When it comes to planning your wedding day, it is important to consider whether or not you want children to be present. If you have lots of young children in your family, it would be a shame for them to miss out on such a special occasion. However, we understand the novelty of an adult-only event for parents.
Deciding to include children on your wedding day can be a lot of fun and can make the day extra special. Nevertheless, there are aspects of both the ceremony and reception that are not going to interest little ones. In order to keep children amused and occupied throughout the day, it is important to make sure they feel involved in the wedding and invest in several methods of child-friendly entertainment. This way, both the children and their parents will be able to fully enjoy your wedding day.
Furthermore, knowing that the children are enjoying themselves rather than causing havoc will help to provide you with some peace of mind on the day. From thinking about a child-friendly menu to investing in a bouncy castle, here are the many ways that you can plan a successful and fun child friendly wedding.
How to Plan a Child Friendly Wedding
If you and your fiancé have decided you’d like children to be invited to your wedding, then it is important that all the children of your guests are welcome. Although it may be tempting to only invite the children you like (or the well-behaved ones) you can easily offend friends and relatives if you pick and choose which children are allowed to come.
It’s important to go all or nothing when it comes to children; either you organise an adult-only wedding or you invite everyone in a family and give the parents the option to bring the children along with them or not. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to accidentally offend a family member and cause unnecessary hostility or drama.
Once you have shortlisted your guest list and made sure to invite everyone (and their children), you then need to think about the ways in which you can keep these children amused through a wedding ceremony or church service.
Keeping Children Occupied Throughout the Ceremony
Whether you have children attending your wedding purely as guests or with a job to do, such as the role of a flower girl or pageboy, they are all equally likely to get bored through the ceremony. However, we have thought of a few ways that you can curb the development of any bad behaviour during the ceremony as a result of boredom.
Providing children with an important job to do at your ceremony is a great way of making them feel included. Make sure that the task you assign to each child is age appropriate though and suitable to their personality.
It is a sweet idea to ask the older children that you’re especially close to, to do a short reading. Make sure that the children you have chosen are confident enough to speak in front of a crowd and won’t change their mind on the day.
You could also consider asking some children to sing a special song at the ceremony. You need to be sure that these children are again naturally confident and that they have practised enough times to be happy to perform. Try not to pick a song that will be too difficult for them to sing but opt for a well-known number, such as a Disney song.
Handing out the Orders of Service
This job is usually done by the groomsmen or ushers but is a suitable job for the smaller children attending your wedding. Ask a small cluster of children to hand out the programs or orders of service whilst everyone is waiting for the bride to arrive. This will keep them occupied before the ceremony begins.
Confetti and Bubble Distributors
Once the ceremony is over and the married couple are exiting the church or venue, hand out baskets of confetti or bubbles for the children to scatter. You could also put them in charge of handing out the bags of confetti to the other guests. Make sure the children are aware that this will be their job once the service is over but only if they are well behaved – bribery always works.
You must remember, that when you include children in your wedding service, it may not go as smoothly as you’d hope for. Little ones may get stage fright and decide they no longer want to participate. However, to help with nerves, make sure they have had several rehearsals and plenty of practice at their dedicated job. If you group children together, they will tend to follow the more confident leaders and are less likely to back out at the last minute. Make sure to take a very relaxed attitude towards children being involved in your wedding ceremony – children are highly unpredictable.
Furthermore, to keep the children occupied through the rest of the ceremony, it might be worth handing out colouring sheets that they can quietly do whilst sat down.
We have one last tip that you might consider worthwhile when it comes to increasing your chances of experiencing a smooth wedding service. Ask the ushers to seat parents with very small children or babies at the end of the pews or seating and nearest to the doorways. This will allow them to make a quick exit if their baby starts crying without causing too much disruption.
Now that you have accounted for all events during the ceremony, you need to consider how to keep all the children entertained through the reception. Luckily, we have thought of several ideas for you.
Keeping Children Entertained Throughout the Reception
Compared with the ceremony, keeping children occupied throughout the rest of the reception is a piece of cake. However, the other toughest aspect of the day that you need to account for will be the speeches. Sitting still and being quiet is not something that children generally excel in, so, thinking of methods to keep them amused is essential. Here are some ways of ensuring that the children at your wedding have just as much fun as the adults.
Child Friendly Menu
Offering a child-friendly menu helps to keep both picky eaters happy, whilst allowing the adults to enjoy more exotic alternatives. It can also be much less expensive, especially if you have a significant amount of children attending. Opt for simpler foods that are guaranteed to be enjoyed by the majority of children you have invited; pizza, mini hot dogs, fish fingers or chicken nuggets.
When it comes to seating at weddings, usually children are seated next to their parents on the same table. However, you could consider dedicating a whole table for children only. Often younger children can feel left out during the seated part of the reception, especially with adult conversations going on and particularly at the point of the speeches. To prevent this, seat all of the children on one table and let them have fun together. You could even provide them with a white paper tablecloth and let them amuse themselves during the speeches by drawing all over the table.
Gifts, Goodie Bags and Fun Favours
Age appropriate goodie bags or gifts are a guaranteed way to keep children entertained for a few hours. Make sure to fill goodie bags with colouring pencils, colouring-in books, sweets, bubbles and small board games. For a list of 6 great wedding favour ideas, click here to take a read.
It is essential that you supply enough high chairs for the toddlers and babies attending your wedding reception. Most venues will have these already, but if you are having your wedding outdoors or have hired a marquee, then you will need to arrange these for yourself. Alternatively, you could also ask parents to bring their own to save you the hassle.
Once the meal and speeches are over, the children will have the freedom to do what they like for the rest of the evening (within reason). However, to prevent them from running around your wedding venue and causing too much havoc, there are several methods of entertainment worth investing in.
Although it is the responsibility of the parents to provide childcare for their children, as the hosts, you can help ensure everyone has a good night by offering different forms of entertainment. Here are a few valuable ideas.
Hire a Professional Entertainer
If you have the budget for it, then you could consider hiring a children’s party entertainer to amuse them all for a few hours. This could be anything from a balloon modeller to a magician. Take a look at Jojo Fun who is based in London and provides amazing children’s entertainment, including magicians, puppeteers and clowns.
Digital Graffiti Wall
Digital Graffiti Walls are the perfect way to interact with and amuse children of all ages. The interactive wall allows them to create their own artwork and have it printed onto tangible items, such as t-shirts, hats and keyrings. This addition is also guaranteed to interest the adults and get them engaging with it. If you are looking for digital graffiti wall hire, then get in touch with Harry & Edge for more information.
If your wedding venue has space outside for a bouncy castle, then this is a form of entertainment worth investing in. Bouncy castles are perfect for keeping children entertained and happy for hours. If you’re envisaging the presence of a brightly coloured, tacky bouncy castle spoiling your elegant wedding decor, then fear not; look into what The White Bouncy Castle has to offer. Sophisticated bouncy castles are now widely available and are a must-have at any child-orientated wedding.
A Movie Room
Providing your venue has sufficient space, you could make up a movie room in one of the additional rooms for the children to chill out in. Make sure the room has plenty of comfy seating, including bean bags, cushions and soft blankets. Provide them with popcorn and a film that is suitable for a range of ages. This is the best way to help the children wind down later on in the evening before bedtime.
Enjoy Your Child Friendly Wedding
These are just some of the ways that you can ensure both the children and parents attending your wedding make the most out of your day and truly enjoy it. Ensuring the children are happy, occupied and entertained is a guaranteed way to let the parents relax and enjoy themselves.
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