Planning an elegant event that adults and kids can both enjoy is a daunting task for even the most seasoned event planners.
“Wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations, and retirement parties can sometimes be dull for younger guests. Any parent knows that when kids get bored, they can sometimes become loud or mischievous. Keeping your younger guests entertained without detracting from the elegance of the event can be a difficult balancing act” said one event planner in Irvine.
We talked to a few different event planners who we have worked with at our Orange County banquet hall, and they gave us their tips for planning a classy event that’s also enjoyable for children.
This is number one on the list, because it’s the most effective strategy. With websites like www.urbansitter.com or www.sittercity.com, you can find a nannie that will attend your party and wrangle your youths so the adults won’t have to worry about it. This is particularly advisable for events that will feature speeches, ceremonies, or quiet/tender moments.
“A few years back I organized a retirement party. The guest of honor was giving his speech, and there was a really touching moment where he was thanking his coworkers -- when a preschooler broke free from her parents and started running down the aisles squealing with glee. The mother chased after her and scooped her up, but the gleeful squealing quickly turned into blood curdling cries. It ruined the moment. Although this wasn’t my fault, I always tell this story and suggest an onsite nannie to my clients who are inviting children as guests at an adult event.”
This one is as simple as it is effective. Also sometimes referred to as the “DVD Babysitter”, this tried and true method has been keeping kids entertained while adults socialize for years.
Lyon Air Museum’s event space in Orange County is unique in that we have a movie theater on the premises! Our thirty-three seat cinema is the perfect centralized location for kids to be kids while the adults mingle. Of course, not all event venues will have this perk included as part of their facility rental package. However, in recent years, the cost to buy/rent video projectors and projector screens has dropped significantly. For example, you can find a video projector and screen bundle for as low as $107.99 on Amazon. A projector setup will help preserve the elegance of your event, while also capturing the children’s attention.
The most important thing to remember is to choose movies that appeal to a wide age range. The age gap between the children at your event could be large, so it’s essential to choose movies that will appeal to toddlers as well as preteens. Movies like Finding Nemo, The Lego Movie, The Muppets, Harry Potter, and The Sandlot are all films that appeal to a wide age range, while also remaining kid-friendly with a rating of PG.
Building Brick Station
Most parents are well aware of how expensive Legos can be. But with some creative thinking, you can have an affordable “building brick” table at your event that will keep the kiddos occupied.
You can purchase peel-and-stick baseplates, that easily turn any table into a building brick surface, as well as 1,000 building bricks to go along with it. The total combined cost for both items is around $60, which is well worth it when you consider the peace and quiet it will afford you. Offering a prize for the most creative design is a surefire way to make sure that the kids are invested in their creations.