How to manage children at weddings

03 Mar 2016

The thought of children running wild on your big day can be a headache waiting to happen. Kristen Harding, parenting and childcare expert for Tinies, a leading childcare agency in the UK, offers her advice on managing infant attendees at your wedding.

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Image gallery

Weddings are a joyous time, filled with celebrations, friends and family.  As more and more couples are waiting to tie the knot, or entering into second partnerships, the subject of children at weddings becomes more prominent.

To invite or not to invite?

This is for you and your partner to decide. It’s your special day, so the choice is yours. If you decide to include them in your upcoming nuptials, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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Safety:

Health and safety may have gone too far, but there are a few things you need to think of when it comes to weddings if there are little ones around. Whether it’s flower arrangements to trip over or wisps of fabric to pull down, think about the heights of your decorations around toddlers. Remind photographers that there may be little ones underfoot – we all know that sitting still is not always their forte.

Attention Spans:

Having to sit through two hours of speeches might be pushing your luck, since children have short attention spans and need to be kept busy. We suggest you include them in specific parts of the day – from helping seat people to being your photographers - providing them with break-out time and space.

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Meal time:

Don’t go complicated. Some children will eat a posh salmon steak and sautéed potatoes in an agave and pesto sauce; however, most will turn up their noses in disgust. Have simple choices for children and don’t expect them to eat the same thing as the adults. Having said that, avoid Ketchup and other sauces. Nothing ruins dress clothes faster than brightly coloured condiments.

Think about your seating arrangements – while it can be nice to have all the children together, it’s also likely to be louder and more mischievous. If you do sit them together, don’t forget to have a supervisor for the children during mealtimes (and other down times), be this Uncle Jo or some hired help.

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Entertainment:

You might decide to provide the entertainment yourself, or consult Tinies to handle it for you, but there will always be some time during the day when children need entertaining. It’s a really good idea to have a space where children can go to - perhaps a separate room or a special part of the marquee. 

Having a variety of activities for different age groups is important, as is making sure the children are safely supervised. If you’re doing this on your own, here are a few suggestions to consider:

  • Arts and crafts: from colouring sheets to haberdashery, choose your products wisely to limit mess i.e. use Pritt Stick not white glue
  • Reading materials: Children’s books and magazines, along with a few comfy chairs or bean bags
  • Games galore: Board games for indoors, or giant games like Snakes and Ladders for the garden
  • Costume time: from Elsa to Peter Pan, everyone loves to dress up
  • Scavenger hunt: Create a tick-sheet of things to listen out for or observe during the wedding, like how many people were wearing hats.

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