Weddings are a time for all the family, including its newest, smallest members. While children are an integral part of any family gathering, they bring with them some challenges. Our wedding post today is about mitigating or managing those challenges.

The average wedding is long in the planning and involves a lot of work, money and investment of time and emotion. We work hard to make your wedding day as predictable and as smooth as possible to help manage stress and give everyone a good time. The only thing we can’t predict is how children will act.

The vast majority of children can behave themselves when we need them to and know when we need them to be still and quiet. Unfortunately, that isn’t true for all of them. We want all of our family to be involved in our wedding day, so knowing how to manage the little ones can make all the difference to how your big day goes.

Here are a few tips on managing children at your wedding.

Make Them Feel Special

Most children love being centre of attention. That makes a wedding a challenge as it isn’t about them. A way round this is to give them an “important” job to do such as ring bearer, flower girl or assistant usher. This can often be enough to fulfil the urge to be at the centre of things.

It also helps if you can take five minutes to talk to the kids, to tell them how great they look and even to have your photograph taken with them. What would make them feel more important than being specially selected to pose with the bride or groom? It’s an effective measure that can make all the difference on the day.

Fulfil Their Needs

Never is a child’s hierarchy of needs more important than when you want them to behave. If you’re having an afternoon wedding, that means settling children down for a quick nap in a dark room, ensuring they have a snack to keep their energy up, making sure they go to the toilet before the wedding ceremony and checking for stains before making an entrance.

You could also make snack bags to hand out to the children just before the wedding ceremony. You can fill these with snack foods that won’t make a mess, a small bottle of juice and a tissue to keep everything nice and tidy. Put a name tag on each bag to make them feel special.

Support Them

Even if they aren’t your children, they will know a bride is the centre of the day and should listen to you. Taking a minute to talk to them about the day, about what happens and why and what you need them to do is a great way to avoid any noisy tantrums or bored fidgeting.

Parents also have a role here by talking their little ones through what happens during the day and by being around to support them when they need it. There will be times when they don’t know what to do next or when they are confused. Getting in there early will avoid them feeling like that for too long and avoid any behavioural repercussions down the line.

Entertain Them

After the ceremony, it’s important to have something for the kids to do or somewhere for them to go. Depending on time of day and how long the gap between wedding ceremony and reception, that could involve taking them home to nap or getting them in the car ready for travel.

That’s assuming you’re allowing children at the reception at all!

If you are bringing the children, consider having a place for them to play games, or hire an entertainer to keep them occupied for a while. There are a number of children’s entertainers who will work weddings and can be the perfect way to keep both kids and adults happy.

It may also be useful to have quiet room somewhere near the reception venue so tired children can have a nap or calm down a bit from all the excitement. While not vital, it’s a useful stop gap between parents having to leave early for their kids or being able to stay a bit later.

Children are an integral part of a wedding and we all want them around to experience the big day. Knowing what to expect and mitigating against every conceivable challenge won’t guarantee a trouble-free day but it can go a long way to help deliver one!