The topic of whether to welcome or exclude children from your wedding day celebrations will probably be near the top of your wedding planning to-do list, and this is not a decision to be taken lightly. For my husband and I it was an easy decision to make as we are incredibly close to our nieces and nephews, and we simply could not have pictured our day without them playing a big role. As soon as my husband popped the question my mind was full of images of kids toddling and chasing around our venue, and instantly I knew that our four nieces would make beautiful flower girls, and our two nephews would make very handsome ring bearers...and indeed they did!
That being said, I do understand why some couples opt for an adult only wedding. It’s not that I’m saying you should always include little ones, as adult only weddings provide parents with an opportunity to truly let their hair down. Excluding children is also a fantastic way of reducing the wedding breakfast catering bill!
If you do decide to include children on your guest list then you need to think of ways of keeping them entertained. Hiring event nannies is now extremely popular and tons of reputable wedding day childcare companies have sprung up all over the country. We decided to have all children under the age of ten (who were not flower girls or ring bearers) cared for by a wedding crèche company during the ceremony and the drinks reception which followed. Our reasoning behind this it to prevent bored and fractious children from being noisy during our vows, and also to prevent mums and dad from having to leave to calm the aforementioned children down. However, while we booked the fantastic 'Perfectly Practical Parties' crèche to entertaining the children during the ceremony and drinks reception, it was totally up to us to provide activities for them during the wedding breakfast and afterwards at the evening reception.
So, how do you prevent boredom and keep little fingers busy? Well the best way to go about this is with DIY goodie bags! Of course the children will want to run around and dance under the glitter ball once they are full of sugary drinks, however you may want to provide them with a distraction until the evening reception begins. Exciting goodie bags handed out to each child will go a long way to helping you achieve this goal.
Goodie bags don’t have to be expensive, they just need to contain a variety of fun activities which will keep the children busy for a little bit while their parents relax and enjoy the celebration. For our wedding I filled brown paper bags with goodies and then securing the bag with a sticky label saying ‘just for you’. For our tiny wedding guests we changed the contents of the goodie bags to exclude craft items such as crayons and paper, and to include more ago appropriate toys.
Below you will find a list of some funky and inexpensive products for awesome goodie bags…
- Pencils & crayons – stay away from pens to avoid making a mess
- Colouring pages & dot-to-dots – these can be printed rather than bought
- Pomp oms & pipe cleaners
- Wind-up toys
- Disposable cameras – so that each child can document the occasion!
- Glow sticks
- Fortune fish
- Eye spy games – again, these can be printed
- LED balloons
Just remember that there’s no point in popping expensive toys and games into the goodie bags because at the end of the night it’s very likely that these bags will be left on tables, or chucked in the bin. The aim of a goodie bag is simply to keep children occupied for a couple of hours, and if they do that then you’ve done your job very well!