One decision the bridal couple will need to make before sending out the invitations is whether to include children. It may be tempting to opt for a ‘child-free’ wedding, however, this may create difficulties for your guests, especially if they are travelling some distance to the wedding and they may even have to decline the invitation.
You might want to consider options for the children during the ceremony, although parents should be happy to try and keep them in check. The reception itself and the time after the ceremony and before the reception, when the adults can entertain themselves at the bar, might be particularly difficult for the children, especially if the bridal couple have gone off to have photos taken. So, how do you ensure the little ones are kept happy? The answer is to keep them busy with plenty of variety. Of course, you will need to consider your budget and the age of the children but here are a range of ideas to suit different budgets.
These are similar to party bags and contain a variety of ‘goodies’ which generally should take into consideration the different ages of the children and whether they are boys or girls. You can either order these ready made up, or, if the budget is really tight, make them up yourself. Bubbles, crayons, notebooks, colouring books, stickers, small puzzles and finger puppets are just some examples of what to include. Just make sure they are all safe and suitable for the age of each child. You could even label them individually with their names, which makes them feel included.
You could set aside a table, covered in simple white paper or crepe paper with crayons, drawing paper, some crafts and games or even an entire area with some toys as well. Include a box with dressing up clothes. Provide the outline for a game of noughts and crosses or hangman; prepare craft and art projects or supply some board games. One idea is to get the children to make something wedding related or get them to colour in their own placemats. Your wedding venue may be able to help you with this but check with them to make sure that there is nothing that will cause a problem. Providing glitter, for example, is probably not a good idea or you might end up footing the bill for cleaning it up! You could take this idea further by having someone to supervise and organise the crafts and games. You will need to ensure that their credentials are in order first.
Depending on the age of the children you could arrange for someone to organise good old-fashioned children’s party games with them. Some of the adults may even be persuaded to join in!
It might be possible to set up an area with books and a TV and DVD player so children can watch a movie. You could also include some hand-held computer games, or even a games station, depending on the age of the children. You may find that lots of older children have their own consoles which they could be invited to bring along.
If you have a little more to spend you might want to consider setting up a crèche or hiring a nanny, especially if you have lots of little ones so that the children will be looked after and entertained at the same time. Most parents would be very appreciative.
If you really want to push the boat out you could book an entertainer, such as a clown, magician, story teller, or someone to do face painting. Again you should always go on recommendations and check credentials.
Some other simple ideas include organising a treasure hunt, either indoors or outdoors. You could also provide disposable cameras with a list of things to photograph and prizes for those who complete the list. If you have a large space outdoors you could consider large outdoor games, such as giant Jenga. If you are having a beach wedding, why not provide beach toys and buckets and spades for the younger ones? You should check with parents first though as they may want to reconsider what the children will wear.
Finally if you are not sure what to provide for the children, for inspiration check out the websites of some companies who do this professionally such as Borrowed Blue. They will supply everything you need including favours, entertainment and childcare for your wedding.
Finally, remember, most family members and friends are usually keen to help out with preparations for a wedding. Enlist the help of anyone who is creative for ideas and preparation and if you have friends or family who are in education or childcare, even better. Whatever you decide, if you keep the children happy it will go a long way to ensuring a stress free wedding, both for yourselves and your guests.
Do you have any other ideas to entertain children at a wedding? We would love to receive your comments below.
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