So you’ve decided to include kids in your wedding ceremony and reception. We don’t blame you! Celebrating alongside the important little ones in your life is one of the things that many brides and grooms look forward to the most. There’s nothing quite so cute as having a little page boy or flower girl toddling down the aisle in a dashing suit or pretty dress.
Kids can be the life and soul of a wedding, and make for some adorable photographs, too. However, if you’re going to allow young kids at your wedding, you have to think about their safety first and foremost. Weddings are busy, stressful occasions where a lot can go wrong if you’re not careful. The last thing you need is for a tiny tot to have an accident on your big day.
You need to be sure that every aspect of your wedding, from the décor to the venue itself, has been risk assessed to ensure it is as safe as can possibly be. Here are some important safety tips to consider if you’re having a child-friendly wedding.
1. Choose a Kid-Friendly Wedding Venue
Most children are excited to be going to a wedding - what’s more fun than a big party where they can stay up past their bedtimes? In reality, kids (especially the little ones) can get bored during the long day, and they’ll need space to run around and let off steam.
However, not every wedding venue is child-friendly. Before booking your dream location, consider:
1) How much space is there for kids to run around in (indoor and outdoor)? Are there any tables or with sharp corners that children could hurt themselves on?
2) Do all potentially dangerous areas of the venue (e.g. the kitchen, doors to the external grounds) have locks to keep kids in or out?
3) Does the venue have any glass tables, glass-fronted cabinets or any other fragile furniture that could smash or break?
4) Are there any open sources of water on the premises (pools, fountains, ponds, lakes) that don’t have guard-rails, or any way of preventing children from falling in?
5) Are the outdoor spaces suitable for kids, or is the ground rocky and uneven? Are there any sheer drops or ledges that children could fall from?
6) Is the venue close to any busy roads? Could a child inadvertently run out into the street if they weren’t being closely supervised?
You might also consider whether there are any dedicated spaces inside the venue that you could use for a creche, a kids’ entertainment room, or a “quiet room” where overstimulated little ones can escape the chaos of the party.
2. Keep Your Wedding Décor Child Safe
With children at your wedding, their safety will be a major concern: not only of yours, but of anyone helping to plan your wedding. One aspect of a wedding which can cause safety concerns is the décor. Here are some tips to bear in mind:
1) Consider minimising the amount of breakables - from your centerpieces, to wedding signage, and types of lighting. Avoid glass and ceramic decorations where possible, and opt for shatter-proof plastic or wood instead
2) Try to lay out your decorations in spots where they cannot be easily grabbed, or knocked over. This can also be applied if you are considering a sweet cart as well as your wedding cake. You wouldn’t want your cake to be knocked down before it can be cut and served!
3) Don’t use real candles – use LED lights instead. Real candles are a no-go with children present as they can easily be tipped over and start a fire
4) When it comes to wall décor (such as bunting and signs), either affix it high enough that kids can’t reach it, or tie it securely to the wall so that it cannot be pulled down
5) Avoid any decorations with small pieces that toddlers could put in their mouths and choke on (e.g. table crystals, glass jars filled with decorative pebbles)
6) Are you having real flower decorations, such as a floral archway? Make sure none of the flowers are toxic to toddlers if eaten (e.g. foxglove, daffodil, lily-of-the-valley)
If you are unsure about any of your décor choices, your wedding venue provider will be able to talk through any potential hazards with you.
3. Keep Alcohol Away from Children
If you opt to hire a bartender to serve alcohol at your wedding, then they need to be on top of the fact that there may be underage guests - especially if they look a lot older than they are. Don’t put it past a 16- or 17-year-old to try and order alcohol if they think they’ll get away with it! Impress upon the bar staff the importance of checking everyone’s ID.
Avoid having a self-service bar at your wedding. While this might will help you to cut down costs by not having to employ bar staff, it’s a terrible idea if there are children around. You want your guests' lasting memories to be the great time they had, and not the moment a child helped themselves to some alcohol.
Another thing to consider is alcohol served during the wedding breakfast. Many brides and grooms place wine bottles on the dining tables so that guests can pour their own drinks throughout the meal. This may not be a good idea if there are children around. Consider asking a server to top up everyone’s drinks periodically instead.
