Nowadays, many people are choosing to get married later in life, or second marriages are becoming more commonplace, so frequently children are being incorporated into wedding ceremonies. As a bride and groom, choosing not to include children may result in absent friends if guests can’t find a babysitter in time. Rather than opting out of inviting children to the wedding altogether think of unique ways of keeping them busy and entertained.
Children are children and have short attention spans. Keeping the kids quiet while they sit through two hours of speeches is pushing your luck! Including them in parts of the day and providing them with break out times and spaces is a lifesaver. There are different ways to do this so here are my golden rules for having children at your wedding and how to keep them entertained:
1. Silent Scavenger Hunt – Create a tick sheet of things to listen out for or observe during the wedding – what colour are the bridesmaids’ dresses, what songs were sung, did the best man remember the rings, how many were wearing hats.
2. Book Corner – Have a range of books to cover differing ages of children and teenagers attending the wedding. Put these on tables or set up in a corner with bean bags – great for sleepy ones later in the evening too!
3. Box of Tricks – Create boxes of simple toys such as bubbles, board games (travel ones are cheaper and smaller), jigsaws, and play dough – hassle free distractions for children without the need for too much adult help.
4. Children Only Room – Create a child only space with TVs and DVD players, games consoles, books, board games, dressing up and role-play toys, craft activities/painting, sand trays and play dough.
5. VIP – Create tasks for children involved in the wedding to earn VIP badges – roles can range from marshalling guests to the right place to holding the bouquet up the right way for younger bridesmaids.
6. Tinies Crèche Service – Whether you have 25 nieces and nephews or a few little ones of your own, inviting them to the wedding can often be an added stress – and we all know that’s the last thing a bride needs! Hiring an outside service such as a mobile crèche to come in and care for the children may be the ideal option for you to allow the children to take part in the celebration while not being a burden to you or your guests. Not only can your friends enjoy your wedding, but it can also eliminate the necessity for babysitters, which all of your friends will appreciate.
7. Outdoor Games – Organise walks around the grounds or do nature searches using small bags to collect what is found. Also provide simple sports equipment such as balls, Frisbees, or cricket sets.
8. Entertainer – A more expensive option and one that tends to work best only if you have another room or space is an entertainer. But, unlike a crèche, parents will still be responsible for supervision of their children.
9. Babysitters – Babysitters work well if the wedding is being held in a hotel. The babysitters can look after individual children or families in their hotel rooms, bringing some basic equipment and also putting the children to bed.
10. Food – When it comes to food – go simple! While there are a few children who like mango and lime flavoured chicken sandwiches on sourdough bread, most will look at you like you’re an alien from a planet far, far away! Go simple in your food choices for children and don’t expect them to eat the same thing as the adults – especially if they are really little. Having said that, AVOID Ketchup! Nothing ruins a fancy outfit faster than condiments!
Case Study – Hannah Phillips, a bride that used the Tinies Wedding Crèche service. “Many of my wedding guests had small children (as i do myself) and I was worried the younger guests may interrupt the wedding but more importantly I didn’t want them to be bored and for their parents not to be able to really relax and enjoy my day. We thought about a bouncy castle but that would still need some type of supervision and would only entertain the children for a little while so after some research decided on a mobile crèche /pop up wedding crèche with Tinies Childcare – having professionals on hand to entertain the children gave me real peace of mind and were great as there was such different aged children too so needed different activities to suit them all. We actually split the costs between all the parents who had children and it worked out cheaper than them all paying for individual babysitters as a wedding is such a long time in terms of the number of hours needed.”
Author: Kristen Harding, childcare and parenting expert at Tinie the UK’s leading childcare agency.