The kids are alright…hopefully… – Keeping the young ones occupied (in check) at your wedding

Something I’ve noticed at a few weddings in recent years is a ‘No Children’ rule. There are arguments for and against implementing this rule at a wedding. For the couples who want to ensure they get hitched without a hitch, it may seem like a no-brainer. No interruptions during the ceremony (in theory), no tantrums or early exits from the reception. It’s a fair point. Each to their own. But here at Book Of Weddings, we’d like to think that the majority are the other way inclined.


A wedding is a family event. It is, in itself, a celebration of two families coming together. It’s so family focussed that it surely begs the question: Why would you not want the whole family there? Okay, fair enough, in some cases maybe we really don’t want to ask that. But still, kids at a wedding… Aren’t they kind of one of the magic ingredients? The pageboy, the flower girl… Surely, for most of us, these are among the things we want to see in our wedding photos when we look back on the day for years to come.



There is a sticking point though. They are kids. You never really know what you’re going to get from one day to the next. Aside from a ruined pair of trousers from knee sliding to Come On Eileen, children at a wedding are about as predictable as the weather. If you’ve decided you want to keep the magic of children as part of your day, great! But with that magic comes great responsibility. It must be respected. It must be contained. It must be kept from throwing its food and squealing and running riot after too many Panda Pops. But how, you may ask? Well, you can consider the following for starters…


Leave it to the pros

An expensive option, for sure. But if you do your research, an effective one. Hiring qualified childcare for the day leaves guests free to bring the little ones but also kick back and enjoy the day. In conjunction with various kids activities (which we’ll get to shortly) a designated babysitter could be the option for you. If you’re going down this route, be sure to confirm the number of children you’re expecting (and their age range) before talking to prospective sitters. You may need more than one!


Keep them busy, but in a controlled environment

You should give them plenty to do to keep them entertained. Possibly a bit of an obvious idea, but not necessarily guaranteed to do the trick. Two very important things to consider in order to get it right: Variety of activities and the age range of the children you’re expecting. With most children, you’ll probably find that one particular activity holds them for most of the day. And that’s great, but remember that they’re all different. For some, it’ll be colouring in. For others maybe Lego. Consider consulting the parents of all of the children you’re expecting. All the right activities together in the same area (maybe with the aforementioned hired help) should ensure a smooth wedding day. Not just for you, but for all the parents on your guest list too.


Kids eat first

As a guest at a wedding reception, you want to be able to chew the fat with others whilst enjoying your wedding breakfast. This becomes something resembling a military operation however when the kids need feeding too. Making sure food goes in mouths and not across the room whilst getting to know your new relatives is not the way most parents want to spend their afternoon. So how about getting the children fed and watered first? A buffet would do the trick. The parents can put the hard yards in with the kids shortly after the ceremony, maybe whilst enjoying a glass of something to take the edge off. Then, once the kids have had their fill, it’s off to the crayons and felt tips with them whilst the grown-ups enjoy a more relaxed and civilised meal.



I’ll say it again. Bribes. Not bribes as in a suitcase of cash, but the slightly more infantile currency of sweets. For some of the sweet-toothed kids (is there another kind of kid?) on your guest list, there really is only one sure fire way to keep them well behaved. Treats, or, more specifically, the promise of treats on the proviso that they’re on their best behaviour. It may seem a little akin to keeping a pet in line, but for some, it really is too effective an option to ignore. It might not do the trick for everyone. And you should definitely consult parents before raiding the confectionery aisle. But It’s certainly something to consider.