Thrifty Ways to Keep Children Entertained on your Wedding Day
You’ve dreamed of a big wedding with all of your nearest and dearest present. You’ll be gliding down the aisle, a throng of cherubic children at your heels. Everyone together, the group shots complete and captured for the family album.
But if you’re planning an all-inclusive, family-oriented wedding celebration it’s worth considering some form of entertainment for children during the day. While your adult guests may happily quaff Champagne all day long, bored and irritable children can quickly derail the more-the-merrier idyll. With a little advance planning you’ll be able to keep children entertained and the wedding guests focussed on your special day without diving deep into your wedding funds.
Marry at Doxford Hall during the warmer months and you’ll have a head start on the entertainment. With plenty of outside space for little legs to run free, and the added bonus of Europe’s largest Yew tree maze to tackle, children will soon make up their own fun. Hand out a map of the maze to older children to navigate during the drinks reception or suggest hide and seek amongst the giant Cypress trees or Grandmother’s Footsteps on the lawn.
Giant Lawn Games
Not just for children, giant lawn games are a fun and cost-effective addition to any outdoor wedding and are in keeping with a whimsical Alice in Wonderland vibe as well as a traditional country wedding.
Opt for classic games like Giant Jenga or Connect4 or you can even set up skittles or hoopla for guests to enjoy. We have our own garden games you’re welcome to borrow or you’ll find plenty of suppliers to buy or hire from locally.
For children of reading age, a scavenger hunt is a quick win! Prepare a list of items to find and send them off on their way. The grounds of Doxford Hall are a perfect playground to find feathers, pine cones and leaves from different species of trees. Or you could add the names of people from the wedding party to encourage them to get to know one another!
Another budget-friendly activity to keep children entertained whatever their age and adapted for inside or outside gatherings. Hide (wrapped) chocolates, sweets or age appropriate toys such as Lego mini figures as you would for an Easter egg hunt and ask the children to find them and share them equally amongst themselves. If you’re marrying at Doxford Hall you’ll have ample room for an outdoor treasure hunt and may want to confine it to a specific area within the grounds. Indoors you may like to hide one wedding themed item such as a miniature soft toy dressed as a bride in every function suite for them to find.
These can be prepared on a shoe-string budget or be as fancy as you wish but are sure to delight little ones. Fill a paper bag with inexpensive items such as crayons, mini colouring or word search books, bubbles, yoyos, putty or brain teaser puzzles. Customise the bags according to your colour scheme and nominate your ushers to give them out before the ceremony or have one waiting on the table at the wedding breakfast.
“H-anger” is a thing to be avoided at all costs. If you are inviting children then be prepared to adapt your wedding breakfast to accommodate simpler tastes. Add child-friendly canapes to your selection to keep energy levels high – but not too high – throughout the day. Avoid chocolate snacks (think of the stain risk ahead of the group photographs) and very sugary foods (sticky fingers on satin dresses, anyone?) too early on. Of course, most parents are likely to pack a few snacks to keep their children in line but it always pays to think ahead!
Table Mat and Table Cloths
Sitting still for the duration of a three-course wedding breakfast is a challenge for most children – and some adults- and it’s worth planning ahead to prevent children from running around during the meal or interrupting the speeches. You may want to consider a colour-in tablecloth if you’re having a dedicated children’s table or individual activity table mats which include some colouring and maybe some dot-to-dot and spot the difference puzzles. You can make your own or choose from themed options online.
Dressing Up Box
Raid your fancy dress wardrobe and call on friends to do the same – especially those with children! Many children love dressing up and can spend hours trying on new outfits – the sillier the better. Customise a wooden trunk or a large tub and fill it with feather boas, ridiculous hats, wacky glasses – whatever you have to hand. If you’ve hired an adult’s photo booth for later in the evening, why not place the children’s dressing up box nearby, or leave a selfie stick for them to use with their parents’ phones.
A quiz is a good option to keep slightly older children engaged in the day. Where did the wedding couple meet, what’s the name of the best man, who has travelled the furthest to attend the wedding, what’s the name of the bridal suite? Think of questions that will encourage younger guests to interact with others or work together if needed. You can always add in some slightly more objective questions such as who is the best dressed or who is the worst dancer!
(Sometimes) children like being given jobs to do so why not enlist a few helpers in the form of wedding photographers? If you’ve enough funds left in the wedding budget to run to a few disposable cameras why not task the younger guests with capturing specific photographs. A confetti shot, the first dance, a champagne toast. A bit like a picture version of a scavenger hunt.
For more wedding tips and advice, our resident Weddings & Events Manager, Angela, is your go-to girl. Get in touch on email@example.com and she’ll be happy to help! View our current wedding offers and to view our fabulous range of function rooms.