New Zealand Weddings

(18 months to four years)


Weddings are nothing if not family affairs, and if you’re a bride with kids or have guests with children, then you are more than likely wondering how best to involve them in your day. Trickiest of all can be knowing what’s age-appropriat­e. Wedding planner, Emma Newman (, says couples often misjudge this, especially if they don’t have wee ones of their own. “Young couples might think that a bouncy castle is the way to go, up to the age of 12, but even an eight-year-old is probably going to be too old for this.” She also points out that today’s kids are savvier than adults might expect them to be. “Today’s kids are exposed to more through technology and TV – they don’t want to be treated like babies.”

So what’s the best approach? Enter our bythe-years guide to helping you host a familyfrie­ndly event that will cater to all your guests’ needs, no matter their age.


Many couples feel nervous about having babies at their wedding – what if they cry their way through the ceremony? But courteous guests will be mindful of the fact it’s your big day and will slip out of earshot if their baby starts fussing. Help these parents to keep their child contented by providing an area for breastfeed­ing with comfortabl­e chairs, jugs of water and glasses, a change table, wipes and portable cots.

If you’re the parent in question, ask a trusted family friend or two to play the role of back-up parent for the day, choosing those who won’t mind missing part of the service if they need to step away. Arm them with everything your baby will need, including bottles and formula or breast milk, toys, a dummy, nappies, wipes and a couple of changes of clothes.

Says celebrant Melanie Kerr (melanieker­r., “In an ideal world, your baby would be right there with you when you say ‘I do’, however, if the unexpected happens, as it so often does, the bride should not be the person left to handle it. A crying baby or grizzling toddler equals a stressed mum and that’s no way to spend the precious moments of your wedding ceremony.”

If you can’t imagine your special moment without your bundle of joy, include them in your ceremony by carrying them down the aisle, or holding them close during the service. TOP TIPS

Prepare for the unexpected, but smooth the path by keeping your baby to his or her usual routine as much as you can on the day.

Nana is often the perfect person to hand your baby to after the ceremony. She can circulate around guests, showing off her grandchild while you’re busy being congratula­ted by everyone.

If your baby tends to spill, don’t change them into their wedding outfit until just before the ceremony and don’t feed too close to the start of proceeding­s (if possible) and provide towels or cloths for whoever is burping them.


It’s this age group that’s most likely to provide the unforeseen little moments that everyone will remember fondly for years to come. Melanie once paused a ceremony so the groom could take his four-year-old daughter to the bathroom. Another ceremony was halted temporaril­y while the bridal party searched for the wedding rings that the two-year-old ring bearer had tossed into the crowd.

Ensure preschoole­rs have the time of their lives (and allow their parents to, too) by enlisting the services of a children’s entertaine­r. They’re worth their weight in gold for this age group – think magicians, fairies and clowns (hire one who puts his make-up on as part of the act, so children won’t be frightened of him). Provide goody bags containing healthy snacks and toys, ensuring the toys are safe for all ages. TOP TIPS

Feed little ones straight after the ceremony, before the adults eat. A nutritious and wellreceiv­ed option is roast chicken and potatoes with fresh fruit for dessert.

Many a newlywed has said there was so much happening on the day, that it wasn’t until afterwards that they realised they didn’t get any special photos with their children. Avoid this by having pictures taken before the ceremony or ask someone to ferry your children to and from the photo session and make sure those shots are prioritise­d.

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