When we get married next September, we will not only have our three children, we will also have several other young children and babies in attendance (in fact, they take up a third of the overall guests due to the intimacy of our wedding).
Some people prefer to keep their wedding child free, but for us this was not only impossible (we can’t exactly go abroad and leave the kids home alone), it was also something we didn’t want to do. Instead, we will have plans in place to ensure the little ones are kept occupied and catered for so everything runs smoothly on the day (at least as smoothly as can be hoped for with four babies, a pre-schooler and three school age kids in attendance).
In case you are in a similar position, I thought I would share my top tips for keeping kids at weddings occupied…
The most important parts of the day – the ceremony, the speeches, are the most boring for young children. To make sure they aren’t playing up, think ahead and provide child friendly favours such as drawing pads/colouring books/stickers/storybooks and small toys to keep little hands busy. Just make sure you don’t include anything loud or disruptive or it could be counterproductive!
Check the Menu
When planning your menu, if you have children in attendance it’s worth discussing with the venue/caterers the options for child guests. Not only does it often save you some money to ensure they are aware that some guests are children, it is also good to have child friendly meal options for them so that they enjoy their meal and fill themselves up so they aren’t hitting the sweetie table on an empty stomach. Remember that most venues will not charge for babies to attend weddings on the basis that they won’t eat, so remember to check with the parents if a baby has been weaned and may expect food.
There are specific companies out there who offer childcare for weddings and other special events. This may be worthwhile if you have several children/babies attending. It gives you the peace of mind that they will be occupied and allows their parents to relax and enjoy the celebrations.
Book Child Friendly Entertainment
Why not hire a children’s entertainer to keep the younger guests occupied during the day? Often magicians also offer balloon animals, which always go down well with young children. A bouncy castle is another option, though consider the possibility of wet weather and always double check with your venue before booking as some won’t allow it on their grounds.
Have a Chill Out Zone
Weddings tend to go on late into the night and, as much as children will be able to stay up late and dance around past their bedtimes, sometimes it is wise to have an area that they can go to when it all gets a bit too much. It also gives those with babies a place to go and relax/breastfeed and it’s also good for elderly guests who might not be able to cope as well as they used to or find the music too loud in the main dance area.
Get them Involved
If the children belong to yourselves, or close friends or family members, why not have them as part of your bridal party? Young children make for adorable page boys/ring bearers/flower girls and by giving them an important role in the wedding, they will be less likely to get bored and misbehave. And remember, if they do something embarrassing, it’ll provide a funny anecdote for the future.