12 mistakes wedding couples make when considering children’s wedding entertainment for their special day
So you are nearing the end of your wedding planning and one of you thinks, ‘What about the children? How can we entertain them all day long? Do we need to entertain the children at our wedding?’ I don’t have any ideas for children at weddings?
So how can you do this successfully? What is the best option for children’s wedding entertainment?
Don’t look dumb! Follow my guidelines!
Many couples forget that children need to enjoy the wedding too– and their idea of a good time is somewhat different to yours!
Put yourself in their shoes. As a 5 year old, you don’t want to sit around ‘quietly’ with Mum and Dad eating, listening to a ‘boring old man talking’. You want to run around, play with the other children and explore your new surroundings. You want to jump and dance and you need to let all of your energy out.
A child’s behaviour can ruin your day if you’re not careful and don’t forget; having no plan in place for children makes it hard for their parents to relax and enjoy the day too. So a plan for the children is essential.
Don’t make these mistakes
I’ve attended many weddings as an entertainer and this experience has allowed me to understand what does and doesn’t work for children at weddings. Don’t make silly mistakes! Here are my top 12 mistakes you should avoid:
1. Children will ruin my day.
Wrong! Children can be so much fun and they bring so much happiness to their parents and grandparents on your day. The real reason children can ruin a day is that you have not planned for their extra needs over adults. So please don’t think – we are not inviting children, it will ruin the wedding. That is in so many cases just wrong. You only have to accommodate them and make them feel welcome and it can be such an enhancement to your day. They will probably come and give you a big hug for your efforts to!
2. Don’t worry about planning activities for children – they will be alright!
Wrong! Well, actually right, but this is bad! They will be alright – running, shouting, playing etc. But you and your guests may not be alright! Perhaps have an arts and crafts table (could be the same as their food table) and stock it with glue, card, feathers, tissue paper and colouring pens. This type of activity can really calm children. They could even do cookie decoration if you buy some cookies and pipe able icing.
3. We don’t need special table centre pieces for children.
Why not? You spend hours deciding on your perfect table centre pieces and the adults appreciate this. But to a child, it’s just a bunch of plants and/or flowers shoved in the middle of the table – boring! Why not have fun centre pieces for the children (perhaps a small one in front of each child). Examples of these centre pieces include animal soft toy arrangements, balloon sculptures (high quality – not the traditional dog!), or popular character arrangements.
4. The disco is an adult’s activity.
During the day, particularly in the session between your wedding breakfast and the evening reception, you should seriously consider arranging with your DJ that children’s music and party dances are arranged. Children love this and it’s a great way to let them release their ‘energy’! Your guests will enjoy it and you will get some amazing photos to summarise the fun they had.
5. We don’t need to worry about activities for the day – the parents will sort this.
Maybe the parents will bring some activities but you can be sure there won’t be enough activities to keep them all happy. Invest in some simple activity packs including pencils, colouring crayons, colouring books and puzzle books.
6. We can sit the children with their parents for the wedding breakfast.
While this is true for very young children, those aged five and above love the independence of a children’s table. They can have their own smaller table with little tiny chairs and the activity packs and/or fun centre pieces could be restricted to this table only. They will enjoy this experience but remember to position their parents nearby so that they can keep a watching eye!
7. Children will ruin my ceremony by shouting/crying.
This will not be the case. Parents are extremely worried about this. So make an announcement that it is OK to take your child out if they are making too much noise. That way the parent will not feel embarrassed to walk out with their child if the need arises. Anyway, it probably won’t happen as parents are usually so concerned about this that they prepare themselves with snacks, chocolate and any other bribe known to be effective with their children!
8. Hire in a children’s entertainer to keep them quiet for a bit.
Wrong! A children’s entertainer will in fact entertain them in the opposite way. We (I, Nick Twist am a children’s entertainer) aim to get children doing just what they love – laughing, shouting out, and jumping around. However, you can hire a specialist children’s wedding entertainer to entertain them in ways more suitable for a wedding. Such as walking around performing magic and making balloons. This is far more suitable to a wedding environment.
If you are still keen on the traditional show, it can still happen but ensure that your venue has a room in which you can ‘isolate’ it too. There is nothing worse for your guests who are trying to relax when they hear the children’s show! Speak to your favourite children’s entertainer about what is best for you.
9. They can go and play in the garden during the day.
Possibly true, but consider hiring some outdoor entertainment such as giant Jenga or connect-four. Many wedding venues can provide this if you ask. Alternatively, you can get some online companies to print giant jigsaws and have these outside. If you’re super organised, get photos of all the children and make them their own jigsaws to complete. Nothing motivates a child more to complete a jigsaw if it is of themselves!
10. Older children will join in with their little brothers or sisters.
No, not always. They may get quite bored I’m afraid, especially if they feel the activities are a ‘little below them’. Plan to address this issue with this fun little gem! Give the older children a disposable camera (or ask them to do it on their phone camera and send the pictures on – your choice).
Provide them with a list of photos they need to take – they are like the paparazzi for you. They need to get photos like Grandad kissing Gran, the bride saying ‘cheers’ with a drink, all the children together pulling funny faces, the bridesmaids ‘acting naughty’ etc. Trust me, the older ones will love this responsibility you have given them.
11. No plan for rainy days.
So you were hoping and praying for sun but you just don’t get it. That means that getting the children to play and carry out the activities outside is no longer going to work. Plan for this event. Bring some board games such as hungry hippos, connect four, Guess who, Monopoly etc. You will be thankful you had if the weather isn’t kind to you.
12. Children only want to shout and run about.
Not all children do. Perhaps consider a ‘quiet area’ for them to go and relax in. Maybe a games console or a DVD player could be set up in the room for them.
In summary – it’s easy to accommodate the children and its worth it!
So there you have it, 12 mistakes I see time and time again. There are in most cases such simple solutions. It just takes a little bit of planning on your part and the children will add a huge amount to the experience of everyone’s day.
Some people suggest to me that it is only the parents’ job to keep their children happy. I disagree. You are spending hundreds if not thousands of pounds on items to impress (and therefore entertain) your adult guests, so why neglect the children and then become anxious when they start misbehaving during the day?
Want them at your celebration? There are lots of great ideas for planning for children at your wedding. Plan correctly and you will be hugely rewarded – with the children adding so much more value your celebration.
Enjoy you wedding planning.