Photos: Jen Fariello
Deciding to invite kids to your wedding can prove to be tough. One one hand, you want everyone you love to share your special day with you. On the other hand, inviting children to your ceremony and reception requires a whole extra level of entertainment. And of course there's the argument that if you're going to have a ring bearer and flower girl, why couldn't other couples' kids join in on the fun, too? If you do choose to let a younger set of guests attend your big day, you'll need to be prepared with the essentials: games, food, and décor for your ceremony and reception that will excite what could prove to be your toughest crowd. Here, creative ideas for how to entertain kids at your wedding.
For the ceremony
Go to the dollar store and stock up on quiet distractions like picture books, finger puppets, and sugar-free lollipops. Have your ushers dole out the treats to parents with small kids, and seat families with young children in the back row or on the aisle, so they can make a quick exit if necessary.
For the reception
Put a kid-accessible lemonade or Shirley Temple stand by the bar for cocktail hour. Prevent mealtime meltdowns by having your caterer prep kid-friendly dishes. (Think finger food like chicken nuggets, burgers, and pizza.) Plus, caterers charge way less (about half) for kiddie meals than for yours. Make their meal extra-fun by seating all tots at one table, says Annette Garcia Kerslake of Simply Natural Events, in L.A. Some goodies to keep them happy and occupied: Kraft-paper tablecloth (to draw on), crayons and washable markers, stamps with washable ink, stickers, fruit centerpieces, board games and puzzles, age-appropriate gift bags (with activity or coloring books, plus Play-Doh), and lastly, adult supervision.