You love your friends and family. That’s why you’d like them with you on your wedding day, right? …you might even love their kids. Are the little ones invited to your wedding? Then we know they’re precious to you. Or you might have a brood of your own who are an integral part of the wedding and guests of honor. It can seem a formidable challenge to have the event you’ve always dreamed of while accommodating the wants and needs of your child (and parent) guests. Here are some kid-friendly wedding tips to achieve that perfect balance on your day!
(Note: we’re going to assume with this advice that you’ve already decided that your event can and will have children as guests — it’s also an option to decide your event is not intended for kids, and that’s ok, too. You know what’s right for your wedding; trust your gut.)
Kid-Friendly Wedding Tips, Ahoy!
Snack Pack Goodie Bags
Kids have relevant goodie bag experience from a young age. They know what to do with them! Stock yours with snacks to help stave off hanger (the dreaded combination of hunger and anger), coloring books and crayons, decks of cards, or other tidbits you think your smallest guests could independently enjoy. You can get lots of inexpensive activities from the dollar store, too, or ask a savvy parent friend for tips.
Nap and/or Chill Space
You might have to kick some grown-ups out of the pillow fort at some point, because who couldn’t use a short snooze on such a jam-packed day? A quiet spot where kids can rest and decompress from the melee, moms can breast-feed, and scheduled naps can occur unabated will help everyone be their best and brightest.
This one might seem obvious, but if the majority of your child guests are of a socializing age, they can entertain one another with minimal adult intervention. Keep their spaces stocked with age-appropriate entertainment (better still if they’re favors or centerpieces!) and you’ll have grateful parents thanking you. Plus, the kids will forever remember how cool your wedding was — and this is all about making memories, isn’t it?
Depending on your wedding site, there are endless options. Offbeat Bride has lawn, video, and board suggestions, Pinterest has a veritable trove of ideas as per usual, and The Knot makes me want to run out and buy some potato sacks for races post-haste. (Not for a wedding. Just for every day fun.) Games are fun for all ages and are a great way to encourage interaction between guests.
Photo Booth Props
Most kids LOVE a photobooth, so take advantage. Keep your props whimsical. Photo booths are an excuse for kids of all ages to play dress-up; keep that in mind when making your selections, or let your photographer know that there will be young ones in attendance. Ideas: pinwheels, glow sticks, stick-on mustaches, tutus, crowns and tiaras, silly hats, and whatever else you can dream up.
Camera Scavenger Hunt
Again, you might have more than kids partaking in this amenity. Disposable cameras and a printed sheet can get your older and younger guests interacting, as well as provide a challenge to kids who might otherwise be bored by adult proceedings. Try conversational goals to get people talking if you make your own. For example, “Find a guest who has been married more than 15 years.” Imagine all the great conversations that can spawn from that tiny prompt. No time? Not to worry. Offbeat Bride has Minglo and Pinterest has a multitude of pins.
Hire a Babysitter
If you don’t have kids yourself, ask your local parent friends for a recommendation or check out a trusted website like Care.com. If you know there are very young kids who need more oversight or especially rambunctious older ones, this might be your best option and there’s lots of great advice out there if you go this route.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Intergenerational enjoyment doesn’t have to be worrisome. With a bit of planning, your event can welcome guests of all ages, introduce them to one another, and have them interacting in a memorable way — just think of the adorable pictures. It can be as simple as dancing together to beloved music or as complex as anything you can dream up. Come back and tell us how it went!