Wedding | Mottram Hall

Top tips for a child-friendly wedding reception

Rings on wedding fingers Rings on wedding fingers

One of the most monumental occasions of your life, your wedding will undoubtedly be filled with laughter and happiness, allowing you and those closest to you to make special memories that will last a lifetime. Wherever you’ve chosen to celebrate your special day, whether at a wedding venue in Cheshire or somewhere further afield, you should feel confident in the knowledge that it is shared with your friends and family. Although you may have drafted up several versions of your guest list, it is inevitable that, if there are young children involved, you are worried about how well they’ll cope throughout the day. With smaller children, skipping the ceremony makes the most sense, particularly if they’re not well known for their ability to sit still just yet! However, when it comes to the evening, there are a few tips and tricks to consider which can make everybody involved happy.

Whether you’ve chosen an intimate reception closer to home or a lavish destination wedding for your nearest and dearest, your wedding is sure to be personal to you, with every minute detail carefully crafted to your taste. For some soon-to-be couples, they can’t imagine not sharing their special day with the little ones in their lives. Younger nieces, nephews, cousins and siblings will inevitably want to be included in your big day, creating precious moments that you’ll savour for years to come. However, just because you’ve decided to include these in your evening plans, you shouldn’t feel obligated to invite the children of more distant acquaintances.

If your friends or more distant relatives have young children, you should distinctly inform them as to whether or not you’d like them at your reception. This should be done as early as possible to allow for childcare plans, such as sourcing a babysitter. This can sometimes be difficult, especially when confronted with queries as to why some children have been excluded but sticking to your original guest list is the easiest way to avoid drama.

When planning your wedding reception with younger children involved, there are a few things that you may like to consider in order to make the evening run smoothly, keeping little ones occupied. Claire from English Wedding Blog believes that this is easier than you may think, sharing: “Take advantage of all the great suppliers out there, especially companies who offer childcare at weddings! Kids can enjoy the party of a lifetime with everything from wigwams to bouncy castles, in the care of experienced and brilliant professionals - and their parents can relax and enjoy the day!” Discover our top tips below for some inspiration.


Give them space

Flowers on a table Flowers on a table

If you’re worried about having small children running amuck on your special day, why not give them their own space to run and be free? This is a great option if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, as you can simply erect an extra tent which can be filled with toys and blankets for when they get tired.

We spoke to Louise from Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, who offered this piece of advice for anyone who is planning their wedding: “When planning a family friendly wedding, definitely consider the little ones and all their needs. It will ensure they have the best time and their parents can really relax too. Of course, it depends on the age range of children attending your day, but for babies consider places for feeding and changing, menu choices and high chairs/booster seats for the meal plus somewhere quiet for naps and shady spots in warmer summer weather. For toddlers and pre-schoolers, think about activities to entertain, such as games or a toy area, which can work well during the ceremony and reception. For older children, get them involved by giving them a role, such as giving out confetti, doing a reading or handing you your rings. You could also provide a goody bag with a disposable camera, eye spy game, bubbles, colouring etc to ensure they have fun during the celebrations.”



Flower display on a table Flower display on a table

When it comes to keeping kids entertained, the easiest way to do so is to incorporate some fun-filled games and activities that children and adults alike will enjoy. If you’re planning on spending the evening outside, why not think about sourcing jumbo versions of some of your favourites, such as Connect 4, Jenga or ten-pin bowling? Similarly, games work well for indoor events too, so set up a table with a variety of board games that are suitable for all ages. This is a fantastic option, as it means that they’ll be preoccupied, and the options available mean that older and younger guests can get involved too!


Snack bar

Table set for dinner Table set for dinner

As your wedding progresses, you may be considering your evening catering options. However, for smaller children, hunger can strike at any time! Grazing tables and food stations are a fantastic way to combat this, as they allow children to come and go as they please. From doughnut walls and popcorn stalls to a selection of tapas and cold meats, this gives all of your guests the freedom to snack the night away!

One thing to bear in mind if you’re planning food stations is that little fingers can sticky quickly, and whilst they will love selecting their own snacks to nibble on, there will have to be someone supervising this to ensure that no cross-contamination takes place. After all, this is food to be enjoyed by everyone, so it should still look appetising after your younger family members have dived in.


Inside of a wedding venue Inside of a wedding venue

It wouldn’t be a wedding reception without dancing, so why not allow the little ones to get in on the action with some upbeat party tunes that will be easily recognisable? If you’ve arranged a DJ to keep the guests on the dance floor until the early hours, you can look at organising a dancing hour at the start of the night for the children. This works for all ages; not only will this give adults a little time to mingle and grab a drink but will allow smaller children to burn off some energy at the start of the night.


Goodie bags

Outdoor wedding reception Outdoor wedding reception

Planning your wedding favours for your older guests is essential, so why not arrange something extra special for your younger guests? Goody bags are a great way to keep kids busy, so consider handing these out at the start of the reception rather than the end. These don’t need to be expensive favours and can just contain a couple of cheap toys and colouring books that can keep them entertained throughout the reception.

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