Got chil­dren at­tend­ing your wed­ding? Here’s how to keep these choosiest of guests en­ter­tained all day long

You and Your Wedding - - You & Your Wedding -

Be­cause it’s not just about the adults: how to keep the chil­dren amused

While some nup­tials may be adult-only af­fairs, oth­ers are likely to have at least some kids at­tend­ing. Whether you’ve got lit­tle ones of your own, or just didn’t want to leave fam­ily and friends’ chil­dren off the guest list, ju­nior at­ten­dees will re­quire an ex­tra bit of ad­vanced plan­ning. Kids can get eas­ily bored – and aren’t shy about let­ting grown-ups know about it. If you can keep them en­ter­tained, it’ll im­prove ev­ery­one’s day.

THINK AGE AND SPACE First of all, con­sider the range of ages at­tend­ing. A nine-year-old is never go­ing to take the same plea­sure in colour­ing-in, say, as a tod­dler, so if there’s a wide spread, make sure you have a va­ri­ety of op­tions to suit dif­fer­ent ages. If in doubt, check with the par­ents. Next, as­sess your venue to see how much space you have. The ideal would be a ded­i­cated kids’ room, packed with all sorts of en­ter­tain­ment to keep them amused for hours, but of course not ev­ery­one has this lux­ury. See if you can set up a kids’ cor­ner in the main re­cep­tion area, or per­haps a sep­a­rate bell tent out­side.

EN­LIST HELP There’s a whole host of help you can hire, in­clud­ing ded­i­cated wed­ding nan­nies and crèches, which can look af­ter the kids all day as well as bring toys and en­ter­tain­ment with them. Check out art­full­splodgers. com, pitchu­pand­ and Tell par­ents what you’re plan­ning be­fore book­ing – some may not want to leave their child at an on-site crèche, so make it clear this is op­tional. You could also hire a clown or bal­loon mod­eller for an hour or two, while a face painter is an­other nice op­tion, and some­thing the adults won’t be able to re­sist, ei­ther. Al­ways choose some­one with a good rep­u­ta­tion who has been CRB checked.

“See if any friends have a ping-pong table gath­er­ing dust in the garage – it’ll go down well with guests of all ages”

OF­FER AC­TIV­I­TIES Aside from real-life en­ter­tain­ers, con­sider hir­ing games and ac­tiv­i­ties. A bouncy cas­tle is a clas­sic, and could also be in­cor­po­rated into some fun wed­ding pho­tos if the colours don’t jar with your theme – or try the white bouncy cas­tle from ev­ It’s also pos­si­ble to hire soft play, if you have enough space.

DO IT YOUR­SELF There are plenty of low-cost op­tions. Very young RQHV!ZLOO!ORYH!D!EDOO!SRRO!²!MXVW!ÀOO!D!EORZ#XS! paddling pool with in­ex­pen­sive balls from Ar­gos or Early Learn­ing Cen­tre. For slightly older ones, try set­ting up an ac­tiv­ity table with board games, colour­ing books and craft ma­te­ri­als. You could eas­ily put to­gether goody bags with pen­cils, stick­ers and colour­ing-in sheets from Pound­land, or cre­ate a read­ing cor­ner, stocked with books and chil­dren’s mag­a­zines. You could also set up a screen to show DJH#DSSURSULDWH!ÀOPV$!$!GUHVVLQJ#XS!ER[!ZLOO!NHHS! them en­ter­tained for hours, es­pe­cially if you com­bine it with a photo booth. And see if any friends have a ping-pong table gath­er­ing dust in the garage – it’ll go down well with guests of all ages.

KEEP THEM IN­TER­ESTED If there are adults happy to help for a cou­ple of hours, then get­ting the kids out and about around the venue can help them burn off some en­ergy. A trea­sure hunt can be fun, as can an “eye-spy” chal­lenge with a dis­pos­able cam­era and a list of things to snap. If you’re at a coun­try­side venue, see if it’s pos­si­ble to or­gan­ise a na­ture walk, or a trip to see the an­i­mals if you’re on a farm. Tra­di­tional “sports day” games are also easy to or­gan­ise with few ma­te­ri­als, and some sim­ple bub­ble solution and wands will cap­ti­vate lit­tle ones and make for cute pho­to­graphs (just don’t let them bring it in­side!).

GET THE TIM­ING RIGHT Kids will peak much ear­lier than adults and be ready for bed rea­son­ably early. The pe­riod af­ter the cer­e­mony and be­fore the meal, when the adults are hap­pily min­gling and sip­ping some bubbles, is prob­a­bly the dullest for kids, so con­sider ar­rang­ing any or­gan­ised en­ter­tain­ment for around then. Chil­dren will also get hun­gry ear­lier, so con­sider VHUYLQJ!\RXQJHU!JXHVWV!ÀUVW!VR!WKH\!FDQ!JHW!VWUDLJKW! back to play time, or pro­vide ac­tiv­i­ties on the table (such as the eye-spy game, left) so they, in the­ory, stay quiet all the way through the speeches.

TIRE THEM OUT If you’re hav­ing a DJ, see if they can play a “kids only” hour be­fore the adults are ready to hit the GDQFH!ÁRRU$!:LWK!DQ\!OXFN!WKLV!ZLOO!WLUH!WKHP!RXW! for the evening, leav­ing par­ents free to party on in peace. If you have a sep­a­rate kids’ room or tent, this can also dou­ble up as a nap­ping area for any sleepy­heads who just can’t wait for bed.

For this cute ta­ble game, ask kids to take snaps with dis­pos­able cam­eras (or their par­ents’ phones, if they’re feel­ing brave), or sim­ply to put a tick when they spot each spe­cial mo­ment – to down­load, go to­ding-plan­ning

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