During many formal or semi-formal dining events, such as wedding receptions or award banquets, it is not unusual to find separate seating areas for adults and younger children. Party planners often create a so-called kids' table to accommodate the needs of younger guests, as well as to provide a children-free atmosphere for adult guests. The kids' table may be located in an area of the venue where adult supervision is still possible, but far enough away to provide a buffer zone. The tables themselves may be identical to the adult tables, or they may be scaled-down versions better suited for children.
There may be some noticeable differences between the adult and kids' table, beginning with the table decorations. While an adult table at a formal dining event may be decorated with lit candles and elaborate decorative pieces, the kids' table may have far fewer combustible items or expensive centerpieces. While the adult table may feature a full set of silverware and sharp knives, a kids' table could contain a much simpler setting with disposable utensils and rounded butter knives. The children's table may also have a paper tablecloth and sets of crayons for the more creative set.
While there is no established upper age limit where a kids' table is concerned, many younger adolescent guests look forward to the time when they can be seated at the adult tables. The demonstration of good table manners and overall maturity can often promote an older child from the kids' table to at least a table reserved for adolescents. The kids' table is generally reserved for children who have not yet perfected their table manners or have little interest in dining with adults. If alcoholic beverages are served or smoking is permitted, however, the kids' table can also serve as a protective buffer from the adult-level indulgences.
Certain movies with wedding themes have suggested circumstances in which an immature or unpopular adult guest is seated at the kids' table on purpose. While the sight of a grown-up guest surrounded by ten year-olds may be humorous, the chances of it happening in real life are relatively slim. Few party planners would ever consider seating adult guests at a designated children's table, regardless if he or she may have earned the privilege. The separation of children and adults at formal dining events often works to the advantage of both camps. Children can enjoy their time away from direct adult supervision, and adult guests would feel more comfortable having adult-level conversations or playing a role other than parent during the event.