The discussion of whether to invite children to a wedding frequently becomes a passionate one. In one corner, you have people who think kids add a certain magic to the atmosphere -- those precious moments otherwise only available at a card store. In the other corner, you have those who feel as though kids only present opportunities for distractions -- the screaming, the messing, the ruining. We love children and believe there's plenty of room in the middle for children at a wedding and other events - without having to exclude your guests with children, and causing hurt feelings.
Placing a "children's venue" between the primary reception venue and the ceremony location allows parents to drop their children off on the way to the ceremony. After there ceremony, they are able to peek in to see their children while on their way to the reception. Parents are able to enjoy the reception knowing their children spending time in an oversized kid's dream.
Keeping children of varying ages occupied can be a challenge, but fortunately the tipis give you plenty of square footage for a variety of activities. Arts and crafts stores have great bead sets, drawing kits. Age appropriate board games, simple outside games (weather allowing), and even movies - just point a projector at the tipi wall - no movie screen needed. And one additional thought - get every boy the same gift and another gift for every girl, if not the same gift for all. You don't want anyone to be fighting over that lone box of scented markers.
Making a decision to trust someone with your children is not always easy. Tish Davis, President of Elegant Event Sitters says "Providing child care services will increase attendance and give your guests the opportunity to enjoy your event without worry! Yet your child's safety should be your number one priority". So when possible, you should consider childcare professionals who are licensed, trained and insured.
Be thoughtful when choosing the food you want to serve to the little ones. This isn't the time to be a culinary snob -- most kids will eat only fun foods like little pizzas, chicken fingers, or mini hot dogs, so spare yourself the heartache and extra dollars. For dessert, a make-your-own-sundae bar or a cookie dough bar is always a hit. And since little people have small appetites, you should ask your catering manager for a lower per-person price.
You don't need to spend a fortune on fancy chiavari chairs, candelabras and settees for the little ones. Simple and functional is a smart starting place for a children's venue. Table space for activities and eating; soft covered areas on the ground for movie watching. And if there a lot of little ones, a changing table might be appropriate. Yet if the budget allows, turn the tipi into a children's wonderland.
Children will be children, and that's what makes them so precious... and at times, so challenging. A tipi children's venue at your event will give you peace of mind, and make all of your guests feel included... without sacrificing the ability to enjoy your ceremony, dinner, dancing, and all the activities of your day.