You want everyone to have a good time on your wedding day. For some couples, that means being surrounded by important people in their lives, including little ones. But with children on the guest list comes a little extra prep to ensure both parent and child can enjoy the festivities. With the right planning, you can make your wedding reception extra special for you and your guests of all ages. Read ahead for kid-friendly wedding reception ideas that will make your wedding even more magical.
How to select the right venue for a kid-friendly wedding
The first step to hosting a kid-friendly wedding is to choose the right venue. Here’s what to consider when selecting a space where kids and grown-ups can have a good time.
Make sure there’s plenty of space
Children need more than just an extra seat at your reception (or, in some cases, the youngest may not need a seat at all). Consider a venue’s capacity and spatial layout when making your choice, so all the kids have plenty of extra room. Younger ones especially may want to run around if they have energy to burn off from all of the excitement. Outdoor wedding venues make it easier to set up a kids’ space, so they can enjoy separate activities while the adults hit the dance floor.
You may also want to ask about an extra room designated for kids only. This can be a great idea as a childcare space if you hire outside help like a babysitter. And it’s smart to have a quiet space available toward the end of the night when the children start to get sleepy.
Confirm your venue’s policies
Some venues may have restrictions around having kids on the premises, so it’s important that you’re aware of them before making your final venue choice. If you’re getting married somewhere like a distillery or a brewery, make sure children are allowed. Even if a venue doesn’t outright forbid children, they may have rules in place that state children under a certain age can’t be unattended.
Choose a “kid-proof” venue
In addition to plenty of space, you’ll want a venue that doesn’t present any safety risks to your younger guests. Kids may want to explore and you don’t want to worry about them falling down stairs or into any easily breakable displays. Ask your venue contact about safety precautions if you’re inviting young guests. You can easily find a venue that lets little ones be themselves and doesn’t compromise on elegance.
How to choose the right activities and entertainment for kids
Selecting activities for children at your wedding is another great opportunity to get creative. Here’s what to think about when deciding how you want to keep them entertained.
- Brainstorm kid-friendly ideas. Think about what the children you’ve invited enjoy and how that might work in a wedding environment. Things like games can be a great option for occupying the youngsters at the reception, especially if you’re planning to do the same for adults with cornhole or ring toss.
- Incorporate your theme. Add to the magic of your wedding day vision. For instance, if your theme is a winter wonderland December wedding, set up a snowman craft corner.
- Consider the age groups. Your activities will look different if you’re accommodating toddlers versus preteens. Pick fun things to do that will cater to the ages present at your celebration.
- Hire kid-friendly entertainment. Research child-friendly vendors, such as face painters, who can keep little ones entertained.
What kind of food options are best for kids at weddings?
Keeping little ones well-fed is essential to keeping them happy. While your big day is certainly the occasion to go gourmet, make sure your menu includes kid-friendly choices.
You can incorporate kid-friendly choices throughout the wedding as well. Offer signature juice mocktails for children at cocktail hour. If your wedding cake is a unique flavor that kids might snub, consider alternatives for them. A “decorate your own cupcake” station could even be a fun activity. If any of the children in your group have food allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure your venue or caterer can accommodate as well.
How to create a comfortable and safe environment for kids
When planning for a kid-friendly wedding, there are a few important details to consider. Here’s how to make all ages feel welcome at your wedding.
- Be mindful about seat placement. When making seating arrangements, place your guests with children in seats with less commotion, away from the band or speakers. Keep in mind parents may need an easy exit if their children get fussy and need to take a minute.
- Accommodate their needs. If you have babies or toddlers joining the festivities, amenities like nursing or changing areas will be essential. You may also need some high chairs on hand, so ask your venue if they can provide them.
- Designate kid-exclusive areas. Make the kids at your wedding feel special with their own separate space. This can include a dedicated table during dinner, an activity space, or even a smaller dance floor just for the young ones.
5 kid-friendly wedding reception ideas
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few suggestions for how to make sure the young ones at your wedding have a fun time.
- Craft corner. Arts and crafts are a great way to keep children occupied. Set up a station with lots of paper, crayons, and markers, and let their imaginations run wild.
- Put on a show. Consider recruiting a kids’ entertainer for part of the day. A magic show or character for hire like a princess will keep them busy and happy.
- Let the games begin. Games are a great way to engage children at your reception. You can include games in goodie bags, or if it’s on theme, use kid-friendly game boards as functional centerpieces.
- Dress-up photo booth. A photo booth is a wedding activity that all ages enjoy. Add props so kids can play pretend while creating their own memorable wedding souvenir.
- Outdoor movie night. If you’re at an outdoor venue with enough space, set up a projector and play a kid-friendly movie. You can also set up lots of pillows, blankets, or even sleeping bags, so they can crash in an exciting, sleepover-like setting.
How to make kids feel included in the wedding celebration
While it’s helpful to set aside separate activities, they want to be part of the festivities too. If there’s a kids dining table, add entertaining activities that complement your reception. For example, you can give them activity packs with bubbles. Watch their faces light up as your reception hall instantly becomes whimsical.
If you don’t have a separate dance floor for kids, you can also make them feel special by having dedicated dance time just for them. You can even ask kids from the wedding party to put on a special performance during the reception. While some children may be shy, if there are any hams in the group, they’ll love being the center of attention for a few minutes.
How to manage logistics for a kid-friendly wedding
Timing is everything in wedding planning and this is particularly true at a kid-friendly wedding. Keep in mind that parents likely have nap and bedtimes to accommodate when scheduling times for your ceremony and reception. If kids are involved in the wedding at all, it’s best to include them earlier than later, to avoid disruptions from tired moods. If your big day begins in the evening, sleeping areas will be an important backup.
If you’re hosting a destination wedding, find a hotel with kid-friendly accommodations before booking your room block. Extra points if you find lodging with a pool or other activities for children. Hiring professional childcare may also be a great idea. At the wedding, a babysitter can keep an eye on the little ones, so everyone stays safe and happy. You can also extend their time and provide this service for an extra night, such as during the rehearsal. If the parents in your wedding party have flown all the way to a new location, they’ll probably appreciate a night off.
Make your big day a dream for all guests with Trademark
Whether it’s your own kids or the children of your loved ones, including kids in your wedding can make your day even more special. With some extra planning and attention to detail, you can create a fun and safe atmosphere for all. Trademark’s unique wedding venues include outdoor locations with lots of space for children. Explore Trademark’s venue options today for the perfect all-ages celebration.