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Old 01-30-2007, 07:54 PM   #1
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Question Kids "area" at wedding reception

My BIL is getting married in October and I started thinking about my wedding and reception and how the children were running all over the place and how annoyed I was. So I started to think about what would help curb that with his reception (especially since the majority of the children there will be my own). My children are, by society's standards, well behaved but in a situation like that even they get a little crazy.

ANYHOO... Has anyone ever had a kids activity table or area at a reception? Did it work? If so what did you have at the table to keep their attention without much adult supervision? I am looking for something that is NOT messy and something that I can leave to dance a couple of dances or tend to anything else that may need my attention without having to worry if they are destroying anything.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:56 PM   #2
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Oh, I also wanted to know. What do I do to train a 4 year old to be a ring bearer? He happens to be my most um, active child. We still have a few months (9) to prepair and I want him READY!
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:13 PM   #3
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OM gosh, I have never been to a wedding that had that, but what a wonderful idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama26cs
My BIL is getting married in October and I started thinking about my wedding and reception and how the children were running all over the place and how annoyed I was. So I started to think about what would help curb that with his reception (especially since the majority of the children there will be my own). My children are, by society's standards, well behaved but in a situation like that even they get a little crazy.

ANYHOO... Has anyone ever had a kids activity table or area at a reception? Did it work? If so what did you have at the table to keep their attention without much adult supervision? I am looking for something that is NOT messy and something that I can leave to dance a couple of dances or tend to anything else that may need my attention without having to worry if they are destroying anything.
TIA,
Cindy
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:19 PM   #4
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I haven't been to any that had a child area, but I've heard of some that have a seperate room for kids. They have some teenagers or something watching over the kids. They put food from the reception in there, some movies to watch, toys, activities etc. I think it's a great idea. But you'd have to have an extra room to spare...
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:21 PM   #5
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I had childrens' tables for my in-laws 40th wedding anniversary - a wonderful idea. We had about 200 guests and I also wanted the children well entertained. Also, check with the reception location, our hall had a children's menu which helped very much. The hall had a couple of request when setting up all children's tables - the obvious: keep the tables monitored; and that we provide plastic t/c to go over the cloth ones so that the cloth t/c not be marked w/crayons or markers (get these at the dollar store).

I purchased plain gift bags and decorated them using the party theme/colors. In the bags, I put: a "kit" to make a foam door hanger and photo frame - used the adhesive backed ones so that glue was not an issue(bought from Michaels), non messy candy, a deck of mini cards, age appropriate coloring/work sheets (check out www.crayola.com), a box of crayons and a pencil.

As I said, it was a hit. The kids loved having their own tables and the loot kept them busy. The parents were able to enjoy the evening as well.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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Old 01-30-2007, 08:28 PM   #6
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Training a ring bearer? Probably not going to happen. I think a bribe is called for. If you get down the aisle without putting your fingers in any body parts, making any noise, on two feet, with nothing coming out of any body parts, you get a prize. Then again, that might give him ideas!! He'll be cute.

I thinking hiring a teen to watch the little devils is an excellent idea, or just let them run wild. I'm the former type, but it really would be a nice gesture to offer.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:53 PM   #7
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I did! A good friend of ours was married in Sedona in Arizona. She had about 15 little kids there...ranging in age from 2 (my child) to 6ish. She put together goodie bags for each child. We got them when we signed the book at the reception. They were awesome. A coloring book, crayons, silly putty, kid friendly snacks like individual packs of goldfish, crackers, DS's bag had a hot wheel car, you know that kind of stuff. It was AWESOME! I took things out one at a time and he was totally occupied the entire evening. He just sat in the booster at the table and played with all his new toys. I'm sure it cost her, but it was really thoughtful and cut down on all the insanity kids can bring to something like that.
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:11 PM   #8
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These are great ideas! Keep em coming. I have a list going
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:40 PM   #9
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My friend hired a clown/magician to entertain the children at her wedding. It was an outdoor wedding so they went to a different part of the lawn, but their parents could see them while still enjoying visiting with the other adult guests. HTH!
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:30 AM   #10
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What a fantastic idea!!!
We've missed many family weddings because children were not invited and we had to travel. I couldn't leave my kids home, and what was I suppossed to do with them when we got there.
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:51 AM   #11
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I was at a wedding where they did this and it was wonderful! Most of the things they had at the table have already been mentioned but if you can do it, definately do! Depending on the age of the kids, they will start to interact a little more and even have more fun because they hung out with kids their own age.
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:03 AM   #12
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This wasn't at a wedding, and most of the kids were not little, but here's my story. At the Bat Mitzvah party for my DH's sister, all of the adults had a full service dinner while all of the kids had a kid-friendly buffet with little pizza slices, chicken fingers, curly fries, etc. There was also lots of fruit, jumbo marshmallows & such for a chocolate fountain. I wouldn't recommend the fountain for little kids, but I think having the seperate food area that was just for them was great. The kids don't want to eat fancy salads & steak. They want their favorite foods, and if you can get it in fun sizes or shapes, all the better for keeping them interested in eating.

