8 Ways You Can Make Your Wedding Child Friendly
It’s a common bone of contention when wedding planning, deciding whether or not children should be invited. On the one hand, you want your guests to be able to enjoy your big day without being distracted, while on the other, you know some guests may be offended if their little ones aren’t invited to the celebrations.
They say good things come in small packages, but some of the most feared wedding guests come in at under four feet tall! While children can of course, bring with them an element of fun to your wedding day, it’s fair to say that they have a reputation for being a tad unpredictable!
The secret to having children at your wedding, is to have elements of the day that are catered specifically for them, below we have compiled 8 ways that you can keep pint-sized guests engaged for the entirety of the day.
It’s all in the Timing
Turns out it doesn’t take much for kids to be unsettled and a little grumpy! One of the key elements to keeping them in good stead is to ensure they aren’t tired. By having your wedding mid-afternoon, the chances are, your little guests will have napped and been fed, meaning that they are ready to watch you and your love tie the knot.
This also means that they will be little bundles of energy during the ceremony, but a giggle and a loud babble here and there is far more endearing them a total meltdown, meaning them being ushered out, and parents missing the biggest moment of the day.
Give them responsibility
Children come into their own when they are given even the smallest ounce of responsibility! In order to keep them focused and occupied, think of the different ways that you can include them in the day. This could range from bridesmaid, pageboy, flower girl and usher, to jobs such as a reading (for older children) and handing out confetti and orders of service – even greeting guests at your venue!
A job that you consider to have to little meaning or value, will be a big deal to a child, and make them beam with pride while carrying out the task to the best of their ability.
Children can be picky eaters, and while choosing a menu option that involves breadcrumbs might not sit well with the theme of your day, you will be doing the parents a favour! No-one wants to spend the wedding breakfast bribing and negotiating with tiny dictators, when there is fabulous food to eat and prosecco to be drunk!
If you feel passionately about banning favourites such as chicken nuggets, why not opt for a children’s picnic style buffet, or something to that effect such as a kitsch children’s afternoon tea?
Having a variety of sandwiches, fresh fruit and a selection of sweet treats allow for great photos and look stunning, but you know that the children are having a lunch that is both appealing, healthy and filling – allowing the adults to enjoy their own meals.
As well as enjoying responsibility, children also love a little bit of independence, especially if it means they can socialise and engage with other children.
As weddings are social occasions, all about sharing and making memories, why not create a children’s only table for those that are old enough – after eating, the younger guests may wander over to enjoy the company too.
A children’s table can also be decorated to fit in with the theme, but if we are honest, it’s likely that drinks will get split over stationary and favours, glasses will get broken and expensive centre-pieces will get knocked over.
It makes sense to combine place cards and favours together with items such as a personalised plastic cup, or table mat that can be used for months or years to come. Be sure to include activity packs such as Lego, colouring books, sweets, mini chalk boards and puzzles to keep them entertained – or forgo the table linen all together by using craft paper that they can draw on.
If you are a parent, then you know that your child requires stimulations and entertainment for around 80% of the time, and if you aren’t – then heed this advice!
If you want your big day to run smoothly, with minimal tantrums, then consider your activity offering very carefully.
You have an avalanche of opportunities when it comes to children’s activities; from traditional lawn games, oversized versions of puzzles and chess, to summer fete favourites, and treasure hunts (another use for sweeties!), there is always something you can put into place.
Even a craft table with crayons and pencils (avoid felt tips at all costs!) felt, stickers and a good old pipe cleaner goes down well with kids of all ages, and you could even set a competition to keep them really focused!
A DIY or professional photo booth with a box of props ALWAYS goes down well with guests, regardless of their age, and creates images and memories that will be cherished for years to come.
And finally, what do children adore above most other things? SWEETS OF COURSE! From sweet shop paper bags used as favours, to a pick and mix table or vintage cart, sweets are versatile enough to fit into any theme, and are guaranteed to conjure up nostalgic memories in adults whilst keeping the kids quiet and content.
It’s becoming more popular for couples to hire professional childcare to be present on their big day. From being on hand to supervise activities, entertain children themselves or even host evening pyjamas parties at the wedding venue as dusk descends.
The adults have peace of mind that their child is safe and being cared for by a professional, and can enjoy themselves fully as a result.
While adults rely on a couple of glasses of Dutch courage before hitting the dance floor, children are more than happy to throw some shapes as soon as the lights dim and the music starts!
It makes sense to capitalise on this, hosting a children’s hour at the disco, playing their favourite pop songs and Disney classics, allowing them to sing and dance and create some super cute moments for your photographer to capture in the meantime.
As the sugar high wears off and energy levels dip, we need to execute phase two of operation ‘keep children happy’; this involves some quiet time.
Creating a quiet area with books, blankets, warm milk and even a DVD (or video players if you have too!) means that the children can get their down time, while the adults can continue to celebrate!