Weddings How to keep children safe and entertained at your wedding festivities

Make your own lives, and the experience of your wedding guests, much better by ensuring your little guests are monitored and catered for.

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I must confess that once upon a time, I dreaded weddings with a lot of little people in attendance. And by "little people," I'm talking about wedding guests under the age of 10.

Please don't misunderstand, I LOVE children and their presence always make weddings delightful and fun, but having them at wedding ceremonies requires monitoring and proper planning.

With that said, Wedding venues can be dangerous places. There are candles, knives, sharp objects, and swimming pools, and sometimes open access to beaches and the ocean. If you're in a city venue, there will be busy streets outside. Children under 10 need to be monitored, and children under seven need actual direct supervision from an adult AT ALL TIMES. And no, it's not the job of the wedding planning staff to do it.

Make your own lives, and the experience of your wedding guests, much better by following these tips:

Hire a babysitter to be on hand at the wedding events that require it.  Nobody wants a child having a screaming fit during the toasts or any other important aspect of a wedding. It's distracting and miserable for everybody who didn't bring their own children with them. Make sure you get a baby sitter that can keep an eye on the kids and monitor them.

Do special welcome bags for your littlest guests. Include "quiet" entertainment for them – you can include card games, Lego kits, coloring books with WASHABLE crayons and markers, and sticker books. 

Have a children's table at the reception if you have five or more kids attending.
 Instead of a centerpiece (don't need them playing with candles, do we?), fill the center of the table with quiet entertainment. Again, Lego sets, small puzzle games, sticker books, funny mustaches and glasses, and other things like that will keep them quiet and entertained. Skip the coloring books and crayons since "washable" is a relative term when you're dealing with table linens you don't own. Since they're likely not having the same formal meal as the rest of the wedding party, ask the caterer to serve their food first.

Plan some children's activities for them at the events - like bubbles (although make sure they play with these on a lawn or beach and not over tile floors where they'd turn it into a dangerous ice rink). For daytime, outdoor activities, special floaties or kites or balls are all popular distractions. Remember that each small child needs an adult in the water with them at parties involving swimming. While arranging these activities, monitor them also.

By all means, invite all the small children you love to your wedding if you want to - they're hilarious to watch on the dance floor. And they make weddings even more interesting and adorable, just make sure when inviting them adequate preparations are put in place.

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