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Children and Weddings

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Author: Catherine Marston

Whether to invite children to your wedding or not is always a controversial issue. Everyone it seems has a view. Many Brides worry that the little ones will disrupt the vows, drown out the speeches and slide around on the dance floor all night.

Some guests may even refuse to attend the wedding if their children are not invited, because of course childcare can be a really big headache. So if you decide to have children attend your wedding how can you make sure they are not disruptive and distracting, especially during the key moments of the day? Here are a few ideas to help keep the little people entertained and the grown ups happy. 1. For the Ceremony- disposable cameras. A terrific idea to help keep little ones entertained during the big moment. Ask your ushers to hand out a camera to each child as they arrive for the ceremony. You could even put a little note in your Order of Service setting up a competition for the best photo of the day, which you and your husband will judge when you get back from honeymoon. Children love the idea of winning something for their efforts.

2. Create a childrens area- Nothing makes kids feel more special than an area just for them filled with games, books, puzzles and toys. You can create an area in the grounds of your venue if its a summer wedding, or inside a part of the hotel or venue in inclement weather. Use childrens bunting, posters, and decorations to make them feel it's their unique space. Keep it within eye line of parents too, then Mums and Dads can keep a watchful eye, at a distance.

3. During the Wedding breakfast- create a menu for children. Think about asking one of your older child guests to even pick the food before the big day. This means the small people are likely to enjoy their food and stay happy. Always check with parents about particular requirements. It may seem like an added hassle but if you manage to keep the children happy you will find parents genuinely appreciate your efforts and enjoy the day far more.

4. Goodie bags- Put a goodie bag at the place setting for each child. Vary the contents according to age and a boy or girl, and fill the bags or boxes with games, pzzles and treats. Make sure the contents are things they can use immediately and that will keep them occupied especially during the speeches. Drawing and colouring, puzzles and small games are always winners.

5. Entertainer- If the budget will allow its always worth considering a childrens entertainer for during the speeches. They can take the children to a different part of the venue and do magic tricks or painting etc with them. DO make sure the entertainer you book has a full CRB check and public liability insurance. All reputable entertainers will be able to provide this with ease.

6. Awkward moments- Despite your best efforts, and especially with really tiny children, there maybe some fractious or awkward moments. How to handle these without upsetting parents can be a tad tricky. You can ask your ushers to encourage a parent to take a small screaming person outside, or perhaps to the childrens area, or you could put a little note in the Order of Service asking parents to make the most of the childrens area if their child becomes upset during the proceedings.

7. Include them- asking some of the children to have a role in your big day can also really help combat boredom. They will take their tasks very seriously and will enjoy feeling special. Anything from carrying the bouquet, rounding people up for photographs and announcing dinner, will make them feel grown up and involved.

8. Be accepting-Children can't be put in a corner and be expected to be quiet all day. They do want to run around and have fun. Accept their need to enjoy themselves, provide lots of fun and games for them and then relax. Parents will thank you for all your efforts, and you will find having happy contented children around brings a lovely extra to your wedding day.

Catherine Marston writes bespoke Wedding day memoirs and is a National TV Journalist.

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