CHILDREN AT WEDDINGS – How to make sure that everyone is having a good time.|
Having children at your wedding can be a difficult subject. Some people choose to avoid the situation all together, but with a little planning and some firm ground rules, it can be a happy occasion for everyone involved.
Some Things to Consider
At the end of the day it is absolutely up to you with regards to the level of involvement of children in your wedding, but don’t forget that children can create magical moments, bringing a whole new dimension to your day. It will give them some very special memories, and will make them feel valued to have been involved in such an important event. This in turn can help to form a special bond or family relationship. As with most things involving children, you do need to be organised, and you will need to be a bit understanding. But in my experience the more relaxed you are about it, the more likely it is that everything will go well.
- You may not have children of your own, so enlist the help of a trusted friend that does have children. Explain what your expectations of the day are, and ask them to help put plans in place to make sure that everyone is happy.
- Children will require entertaining after the ceremony, while family and friends catch up. A small goody bag with colouring in items, bubbles or balloons will work well for smaller children. Older children will probably be most occupied by a hand held computer game/ IPod, with the volume switched off (sounds cynical, but works every time).
- Make sure that the children have somewhere to run about after the formality of the ceremony is over. Reward them for sitting quietly, by allowing them to blow of some steam on the lawn. Wedding venues also often have interesting gardens to explore. This doesn’t even have to be in view of the guests, as long as 1 or 2 adults are happy to supervise, and it will pay off in the long run.
- Have someone thoroughly explain the entire day’s schedule to the children and what is expected of them. Then allow them to ask questions, that way you will be aware of their concerns, and be able to avoid any possible upsets or problems that might disrupt the day. Kids are easily confused, and they can’t be blamed for not behaving correctly if they don’t know what that means. Stress how important it is that they behave as they have been asked, and then even offer a small bribe for compliance.
- Most caterers are more than happy to make a few child friendly food options (noodle boxes/ picnic baskets with goodies aimed at kids). There is no point in paying for expensive “grown up” food when they will be most happy with chicken nibbles or pizza, especially if it comes wrapped in special packaging.
- While it is great fun for the kids to hit the dance floor, kids are most likely to be very tired by then, and most parents would like some time to relax and enjoy themselves. Perhaps inviting the kids to the ceremony, and allowing them to enjoy the time after (during the photos), with a special meal for them at that time, is enough. They could then be whisked away by a baby sitter, prior to the main dinner/ dancing.
- Put someone in charge of the kids. This could be a family member, or even a responsible teenager, but make sure that they are aware of the rules, and have some things to distract the children with if required.
- Give the children something to do. Most kids love to have a special job, and it will make them feel important, and keep them out of trouble. Apart from the regular Flower Girl/ Page Boy roles, here is a list of things they could be responsible for:
- They can distribute wedding programs.
- They can serve as escorts and greet the guests, and help them find their seats at the ceremony and at the reception.
- They can be page turners for the organist/ pianist.
- They can hand out petals, bubbles or confetti to the guests.
- They can "man" the guest book and/or gift table.
- They can be the photographer's/videographer's "people pointers" and identify special guests.
- They can help to distribute the wedding cake.
- An older child can be invited to present a reading during the ceremony.