I think goody bags for the kids is a great idea. I mean, most adults walk away from a wedding reception with a keepsake, so why not a child? Having paper tablecloths that they can color on is another great idea. And perhaps getting a cupcake for each child instead of regular wedding cake for them.
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:47 AM   #13
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Ring bearer idea we used was to put two quarters on the floor at the end of the isle where he was suposed to stand when he got there. If he got there with no problems he got to keep the quarters. We also let the little kids sit down when their part of the ceremony was over.

As far as the reception goes it is my opinion that kids should feel included at the reception. The purpose is not to be an 'Adult' party. That is what the B parties are for. It is the celebration of the joining of two families of which children should be an important part. That being said I also agree that it can be taxing on parents and guests when kids are running crazy through everything. If there was a seperate entertainment for part of the evening where the kids could be kids in a seperate well supervised area then great! But personally one of my favorite things at receptions is watching the little kids dance with their parents and each other. I think those moments are perfect treasures in themselves and I would hate for any kid to miss that.
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:30 AM   #14
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I'm trying to count up who was born yet at our wedding....I think we had about 11 kids. Ages 3mo - 12yo. We didn't have anything separate. Our reception was different, though. It was in a restaraunt, using all the the adjoining rooms (a bar/lounge, the lobby, and 3 adjacent dining areas). The cake was in the lobby area. There wasn't a specific dance floor, but my neices were dancing to the music where ever they were. So anyway, the families tended to group themselves into different areas, and there were a couple to a few kids in each room. I just don't remember it being a problem.

And it was afternoon, so we may have had kids needing naps, but we had no meltdowns, and no one needed bedtime.
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:42 AM   #15
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Our extended family was already full of kids when we got married and they were pretty much the only children there as none of my friends had any yet and any of my parents friends' children were already adults. Anyway, I agree with a previous poster...I wanted the kids included in the fun and my favorite pictures in my wedding album are those candid shots of my nieces and nephews dancing and having a great time (or looking bored while they were waiting for pre-wedding stuff to happen). BTW, one niece and nephew were flower girl and ring bearer in my wedding and both were 4yrs old. Once the wedding party got up the aisle, the kids were allowed to sit, rather than stand, to help keep them still. Just don't expect that part to be perfect. At most weddings I've been to, the funny parts are when the kids do something unexpected (like roll on the floor instead of holding the pillow).
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Novell
Our extended family was already full of kids when we got married and they were pretty much the only children there as none of my friends had any yet and any of my parents friends' children were already adults. Anyway, I agree with a previous poster...I wanted the kids included in the fun and my favorite pictures in my wedding album are those candid shots of my nieces and nephews dancing and having a great time (or looking bored while they were waiting for pre-wedding stuff to happen). BTW, one niece and nephew were flower girl and ring bearer in my wedding and both were 4yrs old. Once the wedding party got up the aisle, the kids were allowed to sit, rather than stand, to help keep them still. Just don't expect that part to be perfect. At most weddings I've been to, the funny parts are when the kids do something unexpected (like roll on the floor instead of holding the pillow).
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:08 AM   #17
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When I was getting married the reception hall asked how many children would be in attendance. We took a guess at 10 because we were unprepared for the question and didn't know why they were asking. To my surprise while tehy were setting up the buffet they brought out a choice of chicken nuggets or hamburgers for the kids. Since we had overestimated the number, even my cousins who were in highschool got hamburgers It was nice because the kids ate first, and the parents didn't have to juggle two plates through the buffet line, and the dinner was set up very late so it was good to have the kids fed. We also invited my in-laws parents so after dinner most of my nieces and nephews went home with their other grandparents and my sibs and their spouses could stay kid free.
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:14 AM   #18
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The kids area is a great idea and really does work. However, it's important to make the kids feel like a part of the group. If kids are not wanted at the reception then make it an adult only reception.

