30 genius tips to help kids at weddings stay happy and chilled-out for the duration!
Tips for keeping Kids at Weddings happy…as well as their parents!
Kids at Weddings // I love to photograph kids at weddings but whether or not you invite kids to your wedding is entirely up to you. I’ve been to weddings with lots of little people, weddings without little people, and weddings with only the couple’s most special little people. They were all brilliant, unique, and amazing – after all every wedding is awesome because of the people in and around it. Fact.
So if you’ve chosen not to have kids at your wedding, that’s cool! If you’re inviting dozens of charming and chirpy pre-teens then I figured you might be able to use some tips and hints on how to keep them smiling! Let’s face it – a wedding is a long day for little ones, and everything is new, and different, and that kind of thing isn’t always easy when you’re not very big yet.
I love children and I love to photograph them. They are unashamed to let their personalities and emotions shine and, if you know me you know I love a character! This post is illustrated with fab, funny and awesome kids at weddings – I hope they make you smile. Anyway…
Here are 30 genius tips to help keep children at your wedding entertained, comfortable and happy – and to make sure even the kids have an AMAZING time on your wedding day!
Make it crystal clear if you’re inviting kids to your wedding
1. The internet is full of advice to help you word your invitations to include kids, and telling you how to do it, but really it’s dead simple: put their name on the invitation. “…and family” won’t cut it: write “Jake, Jenny and Olivia” on the invite!
2. While you’re at it, put their name on the envelope as well! It’ll help clarify things – and apparently it’s an etiquette thing (according to Martha Stewart (Martha Stewart weddings) – official US queen of weddings, so who’s to argue?)
3. But don’t just leave it at that! Etiquette is nice and all that, but these days folks pay more attention to texts – oh, and actual speaking conversations in words out loud – yeah, that old tradition! Give your friends a call, have a chat! And make it really clear if you’re inviting their kids to your wedding – simples.
4. While you’re there, mention things like what kids should wear. Do they need to be dressed up in little mini suits? Or just semi-smart? Perhaps you need to mention that Sam can’t wear his spiderman outfit on the big day… or perhaps you want to encourage it?! You can’t be specific about this kind of thing in an invitation, so that phone chat is essential!
Involving kids in your wedding celebrations
5. How shy are the children you know? You might have born performers desperate to read a poem, or tiny flower girls terrified of walking down the aisle. Be considerate – give little ones a role if they’d like one (flower girl, page boy, bridesmaid, ring bearer) – but don’t push it if they’d rather stay out of the limelight.
6. How about creating a new role for the kids at your wedding? Perhaps you need a ‘confetti crew’ or a ‘mini usher’ – or let them hand out your hymn sheets. If a parent is a bridesmaid or usher, perhaps the kiddies can help out with their grown up duties.
7. Have a practice run if you can – it can be informal at your house – just so the children know what to do at the wedding itself. Have a buddy system where an older bridesmaid or parent knows to hold your flower girl’s hand. A rehearsal can iron out any nerves and fill your kids with confidence on the wedding day.
8. Have a pre-wedding party for the kids so they can get to know each other before the big day! Perhaps a barbecue at home where all your friends and family with children can bring them along and introduce them – then on the day, they’ll feel happier if they see kids they already know.
Little suits or mermaid costumes?
9. I always think kids clothes are way more fun than adult ones! So their top choice for a really special occasion might not match yours. Try to be flexible with kids’ outfits – find the best compromise you can between comfortable and smart – bearing in mind that comfortable should come first! Don’t assume all girls want to dress like princesses. Do be prepared for all the kids to be rolling about on the lawns and spilling food. That’s what they love!
10. You can save a lot of stress by coordinating (and gifting) little accessories to the kids who have a role at your wedding. If cornflower blue is your accent colour, find little badges or hair pins, and cute bowties or converse so the kids at your wedding look coordinated!
11. Different ages, genders and characters won’t be keen on coordinating suits and dresses; so matchy-matchy outfits is far more trouble than it’s worth. Instead, give guidelines on colours: pastel grey or dusky pink is enough of a theme for parents to pick a suitable outfit for little ones.
12. Comfort should come first, and the three things to expect with kids are hot, cold and itchy! They’ll be happiest in comfy quality cottons, and layers which they can put on and take off for when they’re running and chasing each other or nodding off in their high chairs over dinner.
