The subject of kids at weddings is one every couple has to address at some point in their planning. And be warned: it often opens the door to a lot of strong feelings and opinions.
Generally, couples take one of two sides: they either want an “adults only” celebration where everyone can have the ‘night off’ to let their hair down (with nursing babies or children with special needs being the exception) or they want a “family-friendly” affair where everybody’s welcome – little ones included.
It’s a debate that’s plagued the industry forever and to this day, there’s still no clear winner – both sides make a valid case. But really, who cares: it’s your wedding and as we’ve said from day dot, “your day, your way”.
We’ve weighed in on this topic before (check out our post on how to tell guests their kids aren’t invited to your wedding) but what about couples who want kids at their wedding? Let’s discuss.
Reasons to have children at your wedding
While the majority of couples in Australia choose to have a kid-free wedding, there are plenty of brides and grooms-to-be who don’t want their event to be exclusive to adults. Usually, a lot of couples who choose to have kids at their wedding either have their own offspring and are glad for there to be other young ones in attendance, or they’re getting married in a location that makes it difficult for guests to organise care for their kids. Sometimes it’s both. There are however, plenty of other reasons couples might choose to invite kids to their wedding, including:
- They’ve found it difficult in the past when they’ve been to a wedding where their kids weren’t invited.
- They love kids and the extra sprinkle of joy and laughter they bring to a celebration.
- They want to save their guests the hassle of organising care for their kids.
- They want to make sure all their guests can come.
- They value family and want their celebration to feel inclusive of everyone.
How to keep kids at weddings entertained
It’s common knowledge that children don’t follow the same social etiquette as adults – and nor should they. However, their inability to sit still, eat politely, talk at a normal decibel level and fully regulate their emotions can be disruptive at times. If you want to make your wedding kid-friendly while keeping the vibe, the answer lies in the planning.
It’s unrealistic to expect children to behave appropriately at all times: anticipating their needs and having some well considered strategies to help prevent potential meltdowns is a win-win for everyone involved. This way, the kids don’t get to a point of no return and the parents can relax knowing their children will be entertained and well cared for. Here are some ideas.
1. Involve them in the ceremony
Kids love to feel like they are part of something special. Consider assigning them roles in the wedding ceremony such as ring bearers, flower girls/boys, or junior bridesmaids/groomsmen. Give them adorable accessories like mini bouquets or tiny tuxedos that they’ll cherish as keepsakes.
2. Create a kid-friendly activity corner
Designate a cosy corner or a separate area just for the little ones, where they can unleash their creativity. Stock it with colouring books, crayons, puzzles and other engaging games to keep them happily occupied.
3. Games galore
Keep boredom at bay with interactive games tailored to the kids. From classic outdoor lawn games like sack races and hopscotch to indoor activities like board games or a mini scavenger hunt, there’s plenty of ways to occupy the young ones. If you want to take it up a notch, organise a jumping castle, bubble machine or petting zoo.
4. Snacks that wow
There’s nothing worse than a hungry small human. Have some snacks that are readily available (similar to a grazing station for adults) and offer a separate kids menu with delicious, easy-to-eat meals and finger foods that you know will fill their tummies.
5. Let them strike a pose
Set up a photo booth specifically for the kids, complete with fun props and backdrops. Watch them be silly as they muck around and create adorable memories of their own.
6. Sweet delights
Aside from the inevitable sugar high, providing some sweet treats for the kids is guaranteed to keep them quiet (momentarily, at least). A colourful candy bar or a dessert station filled with treats like cupcakes, cookies and lollies is a helpful form of bribery for the adults and an exciting treat for the kids.
7. Kid-friendly entertainment
Consider hiring a children’s entertainer like a magician, face painter or balloon artist to dazzle and entertain the little ones. Or organise a guest appearance by one of their heroes such as Batman, Spiderman or Emma Wiggle.
8. Movie time
For the younger guests who may need some quiet time, create an inviting and cosy movie corner where they can enjoy age-appropriate films. This calming moment of pause can be a lifesaver if the timing is right.
9. Hire a babysitter
If you really want to give your guests the night-off, hire a babysitter. This way, parents can relax knowing they’re being well supervised, entertained and that they’re off the hook unless the babysitter calls for backup.
Featured image: Skye Carter.