Children playing at a weddingChildren are spontaneous, full of fun and creativity, bright as buttons and have smiles that will melt your hearts. But what do you do with them when you want to have a civilised wedding reception? You don’t need to exclude them, just spend a little time considering how to keep the little monsters (I mean angels) occupied when all the boring adult stuff is going on.

Where to put children in your wedding seating plan:

  • Older children (10+) may like a table of their own;
  • Younger children (under 7’s) may prefer to be with parents, or at least near by;
  • Under 5’s will probably still need assistance with food so must be with parents;
  • Under 2’s may need a highchair – check with the parents beforehand;
  • Provide each child with a personal activity bag, tailored to age and gender;
  • Consider including a specific children’s activity or craft table in your seating plan (see below).

Food for children:

  • Have a children’s menu option (sausages, chicken nuggets, chips etc);
  • Provide children’s plastic cutlery for the under 5’s, including cups with spouts, plastic beakers, bibs and wet wipes;
  • Provide pots of snacks to keep the children’s energy levels up whilst waiting for food or going through into the evening. Snacks that go down well may be bread sticks, raisins, crackers, grapes, biscuits, flapjack etc. Avoid chocolate as it will melt onto sticky little hands (which will then give the bride a big, sticky hug!!)

Activities:

Children's wedding activity book - notonthehighstreet.com

Children’s wedding activity book – notonthehighstreet.com

Have a look at our Pinterest board for some inspired ideas to captivated children’s imagination and make their experience of the reception as fun as yours!

Craft Table

Almost all children love craft activities. Use a wipe clean table cloth, provide simple plastic aprons and avoid paints or pva glue. A great idea is to use a large sheet of white paper instead of a tablecloth, and encourage children to draw straight onto it (we did this at our own wedding).

So, what should you put on a craft table? Here are some ideas:

Ages 2+
Pompoms, pipe cleaners, coloured paper, child safe scissors, sellotape on a dispenser, pritt stick, lots of stickers, templates for paper hats and masks, lolly sticks, play dough, elastic, crayons, pencils, washable felt tip pens, googly eyes, colouring books or printed colouring pages.

Ages 5+
Beads for threading (make sure babies and toddlers do not swallow beads), dot to dot puzzles, tissue paper flower making, paper plane models to construct, temporary tattoos, activity books with wordsearches, crosswords and puzzles.

Other activities

Bridesmaids blowing bubblesMake or buy some little chalkboards, boxes of chalk and sponges for wiping. Bubbles always go down well with all age groups. The smaller favour sized pots of bubbles are quite good as they will not make too much mess if they are spilled.

Older children would love a Scavenger hunt or ‘I spy’ game – these ones are great and perfect for weddings.

Providing space for the under 2’s
If there will be a lot of babies and young toddlers at your wedding, consider setting up a baby corner where parents can take their children to for a little break from the table. Place plenty of adult chairs around the edge, soft mats or quilts on the floor and baby toys such as activity mats and plastic toys. If you do not have any toys yourselves, ask parents to bring some along.

Dedicated play rooms
If you are lucky enough to have a spare room at the reception, it would make a perfect room for children. You could provide a TV or laptop with DVD playing, console games, board games, card games, building blocks or lego, soft baby toys, wooden trains, puzzles and craft activities.

Remember that you need adults willing and able to supervise, or request that parents to stay with their children.

Professional entertainers

Wedding crèche - Toadstool Parties

Wedding crèche – Toadstool Parties

If your budget allows, children will be captivated by a children’s entertainer – for example a balloon artist, clown, magician, disco with children’s games, face painter, soft play equipment, bouncy castle or just a friendly teenager who knows lots of party games!

Wedding Crèche
For complete childcare, you might consider a wedding crèche. Companies like A Little Something Extra can offer a professionally staffed crèche at your wedding venue for as many hours as you need.

You get to choose the activities, so you might have craft activities during the day followed by party games and songs in the evening. You could even include elements of your wedding theme – perhaps a butterfly themed craft activity, for example.

As you’d expect, staff are all CRB checked and it is run in accordance to Ofsted staff to children ratios.

Other ideas?

Have you thought of any other ideas or activities for keeping your younger guests entertained? We’d love to hear them!

Please let us know in the comments section below.

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A little bit about Adam, founder of TopTablePlanner...

Adam has been working in the wedding industry since 2006. After discovering that arranging the seating is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, he launched TopTablePlanner in 2007. See his Google+ profile.