The thought of having to sit still through an elegant wedding reception makes most children recoil in horror — especially when the only music is smooth jazz and the most appealing thing on the menu is a bowl of bouillabaisse.
As soon as the little ones realize that the nearest chicken finger and coloring book are miles away, a meltdown might well commence. (And mommies and daddies will probably melt down, too.) If you're having a pack of kids at your wedding, it's important to provide entertainment for them. That way, parents and other guests can enjoy the reception. Here are some ways to keep the tykes busy.
KID-FRIENDLY FOODS: Set up a bar with foods you know most kids fancy: macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, french fries, maybe a few pizzas. You could even set the bar low so they can fill their plates without interrupting parents for seconds, thirds, fourths.
For dessert, have a cookie decorating table with an assortment of cookies, frostings and sprinkles. When kids are craving dessert, your banana walnut wedding cake is probably not their ideal treat. Plus, cookie decorating is an activity that will keep them entertained.
ACTIVITY STATIONS: Put out three or more tables with an activity assigned to each one — a coloring table, a Play-Doh or Lego table, a puzzle or game board table. Kids can navigate the tables, and when one activity gets boring, there's another one to stave off the tears.
PLAY OUTSIDE: If your reception is outside, get a few buckets of sidewalk chalk so kids can draw and play hopscotch. If you're ambitious, you could buy a sandbox ($207.79 on sale, amazon.com) and some beach toys. Between the cookies, the Play-Doh and the sandbox, the kids will never want to leave.
HIRE AN ENTERTAINER: One of your best options would be to hire a professional magician, clown or princess if the budget allows.
Life of the Party, an entertainment company in Tampa, will charm your young guests for $150 for the first hour, $100 for each additional hour.
SEND 'EM AWAY: If your venue has a separate room where a DVD can be played, put down some blankets and pillows and pop in a movie. Kids are picky, so make sure you bring choices they'll all like. Disney is foolproof. Pixar movies like Monsters Inc., Toy Story or Finding Nemo will certainly please.
Sabrina Rocco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8862.