While many Maine Weddings can get away with an adult only, kid free wedding, that isn’t the reality for all... plus, they are pretty darn cute when they dump the entire basket of flowers at the start of your aisle or run away with your ring tied to that pillow in their hands (pro-tip: just pretend the rings are on the pillow, or tie on some plastic replicas… and keep them safe with an adult in the wedding party...really nobody will notice). Beyond the hella cuteness you’ve chosen to include in your day, some of your guests may be in situations where it would be easier to have little Timmy tagging along. This is often true if they are traveling and the distance requires overnight stays.
With one on the way :) I’ve been thinking a lot about how I will handle being a mom and a wedding planner. Of course I’ll be getting plenty of help from my better half, family, and friends, but it also got me thinking about how I can help my couples when their wedding will involve children at both their ceremony and reception.
So here are the goods:
Hire a babysitter- If your venue has a space, you may be able to dedicate a room to wedding child care right on site. Additionally if you’ve blocked a hotel, this could be done there if your venue doesn’t have the space. The sitter can then provide activities and make sure they get what they need to allow you an all of your guests to have fun without cute little Timmy having a meltdown when he doesn’t get to catch the bouquet.
Ages- Keep in mind the age of your young guests. Some activities are better for different age group. You may want a mix of activities.
A kids space- A table, a corner, a teepee, or any place where a child feel like they have a special space.
Kid Friendly Activities- Pick some age appropriate activities to provide some good ol’ fun or at least a distraction. This could be run by a sitter type person, just an area where a child and parent could take a break together, or where an older child could play independently. These activities could also be packed in a box or bag for each child. Think busy bags or wedding activity kit. For a splurge you could hire a face painter, balloon artist, or rent a bounce house. Here are some activities that can be DIY:
Coloring books or craft paper with crayons
Glow sticks- “Let Love Glow”
Bubbles- Best for outdoor weddings
Arts and crafts- pasta jewelry? Design a wedding ring? Crown making and much more!
Legos- “Building our love block by block”
Photo Booths- Adults love these too
Eye Spy or scavenger hunts
Kid Friendly food- Think about appetizers, meals, and dessert kids will like. They may not be so keen on those smoked salmon tapas. But hey, maybe grilled cheese bites, juice boxes, cut fruit, popcorn, or chicken nuggets will hit the spot. Really just a few things kids like that can give them a mix of healthier/treat type options.
Include them- Champagne toast for 21+.... Pick up some sparkling juices or even cookies and milk. You may even have some adults that want cookies and milk too. We got married on a HOT day, so we did a Prosecco popsicle toast, which was a HUGE hit, and those underage, or not drinking chose to partake with the non-alcoholic option. Open bar for the adults? What about an open bar of snacks and treats for your very under agers? Invite them on the dance floor for some kid friendly songs (you know those songs that adults won’t admit to liking, but deep down and after a few beverages will surely enjoy… can you say Frozen and Let It Go?) I do a great rendition, but hey I’ve been practicing for our little girl. So, Timmy wasn’t allowed to do the bouquet toss… what about a stuffed animal toss for the kids or a toy bar for wedding favors for them? You can get some cheap prize like toys from Oriental Trading or amazon.
Keep in mind, children are children, so their behavior isn’t going to be perfect. If you are involving them in your ceremony you may have to go with the flow. They may be fine, or they may have a fit or two. As a final thought, in any decision you make about your wedding day, make sure you are not losing your day by catering too much to others. While it might be easier for your guests with children to bring them, don’t be afraid to take a stand for what you want. With enough planning ahead, alternatives can be found. We had our nephew in our wedding. He was young...like under 2… my brother-in-law was okay with taking him back to the hotel after the ceremony. Really, he wouldn’t have done well there anyways. He was ready for a nap (my nephew not my brother-in-law, but I don’t know, he may have needed a nap too).