Reception

  • Kids & Weddings

    Unsure whether or not you are going to invite children to your wedding ceremony or reception? Keeping kids entertained at an event for adults can sometimes be a challenge - here are some things to consider along with some activities and solutions that you can implement to ensure that the children in attendance have just as good of a time as the rest of your guests.

    Things to consider:
    • Does your budget and venue make inviting everyone and their children a possibility?
    • Can your caterer provide kid-friendly menu choices?
    • Be sure to visit with the children in attendance as well as your other guests. If you are having a kids’ room, spend a few minutes there with them. This will show them that they are still part of your reception.
    • Infants will probably spend their time with their parents. Toddlers to about 10 or 12 years old would be more inclined to participate in kids’ activities.
     
    Activities/Solutions:
    Kids Buffet- Be sure to ask your caterer if they can include kid-friendly food options such as chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, and fruit juice. Having kid-friendly food available throughout the night can help keep the kids occupied and help avoid crankiness due to hunger. Avoid chocolate--that can create a mess if it gets dropped or melts somewhere other than in your mouth.
    Kids Activity Table- Designate a table to be just for kids and have things for them to do, including coloring, simple brain teasers, and other fun activities. You can also make a bag of activities for each child (this can be their wedding favor) to take home. This table can help keep them entertained during the toasts and formal dances. One fun activity is to ask the kids to draw pictures of the wedding couple – they can be lots of fun to look at and make a great addition to a scrapbook.
    Kids Room- When you book the reception space, see if there is a separate room that you can use where you can set up games and activities for the children that will be attending. If not, you can designate a corner of the room to be the kid’s area. A separate area or room will probably require someone designated to oversee the activities. A good rule of thumb is if you are going to have a kids’ room it is a good idea to plan on having one sitter for each five toddlers and one sitter for each ten older children. If you have some older children that are babysitting age they might be prime candidates.

    Some ideas of things you may want to include:

    • Kid’s books for story time, coloring supplies (if you supply markers, only use washable markers and don’t use any paints), stuffed animals, toys, a tea party, construction paper and other supplies for arts and crafts(such as pipe cleaners, glue, and rhinestones), a TV and DVD player and board games.
    • Karaoke is another possibility - we have a self-contained rental system that goes for $110 per night including the TV monitor and has a lot of popular kid’s sing-a-long songs.
    • http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/ has resources for creating your own puzzles and brain teasers.
    Hire Help- If you know someone that is great with kids or a few high school students that have babysitting experience, you may want to consider hiring them to watch and play with the children. Be sure to talk with them about how much they charge, and make sure that you don’t designate an already invited guest to “work” at your event (although the teenage child of an invited guest might leap at the chance to make a few extra bucks). Include this information along with the wedding invitations. Provide your guests with information about the sitters and let them know that they can contact you with any concerns.
    Unexpected Guests- If you plan on not having children at your wedding or reception but they are brought along anyway, be sure you are prepared. Bring along coloring books, paper and crayons just in case, and consider having a table that can be used as a kids’ table in your reception hall. Consider having a kids only dance portion at your reception. Parents and Grandparents will love watching their kids jump and dance around to a song or two. Have a couple adults or a few members of the wedding party dance with the kids. This will help them get into the music.
    DisposableCameras– As the Master of Ceremonies, we will ask the children to help make your wedding day even more memorable by capturing all the little moments the professional photographer might miss. Depending on your interest level, we can also designate them as “paparazzi” and have them rush in to take pictures when you enter the reception (we would tell them it would be a surprise) and could also call out paparazzi moments later in the reception to encourage them to participate and help document things.
    Interactive Songs–Examples of great interactive songs for everyone include the Chicken Dance, the Hokey Pokey, the Twist, YMCA, Shout, Grease, Stayin' Alive (from Saturday Night Fever), the Cha-Cha Slide, a Conga line, and other easy follow-along songs. We don't normally do a lot of dance teaching at weddings, however if you expect a lot of kids it is certainly something we can prepare. We can also make up some simple dance moves to go with songs from popular Disney movies and other songs kids would know if you let us know ahead of time.
    Sing-a-long Songs - We have a 2-CD set with several dozen kids sing-a-long songs (like you learn in elementary music). Another option is doing karaoke in conjunction with the dance or doing a kids-only karaoke in another area, such as a kids’ room. The sing-a-long might work better for kids because then you won't have to worry about fighting over microphones, dropping them on the floor, etc.
    Non-Dance Games - We have done a game that is a cross between musical chairs and a scavenger hunt at events in the past to great success. This game works well for both children and adults. Everyone who wants to participate brings a chair out to the dance floor and then we have several items they go out into the room to get. Each time a chair is removed, so the last person back is out of the game. For kids, we come up with a positive spin--like making them cheerleaders or helping those still in the game--to have a less negative connotation.
    Outdoor Activities–If your wedding is during the summer, the sun will set late enough for there to be plenty of time for some outside activities. If it is OK with the venue you can buy a bucket of sidewalk chalk and turn the kids loose outside. Or, if you have a babysitter or other supervisor games like red light/green light, duck duck goose, mother may I, etc. are lots of fun. If you are planning on outside games for the kids, advising parents to bring play clothes to change into after the ceremony is over will be a huge help.
    Piñata - Kids love piñatas. A piñata can be a great addition to the kids’ room or a break from the dancing in the main area. If you are plannig to have a piñata, make sure that there is a place to hang it at your venue.
    Prop Hats / Inflatables- We have all sorts of inflatable instruments (guitar, trumpet, sax, keyboard, bongo, etc.) that are great for kids to play along with the music. The hat side of the equation is primarily YMCA hats (sailor, construction, cowboy, Indian headdress, police) however we also have some other neon and polka-dot selections.  
  • Maid of Honor and Best Man Guide