13. Some kids are really attached to their batman costumes. In the eyes of a seven year old, that’s a pretty special outfit for a big occasion. Who’s to say adults know better? Just throwing that in there…
The main event
14. Church, barn or country house – wedding ceremonies are tough for kids! They can’t see, for starters – and on such an exciting day the last thing they want to do is sit still and be quiet! If there’ll be kids at your wedding, this is where you’ll need a little flexibility and understanding so things run smoothly for everyone.
15. Perhaps let parents know that it’s ok to bring their child’s favourite toy (let’s face it – we mean iPad – but on silent!) to the ceremony. But if little ones need some space and are really struggling to sit still, let their parents know (beforehand) that it’s fine to take them outside to let off a little steam if they need to!
Can a 6 year old mingle?
16. Kids don’t know about mingling – so when the canapés come out, and everyone’s stood chatting, it’s a little confusing for children. They expect something to happen! And if it doesn’t, 3 minutes of waiting patiently is a reasonable limit before boredom really kicks in. So a diversion at this stage is going to come in very handy!
17. This is a pretty good time to talk about a crèche. They’re absolutely genius – if your budget will allow, this will be a lifesaver! There are some brilliant wedding crèches around, and they’re run by people who have tons of experience of making weddings amazing even for children! Big names include Pitch Up and Play, The Wedding Crècherz, All Events Childcare and The Little Top.
18. Take your time to research different crèche providers. Perhaps one has been to your venue before? At the very least, the providers of your crèche should be familiar with the wedding environment: they’ll need to know the run of the day, and how to handle the excitement of a wedding day. Read this helpful guide to choosing a wedding crèche on the UKAWP website. https://www.ukawp.com/how-to-choose-your-wedding-creche/
19. You could also hire indoor and outdoor entertainments: the classic jenga, giant connect 4 and village fête style games are fun for everyone – you really can’t go wrong with these!
20. And we totally recommend a wedding photo booth. Kids love these as much as adults – dressing up, pulling faces and taking photos? Kids INVENTED this!! Perhaps allow them early access to your photo booth before it’s taken over by gaggles of merry grown ups in the evening?
21. Some kids are more introverted, and even the craziest of little ones get tired at weddings – so think about a quieter space they can feel safe in. A room with a DVD player / Disney movie playing will be perfect to escape to. Even teens will love this – and mums and dads can hide out in here with their kids as well.
Five year olds, foodies and fish fingers
22. Let’s start with the weirdness of canapés, shall we? Imagine you’re five – and presented with a tiny bit of pastry with pink goo and some leaves on it. Um.
After the wedding ceremony, EVERYONE is hungry – and that includes kids. You could have snacks especially for them and drinks too!
Kids tables at weddings
23. Think carefully before putting all the children on one table for your wedding breakfast. A kids table is a cute idea, but it really depends on the ages of all the children – and can you remember the noise level in your school dinner hall? An alternative is to have a few family tables, where groups of four or five children can sit with familiar adults to balance fun with noise control!
24. Check your venue provides high chairs! Some toddlers do need to be captive at mealtimes.
Speech time and kids
25. Wedding speeches are just about the dullest thing ever for kids. The jokes go over their heads (or they can’t believe their ears), they’re not allowed to talk because all the adults are trying to listen… it’s really not fair. Provide an alternative – those Disney DVDs in the room next door or a crafty goody bag.
26. If there’s nowhere else for the kids to go while the wedding speeches are made, pre-warn your speakers. Perhaps that means a time limit for your Dad, or a language limit for your best man. If the stag do stories he’s prepared aren’t meant for little ears, it could be as traumatic for him to give his carefully-prepared speech as it is for your preschoolers to hear it!
Busting little moves…
27. Disco lights and a dance floor are an invitation for the more flamboyant children at your wedding to go crazy! Embrace it – have a giggle and a dance with the little ones: it will be one of the funnest parts of your day, and theirs!
28. You could even allow the kids a little time on the dance floor before the main party begins – with a little Spotify playlist and some help from a couple of ushers or bridesmaids who are dads and mums as well – let the kids loose before everyone else joins in!
29. If your venue has on site accommodation, perhaps prioritise families when you’re allocating rooms – that way, mum can stay on the dance floor while dad flakes out upstairs next to their sleepy little ones!
Some more top tips for keeping kids happy at your wedding
30. Choose your wedding suppliers well. Find a photographer who’ll get on brilliantly with the kids. They should be lovely and friendly and fun, not formal or strict! The same goes for your DJ, venue staff, any entertainers and your videographer. PICK ME – I GENUINELY REALLY LOVE CHILDREN!