Kids Eating Their Dinner During Cocktail Hour?

posted 2 years ago in Food
Post # 16
6999 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Nope, I wouldn’t do it. Then again this is exactly why I feel like kids don’t belong at weddings (and I’m currently pregnant, and I still feel this way). If she feels like her kid can’t make it until dinner time she needs to plan accordingly and bring some snacks for them OR she needs to leave them at home (or decline and stay home with them). What really pisses me off about situations like this is that it’s just one more way people feel like the world needs to cater to their children. In ANY other situation I can promise you mom would have snacks for her kids. I don’t know any parent that leaves the house for an extended period of time that does not have snacks or something ot eat for their kid “just in case” they’re in a situation of having a hungry/cranky kid. 

I think this would majorly throw off catering, as cocktail hour is a time when people are up and mingling not sitting at a specific table. It’s not catering’s job to run around finding all the children during cocktail hour to serve them dinner. Now if you were having the kid’s food brought out as soon as guests were moved into the reception to be seated I could see that being ok, but not cocktail hour.


Post # 17
4481 posts
Honey bee

I don’t know of a single parent who travels without snacks.  She can feed them a snack before the ceremony and they can eat apps like everyone else.  My cousin has kids the exact same age and while they can pack down the food in surprising amounts, they still aren’t going to eat a whole fruit platter (or a whole anything).  They will live.  Sometimes parents have to…parent.  preparing for their child’s needs during situations not in the normal schedule is part of parenting.

Post # 18
3607 posts
Sugar bee

A bit rude of her to make the request, but I will say, my BIL’s wedding ended up being delayed a while and my two year old got HANGRY. While it was my responsibility to make sure my kiddo was fed, I was in a jam being out of town and not expecting the wedding to be delayed. The catering staff was so wonderful and actually made a little table in the kitchen for my son to sit and eat his meal while everyone else was mingling. It honestly helped everyone that he was happy and fed. If it doesn’t put your caterer out too much or cause some kind of logistical nightmare, I would try and accomodate the request, but don’t feel bad if it doesn’t work out. She knows the timing ahead of time…she can make sure to bring in food or get a babysitter.

Post # 19
2496 posts
Buzzing bee

Since children of ages 2 and 4 should be home in bed with a competent baby sitter I don’t think you should be bothered with any special arrangements for hers.

Post # 20
2821 posts
Sugar bee

If there aren’t too many kids and it’s possible I don’t see why not.  Kids under 4 generally need to eat when they need to eat. They can’t really process the etiquette of waiting for dinner because they barely understand hunger, they just know their bodies hurt and that they’re grumpy.

However – that’s also just one of the tough things about having kids. My sisters often just packed their kids’ dinners themselves for events, or when it wasn’t possible they would get a sitter or go home early.



Post # 21
6540 posts
Bee Keeper

As a parent I can only imagine that they would then be running around during dinner. Who takes 2 and 4 year-olds to an evening reception? Do you have a small room where they could watch a movie or go to sleep? Their bed time probably falls in the middle of dinner…

Post # 22
664 posts
Busy bee

If you have passed hors doeuvres, you can get one that is kid friendly, like sliders or mac and cheese bites. It will be good for the picky and hangry adults as well.

Post # 23
572 posts
Busy bee

Kids of this age should be in bed & not at an evening reception. Disaster waiting to happen. 

Post # 24
52 posts
Worker bee

Often couples provide kid-friendly snacks during cocktail hour to keep them going, then serve the kids meals first during the reception dinner. Reason being, the kids are bored and disruptive come reception dinner if they have nothing to eat/do at that stage.

Toddlers (under 3) are usually the parents responsiblity and it’s perfectly acceptable for you to request that they bring their dinner with them and feed them whenever they prefer.

Most importantly, do what works for you. Most parents will expect to work around your event, so just clearly communicate your schedule and they can make any additional food plans they need to around that.

Post # 25
47204 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

All the kids I know would be happy to graze during the cocktail hour, then have a few bites more during dinner. Just make sure you have some kid friendly apps. My kids will eat anything , but some kids would want less spicy choices.

Post # 26
661 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

In my opinion, for so few children, I would NOT do this. 

The parent should come prepped with solid snacks and an understanding of the time dinner will be served. I am sure they will be fine during the Happy Hour eating veggies and fruits etc plus whatever snacks the parent should be brining. 

Just make sure you have kid-friend bites during the cocktail hour. 

Post # 27
469 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I can’t stand these type of parents.

So rude, their world may revolve around their kids, but no one else’s does….

Post # 28
2636 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

We had an earlier ceremony than you, but my SILs kids (aged 3 and 1 at the time) were known to eat dinner around 5:30pm most nights which was smack bang in the middle of our cocktail hour. We also had my half-brothers in attendance (aged 8 and 5 at the time) who were used to eating dinner around 6pm. They all just grazed during the cocktail hour – we made sure there were items that we knew they would eat offered. My SIL also made sure to feed her kids something before the ceremony to tide them over. They were fine waiting for the later dinner time.

Starters were served at around 6:15pm – the kids were only having 2 courses (a main and a dessert), and our venue asked if we wanted the kids main served during our starters which we said yes to. The venue served the kids in attendance at the same time as the bridal party, so they got their food pretty much straight away. Could you see if your venue could serve the kids first so that they aren’t waiting too long to eat?

Post # 29
516 posts
Busy bee

I am a mum too and agree serving them first at the start of the reception should be fine. She can pack sandwiches, bananas, muesli bars, whatever for the kids to eat if they’re hungry before that – not a big deal!

Post # 30
652 posts
Busy bee

I just can’t even believe someone would bring two toddlers to an evening reception. They’re going to be a nightmare. 

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