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Saying the big ‘I do’ can sometimes fade in comparison with printing the big ‘I don’t’ in your wedding invitation, excluding little ones from joining your wedding party. It can start many a discussion, and often result in extremely varying views, from a ‘blessing’ to a straight forward ‘curse’! We all know that children can be a beautiful, innocent and playful part of any wedding party, bringing the family together, and adding an innocent dimension as who doesn’t love the sight of the adorable flower girl/ bridesmaid walking down the aisle, a sight that will make the heart of even the biggest cynic melt. Children are often fascinated by weddings, and if being given an important role to play, often ending on being on their best behaviour.

But as you can’t make them all bridesmaids or ring bearers, weddings can also be a very long and testing day that can turn even the most angelic child into the exact opposite! The decision is not easy, but should ultimately be yours and yours only. It is your special day, and one not be spoiled by outside pressure. But make the decision early, giving the parents plenty of time to decide how to come up with an alternative plan for the day. By making it clear from the start, you often avoid any misunderstandings and hurt feelings later on.

But, for now, let’s love the thought of having a party with these small added extras, and with a little innovation, creativity and extra budget, your small guests can be a memorable part of your celebration for all the right reasons, and you won’t be needing an army of storm troopers to keep the wedding peace!

Anyone who is a parent, or who spends their time looking after children, knows that it is all in the planning and creating irresistible distractions. A bored, hungry or overtired child is a short-legged time bomb waiting to detonate without mercy, but with a bit of ingenuity, this can be easily defused.

Needless to say, children need space to run or move if sitting down for too long, or welcome distractions during long speeches and wedding ceremonies. Most parents will come prepared with bags of toys, iPods, and crayons, but why not prepare little bags of noise free entertainment as they enter the church, or bigger, more exciting version for the party after. It helps to tell the parents beforehand, that it’s completely acceptable to take a child outside should any acute ceremonial ‘allergies’ flare up during the adult singing and ants-in-pants inducing endless readings. It takes the pressure off and consequently the child tends to feel it too.

When considering the seating plan, it is often a good idea not to place any child too far away from their parents, even if the parent might secretly wish for this exact geographical arrangement. Why not consider making a fabulous children’s table, all with an exciting child-friendly menu, colourful drinks and hire a Mary Poppins or two to add a spoonful of sugar and supervision, leaving Mum and Dad to enjoy the evening knowing that everyone is looked after and having a great time. Make it a party within a party as kids simply love being little adults with grown-up looking food and drinks, made especially for them.

If no outside space is available at your venue, or if weather or time of year prevents it, maybe consider a separate room with age appropriate entertainment and even some big cushions to lie down on when the eyelids eventually become too heavy to keep up. If plenty of out door space, you can have a whole area dedicated to your smaller guests, a place where they can return to when the adult world becomes just too much to bare. Dance floor excluded of course – that is too much fun! You can make a treasure hunt, arts and crafts tables, face painting XL, candy floss making, bonfire with marshmallow roasting, mini circus tent, hay bale game zone, dressing up photo booth, story tent, soft play, soap bubbles, bouncing fun, canvas memory making or mini cinema, all supervised and super fun! The sky is the limit. We think you will find any investment you make in your little VIPs, is worth every penny!