Kid Friendly Weddings
If you come from a large family or have lots of little cousins, or nieces and nephews, your wedding will run smoother if you take their unique needs into consideration. Don't expect kids to act like little adults because, well, they don't. They have much shorter attention spans, and might not be as enamored with all the wedding festivities as you hope. However, it doesn't take much to make them feel special and included, and to turn your event into a special memory for them.
Here are some ideas for your reception that might keep them from overturning furniture and pulling tablecloths out from under your fine china:
Have a candy bar - adults will enjoy this one, too. I don't mean a Snickers or Almond Joy, although those could be included. I mean a station set up with containers full of candy, and scoops and small bags they can fill to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Kid Station - Have a well marked area just for the kids. This could be canopied or tented, with a homemade sign or chalkboard sign on the table indicating it's for kids only. The table could be covered with butcher paper with containers of crayons for them to go crazy making their own designs. You could include baskets of Legos and/or toys from the dollar store. Bubbles are also a big hit with kids, and Playdough or craft items. There are also free printable wedding coloring and activity booklets available on the internet. Facepainting, glow sticks, games -- use your imagination!
Kid Food - Don't be surprised if kids turn up their noses at the fancy food you planned for so carefully. So why not have their own food table? Not many kids will refuse pizza, mini burgers, mac and cheese, p.b. and j.s, grilled cheese or Goldfish crackers. How about a popcorn bar? Or, have sack lunches set on their own table decorated with balloons or big suckers in vases filled with Skittles or M & Ms. If you don't want a candy bar, mini pails filled with candy would be fun for the littles. Mason jars are inexpensive containers to fill with snacks, mini toys, or activity items. One cute idea I saw was pint bottles of milk with colorful straws with cookies slid on them. If you want to go all out, have an ice cream truck show up or have a cotton candy and/or popcorn machine there!
The Wedding - If you have children participating in your ceremony, cut down on the tantrums by addressing their concerns. Make sure their clothes are comfortable for them. An itchy collar or scratchy waistband will make for wiggly kids. Don't be afraid to let their personalities come out in what they wear. If a child is terrified of walking down the aisle alone, have a sibling or parent walk with them. Change things up a bit -- have them carry heart-shaped balloons or signs down the aisle, use a bird's nest or backpack instead of a pillow for the ringbearer, have the flower girls carry a big, single flower or a topiary purse full of rose petals. It might also be a good idea to use stand-in rings instead of the real things.
Upset, unhappy kids add to the stress of the bride, so take that extra step and save everyone a few tears!