    As the maid of honor or best man, you have been selected by the bride and groom to have a special role at their wedding. This role is important during both the ceremony and the reception. There are many things you can do to ensure that their day is extraordinary, and here are a few tips to help you along the way:

      Reception Entrance
    Generally, your master of ceremonies will introduce the bridal party as you enter the reception. Parents and grandparents are normally introduced from their seats, then ushers are announced as they enter, followed by the bridal party, and finally the bride and groom. The bridal party normally enters with the best man and maid/matron of honor right before the bride and groom enter. The master of ceremonies will make sure everyone is in the right order before announcing you, however it is helpful for you to have some understanding of how this will work and keep the rest of the bridal party organized in one place so we don’t have to chase anyone down.

      Bridal Party Dance
    Help the bride and groom with song suggestions if they need it and make sure the rest of the bridal party is informed about when the bridal party dance will occur. When the time for the dance is approaching, keep an eye out for those involved and make sure they are present.

      Money Dance
    The concept of the money or dollar dance is that guests pay for the privilege of dancing with the bride and groom. This dance gives the bride and groom a way to spend a few moments with each guest and thank them for coming. The money is often used for the honeymoon or just to give them a little extra cash to start their lives together.
    • Collect money from participating guests on behalf of the bride or groom. Usually the maid of honor collects money for the bride and the best man collects money for the groom.
    • Keep the line moving. If given the opportunity, some guests will dance with the bride or groom for a whole song—which isn’t practical if there are 10 to 20 other people in line. To keep the money dance from dragging on, we recommend sending a guest to cut in after 20 to 30 seconds.
     
    Other Things to Keep in Mind
    • You and the rest of the wedding party help set the mood for the event and other guests will look to you as an example. Your presence on the dance floor will encourage other guests to come out and dance as well.
    • Don’t drink to excess. Especially before your toast, alcohol can do more than just loosen you up—it can lead you to make a not-so-positive impression of yourself or the rest of the wedding party. Have fun, but know your limits.

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