4. Consider Hiring a Nanny Service
Often, when children are at a large event or gathering, they may get into trouble or injured simply because adults always assume that another adult is keeping an eye on them. As the bride or groom, you may believe that the parents are always looking after their kids – but they might not be watching them closely, especially if they’ve had a tipple or two, or are busy dancing.
One way around this dilemma is to consider hiring a creche or nanny service so that you can feel secure that there is someone who is responsible for the children, and monitoring what they’re getting up to at all times.
There are plenty of wedding nanny services available to hire. When choosing a service, ensure all employees are subject to safeguarding, paediatric first aid certification and a DBS (police check). Be aware that you may need to hire more than one nanny/babysitter depending on how many kids are in attendance (and their ages).
Another way to keep the children entertained during the event is to hire a child friendly entertainer, such as a balloon artist, or magician. But bear in mind that these entertainers, while they’ll keep kids from getting bored and into mischief, are not a substitute for proper supervision.
5. Watch Out for Allergies
One way to distract, and potentially calm down any children at your wedding is to feed them! But have a think about what options there will be for them to eat.
If you are just planning on serving a smaller portion of the sit down meal that the adults will have, then you are risking not only a lot of wasted food, but likely some rumbly tummies and grumpy faces. It might be worth researching into a caterer that can provide child friendly alternatives on your menu.
If this is a path you want to take, then be sure to ask in advance for any food allergies. Kids can be allergic to almost anything (just like adults): however, childhood allergies to the following products are particularly common.
6) Tree nuts
When sending out your wedding invitations, include a space on your RSVP cards for your guests to note down any food allergies or intolerances. Ensure your caterers are fully aware of which children have allergies, and where they’re sitting. And just to be on the safe side, ensure allergens are clearly marked on your menu cards.
6. Keep the Dining Room Child Safe
Another aspect of the wedding breakfast to be aware of is the crockery, cutlery and glassware. Children and glass do not mix (especially young toddlers), and broken glass can result in serious injuries.
Ask your venue or caterers to provide plastic cups, plates, knives and forks for children to minimise any breakages and injuries. Food should also be served to children at a safe temperature, so that if it is dropped or spilt, it won’t cause any burns.
When thinking about your table plan, consider whether you want the children to be sat with their parents, or if it would be easier to seat all the children together on a dedicated kids’ table.
There are pros and cons to both of these options. If you choose the former, then parents can be responsible for their own children, and keep an eye on them throughout the meal. However, if they are sat separately, you could put one adult in charge of the whole table - leaving the rest of the adults to talk and have fun without having to worry about what may happen.
7. Adjust Your Wedding Favours Accordingly
One of the most highly anticipated parts of attending a wedding is the wedding favour – what little treat will the bride and groom have in store for you, as a “thank you” for attending their special day? Kids look forward to wedding favours as much as adults do. However, you have to make sure they are safe for the little ones.
1) If you’re serving edible favours, such as chocolates, make sure they’re not given to kids with allergies
2) Small edible favours may also pose a choking hazard (such as sugared almonds and spherical mints)
3) Scented candles and soaps may seem enticing to the youngsters, especially if they smell like vanilla or caramel. Make sure they don’t try to eat them!
Consider researching some kid-appropriate options for your wedding favours. One sure way to get them excited is a party bag (what is a wedding if not a massive party?)
Fill your party bags with some inexpensive and child-safe goodies: mini colouring books, crayons, puzzles, non-toxic bubbles and so on. Not only will it provide them with some entertainment, but will keep them quiet and distracted! You could even provide a separate room or kids’ table for them to play with their favours together.
8. Think First Aid
Last, but certainly not least, is possibly one of the most important things on this list to think about. Your venue should be prepared and up to date for any emergencies that may occur, and as accidents are certainly more likely to happen with children around, it’s vital that you check the venue’s first aid kits are up-to-date.
It may also be handy to prepare your own miniature kid-friendly first aid kit, and keep it in an easy to access place (but out of reach of the children, of course).
Pop in some antiseptic spray, colourful plasters and bandages in case of cuts, child-safe painkillers, paper towels, and an ice pack in case of exercise-induced sprains and strains. Be sure to consult with the child’s parent before anyone administers any medical help, in case of allergies. And maybe pop in some sweets as a distraction!
When you’re ready to start ordering your wedding stationery and accessories, head over to Bride and Groom Direct to browse our fantastic range of affordable and high-quality products.