Fun Ways to Entertain Kids at Your Wedding

Do you remember going to a wedding as a kid and being bored out of your mind?! They can be pretty lame for kids, especially if couples don't take some time to plan out a few things to keep them entertained. If you're choosing not to have kids at your wedding, that's fine! (This is an increasingly popular trend, and if you're unsure of how to politely exclude children from your wedding, here are a few tips.) However, if you're allowing kids to come to your ceremony and reception, put a little bit of effort into planning a few fun things to make sure they have a good time. You don't have to go overboard; a few simple things for them to do while their parents party with you and your new spouse are all you need to make sure they have some fun, too!

A Kids' Table
Set up a special table just for kids, with plenty of crayons, butcher paper instead of a tablecloth and some other fun things to keep them entertained during dinner. You could include a wedding-themed activity sheet, which doubles as a place mat. If you've seen the super popular "I do, I do" activity booklet on Pinterest, here's where you can download it! Wedding mad libs are a good idea, too... reading what your little guests wrote will be really funny for you and your new spouse after the party!

Disposable Cameras
It's no secret that kids love taking photos. They'll be endlessly amused by disposable cameras, and bonus points if you turn it into a scavenger hunt! Give them a list of things to photograph (some ideas: the bride and groom dancing/kissing/making their grand exit, the venue, someone playing a game, a specific person in the bridal party, etc.), and they're sure to have a great time. 

A Special Menu
Most kids aren't into lamb chops or anything that includes Brussels sprouts. They'll greatly appreciate it if you provide them with kid-friendly dinner options! Pizza, macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, sliders, and a fun dessert option, like build-your-own sundaes are all great ideas! 

A Kids-Only Area
Kids will feel extra special if you give them their own designated area to hang out in! This could be a tent or teepee, or just an area of your reception venue that's separate from the party. Turn on a movie for them, or set up some video game consoles... they'll love hanging out with the other kids at your reception!

  Liz Chrisman Photography , from  Sasha + Nathan 's wedding at The Barn

Liz Chrisman Photography, from Sasha + Nathan's wedding at The Barn

Games on the Lawn
We're all about lawn games at The Barn, and we know first-hand that kids love them, too. Cornhole, ring toss, or board games are all a great idea. Plus, we have the fire pit on our lawn, which is the perfect place to toast a marshmallow and make a good ol' s'more. 

A Candy Buffet
Candy buffets are awesome for adults... can you imagine how mindblowingly fun one would be for little ones?! They'd have so much fun picking out candies and filling up their treat bag, and they would definitely talk about it for a long, long time. Pretty sure that's the best favor idea ever. :)

  Salt & Sky Studios , from  Nikki + Scott 's wedding at The Barn

Salt & Sky Studios, from Nikki + Scott's wedding at The Barn

A Photo Booth
Again, this is something that adults enjoy just as much as kids. ;) Provide plenty of props and funny things to wear, and the kids at your reception will have the best time ever posing and acting silly in front of the camera!

Provide Childcare
This is more for the parents than the kids. If you plan to have several little ones at your wedding, hire a babysitter or two. They'll keep the kids entertained, and their parents will feel more relaxed knowing their kids are in good hands!

  Meredith Melody Photography , from  Ashley + Ivan 's wedding at The Barn

Meredith Melody Photography, from Ashley + Ivan's wedding at The Barn

Let Them Join The Party
You definitely don't have to keep kids secluded in their own little area for the entire night. Kids love getting crazy on the dance floor just as much as the rest of us! Play a few kid-friendly songs ("Let It Go," anyone?) and schedule a kids-only dance... they'll be really into it. Bonus points if you provide glow sticks for them to jam out with! And be sure to give them a kid-friendly drink, like sparkling cider, for the toast!

If you decide to pick a few of these ideas to go with at your own wedding, your little guests will remember it as the best wedding ever!

