Blog / Children at weddings and how to occupy them | Hints and Tips
I love photographing children at weddings. Not everyone has children at their weddings, but I seem to get booked by couples having family friendly weddings, with lots of kids running around. And that’s wonderful for me! I love shooting family photography, and a great kid friendly wedding combines both my loves of weddings and families. The funny little moments, the things they say, the things they do. All perfect little moments for me to capture. Hopefully this blog will give you some ideas for having children at weddings, with some useful hints and tips.
But what are the best ways of keeping children happy and content on your wedding day? I’ve seen so many different ways of entertaining children at weddings that I thought I’d share some with you here. I’ve also asked over on my facebook page and had some great tips back from previous brides and what worked for them.
If you are debating whether to have children at your wedding in the first place, then don’t panic. You of course must do what suits you on your special day. Friends and family will understand if you choose not to include children, and the majority will likely be happy to arrange to have a child free day with great joy! You won’t please everyone, but once again, you must do what works for you. But don’t be scared to include children in your wedding. Just be prepared, and they will bring lots of joy to everyone there.
Consider your timeline. If you do include children in your wedding, think about the timings of your day. You will of course be thinking of your guests during your planning process, but consider the kids too when you look at your day. Do you get married at a time of the day when people may miss a meal? Parents know their own children, and no doubt will bring snacks, but keeping everyone informed as to when food is going to be available is really useful. You don’t need to write an essay in your invites, but general bullet points for timings will really help parents. And will in turn help to keep children content and full up and happy!
When it comes to food, chat to your caterers about options for children. Yet again, you won’t please everyone, but often something a little more simple will go down a treat. A big consideration is how to keep the children occupied during the meal. If you are having a 3 course wedding breakfast, which can take around one and a half hours, this is a long time for kids to sit. I had some fab tips from my facebook page about things to occupy the children at the the tables. Ask your guests if anyone needs a high chair, and provide one if possible, or ask them to be prepared with a booster seat of their own. Any parent will have all the kit they need, but if they don’t know to bring it, they may end up a bit stuck. Help them with all the information you can offer.
Ideas for at the table:
-Gingerbread name places (cute and something else to eat!)
-Colouring books or story books (can all be bought cheaply from discount shops).
-Make up an age appropriate gift bag for each child. Little games, colouring pencils, sticker books, small things to make. All great to keep little people happy.
Another idea is to have an area away from the tables where the children can migrate to after they have eaten. A separate table with lots of activities can be a really great way to give parents a little break and get the children to sit and play together. Things like colouring, mask making, colourful pipe cleaners for crafting, stickers, wordsearches and puzzles all can be added to the table for the children to delve into.
Another suggestion I got was for a little play area set up with a Sylvanian Families set up, so the kids can play weddings! A Lego station could be brilliant too.
Depending on your budget, you can even consider hiring a company to provide child care for the day. This way everyone get’s to be together, but the parents can take a breather too. I’ve photographed one wedding before where the children all sat together and the child care company sat with them and helped during the meal as well as offering games and care throughout the day. Another wedding had a children’s entertainer, providing fun, games, dancing and crafts for 2 hours of the reception. A really good use of budget if there are lots of children and the bank balance allows.
Bottles of bubbles (the blowing variety, not champers-well, not for the kids anyway!) at the table or as an alternative to confettii is also great. For an outside area, a bubble machine or large bubble wand could be great, but perhaps consider providing some towels in case any bubble mixture gets spilled!
Pinatas are great fun for young and old alike, and they are a great activity to involve lots of people. Just make sure you have someone organizing the game, and keeping everyone back away from the belting stick! Once again, delegating will be a big theme throughout your wedding planning journey. It’s a great idea to ask people to have little job (such as being games master or pinata organiser) so that on the day you don’t have to think about it.
An outdoor games area in general is of course such a great idea. Adults and kids will get stuck in with games such as giant jenga, connect four and even a game of rounders or cricket if space allows. You can have easy cheap games such as welly wanging, throwing beanbags with a home made target, or just a bunch of hula hoops. Maybe some chalk boards and chalk dotted around to encourage people to keep score and make the games last a while longer.
If you have the luxury of a separate space, set up a projector and screen with some fun kids movies, and perhaps during the speeches they can head off and have a little chill time. You may need to delegate and ask someone to be designated in charge, but if you have the speeches filmed hopefully that person won’t feel too hard done by!
And the main thing, relax! There may be a child scream at an inappropriate moment, or another call out during the speeches, but this will not ruin your day! If you have planned in advance with a few things to keep them occupied, then you’ve done your bit. Don’t stress about getting children in groups shots, if they want to they will. If they don’t want to, we’ll try again later. I always endeavor to make group shots fun and fast, and kid friendly. But also I will be photographing the children alot, and this is made especially fun for me when they are occupied with fun games and activities. So relax, enjoy and revel in all of your loved ones being there on your special day.
If you’d like to find out more about my style of relaxed, informal wedding photography please just get in touch. Many thanks x