Involving Children at Weddings
The question of inviting children to a wedding can often cause divide of opinion; on the one hand children can present images of mess, noise and tantrums, whilst on the other children can add to the enjoyment of the event, and seeing the wedding through the eyes of little ones can be truly magical.
If you have decided to welcome children at your wedding, here are a few top tips for making them feel involved, and ensuring the day is relaxing and enjoyable for old and young alike!
GET THEM INVOLVED FROM THE OUTSET
Enlist the help of your younger invitees to create wedding favours or small decorations for the tables, or to select items for goody bags. If you have children of your own, allow them some control over specific details, for example choosing wedding cake flavours.
INCLUDE THEM IN IMPORTANT DUTIES
Assign roles for the ceremony to children within the immediate family (be that your own, or nieces or nephews), to help them feel included and important on your special day. Flower girls and ringbearers are typical roles for younger children, however do feel free to create new roles, for example announcing the arrival of the bride.
Invite children not directly involved with the ceremony to assist with handing out programmes, or to distribute confetti or wedding wands for after the wedding. If it is a hot day, enlist the help of older children to hand out cold lemonade or iced water to guests at the reception.
THINK ABOUT YOUR SEATING
If you have many children attending it is usually advisable to seat them on tables with their parents or close relatives, unless you have a designated minder to oversee a separate table specifically for children throughout the wedding meal. However if you just have a handful of younger guests, a separate table can work well, particularly if the children already know each other and provided it is positioned in close proximity to adults they are familiar with. If children are to be seated with their parents, give the table positions some thought; you may want to consider seating those with very young children at tables near an access door in the event that they wish to settle restless toddlers during speeches.
KEEP THEM ENTERTAINED
Give younger guests activity packs filled with things to do during the reception; colouring books and pens, wedding “I Spy” cards, small versions of traditional wooden games and miniature bottles of bubbles all work well and are great for keeping children occupied. You might also like to include a disposable camera for children to snap away and capture otherwise unnoticed candid moments! Keep a selection of light snacks and drinks on-hand to reduce hunger-related meltdowns during the waiting time prior to the wedding meal.
CREATE A BREAK OUT SPACE
Designate a separate space or even room for the children to “break out” after the meal. Craft tables, jigsaws or traditional board games will keep them entertained and encourage them to mingle. If you have access to an outside space, lay out a selection lawn games, for example giant Jenga, Connect 4 or ring toss. Later in the evening pop on a DVD in a quiet space to create a “movie room” - add beanbags and small bags of popcorn to allow children (particularly little ones) to wind down before bedtime.
GET THEM ON THE DANCE FLOOR
Prior to the first dance, consider a mini “children’s disco” or choreographed children’s dance routine to entice younger guests on to the dance floor. Not only does it serve as a great icebreaker but it often encourages further dancing later in the evening!
HIRE IN THE PROFESSIONALS
If inviting a large number of children, it is well worth considering enlisting a professional crèche service to entertain the children at the reception before and after the wedding meal for complete peace of mind.
Pitch Up and Play are a fabulous crèche company based in Bath, who provide fun, stylish play areas and bespoke professional childcare for weddings and events. I am delighted to work in conjunction with Pitch Up and Play to offer a 10% discount on their packages for clients of The Planning Lounge. Take a look at their dedicated wedding section here for further details and the full range of services they can offer for your Mini VIPs!