That being said we have kids tables at our (family) receptions. Kids eat with family, then as the reception gets on they get to go to the activities table. They also get to dance if they want to but they are not allowed to reek havoc. Really it all boils down to supervision.

My dh's family doesn't do anything like this. And i've seen a cake toppled over and parents just not watching their kids. I've also chased a child down stairs and out the door to a very busy city, all in the same nite..floor length gown and 6 in' heels to boot. Broke one of my heels completely off but caught the kid. And the parents never even noticed him missing. IMO people like that should get a sitter. my dh just shook his head in shame when he found out. (he was on the dance floor with our boys doing the chicken dance when it happened.) Now we don't go to family events such as this for his side, too much stress.

Someone else mentioned Goodie bags, kids love goodie bags. The other thing that keeps them occupied is good old balloon animals and magic. My son does this for the little ones now that he is older and they love it.

Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:17 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Novell
Once the wedding party got up the aisle, the kids were allowed to sit, rather than stand, to help keep them still. Just don't expect that part to be perfect. At most weddings I've been to, the funny parts are when the kids do something unexpected (like roll on the floor instead of holding the pillow).
i totally agree with this.
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:34 AM   #20
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DS was ring bearer for our friends when at 3 ( worked out fine for the rehearsal then the day of the wedding he was with hubby and they let him sleep then woke him up , he realized mommy wasnt there yet and daddy is impatient, neithless to say he cried the whole way down the aisle) again ring bearer this past october( 2006) 4 at the time ( turning 5 that Dec 2006) did the rehearsal and he was fine, the day of the wedding, just reminded him to follow the flower girl and he did much better. Just have him do a few practice runs, and dont put the real rings on the pillow... just in case. Maybe even put a wedding video on and show him " how important his job is going to be"

as for a kids area never been to a wedding that did this....
but as for not messy projects the foam door knob hangers ( with adhesive backs rather than glue ) are fun, or you get get a tub of foamies and some foam sheets that they can be adheared to, crayola color wonder markers are awesome ( only mark on the color wonder paper) etch a sketch or magna doodles are awesome, maybe a couple of board games like cooties or ants in the pants , candy land, cards
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:41 AM   #21
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We have been surprised at the "adults only" wedding invitations we have received. If children are something that will bother you, I would exclude them. Some people enjoy an event for adults only and an excuse to get a babysitter.
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:49 AM   #22
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I didn't read through all the posts, but I was at a wedding this summer that had a kids table.

The one thing that I think didn't work was people just ransacked it grabbing up the good stuff for their kids...some didn't get any.

It was just dollar store coloring books, crayons and games and stuff. I just think a treat bag idea would have worked better or a desinated place to use the stuff.

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Old 01-31-2007, 03:39 PM   #23
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Both my boys have been ring bearers twice, with the youngest age being 3 1/2. (that was the one that made me the most nervous!)


I don't really know how you "train" them. One thing that helped (if the ring bearer & flower girl don't know each other), is that the bride invited me and my son along with flower girl & her mom to McDonald's playland one day and the children had a chance to meet & play with each other first. That helps to break the ground if they're only meeting each other for the first time at rehearsal.

We just talked about the wedding several times before and what was expected. They knew this was something they had to do - and do a good job at, as they wanted to make - insert bride & grooms name here - very proud of them. I was very pleased with the job they did.

