I love weddings. They are romantic, provide two of my favourite things – alcohol and food, and they often culminate in one hell of a party. For children, however, they often involve an incredibly long day of being asked to sit still and be quiet, which is hard when all they want to do is run around and explore a new place.
I know some people prefer to keep weddings child free, but as we have three of our own, that wasn’t really a possibility for us! Planning a wedding with children in attendance can be difficult at the best of times, I previously wrote some tips on keeping children occupied, but when you get married abroad things get a little harder.
For anyone else planning a destination wedding with young guests, these are some of the things we considered when planning our wedding abroad.
Child Friendly Favours
Getting married abroad meant that we were limited in what we could provide for our guests in the way of favours. For our adult guests we took over charity badges and the seating plan keys doubled up as a second favour as they were also bottle openers.
When it came to the kids, I wanted to ensure they would be kept busy during the meal, without the need to take anything bulky in our already bulging suitcases. In the end I went for favour bags filled with mini colouring books, a mini novelty spring, some colouring pencils, stickers and sweets.
At the last minute I also purchased a playmobil blind bag for each of them, to distract them during the speeches.
When I was drawing up the seating plan, I was careful not to sit my older two next to each other as I know they tend to fight when they start getting hungry, tired or bored. Instead I put one with my brother and one with my aunt. Some people suggest a table dedicated to children but I think this is just asking for trouble personally!
Food for Fussy Eaters
I mentioned in my previous post about catering for children at weddings. When getting married abroad, if the food is something the children won’t have tried before, it’s probably best to go for a safe option to avoid a meltdown at mealtimes. For us, we were given the choice between pasta or chicken nuggets and chips for the children and we ended up with all four opting for the nuggets. It’s easier and less stressful to go with something tried and tested for the wedding.
If you’re marrying in the heat, make sure you ask about shady areas and if there aren’t really any, consider hiring or buying some big umbrellas when you’re out there to create some shade yourself.
Most sensible coordinators in hot destinations will encourage you to have your wedding later in the day, ours started at 5.30pm, but if you are going to be out in the sun at its peak, make sure you keep young guests in the shade to avoid sunstroke or getting burnt.
Stock up on Suncream
As well as having enough suncream for any of your own children, it’s best to take along an extra bottle and have this readily available on the day of the wedding. Parents with young children have a lot on their mind when attending a wedding, and it may slip their mind to bring it along. It’s worth having enough to go around just in case. Children burn easily and I would always recommend a minimum of factor 50.
Lots of Fluids
It’s difficult to get children to drink water sometimes. Although water is best when it’s hot, any fluids are better than none. Make sure your venue are able to provide plenty of soft drinks alongside the alcohol for adult guests, and encourage top ups regularly!
Bulk Buy Blankets
I don’t mean big heavy ones, but grabbing some scarves or light blankets when you’re out there will mean that once the sun goes down, and there’s a chill in the air, you’re literally covered! Children, and the elderly, tend to feel the cold more so have them on hand to ensure everyone is comfortable all night long, whatever the temperature.