So finally, after 10 long and arduous months of planning (or sometimes even longer), you have managed to find your ideal location for a beach wedding, you managed to snatch up the dream venue at a bargain price just before high-season, and your dearest family and friends will all be attending. You’ve found your ideal dress and know that you will be shining on your wedding day, as your friends and family watch you walking down the aisle in full admiration.
It couldn’t be any better and it has all the ingredients to turn your day into one that will be remembered for years and years to come. That is until, on the actual day, just as the preacher finishes his sermon and you both prepare to say yes to an eternal life together and as you attempt to seal it with a tender kiss, the moment is interrupted as two children create an enormous racket as they run in-between you, lose their balance in the process, and knock over the altar. They look up in amazement as to how that could have possibly happened. Those little rascals!
Of course, kids will always be kids. We were just as naughty back then (don’t pretend you weren’t), and I can assure you that kids will be just as naughty as that 20 years from now. Although this is an extreme scenario, if you want to have any chance at a wedding that runs somewhat smoothly, you need to make sure that you provide some entertainment for the kids as well. They need to be enjoying themselves too, just like you are!
Generally speaking, weddings aren’t particularly interesting for children. While the parents are enjoying their cocktails and catching up with old friends and family, for the children it means there are long periods of sitting down, listening to others talking, and very little movement and playing around. Kids are bound to get restless, who can blame them?
In preparation for our wedding we have looked at some great ways of keeping the little ones occupied, of course all with a little wedding twist! Some of our friends tried some of kids wedding activities, and mentioned that they worked like a charm. All kids are different, of course, but there should be something for all in the list below.
1. Potato Sack Races
One way to entertain the kids at your reception, if it’s being held outdoors or on a beach, is to run them ragged. Literally… What better way to organize a bag race and have the children have the time of their lives, while getting in a good amount of exercise at the same time? Get some potato sacks from your local DIY store on the cheap, and you’re all set to go. When the reception is all said and done, you might even get the kids use their bags to help you clean up all the trash! Only if you’re lucky of course.
2. Color Your Placemat
Providing a placemat that is interactive, where kids can color in the lines with crayons is a great way to keep them occupied on a long night where the parents are socializing with wedding friends and family on your big day. There are tons of places where you can buy color in placemats, or you can even order them online at places like Amazon. If you are feeling really creative, however, you can even go as far as to design your own and have it fit completely with the theme of your wedding. You can draw the outlines of you and your partner, and have the kids color them in. You might end up with some very creative drawings of yourselves and a nice souvenir to take home after the wedding is all said and done!
3. Have Them Help Out
This won’t work for all children, but may work for those that are a little older. You can have them help out at the reception of your wedding. It may not be one of the kids wedding activities that they would have had in mind, but many children will thrive once they have a feeling of responsible, knowing that the wellbeing of the wedding partially depends on them. They can help with simple tasks like clearing up the dishes from the table, helping take orders, helping the MC in making announcements. You can even give them some extra allowance if they do a good job, and the best part of it is, is that they will have a great feeling of accomplishment afterwards.
4. Create Wedding Inspired Kites
This is one of the most unique kids wedding activities I came across when planning for our wedding, and what better place to put it into practice than at a beach wedding? Imagine the kids running on the beach as they fly their heart-shaped kits in the theme of your wedding, having the time of their lives. It may take a little work to put the kites together, but you should be able to get all the material at your local DIY store, and the end result will definitely be more than worth the effort. You’ll even have some nice souvenirs to bring back once your actual wedding is over.
5. Have a Separate Kids Table
While you’re all set for a long evening with five different courses and cocktails and caviar flowing freely, the kids are bound to get restless before you have even finished your starter. Why not have a separate table for the children so that they dine at their own pace? You can even customize their menu so that it’s more kid friendly and when they finish they can start on other activities instead of having to wait for the parents to finish. You may need someone to watch them and that can intervene if a food fight breaks out. If not, all you might end up remembering from your special day was getting hit in the head with a chicken nugget.
6. Disposable Camera
What better way to get the kids entertained by putting out some disposable cameras that they can use during the wedding reception? They are dirt cheap these days, and you should be able to pick them up almost anywhere. Perhaps add in a little rivalry and have a competition where the one with the best picture will receive a small present at the end of night. You’ll be sure to see them carefully picking out the ideal photography spot and start flashing away. Not only will you keep the children happy, but who knows, you might get some amazing shots of your wedding. I wouldn’t quite go as far as to cancel the photographer yet though.
For the really little ones, bubbles are a great way to keep them occupied. They simply love blowing bubbles, and who can blame them? Bubbles are awesome! If you’re lucky, it can add a fun twist to your wedding pictures as well. Imagine a wedding picture with your loved one tipping you backwards as he kisses you gently on the lips. Pretty romantic right? Well, now imagine him tipping you backwards and kisses you gently on the lips but with bubbles floating in the background. How cool would that be? It doesn’t get any better than that!
8. Scavenger Hunt
If you want to make your wedding really interesting, and one the kids will never forget, you can create a wedding related scavenger hunt. This is one of our favorite kids wedding activities. Even better is if you get the disposable cameras (that you’ll have bought anyway because of my earlier suggestion) involved in it too. Create an “I spy with my little camera” scavenger hunt where you have a list of 10-15 items or activities that the children have to capture with their cameras. One of them may be a picture of the bride kissing the groom, the other may be a picture of wedding cake. The opportunities are endless, and this is one the kids would thoroughly enjoy. The one that completes the scavenger hunt first gets a small prize!
9. Movie Corner
The tried and tested method – movies are always a great way to keep the children entertained and weddings are no exception. Make sure you contact your venue beforehand, since if they host a lot of weddings, they will likely have a movie corner with a good amount of movies available for the children to watch during the event. This saves you the hassle of having to arrange for it yourself, so you can focus on more important things – such as finding that perfect wedding dress that you haven’t yet been able to find!
10. Photo Booth
Photo booths are starting to gain popularity at weddings and it’s one that can make for some interesting memories. As the night goes on, the pictures typically tend to get wilder and wilder, and it will bring back some good memories of your special day. The kids tend to love the photo booths too; in fact, you may struggle to drag them away from it so that your other guests can have a go as well! Make sure you have plenty of crazy accessories they can try on, and you’re sure to be getting some very interesting pictures at the end of the night.
11. Sleeping Bags, Mats, and Pillows
Worst comes to worst, you can always put the little ones too bed if it starts to get late. The kids are likely going to be tired after a long day of wedding activities, and may start to get cranky if the night starts to drag on. A great solution would be to provide somewhere they can relax and possibly sleep. Ask your friends if they have any spare sleeping bags, mats, and pillows and you can create a very comfortable place for the kids to rest for a couple of hours. Their parents will be grateful as well, and may stay even longer than they had initially planned!
12. Hire a Professional
If all else fails, you can always hire a professional. These guys are trained to keep the kids occupied and most importantly to ensure that they have a great time as well. They’ll be watching the children as you can focus on your wedding free of worry and to make sure that it’s the best day of your life. Make sure that you contact your wedding venue before you decide to hire externally, since many will provide a professional as part of the overall wedding package.