If you come from a large family and many of your siblings already have children, you have a big decision to make concerning your wedding reception. Do you or do you not invite the children to the party? If you do, here are a few pointers for planning and getting ahead of any potential child-related disasters.
Messy Fingers and Faces
Despite any table manners your nieces and nephews may have, they are still kids. They will still be messy and need constant reminders to not wipe their hands and faces on everything but a napkin. To get ahead of this problem you can:
- buy cheap cotton, plastic or paper tablecloths for the tables where the kids will sit.
- invest in wedding chair rentals that are easy to wipe clean. Plastic or metal chairs work best. Leave the fancy chair pads on the adult chairs only.
- use disposable place settings just for the children, but allow the adults to eat off the good china with silverware.
- stock the children's tables with individually wrapped wet-naps to clean up the kids after they finish eating.
Your nieces and nephews will turn around in their chairs and put their hands on the backrests, drop food in their laps onto the seats of the chairs and put their hands all over the tables. This is normal kid behavior even when there is not a special occasion happening. Renting wipe-off plastic or metal tables and chairs just for them will be less expensive for you because it will not cost you extra to have them professionally cleaned before you return them.
Occupying the Children until the Dancing Starts
Most kids love to dance, so all you have to do is get them through the dinner and cake portions of your reception. If you are the fun aunt or uncle, you already have some games planned or toys that are safe to play with until the food is served. Put the simple games and toys on the tables for the children to enjoy. It is also not impolite to ask your siblings to bring things to occupy the children, since you want everyone to enjoy the celebration. (The children might get bored with all of the adults talking.)
Be Sure to Ask the Reception Hall for Help Cleaning up
Although most reception hall staff are already expected to clean up after the party, any extra items you bring in, e.g., wedding chair rentals and rented tables, will also need to be cleaned. The staff usually only take care of the tables and chairs that are their own, but you can ask the manager for extra help wiping down the rentals from places like Party People. That way you can erase any messes left by the kids but not erase the fun everyone had at your reception.