Family-Friendly Activities for Your Wedding Reception

Your wedding day is a huge milestone, and beyond celebrating your love for one another, it’s often the first time that both families are merged together. If you’re planning a kid-friendly wedding and want something that everyone can enjoy rather than sticking everyone on the dance floor, offering outside-the-box reception activities is a no-brainer.

wedding corn hole
Photo: Mandee Johnson Photography

"The most important thing to remember about any type of activity you are going to have going on during the evening is to make sure that it is safe. This should be something that kids can do with minimal supervision, as you wouldn’t want them doing anything with the possibility of burning your tent down! Also, gauge the age of children who may be attending and try to be mindful that your activities are inclusive for them all." —Colton Simmons, Colton Simmons Photography

"Create lively, memorable moments by incorporating family-friendly activities into your wedding day. Family-centered activities allow for bonding opportunities, which make for amazing candid pictures. For our family and friends who have children, it makes the day inclusive for guests of all ages. Below are some ways to create family-friendly activities for your guests." —Dee Lee, Dee Lee Designs

"This is an amazing way to make the kids feel special. We like to put this in a space where it may or may not be fully private but where the kids feel like they have a safe space to hang out with the activities they love and some kid-sized furniture but also know they are welcome to join the adult party for dancing and dessert. When we've done this in the past, we've staffed it with camp counselors and provided games, activities, and special party favors for the kids. It also allows you to set up a special kids' buffet with chicken tenders, fries, burgers, etc." —Juls Sharpley, Juls Sharpley Events

"Flower crown stations have become incredibly popular at receptions over the past few years. Even more remarkably, they tend to attract individuals of all ages. Event hosts can visit their favorite flower shop prior to the wedding (or even ask their florist to help) and select stems of individual flowers that they'd like included in the station. Then, they'd simply need to procure some tools such as floral wire, floral tape, scissors, buckets, and some flower foam to create the full station. When this station is added to the cocktail hour, it creates a fantastic opportunity for guests to help pass the time between the ceremony and reception. As a bonus, couples can make this even more fun by having a competition at some point later in the night where guests can vote for their favorite flower crown design!" —Deliece Knights-Barnett, Dhalia Events LLC

"If you've got outdoor space, use it! Consider lawn games as a great option for reception activities. Cornhole is super popular, horseshoes are always fun, and ring toss can keep guests entertained and active. It's a laid-back, fun way to keep guests entertained who might not hit the dance floor. Alternatively, set up a s'mores station and a bonfire if your venue allows for it." —Megan Breukelman, Megan & Kenneth

"For couples who would love to provide their guests with their own painting, a live guest illustration experience is the perfect addition. An artist invites guests to hang out for 5 - 8 minutes as they quickly illustrate them and create a perfect take-home favor. Adults and children alike love watching and then seeing themselves illustrated!" —Brittany Branson, By Brittany Branson

"You can place activity boxes at various tables with different themes where guests and their young ones can engage with other guests in a group activity where each table creates something tied to a message you offer, representing the two of you to all of your loved ones. The result of all the finished products can be displayed on a “finished” table and captured as a keepsake for the two of you, and guests can take their creations home with them as a parting gift." —Sarah Chianese, Mangia and Enjoy!

"Gather some paints and brushes and offer the guests the opportunity to paint a section of a canvas to create a beautiful collective art piece. Couples can talk to their stationer to see if they are able to design an image that can be transferred to a large canvas. Guests can grab a brush and their favorite paint color and go to town creating art at the reception. Coming together to create something really beautiful will create an heirloom piece that the couple will surely treasure." —Kelley Nudo, Momental Designs

Getting creative with your reception activities ensures that no one feels left out, and it’s a great way to keep your families engaged and present.

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.