Victoria Cavaco, creator, maker and owner of ‘And the children came too’ shares with us why we have the increasing need to consider entertaining the younger guests during your big day and exactly how you can do this!
Most people will agree that, in the UK, more and more couples are tying the knot later in life than ever before. It’s no longer a surprise if the bride and groom have children before they decide to marry or if many of the guests have young children themselves. According to the ONS, for brides, the average age of marriage in 1972 was 26 years, compared with 34 years in 2012. Coupled with this, the highest number of births in the UK in 2012 were in the 30 to 34 age range and this has been fairly consistent ever since.
There has been a definite shift in wedding planning towards including children’s entertainment but it can be hard to find a company that offers a complete package for the entire event. Victoria Cavaco recalls some of her experiences at weddings with small children:
“It’s not unusual to see a few embarrassed and disheartened parents with squealing and wriggling little ones stood outside a church on a Saturday afternoon. If they’re lucky, it’s in the sunshine, if unlucky it’s in the rain with nowhere else to go [other than sitting in the car if they were wise enough to bring it]. Behind doors, the wedding ceremony takes place, the one that you awkwardly left behind just moments before with your screaming child under one arm. Glancing at your watch, another 30 minutes to go, this isn’t the day you had planned in your head – family separated, kids being difficult and you haven’t said more than a hello to those friends that you haven’t seen for ages.
At least there is a glass of fizz in hand, but the toddler is off and you have to follow, in heals and a bit wobbly why won’t your little one sit still just long enough so you can have a quick conversation with someone?
It’s time for food…the kids are on the edge and you know you have a ticking time bomb on your hands if they don’t eat soon. The children eat – 20 minutes later they are done and are off…they now have energy to burn. You look down at your starter which you’ve barely touched. Out comes the iPad, if you are lucky it will get you through the main course. You then have to tag team it with dad to finish your pudding and grab another half a conversation with absolutely anyone.
Dinner is over, it’s time for the speeches, the kids are exhausted and meltdowns are on the horizon, the parents are also exhausted and regretting bringing the kids and wondering if it’s time to cut their losses and bail”.
Although this paints a fairly grim picture, it’s the kind of scenario that many parents can relate to. To help with these issues, Victoria has some top tips:
- Set up a dedicated children’s play space. Kids love to hang out together! Make them feel special; let them have their own den.
- Kids of all ages love dress-up. Provide colourful costumes and props and set their imaginations free.
- For those who like making, set up a craft area. Pre-made craft kits provide choice and can be aimed at different ages so they have a keepsake of your special day. Another option is to hire someone to run a craft workshop.
- Photo booths are not just for grown-ups. Set aside a stage area with props for scenery and let the kids make photo booth sticks. Lights, [Polaroid] camera, action!
- Brilliant children’s entertainers are worth their weight in gold. Storytelling, circus skills, fun science…the options are endless. Consider entertainment that will interest all ages. This is perfect for when the speeches are being made.
- Provide games for young and old to enjoy together. Mix up the traditional giant jenga and four in a row with some plate spinning, hula-hoops and juggling scarves.
- Kids get tired so reward all that play with comfy cushions, popcorn and a movie whilst the grown-ups are sitting down to dinner.
You can now shop fun entertainment ideas at Wedding ideas to keep the kids amused during your reception. Fill their table with eye catching goodies, drawing, some sweeties and their very own gift bag and watch the halo’s appear!