IT’S CHILD’S PLAY
by Sabrina Atherton
It’s easy to expect the worst when you see the words ‘children’ and ‘wedding’ in the same sentence. Those two simple words can conjure up nightmarish images of gangs of little people terrorising your other guests,= screaming and crying uncontrollably as you say your vows, or breaking down in a sugar-induced tantrum during your first dance. However children can be adorable and bring heartfelt warmth to your special day.
If you’re thinking of including children at your wedding, we’re on hand with a few helpful tips to keep everyone happy regardless of their age.
Little people love to please and lend a hand so make them feel like they’re an important part of your day by giving them small tasks to do. You can ask them to help by handing out the confetti or little bottles of bubbles at the end of the ceremony, bearing the rings, or helping to round up your guests for photos.
Don’t forget to tell your little helpers what a great help they have been once they have completed their task, the praise will make them feel extra special and in return they’ll want to help out some more.
Children are renowned for having an attention span that rivals a goldfish, so it pays to organise any photos including them to be taken as soon after the ceremony as possible to get the best out of them. It’s also important to ensure there are plenty of things for them to do while your photographer is busy with you and your other guests.
If you want your young guests to join in then it’s a good idea to make sure you plan any child-focused activities early in the day, before their attention span and energy levels are depleted.
When considering the menu for the little people, keep it kid-friendly – fish fingers or chicken nuggets with chips make great options; the kids won’t appreciate anything too fancy, and parents may be unhappy if it’s too unhealthy. The same rule applies to dessert – ice cream or a fruit salad washed down with a slice of wedding cake will always be an instant winner.
Food may be the way to win a man’s heart but fun is how to win a child’s love. All you need to plan your entertainment with children in mind is a splash of creativity and a great big dollop of fun. There are plenty of options to keep your young guests (and some of the older ones, too) grinning from ear to ear – from professional entertainers to outdoor activities. Hire a face painter to transform them into tigers and butterflies, set up a game of crochet on the lawn, or hire a bouncy castle if the budget can stretch to one. Whatever you decide, make sure the entertainment is age appropriate otherwise you may be wasting your money. For more ideas for entertaining the kids, try Rainbow Rascals or The Fun Warehouse.
To keep the kids entertained during the ceremony or the wedding breakfast, you can make fun goody bags or activity packs for them to enjoy. Colouring books, crayons, stickers, a little pot of non-toxic Play Doh, and some yummy treats are all easy ways to keep children quiet for a few minutes.
Don’t include anything that might make a noise or will need adult supervision. It’s also a good idea to check the contents of your activity packs with your venue because some may not allow certain items.
Activity packs are not the only way to keep the kiddies entertained. We live in a tech-savvy world and a tablet at easy reach can be a lifesaver when faced with a young guest teetering on an edge of breakdown. Pre-load the tablet with fun games, interactive apps and movies to use at a moment’s notice.
You can take your child-friendly entertainment one step further if your venue, or more importantly your budget, can cater for a separate breakout room. It really can be worth every extra penny if done right.
It can be a room where the children can simply let off steam without disrupting the proceedings. Alternatively, it can be somewhere for them to chill out. Throw in some giant pillows, comfy blankets, a few buckets of popcorn and a Disney favourite, and you’ve discovered the winning formula to smiling faces all round.
If you’re planning to invite children to an evening do, you can help parents out by organising childcare locally. Depending on how many you have coming with children, you may want to discuss plans with the parents to find out what they’re comfortable with, whether it’s an in-room sitter, a listening service or full-on childcare.
Add the contact details for a babysitting service into your wedding invitations or give your guests a day off from their parental duties by organising a team of sitters to whisk the little ones off for a few hours. Rockmybaby provides professional babysitting services across New Zealand; they can also custom create event care packages catering just for your wedding.
You may, however, find that your wedding gives those with kids the perfect excuse to enjoy some adult-only fun by leaving the little ones at home, or by asking friends or family to take care of them.
Rainbow Rascals: www.rainbowrascals.co.nz
The Fun Warehouse: www.thefunwarehouse.co.nz