If you have children, or are friends with people who have children, you will need to consider how to make your wedding ‘child-friendly’.
The alternative is to specify ‘No Children’, which may mean that some of your invitees choose not to attend. Making your special day accessible to those with little ones doesn’t mean changing your dream plans or spending lots of extra cash. These 5 simple steps will show you how to plan a child-friendly wedding…
Step 1: Consider The Timings
Small children tend to eat lunch early, nap in the middle of the day, eat tea early and head to bed soon after 7pm. These timings can really clash with wedding day timings: children who are usually in bed are not likely to sit quietly through speeches! Consider condensing your day to prevent children becoming exhausted, perhaps by holding your ceremony in the afternoon or serving afternoon tea instead of an evening meal.
Step 2: Make Separate Spaces Available
Children, particularly young children, have a lot of needs! When considering a wedding venue, bear in mind the importance of having separate rooms available for activities such as breastfeeding and letting little ones have a break from noise. Older children may need to let off steam, so an outdoor area for running around can be invaluable.
Step 3: Choose Appropriate Foods
You don’t need to overhaul your dream menu to make it suitable for children but a few minor adjustments can make a big difference. Include some simpler canapes such as crudités and crisps. For the main meal, consider serving sauces and toppings separately so that kids don’t have to eat them. Alternatively, ask wedding venues whether they can offer a simple kids tea whilst parents are having pre-dinner drinks.
Step 4: Provide Children’s Entertainment
Some couples splash out on a hired children’s entertainer to amuse the little ones during crucial moments such as the speeches. However, there are other, age-appropriate ways to provide entertainment. You could ask a small group of friends to organise a wedding-themed treasure hunt, or you could organise party games in a side room. A few minutes of targeted activity can make a big difference when little ones are flagging.
Step 5: Be Flexible
No matter how hard you try to plan ahead to accommodate children, the fact remains that everyone is different and children do not always do what we expect of them! Be flexible and allow your guests and their children to make the day work for them. If one friend chooses to keep her baby with her during the ceremony, but another discretely takes her baby for a walk outside during the vows, that’s ok. If some friends choose to leave early to get their kids to bed, while others bring toddlers on to the dance-floor, that’s ok too. Avoid setting rules and instead let your guests make their own decisions.
Your wedding is your special day, but these 5 simple steps will help ensure that everyone, even your littlest guests, have a special day too.