How to keep kids entertained at weddings.
So, just how do you keep kids entertained at weddings? Or maybe another way to look at it is should you try?
Kids are pretty good at entertaining themselves and a wedding service where a parent didn’t leave halfway through with a child that was not enjoying the service would feel like something was missing.
Children of different ages will be entertained by different things so bear in mind the age ranges of the kids coming to your wedding. A wedding day can be a long and boring day for children so keeping them occupied all day can be a task.
I have found that the biggest fear most parents have is that their child will throw a tantrum in the middle of the wedding ceremony.
Most weddings I’ve photographed there is a distracted child at some point in the service or a toddler wandering the aisle. I’ve even seen a young girl walk up to the bride as she is making her vows and tug on her dress to ask her something.
There are often babies who get a little distressed during reading and one of the parent’s slopes out with them, but for me, it’s all part of the day. A wedding is a family occasion and kids are always unpredictable.
I have put together some ideas to help keep the children entertained during your wedding. It doesn’t need to be an expensive venture, a little planning and imagination can go a long way. Or you could just hand them an iPad but you can do that any day.
Make it special for them and keep them entertained with something different at the wedding.
15 Ideas to entertain kids at weddings.
1. Goodie bags.
Colouring books, stickers crayons and pencils. You don’t have to go nuts here. Like many things with children sometimes the simplest things are what they gain the most fun from and it’s good to have something at the table to keep them entertained, especially during the wedding speeches.
If you want to save some money on these look around local pound shops, you’ll be surprised just what you can find there.
You can also make some “fidget packs” for during the wedding service. I suggest small soft toys to entertain them during the service. That way anything dropped won’t make too much noise or be too distracting.
The ushers can be in charge of handing them out to the children before the service starts.
In the same way, you put together favours for your guests. Put together special party favours for the children with puzzles and soft toys.
15 x Children’s unisex pre-filled party bags with favours and sweets for boys and girls
2. Kids Picnic.
Wedding food isn’t always child-friendly and as you are paying per head, the cost can be excessive for food the children won’t enjoy and possibly won’t eat. Set up a picnic especially for the kids. Pizza, sausage rolls, chips and sandwiches will be much more appealing and you’ll save some money on the catering expenses too.
If it is a summer wedding it would be nice to have it outside, that way they can play, eat and entertain themselves.
A wedding breakfast normally goes on for about 2 hours and are generally followed by the speeches. Adults find it hard to stay focused and well behaved for that much time, It can feel like a lifetime for kids. It will also make for a special occasion for the kids
3. Kids play areas.
Lots of weddings and wedding venues set up kids play areas. An area set up with toys, maybe a tv and some films.
A place the kids can call their own and just play. Some venues will have staff on hand to help out but in almost all cases the responsibility is with the wedding party.
4. Video game station.
Kids are so used to playing games on a phone and that is easy and convenient. Having a game station, a console or even an old school video game machine can be a bit of a novelty and might just keep them distracted for a while.
Don’t go too retro or you’ll find the big kids (ushers) taking over to pay their childhood favourites.
5. Wedding nannies.
I am seeing more of this at weddings. People are bringing in companies that specialise in taking care of and entertaining children at weddings. It’s a bit like ‘wedding daycare’.
This is a fantastic idea. These people specialise in entertaining children at weddings. They will organise activities to suit all age ranges and your guests can enjoy the wedding day knowing their kids are in safe hands and happy.
You can relax during the wedding service and speeches because your children will be entertained with organised activities. You can enjoy the day without worrying about what the kids are doing.
It is worth noting that a good Wedding Nannie can probably supply all of these services and more.
6. DVD/Film corner.
At home, your kids will be entertained for hours watching films they have seen dozens of times before. Having a good selection of Disney films, a DVD player and a TV can work wonders. This might also double up as a relaxing nap area for some of the younger children.
If it’s a summer wedding and you are feeling a little adventurous consider setting up an outdoor cinema for them. A projector, a white sheet hung between two trees, some cushions on the floor and you are away.