Each of the weddings the brides promised them a present at the reception so this was a big incentive. I think if there hadn't been a present coming from the bride, I would have had one on hand for incentive.

My worry wasn't so much how they'd do walking down the aisle (as was previously posted, this can be some of the most amusing things about the wedding). My fear was more in how well the pictures would go. You have wedding pictures FOREVER, and you want your kids to do their best for these keepsakes. My children are very used to mom constantly having her camera out & having to "cheese", so that helped. If your son isn't used to picture taking, try to work on that before the wedding.

The only real amusing thing that happened in our rearbearer experiences was when the 3 1/2 year old was in that particular wedding. It was held in a beautiful old chapel with a long center aisle. After the ceremony & he had walked back the aisle with the flower girl, I suddenly found he'd walked back front again and was standing beside me in the 5th row (where I was waiting to be dismissed by the ushers) and announced in a very loud voice, "Mommy - That Was LONG!" We'd worked on what to do for the wedding, but somehow failed to follow through on what to expected afterwards!
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:49 PM   #24
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My boys were ring bearers in my (now estranged) BIL's wedding. They were 4 and 2 at the time. They weren't given any "prizes" by BIL or future SIL, not that we expected them to. They did try to give them big bags of candy BEFORE the wedding (duh, NO!) Me and DH promised them the world though. They were wonderful ... and cute! We were SO proud of them! There were not very many children at the reception ... in fact not many children at the wedding. We did not bring our boys to the reception and here's why (just food for thought) ...

Wedding started at 2ish ... we were told to have the boys at the church at 11 for photos and such. So we were there at 11 (church was about 45 minutes from our house) so we had left the house around 9:45AM. BIL and Bride did not arrive until 12:30 (how nice after they demanded everybody else be there at 11) so we were stuck there trying to entertain two active little boys while keeping them as neat and tidy as possible in their little tuxedos since we were told to arrive fully dressed. The boys ate at the church (we brought plenty of food for them). The wedding was a full mass so it lasted about an hour. Then there were pictures after the wedding. (It was a TOTAL Goat Rodeo) The reception began at 6PM, yes 3 hours AFTER the end of the ceremony. DH told BIL prior to the wedding day that the boys would not be going to the reception as it would be too long of a day for them. BIL asked again at the wedding if the boys could come to the reception and my DH said, no way - they will melt down, it won't be good or fun for anybody and it's not fair to ask that of them. They were 2 and 4!!! They went home with my parents (who had been invited to the wedding too). I mean, they had been up since about 8AM ... no nap ... no schedule ... nothing "normal", just a crazy day, they were perfect for the wedding ceremony and pretty darn good the rest of the time. We couldn't ask any more of them after 5 hours of being in tuxedos and being told where to stand, when to sit, when to smile, etc... And they were nearing the ends of their ropes too. BIL and Bride were livid and said we had ruined their wedding because the boys weren't coming to the reception. We were shocked but stood our ground. They don't have children and literally had NO clue. Moral to this story ... if kids are to be IN the wedding and people really want them at the reception (and happy) make sure the schedule for the day is more conducive. Not saying it has to be totally arranged around kids but just try to minimize their "on" time, KWIM?

I think it is SO cool you are thinking ahead and trying to accommodate the children and make it a fun time for them. Your BIL will appreciate your thoughtfulness ... that said, I think it is a unique situation and children are apt to be very excited - a wedding is like a birthday party on steroids for kids! I don't think there is anything you could do (short of bringing a baby sitter along) to avoid having adult supervision during the reception. Maybe that's a good idea, see if BIL would agree to allowing a couple of sitters to come and entertain/watch the kiddos. Hmmm, sounds like a new industry "Wedding Sitters", now THAT's an idea!!
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:59 PM   #25
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Geez, could my post have BEEN any longer? Sorry - clearly I have issues surrounding that particular day ... sorry ...
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:34 PM   #26
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My SIL did and it was great. She also put together activity bags for each of the kids based on their likes and dislikes (colouring books, candy, etc). There was enough there to keep all the kids happy through the dinner and speeches and they had a ball dancing.
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