A couple of days ago I was writing about those scripted and unscripted moments at wedding ceremonies when you have children in the bridal party. Once you've got past the ceremony itself, and the challenges of getting children to look where you want them to for the formal photos, how do you entertain them at reception? Well, entertain them!! Drinks and canapés won't cut the mustard with the youngest guests so you'll need something "age appropriate" and not just one thing, many options.
So, how do you earn the eternal gratitude of the parents of the said young guests, to say nothing of those other guests who'd prefer not to be trying to entertain the children of others?
This took me back to our own wedding 16 years ago. We had many children at our wedding: step-children, nieces and nephews and god-children. So many, in fact, that we decided specialist skills were required! Enter the wonderful Nigel Kennedy, Magician, with his friend the giant Mr Funny Bunny, a bird, a massive repertoire of magical tricks and an array of balloon creations. The plan was that Nigel would entertain the children during drinks and canapes whilst the adults enjoyed themselves with a stunning harpist playing in the background. What we didn't bargain on was the sound of the children having such a fantastic time meant that many of the adults wanted to go and join in too!
Now not every occasion can have a magician present but there are many easy ways to provide fun for young guests. I was walking through the Queenstown Saturday Market recently and watched the children having a great time chasing giant bubbles made simply with the traditional technique of string between two long sticks and a big bowl of bubbly liquid. Any toy store will have bubble making gear. Millbrook always have a table with crayons/pencils and a variety of pictures plus traditional board games inside and games outside. Ideally not noisy games if they are in the same area as the adults! Someone to read to them and play games is great - a perfect job for a student at very little cost. Even better if they supervise them eating dinner too! You will earn the gratitude of the parents and other guests too!
Speaking of dinner, don't make them wait whilst the speeches go on. Little people won't appreciate the need to sit quietly through Great Uncle Arthur's reminiscence of the Bride as a child! Feed them early and then let them go and play. Have age-appropriate food too. Exotic cuisine won't be nearly as popular as special, but age appropriate, party food. Just make it something that won't ruin their special clothes if spilt - or provide large fun serviettes that they can draw on. Just get some calico and rip them into shape for that rustic look. Stamp their names on them too.
And for later in the day/evening ....... a movie in another room is perfect! Even better, also have a whiteboard and some books for those not enjoying the movie selection!