A simple set up but it will feel so special to the kids. throw in some popcorn and the magic is complete.
Mini Bluetooth Projector with DVD Player.
7. Outdoor games.
Kids (and many adults) love large versions of traditional games. Connect 4 with counters the size of plates, mega Jenga, although I’d hate to have some of these fall on me.
Lawn croquet is always a favourite. Twister, a simple ring toss or a Piñata will go a long way to keeping them amused.
Bubble machines/wands are always fun. Kids love to chase and pop bubbles and of course, this makes for some lovely pictures too. Skittles or a mini outdoor bowling ally will always help to keep the kids entertained.
8. Sweet station.
Maybe sugaring them up isn’t what you are looking for, or maybe it is. I know I get some really fun pictures of kids running around on a sugar rush.
A few years ago I saw lots of these with retro sweet, this year they seem to be more contemporary sweets. If I’m photographing your wedding you might catch me helping myself to a sour jelly or two.
19 Jar Variety Victorian Style Sweet Jar Kit.
9. Kids treasure hunt.
Especially for some of the older children. Take some time and plan out a treasure hunt for them. Have some treats along the way to keep them engaged.
I’ve seen treasure hunts where the goal is for the kids to get pictures of specific wedding related items throughout the day.
A bunch of disposable cameras won’t break the bank and you could end up with some really interesting extra wedding photographs. A child’s perspective on the world and photography can be very interesting.
10. Bouncy castle.
This is another one that can often be taken over by the older kids, especially later on in the evening when they’ve had a few drinks. It can also make for some interesting bride and groom photographs.
A bouncy castle can be lots of fun but check with the venue to make sure they will allow one to be brought in and have space to allocate to it.
11. Dance off.
Kids love to dance, especially if you have also gone for the sweet station and have them all sugared up. Make it a specific kids activity. Have the DJ announce it as he would any other part of the day.
And if it results in burning off some of that excess energy so you can settle them down for the night then that’s a bonus.
12. Kids entertainer.
I’m not necessarily talking about some Krusty the Clown lookalike although that could be fun too. There is a huge selection of kids entertainers out there, some specialising in weddings.
Magicians are still a popular choice and will entertain even the big kids. Face painting, storytelling there are many styles of children’s entertainers. If you are using a Wedding Nannie company they are likely to incorporate this into their service.
13. Kids craft corner.
This might need somebody to supervise and direct this but it can be very worthwhile and get the kids involved in learning new skills and creating something unique.
Alternatively, you could keep it simple. Cover a large area like a table with a roll of paper. Supply pens, crayons, stickers and so on. Come up with a wedding-related theme and let the kids get creative as a group.
I’d recommend not having paints, the venue and possibly the bride’s dress might not come out of it well.
There are a bunch wedding-themed colouring books out there too, but if you are looking for a budget alternative. I have some downloadable pdf’s that you can print off and have on the tables for the kids to colour in. This is especially useful during wedding speeches.
14. Petting zoo.
There are many companies out there who specialise in bringing various animals along to events. You will find something that suits your taste.
Try something cute and unusual like Alpacas or get some great reactions by inviting a snake handler. Whatever you decide on it will also get you some fun and interesting pictures.
15. Table football/Air Hockey.
You might find the bigger kids (groomsmen) take this one over but sometimes it’s good to keep them entertained too and it’s better than them kicking a real ball through one of the venues windows.
There is a good chance one of your guests will have one collecting dust in the garage somewhere. If not there are plenty of places you can hire them.
16. Leave them at home (Bonus).
It’s not the way I would choose to have it but many couples simply ask their guests not to bring their children along. It takes away the need to cater to them and you can have an adult-only occasion.
Personally I love to see children at weddings. I love the way kids entertain themselves in so many creative ways.
But, I always say. Your wedding is your personal occasion, have it your way, it’s your day.
I’d love to hear your tips for keeping children entertained and amused at weddings. Please add your ideas in the comments below.
Happy wedding planning.
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