By Lisa Beth Miller
The decision of whether or not to include children in your wedding celebration is a very personal one. Many couples choose to exclude them altogether, while others invite children without actually considering their needs. This mistake can lead to situations where both parents and children become cranky, not exactly the ideal atmosphere for a day of celebrating!
If you do decide to include children in the festivities, be sure to cater to their needs. Couples can hire an on-site nanny to keep the children occupied, or they can leave it to the parents to care for the children. In any event, the bride and groom can make the job a bit easier by considering a few fun ideas.
- Provide kid-friendly foods and drinks. While you may be super-excited about the mini-crab cakes at cocktail hour, a five-year-old may strongly disagree. A simple fruit and cheese plate will provide recognizable foods for the little ones without disturbing the vibe of the event. Check with your caterer about ideas for children’s meals. Be sure the bartender is stocked with juices and has some child-safe cups on hand as well.
- Provide an activity for the children. One popular idea is to give each child a disposable camera and a simple “scavenger hunt” style list of images to find and capture. For example, they could photograph the pretty cake, a brightly wrapped gift, a display of beautiful flowers, dancing bridesmaids, etc. Allow the parents to develop the film so each child has a collection of photo memories from the big day. For those about to point out that the children could just take pictures using a phone or tablet, childcare experts disagree! The excitement of collecting the images on a disposable camera (to develop and view at a later time) will prolong a child’s interest in the project.
- Invite the children to dance together. Perhaps request a song they would recognize and enjoy so they feel like a part of the party!
- If children are over the age of 6, consider a special children’s table. Younger children will probably not want to stray far from their parents, but older children could enjoy the opportunity to socialize with other young guests. Perhaps pay a teen guest to supervise the table during dinner if you are nervous about safety issues.