Today's Bride

How to Plan for Children at your Reception


Every aspect of planning your wedding has so many details to remember. When it comes to your guest list, there may be some things missing from your “to-do” and “must rent” list…especially if you plan on having a wedding with children in attendance.

Children are a handful. “While the photos of children are always absolutely the cutest, we know the logistics of having children at weddings isn’t always as picture-perfect,” Allison from All Occasions Party Rentals says. While it’s completely acceptable to choose not to invite children to your wedding, you should consider that many guests may RSVP no because they can’t find a sitter. If you have children in your wedding ceremony, they should be invited to the reception, too. If that’s the case, there are a few things you need to plan ahead for.

give out goodie bags

Wedding with Children | Orchard Photography | As seen on

Orchard Photography

Even though this is the best day of your life and you plan to have the most fun ever, the kids are guaranteed to be bored until the dancing starts. And when kids get bored, they get loud, cranky, and boisterous. Prevent any mid-toast outbursts and hissy fits by providing each child with a goodie bag. It will serve as their “favor” so it shouldn’t cost much more than you originally planned. Activity books, coloring books, playdough, games, etc. will keep them occupied and happily entertained.

Create a kid’s table

Wedding with Children | OH Snap! Photography | As seen on

OH Snap! Photography

Depending on how many children will be attending your wedding, you could reserve a table just for them! This will prevent them from becoming too bored. Children are typically outgoing and will easily make friends with one another. They can play games with each other – like I Spy or Would you Rather. The one disadvantage is that they may get a little loud without any adult supervision. Dean from Miller’s Party Rental Center suggests “Having something or someone that is dedicated to keeping the kids busy is always helpful.” Whether you advise your wedding planner to keep an eye on the kids during the reception or ask a bridesmaid to take this responsibility, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing someone will make sure they behave.

Wedding with Children | Orchard Photography | As seen on

Orchard Photography

If you plan on having a children’s table, opt for a tablecloth other than linens. “I would suggest a disposable table cover or using brown or white butcher paper instead of linen,” Dean says. Kids are messy; there’s no denying it. If you’re renting linens, you may be charged a damage fee if they come back destroyed by food stains or markers. “Even when there’s nothing to draw with, kids have a great way of finding ways to ‘decorate’ the table cover,” Dean from Miller’s says. “Although we enjoy the artwork, we can’t send the linen out the next weekend to another bride who might not have the same taste in stick figures that we do.” Avoid this disaster by purchasing paper tablecloths and giving the children markers and crayons to draw and color to their heart’s content. They can even take their masterpieces home with them after the wedding!

If you are set on having linens on every table, Alicia from L’Nique Specialty Linen Rental suggests adding an additional layer of white paper on top of the kid’s table linen for them to color on. “Remember for this tip: crayons only, no permanent markers – they soak through to the rented linens!” Alicia said. This will keep children occupied while still maintaining the look that you dreamed of for your reception.

rent yard or arcade games

Wedding with Children | OH Snap! Photography | As seen on

OH Snap! Photography

Yard, arcade, or board games are a fantastic way to entertain not only the kids at your wedding but the adults, too! From giant Jenga and Corn Hole to Yahtzee and Uno or Pacman and Pinball, everyone loves to get a little competitive! Kids can skip the cocktail hour, toasts, first dance, and anything else they find boring to play outside, instead. Later, the adults will take advantage of them, too! Especially if they’re not fond of dancing. These options are a great way to provide an alternative entertainment or activity for your guests while keeping the children occupied!

use a high top table for your cake

Wedding with Children | Artistic Photography, Inc. | As seen on

Artistic Photography, Inc.

We all struggle with waiting until the cake is cut. It just sits there all night, waiting to be devoured. Children don’t have the willpower that we do, and will no doubt stick their finger in the icing if the cake is left unattended. Make sure it’s out of their reach by placing it on a pedestal or high-top cocktail table.

Other Tips
Wedding with Children | Orchard Photography | As seen on

Orchard Photography

Don’t be afraid to have fun and be creative when setting up your kid’s table. “Choose to make your little guests seating their size and rent kid-sized tables, linens, chairs and dinnerware. How adorable would mini versions of a wedding tablescapes be?!” Alicia from L’Nique Specialty Linen Rental suggests.

“Keeping kids occupied at weddings while still having adult fun is challenging.” Allison from All Events Rental says. “We’ve seen brides and grooms more frequently arranging for babysitters and kid-friendly activity rooms outside of the reception, but still close enough for mom and dad to pop in. Having the kids in a separate area but still close by allows for both adult and kid fun.”

The biggest thing couples forget when they’re planning their wedding is to rent booster seats and high chairs or to ask their venue if they provide them. It’s just not top-of-mind! However, this can lead to a minor crisis if your cousin brings her 9-month-old. Ask your rental company about last-minute additions and if they have other recommendations for how to prepare for children at your reception. Remember, they’ve done thousands of parties and have seen everything…they’ll know what you’re missing from your “must rent” list. If you’re hosting an outdoor reception, it’s easier for kids to wander off, so make sure there’s a fence, tent wall, or that someone is monitoring them.

Like we said before, kids are a handful. That doesn’t change when it comes to weddings! There are a lot of aspects to think of if you decide to invite children to your wedding reception. Make sure you have every last detail covered to ensure a tantrum-free celebration!


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