Posted by: anxiouslyengaged | September 12, 2008

Keeping Kids Happy

You’ve probably heard that kids and weddings don’t mix. But if you have a large family with lots of young children, you more than likely want them to be included in your special day. And with a little advance preparation, your wedding and reception will be fun for everyone.

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide whether you want the kids to be included in the reception or not. You might be conjuring up mental images of children running amok, weaving in and out of tables and sticking their fingers in your wedding cake, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Kids can stay entertained at the reception and their presence can liven things up as well with the following ideas:

Set aside special tables for kids. A couple of tables and kid-sized chairs can create a fun gathering place for kids. Cover the tables with white paper (if you have a local newspaper office, they will often give rolls of their newsprint out for free or a low cost-perfect for covering tables) and provide crayons and markers. You can also take a few pages out of your guest book and put them on the tables so the kids can “sign” it too.

  • Serve some kid-friendly foods. While crab cakes, chicken marsala, or sushi rolls are great for adults, if you set a plate full of that in front of a child, they more than likely won’t touch it. Instead, set up a special table for some finger foods kids would like – chicken nuggets, sandwiches cut in different shapes with cookie cutters, cupcakes, or apple slices are a few easy ideas.
  • Have a kids-only dance. Having a song or two geared toward the kids is a great way to get them involved and keep the boredom at bay. Kids will have fun getting their energy out, and it makes for some great photo ops as well. And on the off chance you aren’t up to par on the music tastes of grade schoolers, speak with your DJ beforehand and have him or her recommend a few.
  • Let the kids participate in your send-off. Many party stores will sell small vials of bubbles specifically for weddings. Hand these out to the older kids (say, three and up) who will be at the wedding, and let them blow bubbles as you leave with your groom. Flower petals and rice will work too. (But don’t forget to assign someone to clean up.)
  • Have activities just for the kids. Chances are you don’t want your wedding to turn into a carnival, but you can set up a small corner or area in the reception hall and have someone do simple face paintings or balloon animals, which will keep the kids happy and entertained as well. You don’t even have to hire someone-ask around the ward, work, and friends and see if anyone has any hidden talents they’d be willing to share to keep the kids happy.

 When you don’t want children at the reception…

Many brides also opt to not include children in their reception, and this is perfectly acceptable as well – after all, it is your wedding. Most reception halls or stake centers have designated areas that kids can go and play. Find out how many children will be in attendance, and then find a babysitter or two who will keep them happy and entertained while your reception takes place. If your reception is taking place in a stake center, be sure to get the keys from the nursery leader. The sitters can set up special activities for the kids, such as a treasure hunt with little treats or toys, movies, and puzzles and games.

 Including kids in your reception can be a blast – as long as you’re prepared. These ideas will keep even the smallest attendees happy and entertained, and their parents, too!

written by jill overmyer



  1. I have to agree with you about keeping the kids busy. I’m a professional balloon entertainer who has entertained at many wedding and found not only are the kids happy but so are the adults. A wedding is a time to celebrate and by adding more fun family activities goes a long way to making the wedding more memorable to family and friends.

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