Children are often an expected by-product of weddings, but weddings are rarely child-friendly. My brother’s wedding this month transformed my perception of children at weddings – forever. He and my sister-in-law created a wedding that left the children in attendance feeling like guests of honor while also catering to the adults in attendance. Quite a feat! Wondering how to have fun with kids at a wedding? Take a look at these tips! They are useful whether you are planning the wedding or simply attending as a guest.
We just got back from the most kid friendly wedding ever! My younger brother (he’s #7 of 10 kids; I’m #4) got married. Our travel plan was hectic: nine and a half hours driving down Wednesday, wedding Thursday, ten hours driving home on Friday. Our experience driving across the country two years ago helped with the drive, and weddings only come around once in a lifetime. If I can make it, I will! This wedding was exceptional, because my brother and his wife went out of their way to make the wedding a child-friendly experience. The kid friendliness of their wedding was so well executed that those of us attending with children relaxed and enjoyed the entire event.
How to Have Fun with Kids at a Wedding
I have taken my children to several weddings over the years, because weddings in my family always include children. This was the first wedding that truly catered to the children who were attending the wedding. There were children at my wedding, and I didn’t do anything to accommodate them. I would do things much differently after going to this wedding as a parent!
If you had asked me how to have fun with kids at a wedding before this month, my only advice would be to bring an extra set of hands. This one event transformed my perception of weddings, and children as wedding guests.
You only need two things to create a child-friendly wedding:
See the kids as individuals
My three girls got to be flower girls in the wedding. Several weeks before the event, the bride sent me links to several different dresses. My three girls couldn’t believe their luck. They could pick whichever dress they liked from the pre-approved list! Each girl (plus their cousin who was a fourth flower girl) picked a different dress – and each dress suited its wearer’s personality perfectly. Since all of the choices had been hand-selected by the bride, they worked beautifully within the wedding theme. Johnny and the other boy cousins wore suspenders and bow ties. My brother and his wife explained to my children that all participation in wedding events was voluntary. My kids loved being part of the ceremony!
Give the kids something to do
At the reception, my brother and his wife set up a LEGO play corner for the kids. This corner even enticed my 88-year-old grandma to play on the floor with her great-great grandchildren! The reception included some very kid-friendly food: ice cream sundaes and even gluten-free cupcakes for my kids who can’t eat gluten.
Though beautiful, weddings can start to drag along. First you attend a ceremony, then lots of picture taking, then a reception! My brother and his wife gave each child their own bag at the beginning of the day with a sticker book and a small lego set to keep. The kids were overjoyed! The bride and groom even thought to pick bags that zipped shut so that even the tiniest LEGO pieces stayed where they belonged.
Because my brother and his wife put so much thought into including our kids, this wedding is one of the *big* events in my kids’ lives so far. Mike and I enjoyed a very relaxed evening (we even got to dance – together!), and the kids feel valued and cared for by an aunt and uncle they don’t get to see very often.
Have any more tips on how to have fun with kids at a wedding? Share them on my Facebook Page, or via email at mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com.