"Adult-only" receptions are not common, but it may be something you are considering, especially if you're having fine dinnerware at your reception or having your reception outside, possibly by a pool. An "adult-only" reception may eliminate the stress of keeping an eye on so many children, and may allow tired, over-worked parents the chance to have a much needed night out. But, there is a classy, yet "kid-friendly" way to host an "adult-only" reception.
1.) Be sure to announce the fact that you will be having an "adult-only" reception. You can announce it in your invitation or by including the information on your reception R.S.V.P cards. Announcing it, will allow guests with children adequate time to arrange for childcare. But not all parents will have this option, especially if they are traveling a long distance to attend, and if you are still planning on having children in your wedding. You need to provide a place on the R.S.V.P for people to include whether or not they will be bringing children and how many. The fact that children will still probably attend is why it's important to include the next few tips when planning your "kid-friendly, adult-only" reception.
2.) You could consider including a reception invitation just for the kids! This is a great idea to get the kids excited about having a night away from their parents. You could mention that there will be fun, games, and lots of good kid-approved food. You could even include a R.S.V.P card just for the kids to be mailed with their parents R.S.V.P card. This is a great way to get kids excited and looking forward to your wedding.
3.) Provide a space that is "kid-friendly". If you are having your reception at a hotel, book a suite for the evening just for the children. If you are having your receptions anywhere else such as a dinner hall, restaurant, or another reception venue, it is still wise to book a room, either a suite or conference room, at a nearby hotel, unless there is a room available at the reception venue.
4.) Hire a few sitters. One probably won't cut it, especially if you aren't sure how many children will need this service. The best thing to do is to hire two or three just in case. When hiring sitters, try not to pick extremely young teenage girls and be sure to get a few references from friends with kids. That way you know you are hiring girls who have babysitting experience and who your friends trust. Guests with children will find it easier to relax and have fun if they can rest assured that their children are being well cared for. You should also plan on paying the sitters very well. You will probably be recruiting them for several hours and leaving them in charge of a bunch of kids, so be sure to make it worth their while.
5.) Have a "kid-friendly" menu planned. Whether you order pizza or just have your caterer prepare a special "kid-friendly" menu to be served to the children once they have arrived at their "kid-friendly" area. Be sure to have cake available to the children as well, even if its not actual wedding cake.
6.) Provide several activities for the kids. You should consider having several board games, a couple of boxes of toys, a TV with DVD player available with some "kid-friendly" movies, and even a video game system if you have one available. You could consider having your friends with children pitch in and share some of the activities they have at home. The key is to make sure your sitters have a variety of activities to do with the children, so that the children do not get bored.
7.) Set a time. It is important that the parents know a time when they need to have their children picked up. If the sitters are aware that it might be a late night, you could set the time for midnight or 12:30 AM. Either way, no matter what time your reception begins, give the parents a few hours to have a good time and then make sure they know a pcik-up time.
8.) If the reception will be going late, then you could consider having the parents bring their children's pajamas and tooth brushes, so that your sitters can help them get ready for bed, and that way tired parents won't have to mess with it.
9.) You could consider providing the same service at the rehearsal dinner and book the same sitters. That way the kids are already familiar with the sitters, and some of parents have the opportunity to meet the sitters ahead of time.
These are all fabulous ways to make your "adult-only" reception "kid-friendly" without eliminating guests or offending parents with children. By providing for the children of your friends, you are not only saying that you are serious about your reception being "adults-only", but that you also want your friends to have a good time and that you are trying to make it as hassle-free as possible for them. To be honest, the kids will probably have more fun in a place just for them than they would have had at your reception anyway.
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