It is great to have something for the kids to do to keep them busy, especially during cocktail hour and after they are done with dinner. Consider a corner of the room with games, puzzles, coloring books, etc. Maybe buy some Cape Cod themed activities - shells to paint, sand art, etc. to include them on your destination theme.
Hire someone for activities while the adults eat
If you can, it is so nice for the parents to be able to sit and enjoy their dinner, so hiring a couple of activities “counselors” to take the kids on a scavenger hunt, build sand castles, or play beach games can be such a nice touch. Most larger resorts on the Cape, like Chatham Bars Inn, have activities departments during the in-season and would be more than willing to put together a package for you.
If you would prefer that the kids leave the reception right after dinner, then it is great to offer the parents a list of certified babysitters in the area. This way the kids can still be involved, but can leave to go to bed after having dinner. Cape Cod weddings can check out www.summersitters.comor www.careforkidsinc.com.
All reception locations and caterers offer kids meals at a lower cost to you. Options are usually chicken fingers and fries, mac and cheese or pizza. Be sure to let your venue know ahead of time how many kids and what you need for them, as most likely the youngsters will not want the filet and fish, and I am sure you don’t really want to pay $100+ a head for it!
If there is a space at your venue you can dedicate for children, it would be awesome to bring in some babysitters and rent a screen and projector to watch movies! What fun for the kids and what a relaxing time for their parents!
Buckets O’ Fun
If the kids are going to stay at the reception most of the evening it is best to provide some fun things for kids to do throughout the evening. Some ideas are coloring books, crayons, disposable cameras, candy, mad libs, books, beach toys (if you are on the beach), etc. This will make the kids feel special and the parents relieved that their kids have something to keep them entertained, even if just for 30 minutes!
If you are really having a hard time making the decision about having kids, talk to the parents of those children and get their feedback. Some parents would love an evening out without their children, while others - depending on how far they have to travel - may not want to hire a stranger to babysit. There are lots of factors to consider, but whatever way you choose to go, be sure to provide the parents with information on either sitters or the plans to entertain them during the reception.