaved four-year-old will have a melt-down when tired or bored. Just be aware that your reception may have some screaming and crying at times.
If you are having a very formal event, you may want to arrange childcare for young kids. Many cities have great baby-sitting services that will come prepared with games and activities for kids of all ages. Here are some ideas to make the kids’ party a hit.
1. Rent a ballroom or small meeting room close to your reception area so parents can visit their children if they so desire.
2. Make sure the children are fed early. Arrange for room service or a kids buffet to be available in the party room.
3. Hire a licensed and bonded child-care company. They will have the proper amount of staffing and experience in handling children in this kind of setting.
4. Make sure the children have plenty to do. From arts and crafts to movies and arcades games, anything to keep them busy will keep them out of trouble.
5. If you are having very young kids, make sure there is an area for them to lie down and rest.