Oamaru Marriage and Family Celebrant

Children at Weddings and Receptions
Categories: Weddings

Are you considering having young children at the Wedding? Not sure what to do to ensure that they and their parents have the best day ever celebrating you’re Wedding Day with you.   

Children are often super excited by the thoughts of going to a Wedding; it all seems like a lot of fun, they can  dress up and join in a big party. They get to see friends and relatives that they haven’t seen for a while, eat all their favourite treats and have a great time playing or hanging out with the other children. 

As adults, we expect to wait for the bride to arrive, photographs, the reception to start. In reality, a Wedding Day is super long and exhausting for the children and parents. As for children, they do not understand the wedding etiquette or the rules of large gatherings.   Read on to find my tips and inspiration on managing and entertaining your mini guests for a stress-free and fabulous Wedding Day for all.

First things first! 

Think about how the day will flow. Is it casual or formal? Do you want your little guests to be involved in some way during the ceremony? What kind of day do you want for them? What experience would you like them to have?  Ask their parents what they think about their children coming to the ceremony and consider the children’s age ranges. Are they going to be taking part or included in the ceremony? Would you like them to come to the reception only? 

All these things need consideration to create a stress-free day full of fun for you, your guest, the children and their parents. 

Ceremony Seat Plan and Child Welcome Packs. 

When planning seating for your marriage ceremony, ensure that the ushers know families are attending with children. Ask them to seat families at the end of a row. Providing them with a quick and easy exit if the baby starts crying or a child becomes distracting during the ceremony. Make sure your venue has a quiet corner where a mother can attend to her baby, breastfeed, change a nappy or somewhere safe and overwhelmed child can sit.  This is overlooked and often embarrassing for parents with babies to navigate when at significant events. 

Provide a welcoming table to greet the families when they arrive at the ceremony. Children can collect an activity pack; this could include coloured pencils/pens, an activity book, sweets, crowns or tiara’s, bubbles and cuddles. Label them with the children’s names to ensure they are age and gender appropriate. 

Download my free Wedding Day Activity book pdf at the end of this blog. 

Children taking part in the Wedding Day

Maybe you would like them to be included in some way before the ceremony starts. They could hand out the service sheets and the confetti. A teenager could help with the music and tech. 

If you ask them to be a page boy, flower girl, ring bearer, or they will light a candle, do a reading, sing, dance or something else during the ceremony. You will need to have a rehearsal and make sure they know what they are doing. A little like a school production, they need clear direction, instructions.  Helping them feel super chilled on the day, you will all enjoy these moments. 

Practice, practice, practice 

Ask the parents to set up a mini aisle at home and practice with the children their essential role. Walking down the aisle, reading a poem or singing a song make it fun and exciting too.

Remember to include the shy kids; they might like to come up with a group and feel safer doing something together, giving them time to practice and understand what to do. They will feel better if they are not unexpectedly put on the spot. 

Remember, we all get stage fright! On the day, show kindness, patience and bring your sense of humour! All may not go according to plan. Remember, these moments often make the best memories. 

At The Reception

A babysitter/childminder is an excellent, stress-free addition to your day. Choose a recommended sitter/childminder that can come to the reception to keep an eye on your little guests so that all can relax for the whole reception or after-party. Employ caregiver/childminder or ask an older teenager who could earn a few dollars. It may be wise to consider having two kid’s tables at the reception, one for the very young and one for the older children. 

When laying up the tables, put a paper cloth with crayons and coloured pencils. Invite the kids to draw pictures and write messages, making a lovely keepsake for you. 

Food for the Children

Food is also an important point to consider. Make it child-friendly and nutritious, looks fabulous but not so rich and unfamiliar and do not want to eat it. Serve with mock-tails and alcohol-free wines umbrellas and stirring sticks, making them feel special included in you’re Wedding Day celebrations. 

What to do with the children when it is speech time?

Think about a room set up or an outdoor space, have a movie, a box of toys or some giant games that they can play. A babysitter/childminder can keep them entertained and looked after whilst the adult guest enjoys the reception’s formal part.

Make sure that the children are around for the cutting of the Cake. 

After the cake cutting they couple hand slices out to your guest,  give each child a Wedding favour bag filled with treats, stickers, tattoos, paper models, masks, and dice games, fill them with age appropriate surprises. If you have a photo booth, ask them all to take a picture before heading off to bed, watch a movie and have a quiet time until the parents are ready to leave. Always plan with your childminder or sitter the hours they start and finish, making sure that the parents know the timetable. 

Most of all, enjoy planning a stress-free child-friendly Wedding Day your way. 

Click here for my  read to print, free download Wedding Activity Book.