Lots of couples believe children don’t understand the concept of weddings despite kids having played ‘brides’ more times than you’ve seen 27 Dresses. It’s true, kids do get bored easily, tend to cause disruption when they’re unhappy and if you have to keep on eye on their behavior how much fun do you get to have yourself? However, others think it’s plain crazy to even consider getting married without having the littlest members of the family there!
For those of who you love the idea of kids running around the wedding venue, pulling silly faces in the photo booth and dancing the night away in the marquee disco you’ll definitely be looking for ways to keep them occupied. Remember, weddings are long events so make sure they get an early night the day before and keep sweets and chocolates to a minimum otherwise they’ll be bouncing off the walls!
When’s Kick Off?
Before you go deciding on dresses, flowers, and photographers, you’ll need to get your venue sorted for both the ceremony and reception. If you’re thinking about inviting lots of kids, or you have children of your own you want to include in the ceremony look at your timings carefully. Most weddings tend to last around ten, to twelve hours and that doesn’t include time taken up by getting ready beforehand. Children under twelve are usually pretty tired by around seven, or eight pm so before you send out wedding invitations, you may want to move your ceremony up or plan a brunch reception. Not only does this avoid the issue of tired, and cranky kids it’ll also be a more relaxed, informal affair with better kid-friendly food choices.
Plan A Kids Menu
Some children will eat anything and love to try new foods while others refuse to eat items other than chips, chicken, or pizza. If you’re having a sit-down wedding breakfast speak to your venue about creating a special kids menu. Luckily many already offer this option and have a range of semi-healthy choices to choose from such as tomato pasta, lasagna, veggie pizza, and chicken goujons as well as mini versions of adult meals for older kids. If you’re hiring a catering company or organizing a reception buffet then making sure kids are fed becomes even easier. Children can help themselves to what they want or their parents can take care of their plates.
While children tend to join their parents for dinner after that all bets are off! You can create place cards for kids, but we doubt they’ll stick to them. Try to avoid bunching them all together at a kids table, not only does it make it difficult for adults to keep an eye on them but children are likely to behave better if you treat them like grown ups once in awhile. Want to make kids feel special? Attach colored ribbons or balloons to their chairs, give them a personalized menu and favor box plus make sure you go over to say hello to them as well as everyone else!
Table Activity Packs
Kids get bored quickly so to avoid any tantrums give each child a small activity pack which has a coloring book, crayons, a disposable camera, a game of wedding day bingo, a bouncy ball, some sweets and a couple of plastic toys to play with. Depending on how old they are, packs can differ to reflect different interests but try to avoid creating boy and girl bags. While it seems like the easiest thing to do little girls love dinosaurs and some boys enjoy playing with dolls, so it’s best that everyone, within their age group, has the same thing.
Have Lawn Games
Who doesn’t love giant chess, croquet, or a wedding themed piñata? Having an outdoor reception or cocktail hour allows kids to burn off steam after having been seated for an extended amount of time. Remember, kids also need drink choices and while a couple of glasses of soda is fine make sure you also provide juice, water and cold milk. Kids may not be able to understand the rules of giant chess, or ludo but they’ll love moving pieces across the board and playing on the different colored squares.
Hire A Relief Babysitter
At some point, younger kids will need a nap so it could be worth hiring a babysitter who’ll look help look after smaller guests. They can escort them to the toilet, fetch drinks and snacks, help them paint pictures or shepherd them into the kids room to watch a movie. Once all the photos have been taken, and the formal ceremony’s out of the way there’s usually a bit of a lull in proceedings while the bride and groom have couple pictures. Here, children could have a bit of downtime and watch a puppet, or magic show while waiting for dinner to commence.
Play Pop Music
Remember to tell your DJ, or band that there’s going to be lots of kids at the wedding so they’ll need to balance the playlist. Add any songs with suggestive lyrics, or swearing to the ‘Do Not Play List’ or ask for those songs to be played after ten pm when chances are most of your younger guests will have been taken back to their hotel room or gone home. We’re not saying you need to have the Peppa Pig soundtrack on repeat, but mix slow songs with more upbeat kid-friendly tracks and encourage them to join you on the dance floor by giving them balloons, or bubbles to mess around with.
It may sound obvious, but children do have smaller appetites than adults so when deciding on your wedding cake it may be better to have kid-friendly cupcakes too. Firstly, wedding cake contains a lot of sugar and frosted icing; even just one small slice could have a child complaining of a tummy ache after having eaten canapés, dinner, and dessert plus snacks throughout the day. Cupcakes are a much better size and are way more fun so why not let them decorate their own? Arrange to have a cupcake decorating station set up and place candies, sweets, edible confetti and icing pens at tables where kids can have a ball creating cake toppings!