Children at Weddings and Events
Do you want children at your wedding or corporate event but worry that they can quickly become bored and restless? Or are you a parent who has been told, “Children are not welcome”?
Organising a crèche, nanny or babysitting service at an event is becoming increasingly more popular. The children have fun during the longer parts, such as speeches, but can join in when you want them to.
How to find event childcare
You’ll often find the details of a wedding crèche business by recommendation, which is a reassurance that your little ones will be taken care of. Other places to look include websites, asking your venue for suggestions, or even looking on social media. Often your photographer or florist will have ideas, because they work with other suppliers every week.
Things to look for include staff that have been police-checked (CRB or DBS are the terms), at least one member of staff with a first aid qualification and possibly a childcare qualification too.
PHOTO CREDIT: CATHERINE WASLEY
What will they do?
Ask the provider what toys and activities they will be bringing along. Is there a good range of exciting and creative things to do to keep them occupied, but also some calming activities to allow them the opportunity to chill and wind down? Do they provide cots or sleeping bags for events that go on into the evening, or into the children’s usual naptime?
Quality childcare providers will want to get to know about the children beforehand, so that they can bring activities that interest them. The staff should register the children on the day (often this is an insurance requirement anyway). This also gives you an opportunity to mention any concerns, food intolerances or routines.
Catherine Wasley of Rock Up and Play was Highly Commended in the 2015 Bristol and Somerset Wedding Awards. She describes the service she provides at a typical event:
“Usually all the toys are out, depending on the space available, so the children can choose for themselves what to do. We’d have three or four planned crafts and lots of free-range activities. We like to give the feel of home. We often start by giving each child a fabric bag, which they decorate and personalise and then put all their treasures inside. They are very popular. Activities are mostly non-messy, so that best clothes don’t get ruined.”
PHOTO CREDIT: CATHERINE WASLEY
Catherine gave some examples of recent events she has attended with her team.
Event Nanny - “I was asked at short notice to take care of a two year-old, while his parents attended a wedding. They were staying at a cottage near the venue, so I met them there a while before they needed to leave for the wedding. I gave the little boy his tea, then bathed him and put him to bed. I took along my suitcase on wheels, which is full of interesting toys and objects for children to take out and explore. He had a lovely time and settled beautifully, while his parents were able to enjoy the event whilst being confident that he was in good hands.”
Wedding crèche - “Last weekend, six of our staff looked after 29 children, aged between 10 weeks to 15 years, at a marquee wedding. We had our own ‘seedling’ marquee next to the main one. During the drinks reception, we constructed and decorated a cardboard playhouse. Then we gave the children a hot buffet tea, before taking them into the main marquee for the speeches. It was one little girl’s birthday, so we all sang happy birthday too. Then we had cake and games in the seedling marquee, before a film (inevitably, it was “Frozen”!) and then the sleep mats came out. Older children came and went with their parents’ permission.”
PHOTO CREDIT: BRIAN SLATER PHOTOGRAPHY
Alternatives to formal childcare
- Some weddings where children are welcome, ask parents and family to take turns to look after the children. This works as long as everyone is agreed about who misses which part.
- You can bring along entertainment boxes filled with age-appropriate things to do (ask parents and get them to bring favourite toys).
- Use professional entertainers, such as face painters or a clown, to keep children busy.
- Opt for informal eating arrangements, such as a hog roast, and keep speeches and formalities to a minimum.
Arranging for professional childcare can take the stress out of including children in your wedding or event – indeed feedback shows that it is often a highlight, for children and adults alike. The best providers are flexible, providing a good ratio of staff to children and staying for as long as you require.
Catherine Wasley of Rock Up and Play!