DOING IT FOR THE KIDS
Got children attending your wedding? Here’s how to keep these choosiest of guests entertained all day long
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, pitchupandplay.co.uk and mummy-sos.com. 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 every-event-hire.co.uk. 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 to hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning