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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10 Tips to an Enjoyable, Kid-Friendly Wedding

Photo taken by Ashley Davis Photography
Its your wedding, so its your choice; whether to include children in your ceremony and/or reception.  If you do decide to invite the tykes, below are some tips on making your party child-friendly so that they enjoy themselves, which means their big people will too!

Food and drink: 
1) Keep them hydrated!  If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, it takes minimal effort to put out a bucket of ice with some bottled water.  Little ones become easily over-heated.  Do not be tempted to put out any "over 21 drinks" at a self serve drink station.  Grown ups will be pre-occupied watching your nuptials and colorful drinks look appealing to kids.
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2) Cocktail hour + food.  If you are having an hour or more of a time lapse between the end of your ceremony and when dinner will be served, put out a variety of hors d'oeuvres.  By a variety, I mean don't exclusively choose menu items such as stuffed mushrooms, oysters and caviar.  It would be safe to at least include a cheese and fruit platter, or a vegetable crudite.  

3) Kids only buffet.  Why pay upwards of $50 a plate for prime rib and lobster when you know your cousin's gaggle of toddlers are only going to turn their noses up at it.  Ask your caterer to price out a kids buffet complete with mini corn dogs, chicken nuggets and mac n' cheese.  You will save money and they will fill their tummies.

4) For tweens and teens, you will hear less complaints of boredom if you give them a job and purpose.  Think of non-essential tasks such as guestbook attendant, program or favor distributor or gift table guard.

5) Kids area.  Many venues may offer you a close by room equipped with a television and dvd player.  This is the perfect out of the way local for them to have some "quiet time."  Stock the room with some coloring books, puzzles, board games and storybooks and you may not see or hear from them for the majority of the night!
Photo taken by Ashley Davis Photography

6) Creative printables- fun for all ages.  Check out these DIY activities to keep the kids busy:
Activity Program by Intimate Weddings
Activity Books from Lovely Indeed

7) Goody bags.  Kids may not care for traditional Jordan almond favors but they sure would appreciate a little bag or box with some bubbles, a toy matchbox car, some stickers and goldfish crackers!  Make them feel special by customizing the package with their name or photo so they know where to find theirs. 

Safety and Peace of Mind:
8) Practice makes perfect.  If you have any little people with special roles to play, such as flower girl or ring bearer, make sure that they are invited to your rehearsal so that they know in advance who they are going to be standing by, where they are supposed to walk, etc.  Whenever possible, have the rehearsal be at the exact location that the actual ceremony will be taking place so that young participants are able to become familiar with the setting.

9) Go with the flow. With the hustle and bustle of "the big day," children can become understandably stressed out.  This is especially true if there is the added honor and anticipation of being involved in the ceremony.   But when the time comes, don't put too much pressure on them.  Kids are spontaneous, they may decide at the last minute they don't want to pre-ceed you down the red carpet.  Let them out of their obligation, no one is going to notice.  You can get cute pics of them afterwards.  Or have their mom or dad standing by to help coerce. Or maybe your 3 year old niece can be carried down the aisle by a friend or relative (who is nicely dressed of course).......she'll still illicit oohs and awws.  Once (please read "if") they make it down the aisle, allow them to choose whether they will stand with the wedding party or go sit with their family.  Nothing is more distracting than a fidgety (although incredibly cute) or unruly kid standing beside you while you are trying to say your vows.
Photo by Sugar Mill Productions

10) Please be thoughtful and courteous when it comes to any food allergies or dietary restrictions that may exist with your guests- this goes for all ages.  It has been long time excepted etiquette to offer a vegetarian option on the RSVP form but please also be mindful and ask your caterer to have readily available, gluten free, vegan or kosher options.

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