Tips for Entertaining Kids at Weddings

Between nieces, nephews, friends' kids, and other relatives, kids at weddings are a fact of life—unless, of course, you opt for a child-free wedding (in which case you must be extremely clear from the moment you send out those save-the-dates). Whether they're a few months old or well into their elementary-school years, kids will add an unexpected element to the day's proceedings. Being prepared for their presence will help you maintain some control over the situation and ensure their parents can actually enjoy the wedding, too. Here are a few simple ways to entertain kids at weddings:

Create a Multigenerational Play Area

Games like corn hole and oversized Jenga have a broad appeal—you'll see little kids enjoying them just as much as your great-uncle Bill. Encourage your guests to have fun by setting up a play area with a few games and a bit of room for leg-stretching. This will let kids get their wiggles out and give older folks an easy way to break the ice. You may want to designate a bridesmaid or groomsman as a play area attendant to ensure the fun zone doesn't get completely taken over by tykes.

Embrace the Kids' Table

It's usually best for very young kids to sit with their parents, but once they hit a certain age, they may be ready to enjoy the fun and independence of a kids-only table at your reception. Consider removing any breakables and elaborate flower arrangements and replacing them with kid-friendly decorations and things to keep them (quietly) entertained—think coloring books, disposable cameras, mini board games, and activity kits. Depending on your menu, you may also want to make some adjustments to make the options a little more palatable for kids (in case they're not excited by filet mignon).

Consider a Sitter

Do you really want to win over your parent friends? Think about hiring a professional childcare provider or two to watch over kids during the ceremony and/or reception. If your wedding is in a church, there's probably already a nursery or maybe even a playground set up for younger children. Other venues may also have a quiet area where you can create a zone just for kids.

Don't Worry Too Much About It

Unless you're hosting a super formal affair, kids tend to fit into weddings pretty seamlessly. There's food, music, a general air of celebration, and plenty of friends and relatives who are surely excited to pinch some cheeks. Plus, is there anything cuter than dressed-up kids?

All in all, while there may be a few spilled drinks and a few tears, those will be easy to overlook if you have the right mindset.