How To Make Your Wedding Child-friendlyTuesday, April 27, 2021
You've asked and we've answered! Welcome to your weekly column 'Planning Your Happily Ever After' with wedding consultant Shikima Hinds. Her focus this week: Child-friendly weddings
I have a pretty big family, which includes a lot of nieces and nephews. There are also three members of my bridal party who have children. Although I would prefer an adult-only wedding, I couldn't and really don't want to leave out my little loves. Do you have any ideas on how to make my wedding children-friendly without it looking or feeling like a kiddie's birthday party or even having them ruining the ambience of my special day?
Like it or not, working out what you and your wedding guests are going to do with the little ones on your big day is a planning necessity.
Like you, many couples wouldn't dream of getting married without family and friends of all ages, including children. If you do want to invite children, with a little bit of preparation you can keep everyone happy.
There are a few things you can do to make the little ones feel special on your wedding day. This would include options that will keep children entertained and/or cared for in a safe and fun environment within the same venue.
Hosting children at your wedding doesn't have to be hard — before you even begin the planning, you will need to know how many children will be attending your wedding, their ages, and any special needs.
If the kids are considered and well catered to, they won't be a bother to anyone. When looking at the venue and layout, see if there is enough space to create a dedicated area for them away from where they may be a distraction. A contained space filled with kid-friendly items and appropriate décor is the ideal scenario.
Here are things to consider:
1. Give them a role: You can give children of all ages certain roles to play during the wedding. Obvious role choices for children you're close to include flower girl, junior bridesmaid or ring bearer. Some of the older children can give guests wedding programmes.
2. Provide age-appropriate seating and décor for children. Trust me, it is not necessary to put an expensive floral centrepiece on the kids' tables. Small chairs and tables are available for rent locally for little ones.
3. Offer child-friendly and age-appropriate food.
The easiest way to fill the bellies of the little ones is to have food that is easy to serve and that they like to eat. Think of menu items such as chicken nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries, pizza, and fresh-cut fruit.
4. Smaller children have short attention spans, so you need to give them something to do (especially if there is no WiFi for the tablets and devices they may have taken with them). Create an activity pack or booklets with puzzles, colouring sheets, or crafts. Don't forget to include pencils and crayons.
5. If you can afford to, call in the professionals to help to supervise the children. Offer a nanny service to collectively oversee the little ones during the wedding. It helps to ensure they are safe and supervised.
6. Get some child-friendly songs going early. As the night wears on, children may be invited to the dance floor for a few songs. Give them a chance to hit the dance floor early in the evening. Talk with your DJ about what would best suit the style of your wedding reception, but generally a little Can't Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake, and Happy by Pharrell Williams are good choices.
7. A movie area will definitely keep the children seated and out of sight for a while. Do a simple movie theatre set-up and serve up some popcorn.
A creative active space is all you need to keep them happy.
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