Ways To Give Back On Your Wedding Day

There aren't many better ways to begin your lives together as a married couple than by doing something charitable. If you get a little bit creative, there are tons of ways to use your wedding day to give back to your favorite charities and to the less fortunate! We've been so blessed to work with many brides and grooms who are as kind as they are beautiful, and many of them have wanted to use their big days to do something philanthropic! Here are a few of our favorite ways to use your wedding day to give back:

  Sterling Imageworks Photography , from Logan + Dusty's wedding

Sterling Imageworks Photography, from Logan + Dusty's wedding

Donate your flowers to a nursing home. Everyone loves getting flowers, and nursing home residents and staff could always use something to make their day brighter. This is actually something our team will do for you if you're a Barn Bride! 

Create a charitable registry. If your home is already well-stocked, ask your guests to make a donation to one of your favorite charities instead of purchasing a toaster or another household item that you don't really need. Check out The Good Beginning. Another option: create a universal registry on Amazon and add a link to your favorite charity's donation page. 

Make a donation to your favorite charity in place of favors, or choose favors that are purposeful - like flower seeds or tiny trees that are ready to be planted. As cute as they may be, favors can be kind of pointless. Your guests probably aren't going to keep a shot glass with your names on it forever. Making a donation in their names to your favorite charity will make a difference that will last far longer than a bag of personalized M&Ms! 

Do something charitable for your bachelor/bachelorette party. Okay, this one might be a stretch! Most of us wouldn't be willing to give up one final night of fun with our friends as a single person, so consider working a charitable event into the party! Volunteer at an animal shelter or a soup kitchen with your best buds before your wild night out... it'll be surprisingly fun, and you'll be less likely to regret it all in the morning! ;) 

Choose sustainable details. Recycled paper for your invitations. Locally grown, in-season food for your reception. In-season flowers. There are endless ways to go "green" with your wedding invitations, food, flowers and other details! 

Donate what's left over. Your food, flowers, centerpieces, even your dress can all be donated to the less fortunate after your big day! 

8 Things Not To Forget On Your Wedding Day

Preparing for your wedding day can be a little bit cray cray. Luckily, if you're a Barn Bride, all of the details of your big day will be totally taken care of, so getting yourself ready for your wedding is all you've got to do! (Can you even imagine having to do the set-up, tear-down, floral designing, etc. on top of all of that?! I can't either... That's why an all-inclusive wedding venue is the only way to go, in my opinion!) Even if your venue is taking care of all the details, packing up for your wedding day can be stressful, especially if you're an out-of-town bride or you're leaving for your honeymoon immediately after your reception. Obviously you know you need to bring your dress, but what else?! We've put together a handy guide for commonly forgotten wedding day necessities that you absolutely should not forget to bring to your venue on the day of your wedding!

(Some of these photos have nothing to do with what I'm talking about... They're just eye candy!) 

1. An emergency kit. Bobby pins, a bleach pen, Tylenol, tampons, lint roller, hair spray, hair brush, any products you might need to touch up your makeup, tweezers, breath mints or gum, tissues, fashion tape, dental floss, sewing kit, scissors, bandaids, phone charger, and a corkscrew, just in case you need to open up a bottle of something to get rid of those pre-ceremony jitters. ;) I could go on and on with this list... If you think you might need it, bring it, just to be sure! The Barn actually provides our couples and bridal parties with a HUGE, amazing emergency kit in our bridal suite. Just one of the many perks of being a Barn Bride! We take care of our couples, y'all! 

2. Your accessories and the right lingerie. Remember to pack your bridal shoes, jewelry (including your wedding bands!), veil, garter and perfume. Most of these things will only be visible in photos, but things like shoes, garters and perfume always make for some of the prettiest detail shots! Also be sure to bring the correct lingerie to wear under your dress and what you will need to wear under your getaway outfit. Nothing would be more mortifying than having to wear the wrong bra or bright blue undies under your wedding dress! Yikes! 

