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Reception Ideas

Kid friendly reception ideas

edited January 30 in Reception Ideas

Would like some advice for getting the children occupied during our wedding reception. We have a number of family members from out of town with children and we think we will have about 20 children under the age of 10. We are having a lunch time reception in a restaurant with use of the whole building.  This includes the main floor, which seats 130 people, and a loft area that can seat 30-40 people. We are inviting 160 people, so we estimate having right around 130 guests.

1) Fun ideas to keep them busy? I have seen suggestions for coloring books and portable cameras, but would love more! If we have few enough people to seat them all on the main floor, I was thinking maybe I could turn the loft into a nap time space.

2) Thoughts on a kids area/table in the loft? There will be a couple newborns, who I would obviously seat with their parents, but many of the kids are in the 4-6 year old range. Pros and cons of having kids sit with their parents vs. in a separate area?

3) Any other thoughts or advice is much appreciated!

Re: Kid friendly reception ideas

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Would like some advice for getting the children occupied during our wedding reception. We have a number of family members from out of town and we think we will have about 20 children under the age of 10. We are having a lunch time reception in a restaurant with use of the whole building.  This includes the main floor, which seats 130 people, and a loft area that can seat 30-40 people. We are inviting 160 people, so we estimate having right around 130 guests.

    1) Fun ideas to keep them busy? I have seen suggestions for coloring books and portable cameras, but would love more! If we have few enough people to seat them all on the main floor, I was thinking maybe I could turn the loft into a nap time space.

    2) Thoughts on a kids area/table in the loft? There will be a couple newborns, who I would obviously seat with their parents, but many of the kids are in the 4-6 year old range. Pros and cons of having kids sit with their parents vs. in a separate area?

    3) Any other thoughts or advice is much appreciated!

    Your concerns are thoughtful, but I would leave the issues to the parents.  4-6 year olds still require constant adult supervision.  Crayons and coloring books seem harmless until you get that ONE that starts drawing on the walls rather than the coloring books.  
    Seat the kids with their parents. The parents should bring what the kids need to stay behaved and entertained.  I know one bride went out of her way to provide books, crayons, board games, and cards.  The majority of the kids, sadly or not, played on their "devices", which were brought by their parents. 
    Knottie1439483908InLoveInQueens
  • Definitely seat all the kids with their parents!  I think it's thoughtful of you to have some coloring books or something but agree with PP that Idk how much use they would get.  If you have the space to set up an area in the loft you could maybe set up a little movie station with popcorn and snacks?  Most kids will probably have/bring their own devices, but if it's something you want and you have the space it won't hurt anything to have something set up.
    Knottie1439483908
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I agree with @MobKaz, you need to seat the children with their parents. 4-6 year olds need to be supervised! The only children my daughter had at her wedding were in the WP or children of the WP (about 4 children). She provided them with coloring books and crayons. They were used and appreciated. For as many children as you are expecting, I don't know if it would be worth it. I think the parents will be prepared. Also, many 4-6 year olds don't take naps so turning the space into a nap area would be useless.
    Knottie1439483908
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think 4-6 year olds should be sat with their parents. They're too young to be sat at a table alone, with no adults. 

    Knottie1439483908
  • Seat the 4-6 w/ their parents.

    I'd use middle school age (above 5th grade?) as a cutoff for when kids aren't seated with Mom and Dad.

    With coloring ensure that crayons or markers are washable (only Angelina Jolie wants a wedding dress colored on by kids).  


  • Will some of your guests have to sit in the loft?? If so, that kind of sucks.
    Knottie1439483908
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    eileenrob said:
    If you’re going to make the loft area available for naps, bring baby gates.  Children young enough to nap through a reception are probably also too young to do stairs on their own.  
    My kids (all preschool age) would be thrilled to see coloring books, crayons, stickers, play doh, trains and train tracks, Frozen and Poppy dolls, etc.  All things I’d bring with me as their mom.  If you want to supply some stuff go for it but I imagine their parents will also be prepared.  It’s a very thoughtful idea though! :) 

    4-6-year-olds should be sat with their parents.  My biggest tip I can give as far as seating young guests is to reserve a spot at the table for each person. Even a guest so young that they’re free! (Typically under age 2.)  Now that my kids are a bit older (3.5 yr old twins and a 4.5yo) there will be five place settings at our table, but a few years ago I can’t tell you the nightmare of walking up to a 10-top with eight seats taken with two for H, me, and three baby/toddlers with in car seats or strollers. Even a newborn can hang in their car seat propped up at the table with the restaurant high chair turned upside down.  An infant’s parents may plan on pushing their stroller right up to the table.  A one-yr-Old the parents may bring the kid’s booster seat from home and attach to the chair provided.  A toddler can sit in the venue’s high chair.  So for a family of four that’s two parents, a 20-month-Old and a 2-month-Old, they need four seats at a table.

     (Sorry for such an unsolicited rant!  It’s just happened to me a lot and when there’s a baby or two on my lap the whole time it’s impossible to eat...I’d rather just be invited without my kids if there isn’t a spot for them.  Not saying this was something you were planning on. Just thought I’d share my experience.)
    This is an excellent point and also reminded me of something we did at DD's wedding.  For those who we knew were bringing younger kids, we tried to place them at tables that afforded the most "environmental space", such as toward corners or the wall.  It gave them some extra "moving" space or space for all their "stuff".
    ei34Knottie1439483908charlotte989875
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @MobKaz omg yes! The tables in the corner are the best! :) 
    MobKaz
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