If you don't already have young children of your own, pound to a penny, at least one of your close friends or family will have.
With this in mind (unless you're one of those misery-guts' who have decided to exclude children from the wedding!), you may well want to consider providing specific entertainment for the day of the wedding for the little blighters!
We all know that children are angelic creatures, who only speak when spoken to and who behave themselves 24-7. We also know that that's one heck of a lie! The truth is that all kids, regardless of how well behaved they are normally, will get bored from time to time. When you consider the fact that they're expected to be silent throughout the Service and the speeches, and sit still for most of the day's events, then you can understand how frustration could easily set in.
The first thing we should point out, is that you don't have to provide any entertainment for them at all - most responsible parents will know what their child is like and will have brought along a plethora of toys to keep them entertained throughout the day. On top of this, you may well be planning other entertainment for the Reception that could amuse the children equally as much as it will their parents (garden games, fireworks etc.). That said, if you have a large number of children attending the wedding, particularly 7 or 8 year olds and under, then you may still want to arrange specific entertainment to keep them occupied, and give their parents a break.
Not all children's entertainment need cost lots of money. If cash is tight, be creative - orgainse a sweetie treasure hunt or even just provide a table with crayons, colouring books and Lego. However, if you do decide to splash the cash, the following should provide you with some ideas of how you could do so.
For those of you who'll have a number of babies, toddlers and infants in attendance, hiring a crèche could prove a godsend. Professionally staffed mobile crèches aren't too difficult to track down these days and the skilled nursery nurses in attendance will be able to organise activities and play games that will keep the kids amused for hours. From quiet colouring and drawing, to party games and mad half hours, you can be assured that a mobile crèche will keep the little'uns entertained all day and suitably tire the little darlings out by bedtime.
Expect to pay a set fee plus an additional hourly rate (the rate will depend upon the number of staff required and the age ranges of the children).
Soft Play & Inflatable Hire
Ideal for pre-school-age wedding guests, a soft play area will give young children somewhere to jump around and let off steam. Typically incorporating ball pools, rubber mats, and large foam-based shapes, soft play areas are adored by 2, 3 and 4 year olds. For those a little older, bouncy castles and other children's inflatables are a wise investment.
As with the soft play, they will require a reasonable amount of space and can cost well into three figures for a top-notch set-up - that said, smaller versions costing far less can be tracked down if you shop around. If you do look hire either soft play or inflatables, it's wise to remember that the kids playing on them can generate a lot of noise, so make sure to site them well away from the top table!
There are a whole range of children's entertainers that can be hired to perform at your wedding. From clowns and balloon artists to Punch & Judy shows and kiddies magicians, there's a lot of choice out there.
Most entertainers will be able to keep the kids transfixed and amused at their act for hours, but there will be the odd time when one of the children wants to get up and wander off, or needs to go to the toilet. With this in mnid, it's always wise to rope in the help of a couple of friendly adults to supervise things when the entertainment is on - you could even arrange for them to get a sausage dog ballon animal as a reward!
Like we said right at the beginning of the article, it's not essential to organise bespoke entertainment for the children at your wedding, but it would be appreciated by both the children and their parents if you did!