Children can add a real sense of fun to your wedding, but it’s worth remembering that even the well behaved can become disruptive if they get bored and tired.
Here are16 tips for keeping them entertained.
1. Just before the ceremony, give each child a small bag containing a puzzle and a box of raisins. To avoid conflict, make sure there are enough bags to go around!
4. During the drinks reception, have a ‘children’s table’ set to one side with crayons, pencils and paper, and ask all your young guests to draw a picture to be handed to the Best Man when they’re finished. This keeps the children entertained and will also give the bride and groom a memento of the day. To protect the venue’s furniture, make sure the table is covered with paper beforehand.
5. If you have invited a lot of children and your venue has plenty of outside space, organise a treasure hunt, with one of the ushers or another willing volunteer taking charge.
6. On the guest tables, include a small box or bag containing small toys and goodies appropriate to each child’s age. This should help keep them occupied during the speeches.
7. Hungry and thirsty children can become agitated, so make sure there is plenty of child-friendly food and natural fruit juice to hand at all times. Avoid artificial varieties, which will turn the children into devil worshippers!
8. If your guests include older children, consider setting up a small room with computer games, board games and a TV.
9. Invest in a piñata (pronounced pin-ya-ta). These large papier-mâché dolls originating in Mexico are filled with small toys and sweets and hung from the ceiling. Children take turns to strike it in an attempt to get at the treats inside. They are available in many designs – even wedding-themed ones – although the traditional form is a donkey. If you have younger children, buy one of the newer pull-string variations, which are safer to use.
10. A dedicated children’s entertainer can be a godsend, but it’s worth bearing in mind that some caricaturists or magicians can double up as entertainers for younger guests too, at no extra cost. Check with them before you sign on the dotted line.
11. If money is not an object and you want total peace and quiet, hire a mobile crèche. Experienced staff will keep the children entertained and you won’t even know they are there!
12. If there are any dangers at or near the venue (such as a lake, or a busy road), ensure you alert parents to the relevant details along with your invites.
13. Don’t force children to eat the same meal as you; it might be easier to have a children’s table set up with picnic food, which all children love – and maybe pay a student or a family friend to sit with them and supervise?
14. Set up an easel nearby to be used after the wedding breakfast. Rather than sitting and listening to ‘boring’ adult speeches, they can do some art or play with games and toys provided by you.
15. If the venue has space, consider hiring a bouncy castle – or how about giant garden games like Jenga or Connect 4? You could also set up a bubble machine for outside – younger children love this, and have been known to spend an hour just trying to catch those bubbles!
16. Ask parents well in advance if they have any hints for making the day as enjoyable as possible for the children. They will really appreciate your thoughtfulness, and are likely to offer some insights you hadn’t considered!.