3. Something old, new, borrowed and blue. Y'all, I totally forgot these items at my own wedding... oops. They may not be super important, but it's just a fun tradition, and your items will also make for fun photos! 

4. Marriage license. You're not official without it! ;) Also, you and your spouse, officiant and witnesses should really sign it on the day of your wedding... There are ten million things to take care of after your wedding day, and you don't want to miss the date by which you have to return your signed license. So get it taken care of on your wedding day! 

5. Something to wear when you leave your reception. It's dang near impossible to fit a big, fluffy wedding dress into a car. Plus, leaving your venue in a cute little white dress always makes for adorable photos! You'll be a lot more comfortable, and you'll also get to have an outfit change, which is sorta every bride's secret dream, right?! Also, if your dress is more on the complicated side, it might be a little difficult for your groom to get it off when you get to your destination... That's not ideal for your wedding night, if you get what I'm saying! If your dress is crazy, you miiiiight want to change before you go! 

6. Any details you're responsible for. Your guestbook, favors, unity ceremony, any photos used in your reception... Your wedding won't be the same without them! 

7. Everything you'll need for your honeymoon. Luggage, passports, plane tickets... If you're leaving for your honeymoon straight from your venue, double and TRIPLE check that you've got everything you'll need when you arrive at the airport and, ultimately, at your destination! 

8. Relax! This is perhaps the most important thing of all. Don't forget to relax! Enjoy your big day! Don't be stressed, and remember that as long as you're married to your love at the end of the day, everything went perfectly. :)

Etiquette for Wedding Guests

Let's talk about something that's kind of boring, yet extremely important: etiquette! We get a lot of questions about invitation etiquette and bar etiquette, but there's another etiquette topic that needs to be addressed. If you're attending an upcoming wedding and you need to brush up on your wedding guest etiquette, this post is for you! I understand that wedding etiquette is kind of tricky, especially because every couple, venue and wedding is different. Whether the wedding you attend ends up being totally relaxed or really fancy, here are a few good rules of thumb to follow! 

  Stephanie Parsley Photography , from  Amber + Matt 's wedding at  The Barn . Notice that there are no cameras or phones being held up in this photo... Thumbs up to that! 

Stephanie Parsley Photography, from Amber + Matt's wedding at The Barn. Notice that there are no cameras or phones being held up in this photo... Thumbs up to that! 

Be respectful with your phone and/or camera. Unless the bride and groom are extremely laid-back, they probably don't want every single detail from their wedding posted on social media until their professional photographer posts them. Even if they don't specify that they're having an unplugged ceremony (which means that no cameras or phones are allowed during the ceremony or certain parts of the reception, like the first dance or cake cutting), you should stay out of the way if you're going to take photos. No one wants to see someone standing in the middle of the aisle taking photos during their reception, or a bunch of phones blocking the photographer's perfect shot during their first dance. Trust me. (Some couples create hashtags for their big day, which means that you're free to post photos on Facebook, Instagram or other social media and tag it with their hashtag. But it's always better to leave some things to the imagination! Don't post 500 photos from your friend or family member's big day... Leave that up to the photographer. ;)

  Shingleur Photography , from  Cassie + Kyle 's wedding at The Barn. Kids having fun and behaving... this is what we like to see! ;)

Shingleur Photography, from Cassie + Kyle's wedding at The Barn. Kids having fun and behaving... this is what we like to see! ;)

Watch your kids! At The Barn, our team doesn't enforce this rule to be mean or uptight. I mean, have you seen this venue and our weddings?! The Barn and everything around it is beautiful, and every wedding and reception of ours is detailed and absolutely gorgeous. Please keep an eye on your kids... We want them to have a great time, too, but we also don't want a damper put on a couple's big day because something pretty got knocked over or destroyed! Sorry not sorry, y'all. 

