Weddings are a magical thing…especially to children. Unfortunately, many of the plans that are made while preparing for our weddings don’t take into account the comfort of the smallest guests. It’s something that you shouldn’t overlook. After all, if the kids aren’t happy, no one’s happy so make it a child friendly wedding!
Start Early – And End Before Bedtime!
It’s a glamorous idea, having a wedding and reception that goes on well into the night. There’s a certain magic to being waved farewell underneath a glittering cluster of stars. However, if there will be little ones about when you get married, this beautiful image can be marred by sniffling children who are cranky, because they’ve been up hours past their bedtime. But there’s a solution…and it’s a simple one at that!
If you’re going to have children around for your wedding, it’s best to have a morning or afternoon ceremony. The reason this works so well is that it allows children to have adequate rest, leading to less crankiness in general.
It isn’t just the ceremony that needs to be early, either. Any festivities that the kids will be participating in shouldn’t run too long after dark. This includes the reception and rehearsal dinner. Anything that will run later than 8 or 9 o’clock should be considered “adults only”.
Another common cause of tears from little ones? Boredom. Weddings, while adequately entertaining for adults, aren’t of much interest for children. Even those that have looked forward to the event for a long time will most likely find their interest waning soon after the bride walks down the aisle; it certainly won’t make it until the cake is cut!
Fortunately, there are a plethora of ideas to keep kids entertained. The first is fairly simple, and something a lot of weddings already have: Games. Having some game stations set up with games geared towards children will add to the excitement -and fun!- of the reception. Good options include horseshoes, checkers (for slightly older children), and even hopscotch! (Just use washable chalk.)
The second idea is the simplest of all, and something that many people forget to secure: Space to play. This doesn’t necessarily mean a playground or anything too fancy. As long as it is a place that children can play and not get hurt (a grassy area outside; a fairly empty room). You should include some supervision here, of course.
Lastly, this includes some effort on your part, but is likely to be well received by children and adults alike: Have some cartoons or children’s movies playing. The best option here is to place a television in a separate room, and let kids wander in and out as they please.
A lot of wedding foods are delicious, but not something that small children are accustomed to eating. Because of that, your menu may need some tweaking to suit little ones’ tastes. Thankfully, this is easier than it sounds…and can often be cheaper!
The first thing you should look at is your entreé. Unless you’re already serving comfort foods, it’s likely that the meal will be met with complaints from the youngest guests. That’s why it’s best to have your caterer prepare a special children’s meal. Many already offer this as part of their package, and it’s normally cheaper than serving your normal main course. Spaghetti, burgers, and chicken tenders are the normal options.
Next is the most important food in the wedding: The cake. Wedding cake is normally delicious, but more outlandish flavours may not be something that children will like. If you’re choosing a cake flavour that is better suited for adults, then you should have a second dessert for the children to choose from. The groom’s cake, if you have one, is often perfect for this. Other good options are cupcakes, ice cream, and brownies. Bonus: If your cake is expensive, this may cut down on costs!
The last tip is more for including the children in the wedding than anything else, but it’s sure to be met with praise from the adult guests: Whenever you pour champagne, include the little ones by giving them a glass of sparkling grape juice or some sort of clear soda (Sprite or ginger ale will work here, as well). This will let them toast with everyone else!