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Posted by Cayla Capri
Child’s Play
Childs play cover full
Keeping kids happy of heart, full of belly and reasonably quiet is no easy feat, as any parent will breathlessly tell you. And while commandeering the dance floor might feel like childish tomfoolery to us grownups, our wining and dining is stuff of doldrums to those cherub-faced cuties in sneakers and mary-janes.
A sure-fire way to keep parents relaxed and offspring entertained is by setting up a play room, a virtual sanctuary for the antsy in essence. If a separate space isn’t in the budget or venue layout, never fear, there are oodles of distracting devices you can station right in the reception hall, without compromising its elegance or relative peace.
the boys and girls in the back room
Childs play 1
If your wedding’s blessed with few tots, or just a gaggle of gangly tweens, a game room’s probably not imperative. But if the number of kids (eight and under) starts to reach the teens itself, it’s best you set something up. Only hire those you trust to supervise, like teenage nieces and nephews or a sitter recommended by a procreative attendee. This will set those parents with separation anxiety at ease, more so than if you’d hired a service of strangers.
As for the preemies, leaving them with unqualified teenyboppers, even those well-meaning and responsible ones, isn’t a totally wholesome plan. A daycare attendant, certified sitter or willing mother on the other hand, is a much safer bet.
pimp my niche
Childs play 2
Make the most out of whatever space you manage to scrounge up. Erect a projection screen for animated flicks or larger-than-life video games, and a crafts table decked out with clay, coloring books, flowers, feathers, pipe-cleaners and beads (be wary of little tykes with a penchant for sticking shiny things in their mouths). One thrifty proposal for the crafty at heart is to create a homespun coloring book detailing your love story. Make a Mad Libs version if you won’t take innocent, impersonal ridicule to heart. Budget-willing, install a cotton candy machine or moon bounce, and hire entertainers of the goofy persuasion, like magicians, caricaturists or clowns.
Ask the catering company whether they offer food for tots, and if they’d be willing to set up a more modest buffet of chicken fingers, French fries, fresh fruits and sliced veggies. Assemble a smoothie bar or serve virgin bubbly, i.e. soda pop, in plastic champagne glasses for some pragmatically festive flair. How anyone could grimace at a three-tiered dark chocolate mousse cake is beyond our reasoning as decadence-hoarding adults, but a decorate-your-own-cupcake station, complete with jimmies, gummy bears, jelly beans and a rainbow of frostings, will be much more their speed.
no elbow room
Childs play 3
If a segregated play area just isn’t in the cards, set up a whippersnapper’s only table, keeping their indifference to crystal centerpieces and foie gras in mind. Balloons and baskets brimming with whimsically colored candies and party-favors are a perfectly awesome replacement for the poinsettia focal pieces found at the “mature” counters. Ditch the fine linens and drape a paper sheet over their table, providing crayons or markers to suit their expressive tendencies. As a bonus, you’ll be left with a banner of artistic scribblings: a sweet and sentimental keepsake. At the end of the night, have the kids try their hand at a piñata, and toss your bouquet into a crowd of angelic, hopeful little dolls. This will take uncomfortable, single gal pals off the spot, and make the pint-sized feel not quite so quarantined.