Wedding Reception Forum

Entertaining Children at the Reception

I've read a lot on here about ideas for little ones at the reception, but they're mostly tailored for school-aged kids. We're having a fairly formal reception, and the children who are likely to be there are all between the ages of 10 and 13. For the most part, they're fairly mature for their age, so I don't want to put out crayons and coloring books. But I realize they're still children at a wedding and even if I sit all of them at their own table, they're likely to get bored. Bored children can get mischievous... 

Anyone have any suggestions for what we can offer pre-teens for the point where they want to check out of the adult festivities? Our venue doesn't have a room where we can set up a movie and we're not near enough to a hotel to hire a sitter for the same purpose. We're also getting married in March, so it'll be dark and likely too cold to set up outdoor games.  Any ideas are appreciated!

Re: Entertaining Children at the Reception

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    For kids this age you don't have to provide separate entertainment.  For that matter, you're not required to do it for kids under 10 either, although often it is appreciated.


    doeydoAddieCake
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Ditto PPs. It's not your responsibility to provide entertainment for kids.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • Honestly, I don't really think you need to "entertain" them. They are at an event and should learn that that is the entertainment.
    Even if it's "boring" to them, that's life. People don't need to be entertained 24/7 with some extra activity besides the one they are going to.
    I went to plenty of weddings as a kid and sure it was not as "fun" as a birthday party to me, but I got through just fine, and honestly I was just excited about getting to dress up and eat cake and see all the pretty dresses.

    Blue_Bird
  • @GreenPenguins, you are absolutely correct, pre-teen and early teens are likely to get mischievous
    when bored.  They do not intend to wreak havoc, it's just that their "good ideas" seldom coincide with ours.  A PP suggested that they have access to their personal electronics, which is a perfect idea.  I also agree with having them at their own table, that way, when they break out the personal video arcade, they won't disturb anybody else.  Also, this way they can either "get with the party" or have a good alternative.  Young teens certainly know how to behave for the ceremony and dinner, but the extended reception may be a bit much.  Hats off to you for being such a thoughtful bride.
  • I would come up with a "job" for them of some kind.  We're going to have a mix of kids at our reception, and we plan on putting the older kids in charge of supervising the little ones (our venue has an attached arcade, so they get to supervise in there).  We also plan on having disposable cameras on the kid's seats with a "scavenger hunt" of what pictures we want them to take with the cameras.

    You could also maybe put pre-teens in charge of things like making sure people are dancing, or manning any extra things you might have, like a photo booth or chocolate fountain.
  • Seat them with their parents and don't give them a "job." Like others said, you're not responsible for entertaining them. They'll probably be fine with eating and dancing, or running around with each other, and their parents can take care of them.
    doeydo
  • I don't think using the older kids as free babysitters is appropriate at all.
    Not all kids like watching other kids and some kids just want to hang out with their parents. I was one of those kinds of children and being forced to have a "job" or watch other kids would have been awful. I would much rather have just been able to sit at the table and eat my food. If you need someone to watch the kids, hire a babysitter. That's not what your children guests are for.
    Also, kids do not need jobs. If you have it as an optional thing to do, great. But as a forced activity? Not so much.
    doeydoSTARMOON44
  • I would come up with a "job" for them of some kind.  We're going to have a mix of kids at our reception, and we plan on putting the older kids in charge of supervising the little ones (our venue has an attached arcade, so they get to supervise in there).  We also plan on having disposable cameras on the kid's seats with a "scavenger hunt" of what pictures we want them to take with the cameras.

    You could also maybe put pre-teens in charge of things like making sure people are dancing, or manning any extra things you might have, like a photo booth or chocolate fountain.
    Please rethink a lot of this. You should not have the older kids watch the younger kids.  If that's what all the parents work out, fine (maybe they're all cousins), but if you really need someone to supervise, hire someone to be there.  I also think your suggestions for jobs in the second paragraph could lead to trouble (wouldn't it be annoying to have kids interrupting your conversation to get you to dance?  do you think anything good could come of asking kids to stand next to a chocolate fountain for an extended period of time?).  

    To to the OP, I do not think you need to provide anything for these kids. As for seating, do they know each other?  If not, I would sit them with their parents, not at a kids table.  I remember being that age and having to sit with a group of kids I didn't know at bar/bat mitzvahs that my parents also attended, and I would always go visit with my parents at their table as much as I could.

    STARMOON44
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited December 2013
    I would come up with a "job" for them of some kind.  We're going to have a mix of kids at our reception, and we plan on putting the older kids in charge of supervising the little ones (our venue has an attached arcade, so they get to supervise in there).  We also plan on having disposable cameras on the kid's seats with a "scavenger hunt" of what pictures we want them to take with the cameras.

    You could also maybe put pre-teens in charge of things like making sure people are dancing, or manning any extra things you might have, like a photo booth or chocolate fountain.
    Older kids hate being asked to be free babysitters or for that matter do any other "job" for free.  And they are not always mature enough to be trusted to do "jobs" properly.  Nor should guests of any age be asked to do "jobs."  Nor would any guest appreciate someone of any age, but especially a teenager, "making sure" that they are dancing.
    doeydoSTARMOON44
  • I would come up with a "job" for them of some kind. Oh heck no, the last thing you need that day is a pre-teen "in charge" of something at your wedding. If you can't trust them to behave themselves then how on earth can you trust them with a responsibility? We're going to have a mix of kids at our reception, and we plan on putting the older kids in charge of supervising the little ones (our venue has an attached arcade, so they get to supervise in there).  So when these older kids are not paying attention and a little one gets hurt or something goes wrong, it's going to be their fault instead of the child's parents? We also plan on having disposable cameras on the kid's seats with a "scavenger hunt" of what pictures we want them to take with the cameras.  You can give them a scavenger hunt, or just realize that the will probably take whatever type of photos they want

    You could also maybe put pre-teens in charge of things like making sure people are dancing Terrible idea - if a pre-teen I didn't know came up to me and pestered me to dance at a wedding, I would find out who their parents are and have a chat with them, or manning any extra things you might have, like a photo booth or chocolate fountain. Yeah, again with the jobs, this is not  a good idea for pre-teens, do you have children this age or experience with children this age? 
    I just cannot imagine entrusting responsibilities on the day of my weddings, which I will have spent a great deal of time and money on, to pre-teens who are not otherwise invested in the day whatsoever. This is not an important day to them, therefore they will most likely not treat their "jobs" with a great deal of importance. If their parents don't think they can handle going to a wedding and sitting through a reception, then they won't bring them.  If they get there and are "bored', then their parents can deal with it because it is their child. 
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