When it comes to planning a wedding, there are a billion beautiful decisions that need to be made, all of which call for mini-debates, a bit of back and forth, and a delicious dollop of empathy when someone is chirping in with their two-pennies worth (of which you should almost-always listen because you never know what gems someone might pass on). But of all these decisions, there is only one debate that gets the whisper-treatment: to allow kids at your wedding or politely banish them from your big day.
When thrashing out this decision, you’ll find there are a thousand pros and a thousand cons. But, personally, we think kids make a wedding. They add that splash of fun, that sparkle, that charm that can’t be replicated, something sweeter than cane sugar and a bit of cheekiness that is utterly irresistible. Yeah, we love seeing kids being kids at a wedding.
That said, even the cutest flower girls, well-behaved page boys and independent ring bearers need a bit of kid-focussed entertainment at your reception. It’s the secret of success. It’s a little trick that will allow their parents to sip on your signature cocktails, raise their glasses, give toasts, catch-up with their far-flung friends and dance like no one is watching because, for the first time in a long time, their little sleep thieves (read: beautiful children) will be imagination-deep in the kind of activities that make them feel part of your wedding day.
So, without further ado, here are some simple ways to keep your littlest-guests entertained at your reception:
1. Lego Is The Best Centrepiece
When it comes to decorating the kid’s table, there is one centrepiece that stands bricks above the rest: Lego. Kids go absolutely wild for Lego. Adults too. But in this instance, it gives the kids at your wedding something to play with while all those “boring speeches” happen. You could even pop a cheesy (but romantic) sign next to the Lego bowl that reads: Building Our Love Brick By Brick or something else equally cute.
2. Go Crazy For Colouring
Another great addition to the kid’s table is a homemade activity booklet filled with colour-me challenges, tic-tac-toe, and wordy-games, all of which could swirl and whirl around your wedding theme. It could be a wedding cake they need to colour in or wedding-themed words they have to search for. You could even turn your love story into an actual story with certain words missing. You can then ask the kids to fill in the blanks. Trust us, the results are hilarious.
3. Bigger-Than-Big Garden Games
If you are having an outdoor wedding, then keep the children busier than springtime bees with a selection of ginormous garden games. Connect Four. Dominos. Chess. Bowling. Jenga. Scrabble. Limbo. Twister. Cornholing. So long as it’s a gigantic version, the kids will be able to entertain themselves for hours and hours.
4. Kids Only Teepees
There is nowhere more magical, creative or vibrant than a child’s imagination, and it only takes a teeny-tiny nudge in the right direction for that imagination to burst into life. That’s why you need to create a little corner of teepees, fill them with cushions, rugs and blankets and call this area the ‘Kids Cave’ complete with a little sign saying ‘No Adults Allowed’. So simple, so amazing.
5. Best Scavenger Hunt. Ever.
The chance to explore is what kids live for. It’s getting to embrace their curiosity in the great outdoors and unleash their inner Swallows and Amazons, and the best way of doing this is to set up a little Scavenger Hunt for them. Traditionally, that means handing out little bags to each child, complete with their name on it. But if you want to leave your venue intact, we recommend giving each kid a disposable camera instead. Think of it as, “I Spy With My Little Camera”. More often than not, they will get some of the most unique and interest snaps of your big day. Who knows, one of them may even get your favourite picture of all.
6. Junior Photo Booth
Photo booths have become a modern-day wedding staple where adults can run off to and act like kids again. So just imagine how much fun the kids are going to have if they have their own little booth full of oversized glasses, blow up guitars, funny moustaches, pirate hats, feather boas and all that jazz. Whatever the adults come up with, the kids will go three better - just wait and see.
7. Furry Animals Always Wow
Every couple wants to make their guests gasp in awe, whoop, cheer, have their breath-snatched and mutter the word ‘wow’ over and over and over again. The solution: give the kids a pop-up petting zoo to enjoy. Sure, it’s out there, but all the best things in this world are. (Spoiler alert: be prepared for some incredible thank you letters from your parental-guests).
8. Make-Your-Own Movie Room
When the kids get tired, the sun starts to set and the garden games have been used so much they’re showing physical signs of wear and tear, have one of your ushers or bridesmaids show the children to the movie room you set up inside. Fill it with cushions, bean bags and blankets, have endless boxes of popcorn ready for them to devour and have a selection of Pixar movies for them to choose from. There will be a lot of high-fives given out for this one.
9. Games Rooms Are Great Too
Unless by complete coincidence all your friends with kids have toddlers, there are going to be some kids who are less interested in The Little Mermaid and more interested in video games (and by kids we also mean adults). But don’t just pop a TV and PlayStation into a room, hire a foosball table, get your hands on a ping pong table, and buy guitar hero. The kids will love it (when the adults finally give them a go).
10. Bubbleology Is A Blast
Setting up a big bubble station won’t just keep the kids entertained for hours, it will also make for some of the most beautiful wedding pictures ever; your guests enjoying the wedding of the year as a million glistening bubbles dance across the sky behind them, the kids wearing Cheshire Cat smiles as they watch them float toward the horizon. That’s the kind of magical memory you want to have on record.
11. Have A Ball Pit
You already know why.
12. Bring In A Bouncy Castle.
Once again, you know why.
13. Kids Only Open Bar
It might seem like a dangerous move to make, and the sugar in junk food may send them a wee-bit doolally, but the kids will love you for it. Besides, the stuff at the kids-only bar isn’t going to make them any more happy-crazy than the stuff you’re serving at the adults-only bar, so you may as well hand out cookies, chocolate, crisps, cupcakes, sweets and basically give the little people what they want.
14. Babysitters Are A Must-Have
For all of this to work (and for your guests to have the let-your-hair-down good time you want them to have), you need to call in a handful of babysitters to keep an eye on the children. It’s the only thing that will help a parent forget they have children (which is sort of what you want them to do, at least for an hour or so).
Thanks for reading! For more wedding tips, please do follow us on Facebook (and then tell all of your friends to do the same - all of them. We’ll even name a gummy bear after you as a little thank you).