Weddings are a time for all the family, including its newest, younger guests. While children are an integral part of any family gathering, they bring with them some challenges. Our blog post is about mitigating or managing those challenges with young guests.
The average wedding is long in planning and involves a lot of work, money and investment of time and emotion. We work hard to make your wedding day as predictable and as smooth as possible to help manage stress and give everyone a good time, including the very young children! The only thing we can’t predict is how they will act.
The vast majority of young guests can behave themselves when we need them to and know when we need them to be still and quiet. Unfortunately, that isn’t true for all of them. We want all of our immediate family to be involved in our wedding day, so knowing how to manage the little ones can make all the difference to how your big day goes.
Also, don’t forget to include that you have invited their children on the wedding invitations, as some couples want a child-free wedding day, you can also add this to your wedding website if you have one!
Here are a few tips on managing children at your wedding:
Make Them Feel Special
Most children love being the centre of attention. That makes a wedding a challenge as it isn’t all about them. A way around this is to involve children by giving them an “important” job, such as being part of the bridal party as flower girls, junior bridesmaids, ring bearers or assistant ushers. This can often be enough to fulfil the urge to be at the centre of things.
It also helps if you can take five minutes to talk to the children, to tell them how great they look and even to have your photograph taken with them. What would make them feel more important than being specially selected to pose with the bride or groom? It’s an effective measure that can make all the difference on the day.
Fulfil Their Needs
Never is a child’s hierarchy of needs more important than when you want them to behave. If you’re having an afternoon wedding, that means settling children down for a quick nap in a dark room, ensuring they have a snack to keep their energy up, making sure they go to the toilet before the wedding ceremony and checking for stains before making an entrance.
You could also make snack bags to hand out to the children just before the wedding ceremony. You can fill these with snack foods that won’t make a mess, a small bottle of juice and a tissue to keep everything nice and tidy. Having the children’s names on the bags can make them feel extra special too!
Even if they aren’t your children, they will know a bride is the centre of the day and should listen to you. Taking a minute to talk to them about the day, what happens and why and what you need them to do is a great way to avoid any noisy tantrums or bored fidgeting.
Parents also have a role here by talking their little ones through what happens during the day and by being around to support them when they need it. There will be times when they don’t know what to do next or when they are confused. Getting in there early will avoid them from feeling like that for too long and avoid any behavioural repercussions down the line, helping to ensure you have a stress-free day too!
After the ceremony, it’s important to have something for the kids to do or somewhere for them to go. Depending on the time of day and how long the gap between the wedding ceremony and wedding reception, that could involve taking them home to nap or getting them in the car ready to travel.
That’s assuming you’re not having an adults-only wedding reception!
If you are thinking of inviting children, consider having a separate room for them to play board games in, or hire a children’s entertainer to keep them occupied for a while. There are a number of children’s entertainers who will work weddings and can be the perfect way to keep both kids and adults happy, making it feel like a child-free wedding to the other guests. You could also send a separate invitation to the younger guests inviting them to the younger guests’ area for your big day.
They’re lots of things you could put in this separate room to keep them entertained including a fancy dress box and a kid’s table for them to do crafts.
It may also be useful to have a quiet kid’s room somewhere near the reception venue so tired children can have a nap or calm down a bit from all the excitement. While not vital, it’s a useful stopgap between parents having to leave early for their kids or being able to stay a bit later.
Make Them Feel Comfortable
To make them feel comfortable, it may also be a good idea to have a children’s table, so the little ones can socialise with other guests their age. It also helps them not to feel so left out not having an adult meal – as they can have the same children’s menu.
Children are an integral part of a wedding and we all want them around to experience the big day. Knowing what to expect and mitigating against every conceivable challenge won’t guarantee a trouble-free day but it can go a long way to help deliver one!
Utilise Your Outdoor Spaces
Especially in the summer months, it may be worth hiring a bouncy castle to keep the younger children entertained. Using the venue’s outdoor spaces can give the children fresh air and keep them entertained for hours on end.
Woodhall Manor is nestled in 9 acres of enchanted gardens near the Suffolk Heritage Coast. As there is plenty of space, there is lots of room for a bouncy castle and garden games for young children, older children to adults. We have suppliers which we can recommend who are more than happy to organise for you!
Include Them In Your Big Day
If you decide to invite children to your wedding day but they are not close relatives so you don’t want to include them as a flower girl or page boy for your big day, you could involve them in a different way. For example, have an additional guest book in the kid’s room for them to create their own artwork piece for you to keep, or give them their own wedding programmes with things going on throughout the day that they can be involved in, you may have a bouncy castle that they can use from 4 pm or maybe the wedding entertainer is doing a puppet show for them to watch!
As long as you plan ahead, having children at your wedding isn’t as hard as everyone makes out!