It’s supposed to be your Special Day but it can often be fraught with arguments, stress and trying to please everyone.
If you are pulling your hair out trying to sort out all the place settings and making sure Aunty Betty doesn’t sit next to Uncle Connie, your future mother in law’s outfit is not clashing with your Mum’s outfit or worried about what to do to keep all your young, little guests happy, occupied and not running around skidding on the shiny dance floor read on ….!
- Decide firstly if you want to invite children. Not every family wedding has to have children so just take a few moments to ponder if you actually want to include little ones, older ones or just adult ones. Don’t be influenced by your mother- in law or brother – just think about what you’d like as it’s your special day. Just be diplomatic in the way you present your decision to your family – not critical about the way your sister‘s discipline drives you mad !
- Know who’s got kids and what age they are. You just need to plan as the younger the child the more help they need while eating and may be better suited to sitting beside their parents or at least have mum and dad on a table very close to them.
- Make sure they are near a loo – for obvious reasons and you don’t want them running in and out, leaving the table or making a fuss.
- Shy children. It’s good to be aware that some children are painfully shy and would rather stay with their parents than sit at a table with children they have never met before. If you have a flower girl or ring bearer, they would most likely enjoy sitting at the kid’s wedding table or with their parents – not with the rest of your adult wedding party!
- Plan a children’s menu. Kids prefer simple foods (like pizza, chicken drumsticks or sausages) to gourmet food (like garlic mushrooms, salmon parcels and caviar), so have familiar foods for them to eat and everybody will be happier. If the meal is a buffet, think about choosing a few child-friendly items to add like chicken strips (they might have a fancier name, but kids will think of them as chicken nuggets and eat them) or have cocktail sausages or raw carrots to dip into sauces.
- Remember that cups with lids can keep everybody dry! I know this might sound obvious but resist the temptation to choose your best crystal or glass drinking glasses for the children’s table. Ask for plastic or paper cups with lids for the children’s table – choose a theme to make them look fun, and in keeping with your chosen colours. Balloons are fun too. Just remember that a wet table, wet child or a stained bridesmaid’s dress is far worse than clear plastic drinking cups with lids and straws.
- A small snack can be a lifesaver and help you all keep your sense of humour. Adults can handle hunger better than children, and many times wedding food is served to a starving crowd as the photos can go on … and on… and on… So to prevent tired, hungry, grumpy children, consider having individual bags of crackers, crisps or biscuits as well as apples, raisins and carrots to help children survive until the buffet or hot dinner is served. You can even add a pretty ribbon, fun confetti, or a balloon to the package to dress it up a bit! Your parents will think you are a genius and will be most appreciative that you have taken special notice of their children and have gone to so much trouble.
- Have activities for children to do while sitting and waiting. To adults, it is not sitting and waiting, but to kids it can feel like an eternity until they can eat and dance on the dance floor. Children need something to do while adults are enjoying appetisers, champagne and conversation or they get naughty so plan something for them to do.
Crayons and paper are a good start, but that will not hold the attention of all children for very long. Look for age-appropriate, small, individual games and sticker sets – nothing messy, loud, or moving.
Give every child their own activities. Sharing is great in theory, but can lead to tears, tantrums and disappointment and that’s the last thing you want at your wedding reception.
If you choose activities such as crayons, puzzles, and snacks for the Children’s Wedding Table, have a set for each child (labelled with their name on to avoid arguments), at their place setting. Your young guests will feel welcome and be thrilled with your thoughtful gift too
A little forward planning, a special table with activities, and remembering that a smile is a curve that puts a lot of things straight, will make sure that you all have a wonderful time.
Enjoy your Special Day and Good Luck J