Children are often tolerated at weddings, but rarely welcomed. It’s almost as if you have to invite the kids because you want their parents to come – right? But it doesn’t have to be that way. Happy, engaged kids are an absolute joy at weddings, and parents love it when you demonstrate you care about their little ones. With a little forward planning it’s easy to ensure that all of your guests enjoy your big day.

  1. Start as you mean to go on. Kids love to get stuff in the post, so why not send them an invite, addressed just to them – not to their parents. Ask them to bring a favourite teddy as their ‘Plus 1’
  1. Organise a ‘Get to Know You’ goodie bag game on arrival. Fill named goodie bags chock full of games, bubbles, toys and sweet treats, then hide them around the venue. The children will quickly form friendships as they seek out the bag with their name on and investigate what’s inside
  1. Get creative. Provide an assortment of pens, crayons and paper on a low table and ask the children to do their best drawings of the wedding, the venue and the guests. You can also dedicate a corner of the table to creating confetti to use later in the day!
  1. Disposable cameras are great fun but if you wanted to take the idea to the next level, get your hands on a couple of mini Polaroid cameras. Most of the kids won’t even know what a Polaroid camera is – just wait until they see how much fun they can be! Add a blank photo album, some kid-friendly glue, and let the kids get creative as they compile your amazing ‘alternative’ wedding album
  1. Provide a fancy dress box. Even if you just put out a box of silly hats, over-size glasses, feather boas and scarves you’re providing them with hours of entertainment
  1. Set aside a corner of the garden just for kids. A brightly coloured kid-size gazebo is a great idea for sunny days. Fill it with picnic blankets, cushions, comics and books. Outside the gazebo you can lay out Giant Jenga bricks, ready for building. It’s always a crowd-pleaser!
  1. Get a bouncy castle – you won’t regret it. Just keep away the groom and bridesmaids if they’ve been on the fizz!
  1. Dig deep. It’s easy to create an instant sand pit that won’t damage the lawn. An inflatable paddling pool will set you back less than a tenner. Add several bags of play sand, buckets, spades and a few plastic shapes and bingo – happy kids for hours and hours!
  1. Don’t forget the kids at dinnertime. It might be worth talking to your venue about seating the children together, at their own special table. If your menu is particularly grown-up then an alternative kids menu would not only be appreciated, but could save you money…
  1. Call in the professionals. If you really have a lot of kids coming, it might be worth the outlay to hire a professional entertainer. A magician or face-painter will appeal across the ages. Get the magic show to start as the speeches commence to guarantee two hours of peace and quiet…

And finally, enjoy your young guests. It’s your wedding, but they will also remember it fondly for years to come.