Taming the Beasts (Or Keeping the Kids Happy at the Wedding)

I can understand why some couples don’t want to include children on their guest lists. Kids are unpredictable. They scream, run, cry, talk when they shouldn’t, and might dig their little nose-picking fingers into the icing on your wedding cake while it’s on display. (I seriously saw this happen at a wedding a few years ago.)

Potential disasters aside, kids will be invited to our wedding. I love kids! Children are just as much a part of the family as anyone else and I couldn’t imagine having a celebration without them. I’m really only drawing the line with children of co-workers. Pretty much everyone else who has small children, regardless of whether they are family or friends, will have the option of bringing their kids along.

When I was a kid, I loved going to weddings. I have a lot of older cousins who were getting married when I was little (I even landed a flower girl gig for one of them) and there was always something magical about seeing the bride and groom all dressed up, smiling and celebrating.

But no matter how magical parts of the wedding can be, a lot of it can be pretty boring for the youngsters. Ceremonies are the worst.

You get there early and you have to sit quietly while someone is playing boring music without words. Then, there is the sermon that accompanies the ceremony. After that, it’s on to the reception and there is a long wait for dinner to start, followed by toasts, more waiting, and a few traditional slow dances before you’re allowed to get up and shake off some of your pent up energy during the twist, chicken dance, and ‘Shout’. And how could I forget to mention that throughout all of this, kids are wearing their Sunday best, so normal playing and horsing around is frowned upon.

Because I know there’s a good chance that any and all of the 20 plus kids invited to our wedding will experience boredom at some point on the wedding day, I’m going to put together goody bags for them containing various puzzles, coloring sheets, small toys and other fun things.

I really like the idea of making an activity and coloring book and have had some luck with finding a few good templates online. I’m hoping to put one together soon for our younger guests, but with a few more difficult word searches and puzzles for those in the 8 -14 age range. To accompany the books, I picked up a couple dozen 24-count boxes of Crayola Crayons for $0.24 each during Walmart’s back-to-school sale.

I also purchased packages of cute, self-inking animal stamps at Michael’s (clearance priced at $0.50 for 6 stamps), a variety of temporary tattoos, some inexpensive plastic puzzle games and this weird foam-like substance that is sort of like Play-Doh, but without the smell and the mess.

I’ll probably pick up a few more small items and then package them in little paper sacks for each child. I’m hoping that the kids and parents will appreciate the gesture. I’m also hoping it will result in the ceremony and dinner portions of the wedding day being temper tantrum-free. After dinner is over and the fun begins, I’m all for every man, woman, and child getting jiggy with it on the dance floor.


Wedding reception air guitar courtesy of my nephew, Trevor (March 2006)

Are you inviting kids to your ceremony and reception? How are you keeping the children entertained on your wedding day?


Mrs. Deviled Egg

Wedding Date:
May 2015
So... How Does That Work?

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  1. deviledegg Member
    deviledegg 1250 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:39 pm

    @88Mwifey: Bubbles! I have those, too, and I forgot all about them. Bubbles are a great idea!
    @Crash: I don’t think you’re horrible. It’s your day and who you invite is up to you.
    @West Coast bride: I thought about a babysitter, but I don’t think I have that in the budget. I really think having one would be awesome, but spending $20 or $30 on activities for the kids made more sense for us.
    @Auggie:I think my co-workers understand that weddings are expensive and guest lists have limits. Most were surprised that we were even planning on inviting co-workers. We had to draw the line somewhere and that’s where we did it. I see your point and I understand how co-workers could be upset, but what it comes down to is that my family and friends are the most important to us and they get priority treatment.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Sarah, Guest @ 2:44 pm

    We planned bubbles, crayons, healthy-ish snacks, and ring pops. The flaw? There were four kids, two way too young for that, and two way too old. The older ones got a YA book and a kite with their “kid” packs, and the younger kids…I just let the parents deal with it. Thus, I have pictures of one of the moms torturing a Teddy Graham in a centerpiece candle.

    Our whole thing was outdoors, though, so when the little ones needed to get away from it all, there was plenty of room to run around.

    At a very similar wedding about a year before ours, the kid packs all had matchbox cars. Good for kids, good for dads, fun for all.

  3. latte Member
    latte 651 posts, Busy bee @ 3:41 pm

    We’re inviting the kiddies too! I don’t know how many of them will actually show up though…the partay will be going on till midnight. I also wish we could hire a babysitter but have no room in the budget for that. :( And good for you for thinking ahead and getting crayons and stamps while they’re on sale!

  4. Member
    olelucky 59 posts, Worker bee @ 4:10 pm

    This has been a really hard issue for us, too. Thank you for posting. I feel like kids are part of families and weddings are about families, so we are inviting kids, but I don’t want to invite the kids of my coworkers because I am their teacher too! How awkward would that be? In a side note, one of my friends told me that during her wedding, one 8-yr old boy drew mustaches and scribbles all over their matted engagement photo that people were supposed to sign. That kind of made me shudder a little. I hope that doesn’t happen to anyone else!

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Krystyn, Guest @ 6:02 pm

    I had an activity table for kids at my wedding in December. I bought the placemats that you can color and the mini coloring books/crayons from oriental trading as well as the “color your own” sippy cups. We also had some random trinkets and toys. I thought that this would keep the kids occupied. Wouldn’t you know that not one single child out of the 15 or so there played with any of it??? They had too much fun dancing! I did have several parents thank us for the gesture, so at least my efforts were appreciated. :)

  6. Member
    bellenga 7536 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 6:54 pm

    I’m making DIY coloring books and will also have on children’s tables paper tablecloths with colored paper “runners” for them to color on and of course bubbles, stickers, and like the above poster Krystyn, there are thousands of fun little things from http://www.orientaltrading.com that can go in a kids’ pack. Once we choose a venue we can get specific with the kids’ packs too.

    Btw, I’m a mom and my guy is a dad too. We’re used to kids, and our affair will be very child-friendly. Plus his brother will be a dad for the first time in May and there will be an ity bitty baby attending our wedding too!

    It’s fun with kids around. Just remember to be prepared! You can have kid friendly snacks too at a shorter sized food table…perfect for mac n cheese, chicken fingers, mini cakes, and such!

  7. Member
    chaikac 127 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:43 pm

    I’m doing the exact same thing–only inviting children of close friends and family. I’m inviting co-workers but not their kids. It would get out of control otherwise. I also bought ‘back to school’ crayons when they were dirt cheap!
    I’m getting so excited for my wedding!

  8. Member
    amester26 256 posts, Helper bee @ 8:30 am

    We’re having coloring and activity books like a lot of other couples, but we’re also a little wierd…. we’re thinking of putting games out at the reception for EVERYONE to use, not just the kids!

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Jerseys, Guest @ 11:13 am

    Wasn’t there another entry on here about the same thing?

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