Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Children at Weddings - your Wedding can be screaming free if you manage to keep them occupied...

Some of you may not know this- I have a 9 month old son who is the greatest light of my life. Well, most of the time :)
I will start this blog post with this great picture of a wedding of Helen and Paschal a fantastic couple with 2 adorable sons, and the whole wedding was with lots of kids, a wedding that took place symbolically enough on the day I gave birth to my precious one...

My husband and I are invited to a wedding out of town (it is actually the very 1st wedding abroad I will attend that I didn't plan and won't be coordinating (well maybe just a little :)) in May and I started thinking about the "kids at weddings issue" from an entirely different perspective. So far I was looking at it from the Wedding Planner's perspective, but since recently, I have a Mother's perspective as well, putting things in a whole new point of view!
After a lot of thinking and discussion, we decided we will leave our little precious one at home with grandparents for those 2 days that we are leaving for. If it were for longer, I am not sure we would do so. And surely if we did take Luka with us, I would be looking into an option of babysitter for the evening. Not really sure any parent can relax and entirely enjoy a wedding event while their child is either running around a new unexplored area or while their baby is requesting their undivided attention.

The key is keeping children occupied at weddings. I am delighted to tell you that for most of our Dubrovnik weddings we either have babysitters (especially for smaller children and babies) or some sort of entertainment for kids. Special thanks to Kim Rix (http://www.yourlondonweddingplanner.co.uk/) for some of her ideas and suggestions in the words that follow!
Some recommendations follow:

1. Give kids a role at the wedding- if they are old enough (probably 5+) and feel comfortable enough, have them as flower girls and paige boys, they will feel so important, and almost adult and surely behave much more adult than you would ever anticipate them. Do make sure they know exactly what to do and their parent/guardian is closeby in case the child suddenly decides to change their mind, which often happens. When you put them in front of an aisle and 100 people look at them, smilingly, not all of them will feel comfortable, well - would you? So do hope for best scenario but also be prepared for the not so good one too. Worst that can happen is that they will walk down the aisle with someone adult or not walk at all. Surely your (Dubrovnik Event) wedding coordinator will adapt to that and make sure nobody noticed anything.
2. Garden Games
If you are having your reception in a venue which has an outside area, garden, or grounds, then you might want to consider hiring a few garden games. If you are not Croatian, bring games children at your wedding will be familiar with and will know how to play them without too much explanations.

3. Kids Fun corner
We can set up a small table for the children in a corner of the reception. Provide some colouring books, crayons and ‘dry’ art materials so they can colour, make and play. You might consider some ‘wedding’ themed crafts like decorating a lucky horseshoe or designing a wedding dress. There are plenty of ready-made sets out there so you don’t have to make activities up yourself!

4. Candid Camera

If they are old enough (5 or 6 years +) then you could consider buying a couple of disposable cameras to allow them to take a few pictures themselves. You could set them a checklist of images to shoot or things they have to find. They will feel really important and you will get lovely pictures from their view of the wedding.

5. Special Treats

Young people have great fun pretending to be adults. They will see your guests sipping on champagne, eating canap├ęs and nibbling on decadent treats. Ask your venue or caterer to create some children friendly treats and cocktails. Ask them to make sure they are healthy and low in sugar (so they don’t get too hyper) and lay them out specially.

In the end I would like to say that you as Bride and Groom will need to address this issue, one way or another. Want to make an adult only wedding? A challenging task, I will tell you that, as not all parent will be understanding of this, but if this is your plan- make sure you personally speak to the parent and explain them easily, but also make sure that you tell them how happy it would make you that they attended the wedding.
If there will be children at your wedding, speak to your wedding planner to provide entertainment ie clowns (if budget allows), or make kids corners with art and crafts. Any parent will appreciate your efforts and you will not see children running around your wedding reception and stumbling upon your feet during your first dance. We assure you- Kids at weddings can actually be a lot of fun and absolutely great in pictures!

Happy planning!