If you have children – or are inviting lots of them to your wedding – you want to choose a wedding venue that’s child-friendly, one that will allow them to run around and have fun, while staying safe – and allowing your adult guests to have a ball, too. Here are five ways to help choose a child-friendly wedding venue.
Is it safe?
You don’t want parents to be forever watching their youngster because there are lots of rickety stairs or deep and dangerous water displays – or other aspects of the venue – which are potentially hazardous for their children.
It may be a door which opens out onto a busy road or a pool that isn’t fenced off that poses a danger for little ones, so no matter how stunning your preferred wedding venue, if child safety will be an issue with your guests, you may have to cross if off your shortlist.
Of course, what is considered a danger will depend on how many children will attend and their ages, but if you’ve got lots of little ones attending and are concerned, then you’re better off erring on the side of a child-friendly wedding venue.
Is there room to run around?
Is there somewhere the children can let off steam and run around without tripping others over or running under their feet? It could just be a kids-only room filled with activities – and lots of space – where they can run around and yell their little hearts out without interrupting your wedding reception and annoying other guests.
These days, many venues will set aside a room for kids and some couples even hire a babysitter to take care of all the little ones, leaving their parents to play.
You can start researching child-friendly wedding venues here.
Does the seating suit kids?
Seating is essential – obviously. But if the child is a toddler then normal seating is useless. Is there a high chair available? Is the seating suitable for kids of different ages? Just because a venue adds the words ‘child-friendly’ to their promotional material doesn’t mean your problems will magically be solved.
Remember also, when it comes to seating children, that they like to get out of their seats, so ensure the main reception room has enough place to seat all your guests, not just the little ones, with enough space to move around and get in and out of their seats without knocking elbows with other guests or requiring them to get up every time little Johnny need the bathroom.
Does it serve child-friendly food?
Your mini guests need to be fed just like everyone else. But it’s pointless providing the same food or the same quantity of food for young mouths and tummies.
Ask about the venue’s menu choices for children. Can they do smaller portions or just different meals for kids? What about spices or food with alcoholic sauces etc?
Be sure to ask the question.
Is there somewhere kids can sleep?
While some children may relish the thought of staying up late, what is late to them isn’t late to your adult guests, so don’t be surprised if they’re starting to nod off just as the party is getting started.
So, be sure to ask whether there a place in the venue, away from the hustle, bustle and noise of the main reception area, where parents can put their children to sleep. Preferably, it would be supervised but even a room adjoining the reception area that parents can either stay in with their sleeping child(ren) or, at the very least, see from where they are seated would be handy.
A chill-out room
Within your chosen venue ask if there is a space where you can arrange a chill-out area for the children, you could then set up a DVD or videos games so they can have some downtime. Children do need a bit of time to just stop for a bit and have some time to sit and relax. This could be a great space to be used when speeches are being done too as it can sometimes be hard for children to sit still through the speeches without getting restless.
Space for children’s entertainment
If you are having a child-friendly wedding it is always a great idea to arrange some sort of entertainment for them, this will all depend on the venue’s space as to what entertainment will work best and of course what your budget allows. Ask the venue what suitable space you could use to allocate some children’s entertainment and then from there you can decide what will be best to work in that available space and within your budget. It could be a face painter as this will not take up too much room and will not cost much and will be sure to keep the children occupied or if you have a large outdoor space that can be used and that is safe, you could always throw in a bouncy castle this will keep children and I’m sure the adults entertained.
Can the venue help
Some venues are equipped to accommodate children within their venue and the grounds. When you are looking at your venue options mentioned that you’re having a child-friendly wedding and that there will be a number of little people in the day and evening celebrations and how do they cater for them. They might have on-site facilities already in place or outside connections for babysitters, entertainers that they are able to recommend or even arrange for you, taking some of the pressure off you on the list of things you already need to arrange.
It is down you and your partner to let the venue know where you would like the children to sit, but if you do decide to arrange a kids table then let them know on the seating plan that it is the kids table so they can 1) ensure that appropriate cutlery and table ware is on the table 2) they might be able to help with other tips and ideas on the kids table that they have used in the past which works well and things that may not work so well and 3) they can also help you with the positioning of the table and where in the available space the kids table may work better, it may be closer to the kids room so they can come and go as they please, or if you’re having an on-site babysitter it could be close to where they are so they can bring in the children when you require them to sit down and eat – remember kids do not want to listen to the speeches they are just interested in when its dinner time.
We all know that children can be clumsy, too be fair so can adults especially after a few drinks! But just remember to the question to the venue with regards to if there was an accident by a little one is this covered within the venue’s insurance or would you be liable for the cost? And if you would be liable to for the cost is there any further insurances that can be taken out so they this will help you if an accident did occur. Obviously, this is just airing on caution as you don’t what anything to be broken but sometimes little hands do have a tendency to touch things they shouldn’t.
When looking for a venue that needs to be child-friendly double check how much space there is for the children to run about so they can burn off some energy. It doesn’t need to be a huge area but just enough that they can play with each other and will of course be safe. An added bonus would be if the venue had a small enclosed park but this will not always be an option, so maybe just a grassed area where you could put out some lawn games, this will be sure to keep them entertained.
General health and safety within the venue
When looking around the venue and getting all your information together just one thing to pay attention too is the general health and safety within the venue when it comes to children. Make sure that there is no trip hazards or wires that children can have access too. Just be aware of the venue surroundings and what could potentially be unsafe for a child and then if you do spot something please don’t be afraid to just ask a question with regards to it and how they will address this potential hazard. It can be hard sometimes to ensure a venue is completely child-friendly as accidents will happen when it comes to children, after all they are kids and they will be just enjoying themselves and running around but if you can try and eliminate as many dangers as possible you and the child’s parents will be able to enjoy the wedding a lot more than having to be worrying that they children are unable to play because it’s not safe for them.
There is an extensive listing of wedding venues here. It’s best to start researching if they are child-friendly as soon as possible.
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