  Martin's Photography , from  Monica + Luis 's wedding at The Barn

Martin's Photography, from Monica + Luis's wedding at The Barn

Don't show up three hours early. This has seriously been a problem lately. Once again, we are not trying to be rude. But our team is still making every detail perfect three hours before a wedding begins, and the bride probably doesn't want you seeing her in her wedding dress before the ceremony! Our couples often schedule first looks for a couple of hours before the ceremony, and that's a very private time for them... Having an audience sort of ruins the moment! Not to mention, you're probably going to be bored, because our team is going to be too busy to make sure you're enjoying yourself! 

  Melissa McCrotty Photography , from  Bayley + Lucas 's wedding at The Barn

Melissa McCrotty Photography, from Bayley + Lucas's wedding at The Barn

Please, please, please RSVP. Here's how most weddings work: you've got to get your final headcount to your venue and caterer at least a couple of weeks ahead of time to ensure that there are enough tables (complete with decor, of course), seating at the ceremony and reception, food and cocktails. Also, if you say you're coming, show up unless you absolutely can't! And if you say you're not coming, stick to that response unless you make sure the bride and groom are okay with it. Another thing: unless the bride and groom have specifically stated on your invitation that you can bring a plus one or your children, just don't! (If you're a bride or groom and you're not sure how to deal with guests who don't RSVP, don't worry, because I already wrote a post about that!) 

  Danielle Davis Art/Photography , from  Emily + Blake 's wedding at The Barn

Danielle Davis Art/Photography, from Emily + Blake's wedding at The Barn

And just a few more common sense, self-explanatory rules that any good wedding guest should follow: Don't get obnoxiously drunk. Turn your phone on silent. Dress according to the invitationDon't talk to the bride and groom forever... they've got lots of other people to visit with! Never outshine the bride and groom. Stay out of the photographer's way... we know you want photos, but that's what the photographer is there for! Show up on time. Take your favor... the bride and groom have put time and effort into them. Don't wear white. Have a good time! 

Follow these rules, and you'll be the best wedding guest ever. :)

Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue + Tuesday Tunes

"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe..."

You want to know something kind of embarrassing? When I was planning my own wedding, I totally forgot to do the whole "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" thing. Who does that?! When you're packing for your wedding, that little tradition can be the last thing on your mind... but it's too fun and too cute to leave it out! I ended up saying my dress was my "something new," and on the day of my wedding, I thought to borrow a vintage blue ring from one of my bridesmaids for my somethings old, borrowed and blue. And a sixpence?! I definitely did not have one of those. It worked out just fine, but I really wish I had put more thought into those details! 

By the way, have you ever heard the meaning behind this tradition? Each item is supposed to bring luck to the bride, and many brides even wore a sixpence (a type of British money) in her shoe for extra luck! Here is what each item represents, according to the The Knot: "Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love and fidelity; and a sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity." 

If you're looking for some ideas - whether classic or unique - for this tradition, here are some of my favorites!

Something Old

Classic: A family heirloom, like your grandmother's pearls, your mother's earrings, or a brooch that's been passed down through the generations

Unique: A vintage dress, veil or other accessories, or a photo of a loved one who's passed away in a locket on your bouquet

Something New

Classic: A gorgeous bridal gown or fancy accessories

Unique: A once-in-a-lifetime pair of shoes, or something monogrammed to show off your new initials

Something Borrowed

Classic: A beautiful piece of jewelry from someone close to you, like your aunt's super expensive bracelet that you've always wanted to wear, or a friend or family member's prettiest wedding details, like a veil or a fur stole

Unique: A handkerchief or piece of lace from your grandmother's wedding dress to wrap around your bouquet, or a fabulous clutch, which you could even rent from a website like Rent The Runway

Something Blue

Classic: Blue lingerie, blue shoes or a blue garter

Unique: A blue piece of clothing from someone special sewn into your dress, or if you're feeling extra bold, ask your maid of honor or flower girl to dye their hair blue (this has seriously happened... and it's pretty awesome!)

What would your picks be? Or if you're already married, what did you carry/wear for your somethings old, new, borrowed and blue?