It’s a contentious issue – whether or not to invite children to your wedding; while some parents see it as an opportunity to indulge in some uninterrupted adult time, others can become a little ruffled as to why an invitation wasn’t extended to their little loves.
It’s true to say that some of the most feared wedding guests are of small proportions, and of course, they can bring much fun and charm to your big day – but on the flip side, they can also be unpredictable!
The secret is to cater for them; so, if you would like to have some pint-sized guests in attendance on your wedding day, take a look at the tips we have compiled below for some direction.
Choose Suitable Times
The first rule of inviting kids to a wedding is doing everything to avoid them being cranky! This can be largely down to timings; so, having a ceremony that is around one or two pm, means that children are likely to have been fed and put down for a nap.
Although this extra energy may mean they are more animated during the ceremony, a giggle and babble is far cuter than a toddler meltdown, and your day is all about sharing love and fun!
Children ADORE being given responsibility, so why not try and include them in the ceremony as much as possible? Bridesmaid, flower girls, ushers, ring bearers to even handing out confetti and the orders of service, this gets a job done and makes the little ones beam with pride!
Failing that – keeping them occupied works just as well! Why not leave a little treat, such as a disposable camera, some sweeties (and wipes!) and a personalised note.
Whether you are opting for an elegant wedding, or a rustic DIY affair, the chances are that you have chosen your favourite foods for the wedding breakfast. And while many of us simply don’t want to consider the word ‘chicken nugget’ to have any association with our wedding – sometimes you just need to admit defeat and give the children a meal you know they will eat without fuss.
Put simply – no parent wants to be negotiating meals with a tiny dictator on such a joyous occasion!
If you don’t want to serve the children such favourites as chips, peas and a meat coated in breadcrumbs or batter, opt for a children’s afternoon tea style, or picnic style buffet with sandwiches, vegetable sticks, fruit and cakes. Aesthetically pleasing (important!), healthy and will cater to most tastes; leaving the adults to enjoy their wine and grown up meals in peace.
Favours and Tables
Some children may want to be seated with their parents, obviously if they are under 3 years old, they will probably be required to sit with their parents; for older children, a kids-only table works well.
Kids lose things (and break things) A LOT, and wedding favours and place cards can all add up – save the costly items for adults, instead using colouring books/placements, some themed sweets such as a packet of love hearts, or jelly hearts, a wedding themed teddy or item such as Lego, to take as their favour, and keep them entertained at the table.
Some couples even decide to forgo table clothes at their children’s tables, instead opting for rolls of craft paper that can be drawn on.
Children are required to be entertained for about 80% of the time, it’s just part of their charm, and if you want your big day to run smoothly while children are present, you will need to think carefully about the activities on offer!
Really, the possibilities are endless! From outdoor lawn games, to treasure hunts, puzzles, bubbles, colouring in and craft tables, there is so much you can do to keep them happy and engaged, which in turn means the adults are too!
If your wedding has a festival vibe, you could even set up a glitter station with face paint and body and hair glitter. And let’s not forget a photo booth with a box of props – this will keep children (and adults) entertained for hours. It doesn’t even need to be a professional set up, just a backdrop and props will do!
And of course, what do children adore above all else? SWEETS!! From a small bag as a children’s favour to an entire pick and mix table or cart, sweets are versatile enough to create a whimsical element to the wedding, creating an air of nostalgia, or can complement your chosen colour scheme.
It’s becoming increasingly popular to have professional childcare present at a wedding, especially during the reception. They can supervise children’s activities, and even host a pizza and pyjama party at a room at the venue as the evening draws on.
This gives parents the chance to enjoy themselves as adults rather than parents, safe in the knowledge that their children are being looked after by a professional.
Let’s be honest; adults have built up years on inhibitions and often need a few glasses of Dutch courage before heading to the dancefloor, while children have zero inhibitions and don’t mind strutting their stuff as soon as the lights are dimmed and the music is turned up!
With this in mind, why not create a kids playlist, playing some of the latest pop songs and popular Disney songs that will get the kids dancing and singing to their heart’s content, and also creating some super cute moments to be captured by the photographer too.
You may not think it, but those energy levels WILL dip eventually, and children are notorious for becoming a little whingy.
By creating a quiet corner at your venue, with some books and blankets, or maybe milk, cookies and a DVD, your adults will be able to carry on celebrating with you into the night while their children are having some much-needed downtime.
And there you have it, a number of ways that you can keep children entertained throughout your entire wedding day, leading to the adult guest enjoying it as much as the bride and groom do, creating much-loved memories for years to come!