Kids + Weddings don’t have to = Stress

Here’s the deal

Your wedding isn’t about the kids, but the kids can certainly ruin your wedding.  As a mom, I can’t emphasize this enough:  PARENTS WILL LOVE YOU if you give their kids something to do.   

I speak from experience.  As a mom of three wildish boys, an invitation to a family wedding is exciting, but so daunting.  The prospect of having to make three little Tasmanian Devils, trapped in suits and ties, behave for an entire night is… ugh.  Just so much. 

My Nightmare

After a long ceremony and an hour of pictures, we found ourselves at a formal dinner in an art gallery.  The kids were tired, cranky, and restless.  We were struggling.  And then half-way through dinner the bride announced it was time for speeches.  

I really thought I might die.

The agony of those speeches!  They went on forever.  The kids were melting down.  They were 3, 6, and 7 and had been expected to sit quietly at the table for over an hour.  

And remember, the venue was an art gallery [Ack!].  We were terrified the boys would escape us and break something.  

They desperately needed something to do.  So with the words, “You broke it, you bought it” blazing in our minds like a neon sign, my husband and I took them outside and spent an hour walking them around in the cold, until we finally threw in the towel and went home.

Your Nightmare

Consider this, too: not all parents care if their kids run wild.  Some just assume you don’t mind a little chaos — because their kids are so completely adorable.  

I went to a wedding where I watched a gaggle of children diving under tables and between people’s legs, playing hide and seek!  Their parents ignored them while they enjoyed their dinner and conversation.  It went on all night long.  One kid nearly knocked over the buffet.

6 Suggestions, and One Thing To Avoid

1.  Designate a space for them.  The kids table should be located where it won’t interfere with the celebration, but where parents can still keep an eye on their little ones.

2.  Give them something to do.  Busy kids are happy kids!  A coloring table runner works like a kid magnet.  I used one at my son’s 7th birthday party, at a play place, and not one kid left the table while we dished up their lunch and then cake and ice cream.  KID MAGNET.

These are a few of my designs (available at

3.  Consider hiring a sitter or two to help out.  This is as much a gift to you as it is to your guests.  Like I said before, you can’t always count on parents to watch their own kids.

4.  Fill the table with kid-friendly snacks.  When I was a kid, I was asked to serve at a wedding.  I spent the whole night pilfering eclairs and butter mints.  My point is, kids aren’t known for self control.  If you want them to take it easy on the buffet and wedding cake, give them something they’ll enjoy.  And don’t forget about food allergies.  Skip the nuts, and make sure parents know what their kids are eating.

Probably should skip these too:

Bwa ha ha!  Yes, I made this mess.  These were my cookies.  I gave up.

5.  Include a Few Books and Maybe a Puzzle.  I don’t mean a 1000 piece puzzle that could possibly end up all over the venue.  Small puzzle, large pieces.  Something easy to clean up.

6.  Space permitting, they might enjoy their own little dance floor.  A lot of kids love dancing, and they’re so much fun to watch!  While most kid dancers don’t mind mixing it up with the grownups, their own little dance floor could be a crowd pleaser.

Maybe don’t do balloons.  Just a thought, but in my experience balloons always end with at least one kid in tears.  Best to avoid things that pop.

Best wishes to you!

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